Saturday, March 12, 2016

Article makes case that world is more peaceful due to rise in Atheism.

Courtesy of the Guardian:  

The quiet truth behind the inescapable headlines about man’s inhumanity to man is that the world is actually becoming a more peaceful place. Deaths from war and conflict have been declining for decades – and, if current trends continue, we can make them rarer still. 

What mysterious force is sowing peace among humankind? One possible reason is that there are more atheists and nonbelievers than ever before. 

In America, millennials are the largest and least religious generation in the country’s history. The trend toward secularization in the US mirrors the movement in Europe and throughout the developed world. And poll after poll have shown that the nonreligious also lean more progressive and more pacifist on a wide variety of issues relating to violence: torture, the death penalty, corporal punishment, military adventurism and more. 

As long as humanity was in thrall to the violent morality of religious texts, our societies were warlike and cruel. As the American revolutionary Thomas Paine said, belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man. It’s only in the last few decades, as we’ve begun to cast these beliefs off, that we’re making real moral progress.

As an outspoken Atheist I of course want to think that the rise of non-deists is the reason for all kinds of positives in the world

And though I would agree that much of the warlike behavior we are witnessing in the world today is driven by religious ideologies,  I am not entirely convinced that doing away with religion automatically translates into a more peaceful world.

We kill for a variety of reasons, religion is just a convenient method by which to excuse our hatred or demonization of a group that we deem less worthy than our own tribes.

 So I am interested in your thoughts on the matter.


  1. Anonymous4:26 AM

    There's nothing better in the world than a peaceful atheist. Well, chocolate maybe.

    Atheists, just don't get caught up in trying to reason with the religulous. My husband does this.
    Nobody wins. Both sides leave angrier than ever, and nobody learned anything.

    So here's what I do. I go work in the neglected flower beds of an elderly dude down the street from us. He knows we dont believe in his skygod( he REALLY does) and that does irritate him. He wants to convert us for some narcissistic badge he can show off. But this atheist works her ass off bringing his dead wife's flowers back from the brink. I certainly don't want money or some skygod's bullshit smile. I want to see a lonely old man's face light up later on this spring when he sees the perennials his wife planted all those years ago come back to life. He really misses his wife and it's sad as hell. He knows how to grow vegetables and his wife did all the flower beds(I'm a wizard with flowers). He still grows some damn decent veg, but not organically. I'm gonna work on him concerning that.

    I guess I just want to express that if you can find a little something that person might need, and show them how nice you can be for the sake of being nice(read:no reward) it confuses the HELL out of them. Besides that, I really like the way I feel after I've done something nice or good for someone else and I don't expect anything in return. maybe that's my little narcissistic badge, but I sure as hell don't show it off.
    I just comment on it anonymously.

    1. Anonymous5:26 AM

      That is a wonderful idea. I had a Mormon friend who was really freaked out that I'm an atheist. We had long discussions, and she concluded that we basically have the same way of thinking. Except for religion. So we avoid the subject now and we are just friends.

    2. Anonymous5:40 AM

      4:26 Ahhh, a fellow flower lover... and no religion too.
      You really are a nice human. Carry on. I'm sure those perennials are going to be beautiful.

    3. Anonymous5:52 AM

      What a wonderful, uplifting post!
      You rock, 4:26 PM!

    4. Anonymous6:41 AM

      Lovely. I'm a fellow flower garden lover and atheist too. But not a flower wizard!

    5. Anonymous7:39 AM

      I like your style and your story .But wait! You have always been like that.

    6. Anonymous10:38 AM

      Where's the like button..

  2. I agree that the reasons to kill lessen to a great extent if you are an Athiest or agnostic.

    But humans will continue to exhibit their other natural instincts and killing is an instinct for some .

  3. Anonymous5:53 AM

    Having grown up during the Cold War era, I have trouble taking such a benign view of atheism. The Soviet Union was officially atheist, and showed that official atheism has been just as brutally shoved down a captive people's collective throat as any religious belief system.

    I say this as a nonbeliever, btw, who has no use for organized religion and the untold damage and misery it has caused in its adherents' self-serving attempts to trumpet their own often showboating piousness and control the completely personal business of others. But I don't identify as an atheist. I call myself a heathen.

    1. Leland1:58 PM

      5:53, THE SOVIET UNION was atheist, NOT the people, despite what we were taught back then.

      I grew up in the same era and I understood quite young there was many times a difference between what a GOVERNMENT did and said and what the PEOPLE did and said.

      The Russian Orthodox church merely went underground and waited, another form of passive resistance.

      On the other hand, I still feel, as an atheist, that the world will be better off without organized religion.

    2. Maple3:29 PM

      The Soviets made the Russian Orthodox religion illegal because they didn't want the Church to have any POWER over the people. The Soviets knew they could not control the Church and its hierarchy. Most Russians, in particular, never did lose their faith, and when the Soviet Union was dissolved, the Church has once again become a haven for many (a good thing, actually, given current Russian leadership). But Putin controls ALL the information the Russians receive through internal media, and his power is absolute.

  4. O/T Chicago last night
    The scrapping of the Republican frontrunner’s appearance due to what his campaign cited as “safety concerns” led to uproar and fights inside the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion and in the streets outside.

    Confrontations shut down Trump rally in Chicago
    Scuffles broke out between Trump supporters, protesters and police, and a number of arrests were made, including of at least one reporter. As the mayhem took hold, Trump was reduced to complaining about the situation on the air, telling MSNBC: “It’s sad when you can’t have a rally. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

    That's rich.

  5. Anonymous6:00 AM

    After a particularly bad few years dealing with my Dad's death and my husband's deteriorating health, my uber "religious" sister told me that God was and is doing this to me until I am on my knees in perfect obedience. AND if I told anyone that she said that to me, just more bad karma coming my way from Him for doing so.

    Yeah, that'll put me in the front pew every Sunday! NOT. I have not talked to her since, and that was last September.

    1. Anonymous3:26 PM

      If God killed your father to punish YOU for being an atheist/agnostic, then why did he kill YOUR SISTER'S father, if she was a card carrying religionist? That is a ridiculous argument. I have always wondered why religious people who have terrible things happen to them don't seem to notice when an atheist is doing well and seems to have a charmed existence. It is of course "the luck of the draw", but doesn't it sometimes make them wonder?

    2. Anita Winecooler5:02 PM

      You have my condolences, I was and am now in a similar situation. Let me guess. Does sis ever call and say "I'll take care of Mom for a few hours/ days to give you a break" or "Let me cook something and bring it over to take some of the load off your shoulders" I could go on, but loving a parent and taking care of them because it's the right thing to do trumps having to do it for fear of karmic retribution from a "god" in the here after.
      Again, my empathy for your sacrifice, it comes from love, and what could be better?

  6. Anonymous6:01 AM

    "The Fear of God" has been used to enslave humans since the beginning of recorded time and beyond. Something to love and worship fills voids in one's life. I personally enjoy reading about all forms of worship and spiritual awareness. And I do believe in Miracles.

    1. Anonymous7:29 AM

      And there's that word. FEAR. I was raised Lutheran and taught that it meant "respect," not that He's waiting for me with a bull whip.

  7. Anonymous6:14 AM

    Arheism has made me a better and happier person. My philosophy is simple, just do the right thing and try to make every day count.

    1. I just read a statistic that gives me hope: Just over 40% of Canadians state that they are non-religious. Yes, we are a peaceful country, and so are the Scandinavian countries where some 90%+ state that they are non-religious. Oh, and when was the last time Sweden started a war? We Canucks have been brought up to NOT discuss religion or politics with mere acquaintances (and some of us not even with close relatives!). That's a good thing!

  8. Anonymous6:18 AM


  9. Sharon6:42 AM

    I don't have a problem with any religion if it helps you get thru the night....just don't shove it down my throat. I think the problem in the world is intolerance, the reason people fled to America in the first place. If you read history that didn't work out well either....the Puritans were just as rigid.
    I was brought up Methodist, which is like white toast, but was aware very early on what hypocrisy was. There were a few neighbors going with Mom and all sweet on Sunday, but hated kids the rest of the week. Our family business was a marina so Dad was always working and my brothers were allowed to work when they got older, so lucked out and stayed home too. When I was in my twenties, after college and really on my own I experienced a lot of religions because I left NJ for Texas and was exposed thru new friendships. Now there is a potpourri, Baptist church on every corner hating anything related to fun(not to mention the tent revivals), the Catholic Mexicans (like the Italians in NJ) which out of church were wonderful. They loved family above all and treated their elders with great respect...Sunday dinners were open to all. The actual rules and church service I found hard to take, but they lived their religion. Pentecostals are just plain crazy. It was 6 years before I returned to NJ due to my Dad's illness and at my new job for a construction company I discovered Buddhism. It was very slow, almost a year before I finally went to a meeting. There was a carpenter with overalls and a beard everyone called Fuzzy and I swear he was the so damn happy everyday. No matter what screw ups, krappy weather, you name it...nothing ever changed his mood. He took a lot of ribbing and I would constantly ask him how do you do it? He would just say, when you are ready come to my house and I will show you. Like I said it was almost a year and I finally went...he had a wife and 4 young children in a tiny, well kept little house. He explained Buddhism without any rules, no threats of hell, just basically the Golden Rule. Simple right? Then he chanted with his was so peaceful I actually felt lighter, my spirits lifted.
    To make this long story short...I don't chant or do anything religious anymore but still believe above all in the Golden Rule. Like the comment about the lady taking care of the flowers, I believe in random acts of kindness. I delivered homemade cookies at Xmas, shoveled snow, walked dogs, gave rides...anything I could do. Even now in Las Vegas on disability..I clip coupons for fast food and give to homeless people with $1 and always have extra bottles of water in the car. Religion and greed are the enemy..God had no religion (Gandhi).

    1. Anonymous7:21 AM

      Love this!

    2. Anonymous11:43 AM

      What a great post, thanks!

  10. Anonymous7:37 AM

    I agree with your last sentences, but I also believe that religion gives a false sense of righteousness and a justification for feelings that otherwise might be questioned and thought better of. Afterall, if the "word of God" defines what your ideals and actions should be, then you might even go against your better instincts, instead deferring to the ultimate moral authority.
    Better for people to have the responsibility for defining their own morality, as it is more likely to separate from "group think" and be in touch with basic humanity (which I believe is good).

    1. Anonymous8:11 AM

      One only has to look at the Palins for "yeah, right" in touting God. Utter bullshit.

  11. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Ultimately it is about the DOMINATION of women!
    Matriarchal vs Patriarchal
    GirlZ Rule!

    1. CA Skeptic9:20 AM

      Couldn't agree more. I was just reading one of the Bronte sisters last night, and she put so much of that pious c**p into the story I had to skip over several paragraphs at a time. Mostly it was "abide with the terrorism today and hope for Paradise after you're dead".

      Actually, it should be "The first blow is the last blow". If he hits or terrorizes you ONCE, walk out and don't give him another shot at you.

  12. Thank you, for your openness to other views. Yes. People do use religion as a reason to kill, and oppress, and "lord it over" others. If there isn't religion, when people finally move away from it, they will find other reasons to kill, oppress, and lord it over others.

    As I got older, I found the Episcopal church. I was raised Roman Catholic, fell away from that church. I was away from any religion for almost 30 years, basically. My husband, educated by Jesuits for 17 years, became an Episcopalian as we started dating. (we were old) As I started going with him, I felt at home. At peace. Enough of the old ritual to feel comfortable, but there is NONE of the Roman Catholic "If you sin your going to burn in hell, and give us your money!" and lots of "Help your neighbor, near and far, care for those less unfortunate as your are able." There is no judgement. There is no Us v. Them. There is we, doing for others. All are welcome, and not "as long as you stop acting on your "lifestyle", but as you were made in the image of the creator.

    Sorry, don't mean to proselytize. Just want to say religion can be used as a weapon, people will just find a different weapon when they need to. People can be dicks.

    1. Anonymous8:18 AM

      "There is we."

    2. Leland2:23 PM

      I grew up in the Episcopal church and I am happy you have been able to find some sort of peace there, but my father- whose father was an episcopal bishop - beat me every chance he got simply because I asked questions. Further, when I was 16, I was brought before "the elders" of that church and put on trial for playing pool and having an occasional beer. And I MEAN an occasional beer. They raked me over the coals. I got really angry at the hypocrisy displayed and I hit them with every Payton Place action being perpetrated in that group. There were lots of them. That was the catalyst that finalized my atheism and the day I stood up to my father and told him if he ever touched me again, he would regret it. Like all bullies, he stopped.

      What I think you found was ONE congregation which acted that way. Enjoy it while you can.

    3. I'm calling bs on your post. There is no group called "The Elders". There is no trial. There is no individual confession in the Episcopal church, unless one wants to! And as for me enjoying it "while I can", it's been there for 250 years in the same spot. It will be there long after I (and you) are gone. You sound like a very bitter person. I feel sorry for you. If your father beat you, it wasn't because of religion, it was because he was an asshole, and he was using religion as his weapon. Sorry you ended up with an asshole as a dad.

  13. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Can't think of a more bloody or violent book than the bible.

    I ascribe to no sky pilot, no domination by threatening eternal damnation, nor bullying to get one's own way. I am a SPIRITUAL person. John Lennon was a spiritual person - Imagine...

  14. Anonymous8:49 AM

    I wish that High school or even grade school would promote courses in religion. A basic knowledge of all the world's main religions should be as important as learning history. Of course if should not PROMOTE any religion, but it would help greatly to realize how much they all have in common (and different). I would consider that respectful awareness of the world's traditions to be an element of a well-educated person.

    When my kids were little we went to church for awhile and it was really a wonderful Presbyterian church and one was welcome to be atheist or agnostic. They encouraged questions and did not judge your doubt. Mostly they were a great vehicle for doing good in a community and offering support (no strings) to individuals. Unfortunately the kids were consigned to the kid's program in the basement where they were exposed to confusing bible stories by the old ladies who were not so enlightened as the younger "brethren" upstairs, so we ended our Sunday get-togethers.

    But, I did miss the occasion to have a "special" day where we would dress up a little (life has become too casual I think) and the friendly community of the pot lucks that often followed.

    Today I have NO belief, so I consider myself an agnostic. I would totally go to an agnostic or atheistic church where folks could come to maybe just celebrate being alive and figure out ways to make the world better.

  15. Anonymous9:59 AM

    8:49 -- Try the Unitarian Universalists. No dogma or any particular belief required, and all about doing good.

  16. Anita Winecooler5:11 PM

    I agree. Our kids, all three atheists, got married. We left the religion decision up to them when they came of age, and we caught hell for it. Now, we've recalibrated our boundaries and stood our ground, and our family came to accept it.
    We had long conversations before their marriages, and their spouses, although non practicing Protestant and Jewish were more than on board and happy with a civil ceremony. The money we saved for ctheir hoooge weddings went to downpayments on their homes. I have to admit, my feelings were hurt when my son decided to elope and not have a ceremony other than a civil courthouse, witnessed by their friends, but I got over it, it was their choice and all that matters is they're happy and love each other.


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