by D.M. Murdock
April 6, 2010
A friendly Muslim fellow of the
Ahmadiyya sect likes to post videos
and blogs on
my Facebook page that highlight the
"kinder, gentler" side of Islam, which is something the Ahmadiyyas
His recent post asked,
"Is Belief in God Morally
Without spending much time on the
subject, my immediate response was, "No."
Although I do not consider myself a "hardcore atheist," in the sense
that I have rejected all possible phenomena beyond the third
dimension and five senses, in all my experience investigating
religion over the past several decades, I have not seen any evidence
that one must believe in an anthropomorphic god of a particular
gender or ethnicity in order to be "moral."
On the contrary, there is much evidence that such fanaticism without
serious scientific evidence is actually the cause of much immoral
behavior, including the murders of hundreds of millions of human
beings over the millennia in the name of God.
As concerns the supposedly "atheistic"
movements such as Communism, Nazism or "Pol Potery," a case can be
the leaders of these cults were
influenced by religion - for good or bad - and were not devoid of
religiosity in their thought processes; nor were they specifically
acting on behalf of "No God."
Although I have encountered people calling themselves "atheists" who
were every bit as unpleasant as many theists I've also "met," I
cannot say I know a single person who is atheistically inclined but
who has been immoral because of it. Most people are simply human
beings making their way through life as best they can, seeking -
and hopefully finding - answers to a variety of issues on planet
For example, on a glorious day when one is feeling great, it may be
easy to conceive of a God of one sort of another, such as a
wondrous "being" that pervades the universe. Or even as a Father,
which is the sexist fad of the past few thousand years or so. Before
that, Mother Goddesses were quite popular, and rightly so.
This religiously induced misogynistic
imbalance is at the root of many problems in our "modern" world.
In addition to the unending warfare and assorted other atrocities in
the name of religion, there exists anecdotal but significant
evidence of the fallaciousness of the notion that a religious
culture is more moral than a nonreligious one.
Here I refer specifically to the
European nations of Denmark and Sweden, for example, which are known
to be very secular - although not necessarily "atheistic" per se -
but which have some of the highest rates of human rights in the
On the opposite side are the fanatically
religious countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have some
of the worst human rights records globally.
A long-term study of these Scandinavian countries published in 2008
by sociologist Dr. Phil Zuckerman demonstrated a couple of
very important facts, as related in a New York Times article
Nonbelievers - Which Is Not to Say Atheists":
Anyone who has paid attention knows
that Denmark and Sweden are among the least religious nations in
the world. Polls asking about belief in God, the
importance of religion in people’s lives, belief in life after
death or church attendance consistently bear this out.
It is also well known that in various rankings of nations by
life expectancy, child welfare, literacy, schooling, economic
equality, standard of living and competitiveness, Denmark and
Sweden stand in the first tier.
Well documented though they may be, these two sets of facts run
up against the assumption of many Americans that a society where
religion is minimal would be, in Mr. Zuckerman’s words,
with immorality, full of evil and teeming with depravity.”
Which is why he insists at some length that what he and his wife
and children experienced was quite the opposite:
“a society - a
markedly irreligious society - that was, above all, moral,
stable, humane and deeply good.”
The fact that these two nations rank
among the highest globally in human rights and civil services, while
their citizens are among the least religious in the world, cannot be
Indeed, it highlights a fundamental fact, which
is that religion can often lead to tyranny - especially the
intolerant, monotheistic variety of faith - while secularism appears
to increase tolerance and acceptance of all people as human beings
worthy of respect and dignity.
Critics like to point out that Sweden also has a high suicide rate;
however, rather than being a result of disbelief in organized
religion, this statistic may be due to SAD or "Seasonal
Detractors also like to point out that
Dr. Zuckerman is a "vocal atheist" and therefore biased; yet, his
Scandinavian subjects themselves "balked at the label 'atheist,'"
thus suggesting that it is not their lack of belief in God
causing them to commit suicide.
As the NYT article states:
Mr. Zuckerman emphasizes that his
interviewees were in no way despairing nihilists but “for the
most part, a happy, satisfied lot” who “generally live
productive, creative, contented lives.”
Indeed, while the Scandinavians didn't
like the label "atheist," they also shrank from using the word
"In Denmark,” a pastor told Mr.
Zuckerman, “the word 'God' is one of the most embarrassing words
you can say. You would rather go naked through the city than
talk about God.”
One man recounted the shock he felt when
a colleague, after a few drinks, confessed to believing in God.
hope you don’t feel I’m a bad person,” the colleague pleaded.
It is possible that such individuals feel the word "God" has been
sullied by its association with the
Abrahamic cultus and its
brutal record. Yet, perhaps the Scandinavians possess subconscious
appreciation for their pre-Christian religion with all its Valhalla
Can we be too
Unfortunately, in a world populated by so many who are either
conditioned or naturally possessed with religiously fanatical
inclinations, this type of enlightened society can become prey to
the rabid megalomaniacs who exemplify the immorality of belief in an
anthropomophic, giant male god person somewhere "out there" separate
and apart from humanity.
Such a belief in the Creator as
completely and utterly separate from the creation is a cause of or
justification for major sociopathy, including murder, rape, pillage
and wholesale robbery of resources. In past times, it was much
easier simply to murder all the inhabitants of a desired land than
it was to negotiate with and resettle them, as the latter required
more time and money.
Thus, religion was born in which each
tribe had a "superior" god under whom his "evil" enemies would be
We are obviously still at the mercy of
god is bigger and better than yours" barbarism,
Which brings us back to the enlightened
secular nations, which a study may show have suffered much less
violence and warfare, with an increased acceptance and incorporation
of the variety of cultural influences. In many instances, this
multiculturalism has been highly rewarding - as is the case in the
"melting pot" of America - but in some instances, especially
Europe these days, such renowned tolerance has led to the acceptance
of decidedly immoral practices based on "freedom of religion."
What is worthy of protecting - such as the ethics of these secular
nations - must be preserved, and what is clearly immoral - such as
the rampant misogyny and hatred of nonbelievers in religious groups
- must be rectified.
The world has much to learn from the
European nations, including that secularism is a superior governing
system, in terms of human rights and social services, but also that
this very same tolerance and acceptance can be used against these
cultures in order to usurp and dominate them.
In the U.S., adherence to the American Constitution as the law of
the land mitigates many of these issues - so long as it is followed.
And we must be ever vigilant to make sure that it is upheld, not
- including and especially those which are anti-women and
anti-human rights - to override the Constitution.
Included in this secular "sacred
text" is the right of freedom from religion and from
belief in a
God made in man's image.
The priority of maintaining the wall
between church and state could not be more pressing in this day and
age when religious tyrants continue to attempt to roll back the
clock and roll out a New Inquisition.