Atheists and selfless potential

by thecrushed 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • thecrushed

    Something has just occured to me this morning while taking a shower. I think it might be pretty obvious to others but for some reason it just hit me today suddenly. Religion for many is just a donkey and a carrot. The only reason they do anything good or bad is to get the carrot. Yes this is a generalization but to illustrate lets just say this is true for a good portion of people. The carrot would be the afterlife. So Person A decides to open a hospital thinking that he or she will be counted as worthy and good enough to get into heaven. Person B maybe brings people into a cult because they think it is God's ark to save us. Both are doing it for the exact same reason and that is the carrot on the stick. This motivation can hardly be called true selfless behavior because their is a percieved reward.

    Atheists have much greater potential for selfless behavior. Atheists like myself know that we only have one life to live with no reward at the end. This doesn't change the fact that I want to do good toward my fellow humans and other intelligent life. There is no carrot to chase and yet I still want to. I remember as a JW saying that Atheism was pure evil because it destroys our moral grounding while citing and linking athiesm with communism. This was a gross misjudgement and now I'm ashamed it came out of my brainwashed mind. Richard Dawkins is totally right when he came to the conclusion in the "God Delusion" that our morals do not come from religion at all and if they did we should all be horrified at the draconion results of that kind of society as is apparent in Islamic Sheria law.

    Please discuss.

  • jgnat

    I found statistics to back you up. Some inventive researchers compared violent crime rates to level of belief in a country; both belief in hell and belief in heaven. It turns out the "stick", belief in hell, is an effective deterrent. The devil's in the deterrent.

    I am interested in the connection between wealth and altruism.

    and a study that came out with the opposite resut:

    My gut tells me that people will be who they are and that their stated beliefs actually has little impact on their behavior.

  • notjustyet

    Being a non believer, I feel, has made me more moral than before. I want to do my part to help "push" the human race forward.

    A Human race is a terrible thing to waste.

    We are the ones responsible for our own actions and we need to act responsibly in those matters as taking the fork in the road with the idea that their is a supreme being that will handle all this in the end may is repugnant, embarrassing and non responsible to me as a human.


  • jgnat

    I figure we extend selflessness to the "tribe" we identify with. If it is our nation, we'll defend it against all comers. What happens when we identify with the entire human race as our brothers? In the last century and this new one, we now have developed a sense of a small, vulnerable panet that needs protecting.

  • thecrushed

    "My gut tells me that people will be who they are and that their stated beliefs actually has little impact on their behavior." - jgnat


    The thing I want to get at though is that atheists/agnostics are the only ones who can claim selflessness in the trueist sense because they are not expecting any kind of reward in the afterlife other than the warm fuzzy feeling you get from the actual doing of good towards your fellow intelligent creatures. I say intelligent creatures because I think that dolphins for instance have an awareness that might even extend beyond our own. Just because they don't feel the need to create huge civilizations and create weapons to kill eachother doesn't mean they are inferior at all. I think their way of life may be vastly more fullfiling. I mean come on they have sex and play all day with their pods. Awww the life of a dolphin! hakuna matata Why the hell did I go off on that Tangent??? OH Yea I was going to say that Dolphins also display the same altruism towards themselves and us and well I think that says volumes for their moral understanding!

  • jgnat

    Call me a rarity, but I took the call to a higher life very seriously as a Christian. I saw others motivated by the stick and the carrot, but that's not me.

    Athiests may be accused of being motivated by the call of the fittest, but I think that is a crass generalization, too.

  • cofty

    Athiests may be accused of being motivated by the call of the fittest

    I don't understand that, can you explain please?

  • thecrushed

    Cofty she is alluding to the argument that people who recognize evolution as "fact" all believe that its all about the strong over the weak. Survival of the fittest. It doesn't take into account that higher mammals are highly social and love and altruism within a species also contributes to the survival of it.

  • cantleave

    ...... believe that its all about the strong over the weak.

    A fallacy since that is not what is meant by survival of the fittest. Survival of the fittest is not about one species being strongrer than another, it is about an organism's ability to thrive in a particular environment.

  • thecrushed

    cant leave thanks for pointing that out. I'm still working on my fallacy detector.

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