In article <528@macomw.ARPA> shouse@macomw.ARPA (claude shouse) writes:
>the issue--it was civilization. There will be criminals even in a
>barbaric society. But what is the operation that civilizes a barbaric
>society? Historically, it has been religion. I propose that it will
>ever be so. Athiesm has no moral imperitive that calls mankind to a
>higher state of being. Not that Athiests, individually, do not as a
>matter of principle hold to a high moral standard, many do. But there
>is no immutable standard in Athiesm to which people can aspire.
Having followed this discussion for some time, I feel I have to take issue
with a number of points:
Civilization and barbarism are not mutually exclusive. MAny civilizations
have been very barbaric. During our history, many societies have enslaved
and persecuted others, treating them as less than human and using
'religion' as an excuse.
It is education and world knowledge which has brought us to the present
state whereby most societies tend to accept others as more or less human
and having some intrinsic rights. Religion has done nothing to help this
As for the 'moral imperative' issue, the human instinct to act as a 'social'
being and to serve the society are genetic in origin, not spiritual.
Our curiosity and creativity come from our high intelligence. These two
combined give man a driving force to cooperate as social beings and to
work together to better our social and material existance.
As for religion, I am convinced that we have a genetic predisposition
toward symbolism and superstitions which have developed into religions over
We are what we are. Whether we beleive in God or not makes no difference.