How and why should atheists be morally good?

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Today, someone posed an interesting question in r/DebateAnAtheist on Reddit: As an atheist, how can one be morally good? And why be morally good?

Here is my answer, edited and drawn out a bit. (Check out the original thread for many more good responses—there are many voices of sensibility to be found there.)

Short answer: Evolution.

Long answer…

Continue reading “How and why should atheists be morally good?”

Is faith really a virtue?

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, frequently defines faith as “Belief without evidence”, which is one of the definitions according to Merriam-Webster (“firm belief in something for which there is no proof”). This is also how the Bible defines faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Later versions re-translated “evidence” to “conviction”; apparently the idea of evidence that cannot be seen seems sketchy even to the devout.)

“Faith is a virtue,” the saying says—but should it be considered as such?

Continue reading “Is faith really a virtue?”

Myths about atheism: Atheism is just another religion

I’ll be honest, this is one of the arguments I find a bit tedious—the idea that atheism is a religion or a  worldview or a belief system or a dogma. It’s an argument often used by religious people who write books about atheism (I’m looking at you, Dr. Frank Turek!). These folks insist that atheists are merely trading one belief system for another, and I’m not sure why they do that—maybe they just can’t imagine life without some sort of belief system. But that’s a total misconception and misunderstanding of atheism. Continue reading “Myths about atheism: Atheism is just another religion”

How has my life changed since I realized I was an atheist?

It was somewhere around 2006 or 2007 that I came to the conclusion that I no longer believed in God (or any gods, for that matter). How has my life changed since I started labeling myself an atheist?

The short answer is: Not much. Continue reading “How has my life changed since I realized I was an atheist?”

Why I am an atheist *and* an agnostic

A lot of people think agnosticism is a midway point between theism and atheism or belief and non-belief. I used to think that as well. My definition of agnostic was “A person who hasn’t decided if God exists or not”—one who doubts, basically—and for a long time I applied that definition to myself.

I’ve come to realize I was incorrect about the definition of agnosticism. It’s not a half-way point, it’s not about doubt, and it’s completely compatible with both  belief and non-belief. I very adamantly do not believe in a god or gods, and yet I am also an agnostic. I think any honest believer or non-believer must also acknowledge that they, too, are also agnostics. Continue reading “Why I am an atheist *and* an agnostic”

Myths about atheism: Atheists are just angry at God

This is another myth I have both heard and read: The reason atheists don’t believe is that they are angry with God. Something bad must have happened that caused them to turn away from him.

Not true—at least not for this atheist, nor any atheist I know personally. If I’m wrong and there is a god (and I’m not ruling out that possibility; see my article on atheism and agnosticism), no one has less reason to be angry with Him (or Her) than me. Continue reading “Myths about atheism: Atheists are just angry at God”

Myths about atheism: Atheists get upset when you say “I’ll pray for you”

I can’t speak for all atheists (we’re as different and individualistic as religious people), but I can say that this atheist doesn’t get upset if you say “I’ll pray for you.” Continue reading “Myths about atheism: Atheists get upset when you say “I’ll pray for you””