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What does atheism contribute to society?

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    As a born again Christian, the only argument I would ever make in favour of Christianity is that it is the only way to have everlasting life with the Lord.

    However, people of all religions, including Christians, often have to defend their faith to non-believers, and a good way of doing this is by pointing out all the societal benefits of religion - charity, compassion and hope.

    Atheists typically respond by pointing out what they believe to be negative effects of religion. However they never make an argument for atheism.

    I wonder why?

    Do atheists feed the poor? Do atheists offer pastoral care on a similar scale?

    I think the answer to that is a big fat NO.

    So, prove me wrong. Enlighten me. Name something good which is a direct result of atheism.

    Thanks, Cam.
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    Something good coming out of atheism?

    Lets see... How about the freedom to think for oneself?
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    A rational approach to life. Rational thought is the reason we are no longer toothless filthy peasants, burning witches and dying in a pool of our own **** aged 40. Religion isn't rational, it's believing often absurd beliefs in the absence of any evidence, and which often contradict our own first hand observations/research etc.
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    Common sense
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    Nuclear Bombs.
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    You don't have to be a Christian to have good morals. Unfortunately most Christian's forget this and believe all atheists sit in their house trolling religion on the internet. Atheists help feed the poor and provide for the worse off just as much as Christians do, you just don't notice it because unlike a lot of Christians they don't make such a big deal out of it to prove how brilliant a person they are.
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    Both contribute to society in their own manner, both just as good as each other, everyone is entitled to their opinion etc.... I can't be bothered with another 'theism vs atheism' thread
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    Of course atheism doesn't contribute to society since it's not a movement or anything, it's simply the lack of belief in Gods.

    There are plenty of very, very moral and kind people who are atheists -- look at Bill Gates. He's personally saved millions of lives and donated billions to charity. Would he have donated money if he was a Christian? Probably. If you're a good person you're going to be a good person regardless of what you do or don't believe in.

    One could argue that if an atheist does do good in the world, it's goodness purely for its own sake, whereas theists might be doing things like that to try and gain favour with their god.
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    Society is tempered by science, reason, and logic when it is in danger of over-heating from too much passion (religion, metaphysics, spirituality).

    Do atheists feed the poor? I think you'll find that they do. The only difference is that atheists do it because they want to help, whereas for religious people they often do it because of some divine reward, or do it because of influence when attempting to convert numbers to the faith.
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    There are atheists that feed the poor, and care for those in need, just as there are religious people who don't help out those around them.

    Being a good person and contributing positively to society should not, and does not, require any sort of faith in a deity.
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    (Original post by pacni)
    You don't have to be a Christian to have good morals. Unfortunately most Christian's forget this and believe all atheists sit in their house trolling religion on the internet. Atheists help feed the poor and provide for the worse off just as much as Christians do, you just don't notice it because unlike a lot of Christians they don't make such a big deal out of it to prove how brilliant a person they are.
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/p...w/article/6577

    Read this. Shows there's a significant difference between Christians doing charity work, and atheists
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    When's the last time the atheist crusades happened? Or the atheist inquisition? The atheist witch hunts? The atheist religion that made human sacrifices to their gods?

    Oh, right... None of these things happened - but religions have committed all of these atrocities. Atheism: 1, religion: -1,000
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    (Original post by S-man10)
    Something good coming out of atheism?

    Lets see... How about the freedom to think for oneself?
    Martin Luther is famous for rebelling against the established church (read "thinking for himself") in an entirely religious context.

    Individual thought is not solely the privilege of atheists.
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    (Original post by Camel)
    As a born again Christian, the only argument I would ever make in favour of Christianity is that it is the only way to have everlasting life with the Lord.

    However, people of all religions, including Christians, often have to defend their faith to non-believers, and a good way of doing this is by pointing out all the societal benefits of religion - charity, compassion and hope.

    Atheists typically respond by pointing out what they believe to be negative effects of religion. However they never make an argument for atheism.

    I wonder why?

    Do atheists feed the poor? Do atheists offer pastoral care in a similar scale?

    I think the answer to that is a big fat NO.

    So, prove me wrong. Enlighten me. Name something good which is a direct result of atheism.

    Thanks, Cam.
    Secularism
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    (Original post by Bobifier)
    Martin Luther is famous for rebelling against the established church (read "thinking for himself") in an entirely religious context.

    Individual thought is not solely the privilege of atheists.
    The first time freedom of thought was tried in the bible we were cast out of the garden of eden and every human born from that point on was destined to die because of it.

    Seems fair.
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    It is a pathetic fallacy of religious believers to think that just because they have faith, they are more moral than the rest of us.

    It is blatantly evident that secular morality is a far more coherent approach than that inspired by outdated scripture.

    Atheism encourages one to stick to the facts, as Bertrand Russell famously coined. It frees oneself from the dogmatic irrationality of religious belief and instead aims to partake in higher and more valid activity; the use of reason is always superior to faith.

    You do not need to be religious to feed the poor, or take care of the sick. Such behaviour has nothing to do with religion and I will vehemently criticise anyone who suggests otherwise. Agnosticism and Atheism is the belief system of the enlightened and rational. Religion is the belief system of the "ignorant and barbourous" in the words of David Hume.

    It is under atheism that we no longer persecute homosexuals, or women, or anyone of an alternate faith. Atheism never convinced anyone to take up a weapon and slaughter another human being; and this is where the moral superiority lies.
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    (Original post by zaliack)
    Secularism
    Hard line Baptists are as secular as they come.
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    Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a God. So no there is nothing intrinsically charitable about atheism, but do not make the assumption that all atheists are bitter heartless nihilists. You and I probably share very similar moral and ethical views, the only difference is I do not believe in God. Is that so hard to get your head around?

    I will admit that if religion disappeared tomorrow, people would probably be less charitable. But that doesn't mean attitudes cannot change. People should be encouraged to help others because it is what we would want were we in that situation, not because it will get them into Heaven. In fact, do you not think it's a bit selfish the primary reason many religious people do voluntary work is to ultimately gain them a place in paradise (or so they believe) when they die?

    I think atheism or agnosticism is a very positive belief system to have. It does not cloud your mind, it allows you to be open to theories, and decide which ones you believe on the basis of the evidence offered, not on the basis that you were told to believe something from a young age.

    Religion does undoubtedly bring some positives, but it also brings a lot of negative. I think I can say with confidence that a lot of the oppression people face, especially in less developed countries, is a result of religion. Not to mention the wars fuelled by religion. Atheism is the neutral stance, it does not tell you what to do or how to behave. Negative and positives to not exists as a result of a lack of belief in something. Our morals should instead be taken from the fact that we treat others how we would like to be treated, the fact that as a human we should behave in a way that improves society for everyone. Secular morality is in my opinion much better for humanity than religious morality. "Don't kill people" - fair enough. "It is OK to beat women and oppress homosexuals and keep slaves" - really?
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    Kiva is a website that allows you to give a loan to someone in a developing country who wishes to set up a business. When you give money for a loan you can choose to be part of a group. The group of people who have loaned the most money is the Atheist group, having loaned double the amount of the next highest loaning group, the Christian group.

    http://www.kiva.org/community
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    You know what morality is right? People dont behave nice to each other only because of religion.
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