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.