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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Glen, being positive about being an atheist, or whatever label you chose, is the best tool for being authentic and in the long run has positive outcomes. For those who question your morals or condemn you to wherever it is they think you will go, they simply give you evidence of why you prefer not to be with them. 

I have a few dearly beloved family members who do not impose their beliefs on me, even as they are curious about my values and we have great conversations. We have no animosity between us. Others are hostile and I consider them toxic. Even a one celled amoeba moves away from and protects itself from toxic environments. 

started a series of blog posts reflecting on this topic, and Steph S. kindly pointed me over here. I am interested in finding reasoned responses to the "morally depraved" accusation, other than just looking them in the eye and trying to will them to recognize I'm a good person, or trying to convince both them and myself that a sense of right and wrong are inborn character traits.

I think we develop ethical systems which are shaped by and shape individual mores playing out in group dynamics over generations. It's not as easy as assuming morals are either god-given or 'congenital' - both nature and nurture are at work, I think.

It might not fit on a billboard, but I groove on philosophy, like, man. :D This thread has been interesting and informative, and long! Thx for the tip, Steph S.

Thank you Joseph! I will go and look at your blog posts. I'm so glad this has been an informative discussion for everyone. I've learned a lot myself.

What's wrong with lying, cheating, and stealing.  Some Christians do.

That's true Write4U we don't have the convenient out that xtians have. I do try to live by the golden rule. I enjoy helping others.

A man`s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. Albert Einstein

I have not only been the "wild child", but know a LOT of the secrets of my sphere of influence so they would not dare be foolish enough to suggest that to me!!  lol  There have been a dozen other "going to hell" scenarios if I did not change my wicked ways.  

I was asked the other day if being an atheist meant that I was a devil worshiper.  When I explained my position on atheism and what led me to being an atheist, the lady said, "wow, that sounds a lot like my 9 year old daughter".  She has been polite and asked me a dozen really great questions in a very non offensive way.  Not what is typical for sure!

Hey Jason! Yes I have also been asked if I am a Satanist.
Very good that you get to explain your Atheism to that lady and she is polite about it.

The bible is proof that man is inherently good. Christians are disobeying their gods word on a daily basis. Why? Because they know that stoning an adulterer is morally corrupt. The same with all of the other "laws" and "commandments" that their god decrees. Killing homosexuals, Atheists, etc. So the next time that a Christian confronts you about morals, ask them why they are not following their gods laws. If they say it is because of state law, then you look them in the eye and ask them "Would you really kill someone because it says so in the bible?" The fact that society has chosen its own laws based on human morals and not the bible is proof positive that we do use the bible as our moral compass. We, and that includes Christians, actually reject god when it comes to morals.

Thank you Michael I will ask them why they aren't following their own laws and stoning all the adulterers.

Yes I understand that the laws of the bible are immoral - teaching killing others who don't agree with you and so on and so forth.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-wealth-reduces...

How Wealth Reduces Compassion

As riches grow, empathy for others seems to decline

By Daisy Grewal

Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal—the poor person or the rich one? It’s temping to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly. After all, if you already have enough for yourself, it’s easier to think about what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate feelings towards other people decline.

With respect to morals I've found that I have to gradually let the person know where I stand. Many people including myself were trained in the churches that we grew up in to associate "atheist" with people that believed there was God but wanted to plot against him and his followers.

I've had more success with a gradual coming out.; let the person get to know me and then letting them know that I find more and more to be questionable. Unfortunately that's not always easy to do here in the bible belt where Yahweh get's worked into every conversation. 

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