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Can An Atheist Society Be Moral?

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on February 6, 2001 02:22:15 UTC

GwynJ wrote:

> We also know very well what happens, in
> crimes for instance

I don't know very well what happens. Are you claiming that atheists are, on average per capita, criminals more often than religious people are? I seriously doubt that the statistics support this.

Early mafia families, for example, were apparently quite religious (Catholic). I don't know about modern members of organized crime.

There seems to be an assumption that "Christian" actions, such as brotherly love, selflessness, care of the needy, etc. can only be expected to continue as they have in the world in a Christian-dominated society. I disagree. These kinds of actions are common among most, if not all major religions and cultures (even atheist ones) and existed long before the days of Jesus Christ.

I suggest that much of the "religious" moral code that is not unique to a specific religion, but common among nearly all religions, did not come originally from religion or a desire to obey a supernatural being, but from earlier societal (not necessarily religious) practices. Religion codified these practices into their belief system. Later religions adopted and changed the practices of the earlier religions.

Consider marriage. Was marriage a religious ordinance first taught to Adam and Eve and continued to the present? I don't think so. It was probably a practice based on earlier pair-bonding among our pre-Modern Man ancestors that became part of every religion.

Can we expect the society-supporting actions of charity, brotherly love, hospitality, etc. to continue in an atheist society where the fear of God and eternal judgement no longer influences them or would the Earth become more of a dog-eat-dog world reverting quickly to political anarchy?

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