I was attracted to an article written by Elizabeth Picciuto that was posted at the Richard Dawkins Foundation – It’s Official: Religion Doesn’t Make You More Moral. It was accompanied with the message you see above.
First, I must admit that the graphic containing the words shown above is what I found so attractive. Its truth value, at least for me, was intuitively and instantly felt. It reminded me of the indisputable truth value in words of the late Victor Stenger: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” I loved this insight so much that I bought the T-shirt!
But, I digress. Thanks for indulging me. Back to Picciuto’s article. At the tail end of her short piece she made the following claim: “People who don’t fear that justice will be meted out in an afterlife are apparently no more vicious, cruel, or licentious than a believer.” On the surface there would appear little reason to offer a criticism of her words. But there is, and it’s this: her words soft pedal the harms known to be associated with a belief in magic and at the same time place non-belief in the same loopy grouping.
She also claims that, “atheists are apparently as moral as believers.” “Apparently as moral?” Really? If atheists are just “as moral” as she asserts that believers are moral, wouldn’t prison cells be occupied with an amount of prisoners proportional to the social order from which they sprang?
I’d like to assert that atheists are probably much more moral than their deity worshiping counterparts, and the makeup of our nation’s prison population demonstrates that fact.
Need evidence? Ponder, for just a brief moment, who occupies the nation’s prisons. Clearly, it’s not heathens and blasphemers. The clear fact is that the nation’s prison cells are overwhelmingly occupied by people who call themselves devout Jesus or Mohammad worshipers. It’s definitely not occupied by atheists, agnostics, freethinkers or the sundry of other lone-wolf heathens and blasphemers who take great umbrage at being even marginally aligned with the magic thinkers. We don’t see atheists organizations bangin’ the prison doors down in order to creep in and search for lost souls in need of “spiritual healing” (ala Chuck Colson, the infamous nutbag sent to prison for too short of time for his role in obstructing justice in the Watergate scandal).
The only conclusion that I think we could possibly make in recognition of this fact is that heathens, god-scoffers and blasphemers most definitely commit an infinitesimally lesser amount of vicious, cruel or licentious crime compared with their magical thinking counterparts.
Think I’m mistaken about this? Please, show me where I’ve gone amok.