You might tell an atheist something to the effect of, “If there is no God, then all things are permissible.” He might retort, “No, if there is a God, then all things are permissible.” Then, he’d go on to cite all the atrocities done in the name of Allah. Or, he’ll pretend to know something about the Crusades.
Here’s a UK study that will surely outrage those atheists. They wanted to see if there was a correlation between religion and crime. Here’s the Daily Mail:
A survey from Manchester University found a direct correlation between higher visits to religious places and lower crime figures, especially in relation to shoplifting, drug use and music piracy.
Researchers believe this is because religion not only teaches people about ‘moral and behavioral norms’, but also spending time with like-minded people makes it less likely they’ll get mixed up with the ‘wrong crowd’.
As part of the project, more than 1,200 18 to 34-year-olds from across all the UK’s major faiths were asked about their worshipping habits.
They were also asked about any past misdemeanors, and the likelihood they would commit low-level crimes in the future.
In total, researchers asked respondents about eight varying types of delinquency including littering, skipping school or work, using illegal drugs, fare dodging, shoplifting, music piracy, property damage and violence against the person.
Although the study found varying degrees of correlation between increased church visits and decreased crime rates, the most significant were seen in relation to shoplifting, the use of illegal drugs and music piracy.
The researchers did not include more serious, high-level crimes because they ‘were too rare for the data to be able to show a significant pattern.’
Yes, it’s a rather silly study. What if the respondents didn’t tell the truth, because they wanted people to think they were holy and blameless? It’s entirely possible, but at the same time, if the results were accurate, they wouldn’t be surprising.
Does this study mean that atheists must be more likely to commit crimes? Not necessarily. But think about the crime rates in our own country. Do you really think all those crimes are being committed by those who call themselves religious? Do you think those crimes are being committed by those who attend church regularly? I seriously doubt it. Considering that most of our crime in this country stems from gang-related violence, I’d venture to guess that those individuals don’t care about God and are only concerned with pleasing themselves.
The Elders of the Church of Atheism today fancy themselves to be “moral” people. They perhaps wouldn’t resort to drugs or pirating software or shoplifting. They’d tell you that they don’t need a religion to tell them that those things are wrong. They’re smart enough to know what’s wrong and what’s right without believing in an “invisible sky god.”
But if I were an atheist who was given to crime, how would these Atheist Church leaders convince me that what I was doing was wrong? They’d try to tell me that morality is something inherent in our genes. That morality has been a means of survival for humans for hundreds of thousands of years. That stealing and murdering are wrong, because they deprive others of happiness and don’t promote human survival.
I would tell them that obviously, this “morality” thing wasn’t in my genes. I was born this way. I have urges, all of which are consistent with those urges found in the rest of the animal kingdom, which tells me that there’s nothing unnatural about my desires and actions. I’d tell them that we’re all just molecules in motion. That there’s no such thing as “morality,” because it’s not material. We atheists only believe in the material, right? And besides, why is it that murder and stealing are wrong because they “doesn’t promote survival or happiness,” but things like homosexuality, which not only is observed in the rest of the animal kingdom, but also is not at all “promoting of survival” for obvious reasons, is considered just fine? What is this invisible standard to which you’re appealing to discern the differences among all these behaviors, desires and actions?
Moreover, why is promoting happiness or survival the “right” thing to do? Based on what material evidence? Why do we even need evidence to believe in something? Who came up with these rules? What is “right,” anyway? Other “lower” animals don’t care about such things. Why should I?
When it comes down to it, they might quote actor and atheist Ricky Gervais, who said, “I don’t believe in God, but I live as if there is one.”