Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Atheists, Agnostics, and Your Opinion

Last night I read an article in Newsweek that could have been pulled out of my own thoughts. The article was discussing two books: The End of Faith by Sam Harris and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Both consider themselves agnostics. I would call myself an atheist, but my husband says that I'm more agnostic. It just depends on who is asking the questions regarding faith, belief, and religion.

My question to you is this: Do you consider those who are agnostic or atheist as people without ethics? If yes, why do you think this? Do you consider atheists and agnostics as dangerous to society at large?


the granola said...

You ask a hard question, Sarabeth. Because my first immediate answer was "of course they have ethics". Atheists are decent people who strive to be good. I know several.

But then I look over at Russia, the former Soviet Union, and what institutionalized atheism did there.

Being an atheist or an agnostic doesn't make one dangerous to society at large. But being an evangelical atheist is about the same as being Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. It's just different bad guys that need to be eradicated that they've chosen.

Kuky said...

Hey HP, I hopped over today from the kid's blog and saw this post.

I watched an episode of 30 days about an atheist living with a religious family. I vaguely remember the show mentioning that America trusted atheists least. Muslims and homosexuals and immigrants were trusted more than atheists. Pretty scary if accurate.

There were a couple of disturbing bits on the show. One was where the preacher of the church talked about with a sword bringing their religion to other nations like an army of god.

And the other bit was that the father on the show couldn't understand what the atheist taught her children, as if he thinks morals and ethics are only learned through religion and a belief in god.

I found this disturbing because it's a reflection on him. In essence it's like he's saying that the only thing keeping him in check, morally, is his belief. That is so scary.

I know right from wrong without having to believe in god. I don't need a fear of hell to keep me doing right things. He found it sad that the atheist raised her children without god. I find it sad that he needs to teach about god and fear of hell to teach about morals. They should know what the right thing is, not because of god but because it's right.

Wow...I'm not usually here and such a long comment from me. Sorry. So in answer. Agnostics do have ethics and are not dangerous to society at large because they are open to others ideas. It's the overly religious that are dangerous. Because of their firmly held beliefs, they want to force their view of the world on others.

Trixie said...

Religious faith is not a requirement for kindness, a strong work ethic, compassion, justice, tolerance, or fair play.

Meanwhile any belief - religious or secular - taken to the extreme sits very close to being a danger to democracy. Remember democracy is by its own admission a balance, flexible and dynamic. Extremes are one-sided, rigid, and move in only one direction.