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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Well, I must suppose you really do lie, cheat, and steal...on earth in some parallel universe.  Hey, hon, you do as you damned wish and the Devil take the hindmost.  Martin Luther farted in Satan's face to send him packing. Though I must wonder what ergot he was chewing, but if it was me, I'd use the same technique to brush off holy shits, believers who question your morality.  I love your posts and your always-happy demeanor and I think these believers are secretly jealous of your freedom from the entire concept of "sin," which is itself the worst dogma every invented by people so gullible you could sell them salt water in Miami.

Right James only in a parallel universe ( like that Star Trek episode). Thanks so much for your compliment. It means a lot to me. You made my day. : )

My best friend said he envied me because now I have a license to do anything I want and I don't have to feel guilty.  I guess atheism vs. theism is just a matter of goin' a-whorin', a-eatin' and a-drinkin' without limits!

David that is exactly the attitude I am talking about. And .. I actually don't do any of those things at all. I do feel guilt when I do something wrong. I have ethics.

Stupid? Crazy? Ignorant? Lazy? or just plain foolish? Consider his measuring rod is not calibrated correctly. 

Hello Jonathan. I think that it says that they don't really have ethics or morals because they have fear that persuades them to be good or they have to be promised heaven to behave correctly. In other words they have to be bribed to behave in an ethical manner.

Exactly!

I think it says this:

If it takes the threat of hell to make you a moral person, then you are not at all moral, you are just a coward who responds well to threats.
-- Leo Wolf

Nice one Loren. Don't know if I had this one already, thanks! 

Thank you Loren I love the quote!

Oh good grief! OK, so claim it as a virtue! One can say, "I am a morally depraved atheist according to your dictionary!" "One can't trust a measuring rod if it uses faulty measures."

Think about it a minute, Steph; if they makes that statement, they reveal their ignorance, insanity, or laziness; maybe all three. 

I still get that old bromide from people who should know better, and I have let it be known for many years that I find no compelling reason to believe there is a god. Once I made that decision, if anyone used the "god" word or "pray" word, I expressed my disbelief. I start out politely with someone who doesn't know me, but for those with whom I have the conversation, I don't care if I maintain the relationship. 

When/if a person asks me questions, or wants my definition I am more than happy to engage in the conversation and enjoy it. I think family and friends are too overrated. We take far too much dysfunction from people we love. When they cross a line, I have no reason to maintain any contact. 

The good news is there are a lot of people who may disagree with me and hold different values, but it doesn't get in the way of genuine care and compassion. Speaking freely and honestly with them in exchange of ideas and experiences provides wonderful ways of being together. We even enjoy each other. 

Thank you Jonathan .. but all of you have contributed to the topic and made it a good one. I truly appreciate all your replies and wisdom.

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