Reader comment: Being good without God


I seem to be having trouble with Google Reader this afternoon, it won't let me comment on stories (perhaps it's frustrated I haven't cooked a grilled cheese sandwich in a few days). So instead I'm posting the story summaries here and commenting on them with Clipmarky goodness! Bloomington Rejects ‘You Can Be Good Without God'; Lawsuit Underway

Bloomington was first on the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign’s list of places it hoped to run bus ads. However, the city has rejected our campaign’s slogan, ‘You Can Be Good Without God.’ This is deeply disappointing to our campaign’s members; we all love Bloomington and were very much hoping to run ads in our hometown along with many other cities.

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I have a hard time believing that faith in Gods is a nesissary precondition to being good. In fact, I'd wager more than a few grilled sandwiches that people who don't believe are often more moral because they're not just doing things for a divine reward or because they're afraid of the divine Hell punishment if they don't, they're moral because they they know it's the right thing to do.

Conversely, I have a hard time believing my religious friends who are moral, honest and caring people would regress into immoral, nasty people if religion disappeared, or that they're only friendly people because they're religious. It's an insult to their character.

What I find interesting is that Christianity uses the threat of everlasting Hell to scare people into believing, but Judaism doesn't: at least not in the same sense. When I was really studying religion a few years ago I was told that the closest the Jewish faith has to a Hell is "Gehenna" which is more akin to purgatory or a waiting area where wicked people are sent for a definite period of time, measured in months. Judaism also has what I would consider an enlightened, almost Buddhist philosophy that hell is also a mental state where the feelings of shame you have is the punishment itself. I don't believe in the Jewish faith as much as I don't believe in any other for the reasons I've stated many times here, but it's an interesting observation.

Now I really am going to Hell aren't I? ^_^

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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