Atheists are normally considered bad people. DO atheists necessarily do bad things because of their unbelief in eternal punishment?

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There are moral people, and immoral people. Religion has nothing to do with it... I'm a moral atheist, which has one up over moral theists in that I don't expect a payout for my morality...

That religion begets morality is one of the biggest lies propagated by the religious. They will always reel off a list of nasty world leaders who were atheists, and killed thousands and thousands of people. This is easily countered by saying that they were all men too, so does that mean that all men are evil? Its nonsense...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece
Good point. That was just as I thought.

but what do you think about the concept that religion at least controls the evil doings of people? Because somehow, lots of believers do good things for the sake of salvation from hell. Then does it decrease the stats of criminals in the world?

What if religion was just invented thousands of years ago as a strategy to control the evil acts of the people? And if God was real, wouldn't their acts of using Him as a strategy considered blasphemous?

Am I making any sense? If not, then please ignore me. Thank you. =D
Actually, crime rates across the board are higher in predominantly religious countries vs. predominately secular countries - i.e. the more religious a country is, the more likely it is to have a higher crime rate.
This doesn't prove that religion causes crime, but it does seem to dispel the notion that religion improves morality within a population.
"This is easily countered by saying that they were all men too, so does that mean that all men are evil?" -Posted by CandT

Yup. :D

I have a story that relates... sort of. I went to a Proposition 8 Protest down in Salt Lake, Utah in November... The Gay supporters were really calm and optimistic; basically hippies without the drugs and shag carpet. And the other side... was literally a handful of angry Christians in the back of a truck, with signs threatening hellfire, chanting "shame on you". And there were people screaming back, "We forgive you!"

Now who is really more moral, or even more "Jesus-like"?

So bitterly, bitterly ironic.
lol. =D

I think you should do with a glass-like translucent box. Translucent rather than transparent because our beliefs are not that clearly visible. Is it?
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg
Excellent analysis Nerd. In their world anything that doesn't fit into their very specific parameters as to what is acceptable is the work of the "Other" as The Irreverent Mr.Black would say. To be honest, what they use to characterize us doesn't matter though. Freethinkers create their own definitions of acceptability and I would hope that we all have the moral courage to adhear to our own ideals.
Quite. Simplistic and dull, when compared with the wondrous beauty of the reality. I've never found fiction as marvellous as the actual events.
I think that being honest about who we are raises too many questions that the clergy do not want to have to answer. Instead of being deluged with endless queries as to "why?" and "what's wrong with that?" or perish the thought "that doesn't sound so bad" it is much easier to keep the flock under control by perpetuating the myth that we are all tools of the devil and we only pretend to be good to lure in the innocent.

Oh, to live in a world as black & white as they have concocted. We could all be free from the inconvenience of having to think all the time.
They tried, it didn't take.

Even as a four year old, I had enough sense to argue with them.
Let's turn the question around:
How many times has religion been the cause of bloodshed, suffering, intellectual decline, etc.?

I don't need a god telling me anything to know that murder is wrong.

On the other hand, the threat of eternal punishment does nothing much to deter the faithful from bad behavior, especially since religious fanatics are already convinced they are in the right are going to be eternally rewarded with heaven.
Some Christians believe that Satan is always waiting for an opportunity to take over a soul. He is always trying to influence you, even though you might not be able to tell. If you are not living under the protection of Jesus, then you are making yourself vulnerable to Satan. He will make you do evil things even though you don't know what you are doing, and soon, unless you turn to Christ, you will be just another of Satan's Tools.

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