Most Christians Wouldn’t Be Immoral Without Gods
“What if there are no gods?” Many Christians seem to have an odd take on such a scenario. They say this would mean that there would be no reason to behave in a moral manner. If there were no gods, we wouldn’t need to treat others with kindness. We’d never need to do the right thing. We could embrace our most animalistic impulses, wherever they lead. See something you want? Steal it. Don’t like someone? Murder them.
Are these Christians right? They aren’t right about me. I am an atheist, and I haven’t abandoned morality. In fact, I make more of an effort to treat others with kindness than I did when I was a believing Christian. In fairness, I attribute this more to my age than my views on gods. Still, it differs from what these Christians claim.
Why treat someone well if there’s no possibility of heaven? Isn’t the smile on their face enough? It is for me. Why not kill everyone if there’s no hell to worry about? I can’t speak for Christians, but this isn’t something I crave. I don’t refrain from murder only because I fear punishment.
Are Christians right about themselves? Would they run around raping and murdering if they realized their gods don’t exist? This is possible, but I doubt it. I’d guess that most of them are better than this. They’d still strive to do the right thing, gods or not. That means they are better people than they seem to want to acknowledge.
Belief in gods can be a powerful thing. I don’t doubt that it can lead some people to behave better than they might otherwise. But has it ever been enough to guarantee moral behavior? Nope! Religious believers have committed too many atrocities in the name of various religions. Their god-belief can motivate good behavior. They also use it to excuse horrible behavior.
I doubt that most of us go through each day imagining an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. We’ve learned a sense of right and wrong. We can apply it without resorting to supernatural entities. I’d suggest that this extends to those who believe in such entities, too.
Christians should give themselves more credit. If a Christian is a good person, that reflects positively on them. No gods are necessary. And if a Christian isn’t a good person, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t Christian. It means that they need to try harder to be a better person.