Do We Need God In Order to be Good? Apparently Not.
Some of the greatest atrocities in human history have been committed in the name of atheism, but does that make all atheists bad? Of course not. Some of the most moral people on earth are those who happen not to believe in God. After all, ironically, some of the greatest atrocities in history have also been committed in the name of God.
Essentially everyone who enters this life is a moral person. How can this be? Because we are children of Heavenly Parents, because we interacted with them and learned of them in our heavenly, pre-earthly home, and because that heavenly spirit still motivates us. As the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches:
16 For behold, the aSpirit of Christ is given to every bman, that he may cknow good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
In other words, we are moral, in part, because we are children of Heavenly Parents. It is unfortunate, then, how much immorality has been committed in the name of religion. In his book The Science of Liberty, Timothy Ferris points out that17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do aevil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
Many...religious believers [share] a conviction that religion is the sole or at least the most effective defender of morality. It is not. If it were, religious believers ought at the very least to commit fewer serious crimes than do atheists and agnostics, but such is not the case.
Ferris then gives examples of such evidence
What is called secularism...is on the rise in the United States. Yet the American violent crime rate...has been declining.
Only 20 percent of Europeans say God plays an important part in their lives, as opposed to 60 percent of Americans, but Europe's crime rates are lower than America's.
The Science of Liberty, page 279
It's time for people of religion to claim that they are better just because they are more religious. Anyone can be good, even if they don't believe in God. And if we believe too dogmatically in our personal interpretation of what God is, that belief can actually be more detrimental to society than no belief in God at all.