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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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Yes, Shawn this is exactly the attitude I am talking about. Like you say, they think if you don't believe in god then you must be evil. So I have been studying ethics and behavior. What makes us ethical? And how we come by our moral system.

Steph, can you keep us posted on what you discover? What makes us ethical? How do we come by our moral system? 

I would love to Joan! This is an important topic to me.
I think we develop morals through interaction with society. We develop a moral code based on how we affect others. I don't think anyone needs an invisible sky daddy to tell them taking someones life is wrong. 
Yes, no one needs invisible father in the sky. And I agree that morals are learned by being in a society.
Respect and treat others well !
I like to turn the tables right back around on em. I was was told by a friend  told me "some of the worst atrocities in history were committed by atheists". So now I see she's trying to use a blanket statement to accuse all atheists of being immoral. Without pause I told her, "Well Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. Does that mean that you are going to kill people based on the fact you are a Christian as well?" She got real quiet. 
What a great reply Shawn! I'll have to try that next time. There are all sorts of Xtian atrocities I could cite as an example.

Shawn, quick thinking and well delivered. I have trouble remembering details to defend my perspective and would often end up looking the fool. I am not a logical type thinker and rely on my gut feeling and that is just too anemic for a good debate. I found help from:

Aronra The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism -- Complete Series

The first video of this album is the entire set fiollowed by separate videos for each fallacy. 

Also, Christopher Hitchens, oh dear, my computer locked up again. I can't get to the citation without erasing this note. Just look him up and you will find many articles, videos and books that help to make a logical argument. That won't make a difference with a believer, but it may give you more ideas. Good job! 

Wow thanks Joan for that great website link.

Thank you I enjoy all the ideas given here. I think It will help others reading the discussion as well.

My computer died after sending that message and I am on an old computer that has none of the bells and whistles of my MacBook. Let's see if this old computer can take the wear and tear until repairs are completed.  This keyboard is awful.

My computer is back and working like a charm! and I am happy.

Glad to see you happy Joan. Everything fixed!

I have a MacBook myself and I love it!

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