Do We Need God In Order to be Good? Apparently Not.

How is it that secularists and even atheists can live more moral lives than many adherents of the various religions? First, because many religionists misunderstand why we have religion in the first place. Second, because, despite whether someone believes in God, they are still enlightened by the spirit of God. We don't need to believe in God in order to be good.  Rather, we are good, because it is in our natures to do so.

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.
 17 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.
 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 that
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.




Comments

  1. "Some of the greatest atrocities in human history have been committed in the name of atheism" ....example please.

    Hint: Do not confuse the rejection of organized religion with institutional Atheism or some political philosophy. i.e. do not ascribe Maoism to Atheists. Atheism and Stalinism are mutually EXCLUSIVE.

    I realize many of your readers accept at face value the premises on which your argument depends. I don't, and no self-respecting professor would give your argument a passing grade.

    BTW: Did you mean to write, "It's time for people of religion to claim that they are better just because they are more religious?"

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  2. Stating your personal beliefs as facts do not make them so Frank. You could have just as easily said "My religion teaches that we are children of heavenly parents, or I believe that we are children of heavenly parents".

    Religions divide human beings into separate groups and factions. It is because of this indisputable fact that millions of people over the centuries have been killed because of religious differences. The hostility continues today with actions such as the religious right condemning President Obama because he "might" be a closet Muslim. Religious conservatives in the south used their Christian views of morality to justify racial segregation and that interracial marriage was a sin.

    Your own religion denies gays equal human rights because they insist upon inflicting their inflexible views on marriage upon everyone, including those not of their faith.

    I think it may be more accurate to reflect that many people are good in spite of their religion, not because of it.

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  3. Cliff: Stalin did it because he could. Mao did it because he could. Pol Pot did it because he could. Because they believed there was no god, they decided that THEY were god. I cannot imagine someone doing in the name of religion doing what they did. In fact, no religion has come even remotely close to the sheer numbers of murders that these megalomaniacs committed.

    JBT: I think you'd be hard pressed to say that millions of people have been killed in the name of religion. That puts religious killings on the same order as Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, the Roman Empire, the Huns, Gengis Kahn, etc., none of which were religiously motivated.

    Sure the Crusades were bad, and sure Islamic conquest often resulted in deaths, but nothing at all like the overwhelming numbers murdered by atheist regimes.

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