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Once Again, Believers Have it Wrong: Atheists Don't Just Want Sex, Drugs, and Lack of Morality

As much as religion's defenders would like us to believe otherwise, there is no non-human moral authority.

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But despite resistance from religious conservatives, we have changed our moral views in many ways, and humanity is far better off for it. We no longer legally sanction the buying and selling human beings as slaves, as the Bible permits us to do; we no longer stone disobedient children to death, kill friends and family members who convert to a different religion, or require rape victims to marry their rapists, as it commands us to do. Hitchens' argument fails to come to terms with all this progress. (Also, need I point out the irony of a confirmed member of the Anglican church arguing that we have to depend on unchanging religious laws? You know, the denomination that was founded because one guy wanted to change a religious law forbidding divorce?)

The expansion of rights for women and minorities, the spread of democracy and separation of church and state, the rise of science and the Enlightenment -- all these undeniably positive trends occurred in the teeth of fierce resistance from religious defenders of the status quo. Every time, the church authorities warned that changing the way things had always been was in opposition to God's will and would surely bring disaster. And almost every time, once the change happened anyway and no disaster resulted, those same authorities switched sides and pretended they had been supporters all along.

This proves the point that every moral code, whether theistic or atheistic, changes over time as we gain new knowledge and our perspective widens. Churches and religious apologists don't like to admit this, since it undermines their claim to be in possession of perfect moral truth from the beginning; which is why they're usually the staunchest defenders of old and unjust systems and the very last ones to bend to the tide of progress, causing much needless human suffering in the meantime. They'd be much better off if they'd simply admit that there is no non-human moral authority, admit that their holy books and doctrines contain moral errors, and then join the rest of us living in the real world and using conscience to figure out how we can achieve the greatest good.

 
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