Atheistic meaning & morality FAQ

I’d been looking for this old file for a while, only to find that someone at the CS department at my old school put it back online. It’s a FAQ I wrote to try to counter the anti-atheist bigotry that fundamentalists typically spew:

There’s also a reply I got from none other than Doug Sharp, of the prominent creationist site

(The link within the page no longer works, so I’m providing the link here.)


What is your debatable proposition?

Are you debating whether someone needs to be a theist to be moral? A very narrow viewpoint that presumes the Abrahamic diety.

Many Eastern religions are non-theistic, yet I would consider Confucius to be moral.

Not really GD material (or is it?), but I thought I’d
post my favorite URL on the subject of athiest morality/ethics:

This is my favorite place to send fundies who claim I can’t be a good person without religion.


So there’s no debate. So what?

There’s precedent for the caching of debate tools, and it’s nice to have an easy reference point for those who ask the same questions that others have in the past. I suppose we could keep handy a link to the old “Libertarian figures out non-theist morality” thread, but I’m damned if I know where it is offhand, and I don’t want to have to re-read the whole thing to find the most salient points.

Thanks, Ben. I appreciate the links. And I’m already awaiting the cries of anti-Christian bias.

Why do you ask?


I disagree. :confused:

Or something.

I’m an athiest. Ahh, well, bye.

You want to know what my position is, because you already disagree with it before knowing what it is? No wonder you’re confused!

The basic points I’m trying to refute are:

  1. “Everybody knows that atheists are less moral than theists.”

  2. “This is because if you don’t believe that God is ordering you not to do evil, then there’s no reason not to do evil.”

  3. “Life can have no meaning for people who believe that God does not exist, so that’s another reason why atheists see no reason to be good.”

Would you like to argue for one of these?


andros wrote:

Yes it is! :wink:

Fundies feel persecuted, moderates feel persecuted, liberals feel persecuted and evidently atheists feel persecuted. If you feel like you’re living in a glass house, it might be a good idea not to go handing out stones.

I personally don’t agree with any of those, but keep going and I might find something to use against you awful atheists.

I hate to be a pragmatist here, but I’m an atheist, and I’m a lot less “moral” than my churchy friends. Pragmatism is like that. I may be ethical, but I would never describe myself as “moral”, adhering to code existing above or outside of man-made conventionality.

And it’s true enough that I think life has no “meaning”.
It doesn’t. It comes, you enjoy it or hate it or feel indifferent to it, and then it goes.

Did the lives of the dinosaurs have “meaning”. No.
And if you say, “Well, millions of years later, they meant a good puzzle for their successors,” then I’ll say: OK, if that’s all it takes to create “meaning”, being a curio for extraterrestrials to someday find and puzzle over, then I guess life has “meaning”. But that’s not meaning in the regular sense at all, is it.

Did you even read the FAQ?


What “stones” are you talking about?


Since you are the OP; why do you not share your opinions on these issues?

Do you think theists have more, less or the same level of morality compared to atheists?

What is your reason to not do “evil”? ( I am assuming you are an atheist, but if not, then also- “what is the atheist reason to nor do evil?”). Or if you do not like “evil”, then substitute “amoral”.

What is the atheist “meaning of life”? What is yours? If one assumes “life has no real meaning” is that not an incentive to perform in an amoral fashion?


You know, I find it very rude that you would ask such questions, when you clearly haven’t read the OP. Why should I answer your questions a second time when you didn’t read what I wrote the first time?


But, Ben, in your reply to Doug Sharp, you wrote: “Be careful, however, in how you describe my FAQ. It is not “what I believe” except in the sense that I believe everything I write. The FAQ is meant as a debunking of certain arguments made by anti-atheist writers, and as such only represents a small slice of my religious beliefs.”

If it is such a small slice, would you care to elaborate, or is this another vanity thread chronicling the latest developments in your obsessive battle with a handfull of creationists? If you do not wish to discuss anything further than to say “you’re rude, read my web page”, than I think next time you should post your vanity threads in IMHO.

Were you being sarcastic here? If not, I would really like to know why I’m being called “awful”


Rude? Not read the OP? Ben- Dude, don’t get your pantyhose in a bunch. I am not attacking you. I know that on some boards (I haven’t posted here a lot), some dudes attack the OP by asking a bunch of loaded or trick questions. Not my intent. Since I am do not know this baord as well as I know others- does anyone else think I was rude? If so, I’ll cheerfully apologize.

Sure, dude, I read your OP and your FAQ. Won’t go so far as to say I memorized it- Does not look like the Pulitzer dudes will be calling you anytime soon. But, I still ask those questions; and for the following reasons:

  1. The FAQ is not here, it is on a link. It is easier to refer back to this page, especially if one wishes to quote you.
  2. The FAQ is not very recent- you may have changed your opinions since then.
  3. As the wise Beeble says- your own FAQ says these are not nessesarily YOUR opinions. I would like to hear YOUR opinions. Only fair- you did start this thread, right?
  4. The above questions are not answered/discussed in so many words. It would be unfair of me to ASSUME what your opinion was by reading something into what you said.

So, dude- I ask YOUR opinions on those questions. I really want to know.