One of my favorite aphorisms is that good people will pretty much always do good; it takes religion to really fuck things up.
Think about this the next time one of those crazy-assed Fundos starts yapping about this country being founded on and based on "Judeo-Christian" morality, blah blah blah.
One of my favorite blogs, Defaithed posits a very simple question for those True Believers in the morality dictated by the One True God:
How do we get "morality" from a God who orders his followers again and again to execute people for things we don't even consider crimes (homosexuality, adultery, disrespect to parents, etc.); to slaughter cities full of people including women, children, and infants (except for virgin girls, who are to be saved for rape); to keep slaves; etc. etc.? How can the believers claim "Biblical morality", when they themselves knowingly refuse to follow such commandments?He's right. These are not merely academic debating points, not just the innocuous topics of college dorm bullshit sessions. The Xian god, time after time, ordered the wholesale slaughter of the innocents, the total genocidal obliteration of whole peoples, and his followers actually did it! Willingly and blindly.
I think the common response will be, "Well, that was the Old Testament; it was appropriate for those people then, but doesn't apply to us. Jesus changed all that... (yadda yadda)". In your experience, is that the usual response?
If so, here's what I'd love to ask in reply:
We may not be living under Old Testament law, but let's say we were. If you were one of the "chosen people" back in Old Testament days, and God commanded you to butcher the women and children of the neighboring city, and rape the tribe's virgins, and burn alive the priests of another god, and slit your firstborn's throat as a test of faith.... would you do those things?
It's not a purely imagined question. A challenge like "Would you start nuclear war if God told you to?" could be brushed off as unrealistic: "God would never ask such a thing". But not the above atrocities; according to the believers, God did demand those very things! And with his ways all mysterious and unknowable, he could surprise us all and demand them again - maybe even tomorrow. Either way, I ask the believers: Would you do it?
I'm really curious as to how they'd respond, as any answer is a loser. To say "No, I wouldn't do it" is to utterly reject "Biblical morality"; it's to admit that God's commandments are themselves immoral. Whereas to say "Yes, I'd do it" is to reveal one's self as a despicable monster with no claim to any morality whatsoever. (Meanwhile, the atheist easily stands on moral bedrock with a reply of "God or no God, of course I'd never do it!".)
Remember when Pat Robertson made his abortive run at the presidency a number of years back? He actually said something to the effect that if god willed that he win the office, he would, if god ordered it, push the nuclear button and bring on Armageddon.
And that in itself is one of the biggest, strongest and most persuasive arguments I can think of for ensuring that we maintain the total separation of church and state in this country.