Non believers are just as "good"

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by AnglicanAgnostic, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I have just read the thread about Bonobo apes and other threads and I feel I have to write to defend non believers from a general inference from some people that they are less moral or upright than the average Christian.
    As a non believer I don't generally; murder people, have wild unrestrained sex, or steal things. My behavour and I suggest most non believers would actually be applauded by Christians if they (non believers) added the small subset of believe to their lives. In other words their actions are on a par with Christians. I am not allowed legally to discriminate against Christians (and rightly so) but Christians are generally allowed to disciminate against non believers. In the USA non believers are the largest group that are allowed legally to be disciminated against.
    There is a lot of angst here against pro gay groups or other various "human rights" causes but I feel being a N.B. is only incidental to these causes. Just because I'm a N.B. doesn't mean I'm pro gay or premarital sex or any other particular cause such as legalised prostitution. I bring up prostitution because recently here in NZ a church objected to a brothel opening up because it was near a primary school. The brothel proponents reposted that young children were probably at more risk from church people (also nearby) than brothel clients and practitioners and in all honesty I tend to agree with them.
    Most non believers are not evangelistic , non believers are not your enemies "indifference" is.
    I have read a report-study-survey from America about non believers and Christians behavour and they found a fly on the wall would not be able to tell a Christian and a N.B. apart except the Christian went to a particular building on Sundays. Both groups are just as likely to steel, watch pornography, and cheat on their spouses. These interesting stat's were mentioned in the "Hypocrites" chapter of the report.

    Just my little rant, I feel better now.
     
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  2. Theistgal

    Theistgal New Member

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    I agree! Many of the kindest, most moral people I've known have been self-professed nonbelievers. :)
     
  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I don't take it as a question of this or that person being just as good, but rather all of them put together, the whole Atheist Culture being just as good

    ---- and there I would ardently disagree with any attempt to paint atheist cultures as good, when they have all been without excpetion, evil, and our American culture too becoming more evil by the day

    Atheism is evil, even if this or that atheist may be good (by accident, or by borrowing virtues from Christianity)
     
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  4. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I don't generally like them either. The best one are the ones who are not aware or immersed in the fundamental conclusions of atheism i.e.; they aren't really as atheist as the ones you mentioned from the communists. Yes there are some nice ones here and there, but on a general scale, not really. There's also this study:
    https://phys.org/news/2017-08-atheists-thought-immoral-fellow.html

    I want to make a note that most of the times I know who is atheist and who isn't. Most Christians who are no different than seculars are just nominal ones. Atheism has never had the same kind of altruistic champions as Christendom has, therefore I do believe the most kindest Atheists would pale against the best examples of Christians.

    Bill Gates was once touted as a champion of Atheist charity, but now he is acknowledging that it makes sense to believe in God and is influenced by his Christian relatives, including his wife. Jesus says these people are 'not far from the kingdom of God', but those indoctrinated with the deepest aspects of atheist dogma such as Dawkins or Harris are quite far from this spectrum.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    You have demonstrated the confused attitude that many have in the USA. Non-belief is not atheism. Atheism is Un-belief not non-belief. Non-belief is simply what you do not have before believing in something.

    Un-belief is a belief, that something others believe in, does not exist or warrants belief by the unbelieving.
    .
     
  6. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    From Bible hoarders link (https://phys.org/news/2017-08-atheists-thought-immoral-fellow.html)

    Only in Finland and New Zealand, two secular countries, did the experiment not yield conclusive evidence of anti-atheist prejudice, said the team.

    Yea [​IMG]

    Maybe N.Z. is liberal, I know Mormon missionaries are advised that N.Z.ers think nothing of living together, no one cares about it. Even our Prime Minister has had a baby with her partner (a word commonly used here) and they aren't married. I've never even heard their unmarried status being mentioned.

    I think non believers culture is a bit like non Trump supporting culture , non rap music culture, or non vegetarian culture, ie it's not really a culture at all.

    Anti Atheist prejudice is possibly because Christians are perceived as being better than they actually are.
    I know there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics". How many Choir masters that molest children are Christians? Probably a high percentage as Christians make up a high percentage of choir masters.

    Got to go out now but like Arnie " I'll be back"
     
  7. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Not withstanding Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." If these groups do do evil it is almost incidental to their being Atheistic. Similar to that group that no one expects , the Spanish Inquisition, I wouldn't tar all Christians with that brush. The nearest thing to an atheistic organisation here (NZ) is probably the skeptics society, and all they say is they don't think there are any supernatural forces in existence, but they are open to evidence to the contrary. They even invited a psychic to talk to them. They don't have a

    "There shall be no derogatory statements about Scripture, such as that it is erroneous, not the word of God, or teaches anything but the truth."

    type of attitude.

    Many atheist's attitude is merely "I don't think there is a God" like you might think there is no life out in space. I am an Agnostic which to me merely means "I don't know"

    From Bible Hoarders link
    "Distrust of atheists was "very strong in the most highly religious states like the United States, United Arab Emirates and India," said Gervais, and lower in more secular countries."

    Gosh I wonder if you could glean that information from this forum?

    And I would just like repeat and re-emphasise the study I read states the actions and life style of Christians and non believers cannot be differentiated apart from the fact Christians go to church.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019 at 10:16 PM
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Jean Rousseau believed that "man is a being who is naturally good." He thought that humans are born as naturally moral and benevolent, and that man's impulses are naturally just and correct, which makes those impulses moral. Rousseau arrived at this conclusion because he felt great longing for the esteem of others and societal pressure to conceal his true nature: "One does not dare to appear as what one is. And in the perpetual constraint, men who make up this herd we call society, placed in the same circumstances, will all do the same things, unless more powerful motives prevent them. Thus, one will never know well the person one is dealing with." Thus, Rousseau sought to escape feelings of judgment and shame, so he came to feel that the key lay in 'living authentically,' listening to his own heart and acting "only in accord with his impulses and reason." If man is naturally good, then man does not naturally have evil inclinations, and this natural goodness makes all of man's actions benevolent so long as he means well. Rousseau said, "I give myself to the impression of the moment without resistance and without scruple; for I am perfectly sure that my heart loves only that which is good."

    Under this type of thinking, if a man commits adultery with a married woman, he does no wrong so long as his motives are pure. And if a man commits pedophilia, he does no wrong so long as he is motivated by love for the child. This is a highly subjective measurement, since one man's morality is another man's immorality. Each person becomes a god unto himself, deciding what his conscience will permit, and in the process he often deceives himself. It is a poor standard of morality, for in fact it is no "standard" at all.

    In contrast, God lays out a specific morality with well-defined boundaries. Yet we see that man is no match for God's definition of morality (perfect behavior), because man is not "naturally good" as Rousseau thought, but instead man is naturally bad. Genesis 6:5 says, And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. God gave mankind the Law of Moses (Ten Commandments) primarily to demonstrate conclusively to mankind that man is in no way equipped to be morally upright and is in desperate need of a Savior. The Law pointed the way toward the coming Messiah, who gave His life to redeem from the penalty of sin all who would accept the gift of redemptive grace by faith in Christ. Jesus provided for us what we could never provide for ourselves: true moral purity. Paul, one of the most morally upright men of his time, explained how precious this gift is when he wrote in his letter to the Philippians:
    Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
    Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
    Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
    Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
    Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
    Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
    Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
    Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
    Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
    Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
    Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    Paul recognized that his own attempts at self-righteousness were as dung. Crap!

    The cited study makes a fundamental error: it confuses the appearance of morality with actual morality. Anyone can work hard at appearing moral, but true morality resides not in one's actions but in one's heart. Paul recognized that even his previous life of upright living did not make him truly moral. Even as a Christian, with the Holy Spirit living inside him, Paul faced a continual battle to "put the body under subjection" and resist yielding to temptations. But the key difference which distinguished Paul's later life from his earlier life, and the key difference between a Christian and a non-believer, is the gift of God's own righteousness which is imputed to the believer when he comes to trust in Jesus Christ. You see, in God's eyes we have been made perfect through Christ; God will not tolerate unrighteousness, but He loves us so much, He arranged to extend His own perfect righteousness to us if we would believe Him and trust Him with our lives.
    2Co_5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    Mat 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
    Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
    Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    Loving God wholeheartedly and loving others perfectly are goals the Christian is counseled to strive toward. Do any succeed! Not a one of us is completely successful at it. And while some strive greatly, most strive weakly... and some may appear to strive not at all. Yet the common thread running through each and every true believer is the blood of Jesus applied to our inner beings, by which we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to counsel and guide us (if we will listen!!) and the promise of eternal life. Every person in the world needs this, even the self-righteous person who thinks he is moral enough and good enough that, if there be a God, surely (the person reasons) a loving God would not condemn him. For God has set in place a door by which each person must enter, and no other entry is possible; and that door is Jesus Christ. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep... I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:7,9)

    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019 at 11:56 PM
  9. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    The rates of abuse in prostitution are so dramatically higher than even the worst abuse-ridden church. It's a fatuous objection from those who profit from an industry of commodification and systemic violence.
     
  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I wanted to zero-in on that, because I see it cited too much without critical thinking

    It all depends on what the study measures, and what "moral criteria" it uses, doesn't it?... If we redefine moral criteria to classify a love of sodomy suddenly to be a moral virtue, then rejecting sodomy makes one wicked, yes?... And that is why I've seen "modern studies" argue that atheists are actually more virtuous than Christians, because they celebrate and champion people who engage in sodomy, whereas Christians do not...

    Now I'm glad that at least in your study the Christians are not evil, but merely non-differentiated, but the question still stands.. what exact moral characteristics are they measuring here? It is known for a fact that Christian communities are far more charitable; they will not kill a baby in the womb, and they will not kill an elderly man who isn't "useful" to society -- and atheist societies will, and already do!
     
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Hypocracy is the stock in trade of some of the ultra religious. They come more under condemnation by Christ than the run of the mill, mere 'sinner', because they should know better. Christian Discipleship is not about having become good, it is about becoming better after having experienced God's Grace to sinners. That Grace is as freely available to NB's as it is to believers. It is just that NB's do not appreciate it, nor feel obligated to reform their ways concerning their condemnation of others, as an appropriate response to the Grace they have been shown by God. They are oblivious to God's Grace.

    Therein lies the difference. It is not a difference of actual moral fibre, but a difference in motivaton.

    God knows the heart's intent.
    .
     
  12. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Yes you are possibly right here.

    Instead of attributing these things to Atheists perhaps we should blame these groups; over 18 year olds, medical professionals, people who drink milk, non Muslims and maybe also those people who like J.S. Bach. I'm sure people who kill babies and elderly men are in my suggested groups. Ok maybe not the Bach fans.

    Well this is your lucky day let me quote from the Barna group's book "Unchristian", and who are the Barna Group?

    From Wikipedia "The Barna Group is an evangelical Christian polling firm based in Ventura, California"

    and from their site
    "Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company located in Ventura, California.
    Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection
    of faith and culture."
    and from one of their blogs
    "When people ask me what it’s like to work at Barna, I can’t help gushing about how amazing it is to see – at a 30,000-foot level – the ways in which God is moving all across the world and the great work that churches, ministries and non-profits are doing in his name.


    In one study conducted by our firm, we explored more than one hundred variables related to values, behaviours, and lifestyles, including both religious and non religious areas of life. We compared born-again Christians to non born again adults. We discovered that born-agains were distinct on some religious variables, most notably owning more Bibles, going to church more often, and donating money to religious nonprofits (especially a church). However when it came to non-religious factors - the substance of people's daily choices, actions, and attitudes there were few meaningful gaps between born-again Christians and non-born-agains. Christian emerged as distinct in the ares people would expect - some religious activities and commitments - but not in the other area of life. (pg 46)

    and from pg 47

    In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioural evidence of transformed lives. For instance based on a study released in 2007, we found that most of the lifestyle activities of born-again Christians were statistically equivalent to those of non born agains. When asked to identify their activities over the last thirty days, born-again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that didn't belong to them, to consult a medium or psychic, to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, to have used an illegal nonprescription drug, to have said something to someone that is not true, to have gotten back at someone for something he or she did, and to have said mean things behind another person's back.
    No difference.
    One study we conducted examined Americans' engagement in some type of sexually inappropriate behaviour , including looking at online pornography, viewing sexually explicit magazines or movies, or having an intimate sexual encounter outside of marriage. In all we found that 30 percent of born-again-Christians admitted to at least one of these activities in the past thirty days, compared with 35 percent of other Americans. In statistical and practical terms, this means the two groups are essentially no different from each other. If these two groups of people were in two separate rooms,and you were asked to determine, based on their lifestyles alone, which room contained the Christians, you would be hard pressed to find much difference.



    I have taken the liberty of "correcting" some of the above spelling.

    I am not trying to give the impression that Christians are ever so slightly less than perfect angels, but just that non believers are also just as ever so slightly less than perfect angels.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019 at 12:21 AM
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    We are ALL, at least, slightly imperfect. Some more slightly than others, but all have sinned and will continue to be inclined that way until death robs us of the opportunity to sin and also the ability through moral fibre to decide not to sin. After death our days of sinning and the struggle not to, are all over.

    The major difference between 'believers' and non- and un-believers is not any kind of moral superiority but rather an invisibly, more informed conscience, led by the prompting of The indwelling Holy Spirit, rather than dictated by instinct and the lust of the flesh.

    Not surprisingly among believers, and non believers alike, success at living the 'life of the Spirit' is patchy, to say the least, though believers as a subset of humanity probably come out on top by a small margin. It is just as well that we are not saved by our 'works of the law' or 'supposed 'moral superiority'.

    We are saved by God's Grace, through faith.
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    Some quotes that bear upon the subject:

    “…evils are not caused by God; rather, that they are a part of the nature of matter and of mankind; that the period of mortal life is the same from beginning to end, and that because things happen in cycles, what is happening now — evils that is — happened before and will happen again.”
    ― Celsus

    “I am reminded of the query made about man's inhumanity to man in the concentration camps. The question was asked: At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?
    And the answer came: Where was man?
    For it was men alone who did this evil. Not God or religion or men acting in the name of God or religion. But simply men.”
    ― Glenn Meade, The Last Witness

    "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
    -- The Bible, Romans 3:23
     

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