Whenever I come out Atheist .. they assume I must have no ethics or morals whatsoever and that I am willing to do just about anything --- like lie, cheat and steal.

Anyone else have this happen to them?

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Thank you Anders ..  I will take your advise.

Not so much morally depraved, but they often seem to think I am unhappy and that I'm missing out on something important.  I even have one friend that insists that I'm not really an atheist and I'm just trying to be contrary.  

Seriously? What's your reply to that?

That's a very common issue and it reflects a fundamental part of how our minds work: if we're dependent on some set or beliefs or identity, we can only recognize substitutes for that. If somebody eliminates that piece of identity entirely, with no substitute, then our only perception is that they have an  absence or an unfulfilled need. Since even the mind abhors a vacuum, retaining a stable personality with a major absence seems incomprehensible-- so either you're unstable or not missing it.

 

For that reason, presenting your beliefs in the negative (I don't believe in...) is a poor way to find social understanding. Instead, it's better to re-approach those people with a positive description (instead I do believe in...) of your ethical beliefs, life goals, etc. so that they can understand that religion is replaceable. 

I had a coworker tell me that she couldn't believe I was an atheist and my wife was agnostic because we were too nice.  I did have to explain the difference between being an atheist and an agnostic.

Thank you Joshua. I do have ethics. I will say that. Appreciate it.

Very good. Thanks.

Thank you everyone for contributing to my discussion. I enjoy reading all your thoughts and feelings on this matter.

I think you really have to turn it around on them. I keep a rolodex of examples of religious poster boys and girls doing really evil shit. I also remind them that 91% of sex offenders are of religious faith. If you look at statistics, atheists are really upstanding citizens for the most part. We also tend to be the more intelligent part of society. Remind them about scientists and others who basically make essential things they need, such as vaccines and researching new ways to advance medical technology. I go on further to remind them about their religious texts (Which most of them have NOT read). How about the fact that the 10 commandments aren't really 10 moral guidelines. They are rather really simple things that anything with a social hierarchy generally considers wrong, including chimpanzees. There are many ways to knock a judging religious individual off their high horse. You just have to find a way that you're comfortable with. Me? I tend to be a bit smart-ass with my comments. I guess I just get tired of religious dogma being the answer to everyone's problems. I know you probaby do too, Steph. Being that you're from Texas and all, lol.

Thank you Andy. Yes I realize that Atheist are upstanding citizens, we all know that, however, the religious for some reason think terrible things about us.

I appreciate your advise. I think that I will do that next time I have to deal with this again.

the guy up north that held shotgun to womans face over 70 dollars and made her read the bible etc..

the fact that broward county (*many many mega churches. etc.. lined up certain streets for how long now? more so post bush) anyhew.. "highest rate of domestic violent (some so horrific the detectives freak...)"
so i hear on chan 4 today..

yeah.. 'morally' what now??

Right I see what you mean Rational Bunny.

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