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A righteous atheist is morally superior to a righteous theist

  1. Dec 20, 2009 #1
    "a righteous atheist is morally superior to a righteous theist"

    what do you think of this statement?

    suppose there are two people, person A and person B.

    person A believes that there is no afterlife, no god, nothing once you die. any good actions you do will not be rewarded. any bad actions you do will not be punished.

    person B believes that there is an afterlife. and person B believes that all good actions will be rewarded. and all evil actions will be punished.

    But person A and person B both live a morally correct life. the magnitude of the good works that person A does is equal to the magnitude of the good works of person B. Both A and B commit the same evils, in the same amount.

    Person B's motivation is self interest. Person B believes in punishment and reward for the evil and good things he does. Person B is selfish and only cares about himself.

    Person A's motivation is a genuine homeopathy. person A believes that nothing he does can change his fate. But he continues to do good works out of care for other people.

    Personally, i think the statement in the title of this thread is true. this doesnt mean religion is bad. i think religion is great for enforcing a moral code upon immoral people. where the legal system fails, the religious system succeeds, because god(s) is an omniscient being.

    i am agnostic by the way. i do not want this thread to turn into a debate "does god(s) exist?" the question: "is a righteous atheist is morally superior to a righteous theist?"
    state your opinion and back it up.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2009 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Re: "a righteous atheist is morally superior to a righteous theist"

    You cannot conclude this; it does not follow. It could follow; but it is not a given that Person B's motives are completely selfish or even completely reactive.

    Consider a trivial example:

    There is a sign at a swimming pool that says: "No running on deck. Membership will be revoked." (Consider this analogous to a deadly sin.)

    I tell my kids not to run on-deck. Can it be concluded that I am only doing this because I fear my membership being revoked (i.e. retribution)? Is it not possible that I tell my kids not to run for some excellent reasons that have nothing to do with the consequences from authorities?

    In fact, is it not possible that, retribution aside, I might feel strongly about this "no running" behaviour for all the kids at the pool - even the ones who aren't mine? I wonder why...
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  4. Dec 20, 2009 #3

    George Jones

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    Re: "a righteous atheist is morally superior to a righteous theist"

    This thread is about value judgements of belief systems, which is an explicit violation of physics forums rules,

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374.
     
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