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Archive of Visitors' Comments

A few remarks from visitors to this site.
This section is the archives.
For more recent remarks, see the Visitors' Comments page.


July 2009

Famous Atheists Poster

David Sinyor, 2009-07-10

This is to let you know that we’ve just published a poster which may be of interest to you.
The poster is titled "Famous Atheists and Freethinkers of Modern Times"; the link to the relevant page on our website is:
We are based in Montreal.

February 2009


Sam Singleton Atheist Evangelist, 2009-02-06

Dear Canadian Heathens,
Brother Sam greatly admires your work and your site.

Webmaster's Comment : Thank you, Brother Sam!

August 2007

An Atheist Music Station has started

Paul Gilbert, 2007-08-22

My name is Paul Gilbert from New Zealand. I've recently started a dedicated Atheist Music Station. It's called THE PAGAN STATION and thanks to the wonders of the web it's freely available to listen to, care of live365 Internet Radio. There's over 600 Atheist, Free-Thinker & Pro-Science songs in my library. Included already are "Rush" & "Propagandhi" and I'm sure you and your members can suggest some more Canadian content.

To learn more about "The Pagan Station" look at:
To have a listen go straight to:

Can I please get you to put a link to "The Pagan Station" on your site? Music is a great way to get our message across.
Please let me know Dave.
Cheers mate.
PS: If you feel so inclined there's some cool banners to flog on the "links" page of my site.

Webmaster's Comment : I have added your site to the Links section of this site.

November 2006

A book soon to be released, "The Faith"

Tier, 2006-11-18

I have recently completed a book which deals with theism, "God", "good" and "evil", Atheism, Anti-theism, why religion shouldn't be acceptable in society, etc. [To be published in the very near future]

"The Faith" is a direct view of religious ideology. It's an exploratory look inside religious dogma and the thoughts and notions of the idea of "God" therein. It's a direct challenge to religion and the long held notions and ideals of that which is held sacred. From blind belief to rationality, this book contains a vast picture of what religion is and has become throughout society, as well as many of those who would differ from religious belief. From historical accounts of religious acts, through to theological ideals seen throughout religious texts and practices, the basis of religion has been shown in such a way so as to make faith obsolete in a world of free thinkers. "The Faith" stands as a direct challenge to anyone who would attempt to legitimize religion as scientifically, or rationally sound.

July 2006

Religions don't cause conflict!

Jennifer, 2006-07-13

You need to understand that religious beliefs are not at the source of international disputes, conflicts between nations, instability or insecurity. Rather, the greedy ambitions of nation leaders seeking power, control over the country's ressources or territorial gain encourage hatred between ethnic groups, confusing national identity with religious affiliations and patriotism with faith. Corrupted leaders create cultures by associating ethnicity to religion in order to achieve their political goals. Isn't that what Milosevic did in former Yougoslavia? It's time to view these "religious conflicts" from a different perspective.

Webmaster's Comment : To say that religions do not cause conflict, one must be either sadly ignorant of history or in a state of denial, or both. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is an obvious example, and it cannot be reduced to nonreligious causes. Friction among Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Islam are also a deep-seated historical factor in (although not the unique cause of) conflicts in the Balkans. The observation that political leaders may exploit religious differences for their own ends only serves to underline—not excuse—the explosively dangerous nature of much religious belief. I strongly recommend that you take the time to read Fighting Words, The Origins of Religious Violence, by Hector Avalos.

April 2006


Larry Kueneman, 2006-04-09

I am pleased at my age to find a site with make-sense writing. I have devoted most of my life to the development of what I consider right thinking, and some results follow: Civilization was not the result of tribes coming together to live some 10 to 13 thousand years ago as we were all told in school. Civilization is the process of becoming human. And moral development -- outside of the fear that created gods (and therefore religions) -- is the process by which we may one day attain civilization. The obstacles to such an achievement are overwhelming. In fact they are so difficult to overcome as to seem almost intentional. However, these obstacles are the result of a couple of million years of superstition and ignorance, and the fear that the first two generate. Our early predecessors (the first thinking beings), when faced with the sun rising and falling, thunder and lightning, etc, had no concept of science, so of the "five serving men" of Rudyard Kipling, "what, when, how, where, and who", in the absence of science, only "what" and "who" remain. "What" would have been the event leaving only "who." And that, dear children is the origin of the gods.

February 2006


Dave Haines, 2006-02-22, responding to comments by the webmaster, 2006-02-08

Just thought I'd take a look to see if my comment had been considered. To my surprise it was published with a lengthy rebuttal. I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on the issue of the definition of faith. The only way that "belief in authority" has any connection with the definition of faith is if it is rephrased, "firm belief placed in an authority", authority being defined as "a person or organisation recognized as 'knowing the most' on a certain topic". In such a case, faith continues to be seen as, "firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete confidence; something that is believed especially with strong conviction." The 'something' in the above definition being defined as "an affirmation, a statement given as fact". At which point, you can see that Plutarch tells us that Theseus was the founder of Athens, if we "take his word for it" we are at this point placing our faith in an authority, placing our faith in Plutarch. I would say that it is of the most importance that when one places his faith in something whatever the object, that research is done to see if his faith is well placed, then to use your terms, our "unfounded religious faith" that what Plutarch said, is right, becomes "evidence based faith".

One final thing, so that "Atheism" be consistent with its definition, "the refusal to believe things (such as the existence of a highly particular supernatural entity) without basis. It is an absence of (unfounded) faith." Perhaps the term atheism should be changed to fit its definition. The word "Atheism" comes from the greek and means, essentially, "without God" (A - theos) or "no God" therefore my statement in my first message was well founded when I said that Atheism is putting my faith in any statement affirming, the "non-existance of any form of Deity". Perhaps a better term, to fit the definition given in the response would be something to the effect of, "A-Gnosis" or "Agnostic". The "affirmation (or belief)" that you can't know anything, or a precise definition, "no knowledge". This term fits better with the definition "the refusal to believe things (such as the existence of a highly particular supernatural entity) without basis. It is an absence of (unfounded) faith."

Webmaster's Comment : Thank you for your response. We are in complete agreement on the importance of research to determine whether our faith (or confidence) in a given authority is well founded. That is why I reject all supernatural beliefs, such as theisms, because investigation leads us to the conclusion that they are ultimately unfounded. In fact, religious authorities sometimes admit this at the outset, declaring that belief without evidence, e.g. faith in god, is a very good thing.
As for atheism, which can be defined as "without god(s)" or "without theism", it is the inevitable result of investigating the assertions of the various theisms and finding them to be baseless. I would certainly not call myself "agnostic", because there are some things that I can know beyond a reasonable doubt. I know, for example, that the three major monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are ancient mythologies with no valid evidentiary basis. And I recognize that there is no evidence to support any form of theism (i.e. belief in a personal god). That is enough to call myself an atheist. For a discussion, see Agnosticism and Atheism.

Defining our terms, correctly

Dave Haines, 2006-02-08

I was simply scanning your list of definitions, because as Thomas Hobbes said, in order to properly understand each other, we must define the terms, otherwise we could be using the same word and be saying completely different things. This is a necessity. However as I read the term "Faith" I was perturbed to see that it is not properly defined. If we want someone to take what we say seriously, we must not define terms in a sarcastic, biased way, but in a serious, practical way. This site has defined the term "faith" as follows:

"faith n.
* trust
* belief in authority
* belief in religious doctrines esp. as affecting character;
* belief in divine truth without proof; religion"

It is interesting that of these 4 suggestions, the only one that comes close to the proper definition is the first, "trust". The last two may be true in a more specific form of the word, as when refering to a persons religious faith, however they go no further than this. The 2nd idea is without basis, faith is not a belief in authority in any way, shape or form, in relation to authority, it may be considered as giving to a teaching for which no proof can necessarily be rendered.

A more accurate definition of the term faith, one which does not take religious practices into consideration, would be (quoted from Websters dictionary): "firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete confidence; something that is believed especially with strong conviction." The qualification for faith, is "believing without seeing." So, an adequate example would be a school history textbook. The student that reads it, is placing their faith in the author of that book, because the student cannot see the proofs for the "facts" which the author is presenting. Therefore the student is placing his faith in the author to correctly convey the information. Faith is not a religious practice, and does not define religion. Every time that a person sits on a chair that they have never sat on before, that person is acting in faith that the chair will support them. If I tell someone that I will meet them at a certain place at a certain time, I am making that appointment because I have faith that my mode of transportation will be able to carry me to my appointment on time. So you see, it is all well and good to say that faith is, "belief in divine truth without proof; religion," but if faith is defined as religion, Atheism is therefore "religion", because I am putting my faith in the "non-existance of any form of Deity." But I cannot say, without faith, that "God does not exist," because this is a statement that cannot be proved in any way, shape or form. In making such a statement, I am putting my faith in a belief (perhaps a desire or hope, that God does not exist), not believing a fact that is established. Faith must be defined as, "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." Under such a definition can be placed all religions, as well as Atheism.

Webmaster's Comment : Obviously you are far less concerned with the proper definition of words than you are with promoting that tired old nonsense about atheism being a matter of faith just like religion. The only reason I am publishing your remarks is because your error is unfortunately widespread and needs to be refuted.
If you had taken the trouble to read the page Basic Principles you would have learned that atheism, as it is defined on this site, is the absence of unsubstantiated belief, i.e. the refusal to believe things (such as the existence of a highly particular supernatural entity) without basis. It is an absence of (unfounded) faith. Atheism is simply the inevitable result of the application of healthy skepticism to the extraordinary claims of theists. To paraphrase Euclid, that which is affirmed without proof may be denied without proof. And the onus of proof is on those who make extraordinary claims.
The definitions given in the Glossary on this site are taken from several recognized dictionaries (see the references at the end of the Glossary page). For example, the second one, "belief in authority" is also the second definition given by the Pocket Oxford. And the definitions are devoid of sarcasm (but I make no such assertion about these comments).
Or you can open any English language newspaper or magazine or listen to any radio or television station and you will find the word "faith" used countless times daily to mean religious belief, or religious practice, or religious tradition. It would be more accurate if the expression "unsubstantiated faith" were used instead of the single word "faith", but the latter is preferred for brevity. It would also be preferable if the word "faith" meaning "religion" were avoided when referring to religions other than Christianity, or at least the three major monotheisms, since the concept of unsubstantiated faith is most appropriate to Christianity. Indeed, it is part of the Christian tradition to assign great merit to one who believes without reason, without evidence, and to denigrate those (such as "doubting Thomas") who insist on at least a little evidence.
As for non-religious faith, your observations are without merit. Non-religious faith is not baseless, but rather based on experience and evidence. I would call it "evidence-based faith" or, more succinctly "confidence" as a convenient way of distinguishing it from baseless religious faith. My confidence that the chair I am about to sit in will hold me is based on my previous experience with chairs and with my observations of other people sitting in chairs. Of course my confidence may sometimes be misplaced, and the chair will collapse, in which case I will learn to be more cautious. If I am confident that my friend will keep a date with me, that confidence is based on my knowledge of that person's previously observed behaviour. If I do not know the person well, then I will be much less confident. My confidence in the means of transport is also based on experience.
Even the assertions contained in a history book -- although much removed from everyday experience -- are subject to partial confirmation or refutation by knowledge acquired from other sources, such as histories written by other authors (such as those covering a neighbouring historical period), or geography (based on first-hand, second-hard or more indirect experience), or scientific knowledge (for example if anecdotes in the history book violate known physical laws), or the opinions of historians who merit our confidence for other reasons, etc., etc.
On the other hand, there are cases where a person may hold to a particular conclusion based on very scanty evidence or even none whatsoever, and when such a person persists in this habit (for example, having unshakable confidence in a person who has repeatedly betrayed them), then we sometimes describe their behaviour as a sort of "religion". And this metaphorical use of the word "religion" is indeed appropriate, because it refers to the baselessness of all religious (i.e. supernatural) beliefs.

January 2006

Hello from out west

Tim Underwood, 2006-01-27

I found your site while searching for Canadian content. My favorite quote is, "Anything that can be asserted without any evidence can just as easily be denied without any evidence." The responsibility for evidence has to be assigned to the first commentator. Atheists do have beliefs though. They can believe that belief in supernatural beings is immoral for instance. The only evidence for a belief, in the nonexistence of a supernatural creature, is the complete lack of any observable supernatural beings. In spite of the complete lack of any evidence for supernaturalism, there are plenty of books supporting the notion. There is just no truth in the printed word anymore. I hope you have some good clean fun with your site.

October 2005

Link exchange please!

Chris O'Connor, 2005-10-28

Please add BookTalk to your links page! We've had a link to your site on our Links page for a long time now. - the freethinker's book discussion community

Thank you! Chris O'Connor
PO Box 4624
Clearwater, FL 33758

Webmaster's Comment : I am pleased to add a link to your site from the Atheist and Secular Links section of this site.

June 2005

Broken Link: alternativebiblestories

Jim, 2005-06-17 is no longer working.
Anyone know where I can get this site's content? Or if it's moved to a new domain?
It was such a brilliant site! why was it taken down?

Webmaster's Comment : Sorry, I have no idea why the site is now off-line.

May 2005

RE: Kudos

Eric Peterson, 2005-05-24, responding to comments by Patrick O'Brien, 2005-03-23

Hi. I have been an atheist for about 1 year know. I was pretty much in the same boat as the person who wrote the "Kudos" comment. I was agnostic for about two years before that and questioned "god" since I was about 14 years old. Full conversion to atheism was eventual.

To my point: I enjoy your website very much and look forward to using it for my research. I am currently writing a book on atheism and its effects on society and culture (past and present). I basically think society as a whole should grow up and move on to bigger issues facing us. Thank you.

P.S. Something to laugh at. My parents are both conservative. One is a roman catholic and the other a protestant. Luckily we all get along and laugh at our unique differences.

Webmaster's Comment : Let us know how the book project goes!

April 2005

A missing link

Mike Conley, 2005-04-11

Your missing an important website that's not been registered up to now, namely mine;
There I treat religion, but also politics, war and peace.

March 2005

The harsh truth

The Lone Wolf, 2005-03-29

The only thing that I have to say to atheists is this.
If you don't want to believe in God and Christ then that is your own business, but otherwise, NONE of you have no idea of what you all will be up against or of what's coming on Judgement day.

Webmaster's Comment : I know that "Judgement day" is a silly old myth which some naive people choose to believe, but there is no basis for such a belief.
I have heard that, according to Christian dogma, all non-believers will, as a result of the wrath of "God", spend eternity suffering horrible torture in hell. In other words, if the Christian "God" exists, then he, she or it is so extremely and viciously cruel that Hitler and Stalin and Saddam Hussein look like bambi in comparison. Fortunately, there is not a shred of evidence to support the existence of such an all-powerful vicious psychopath.


Patrick O'Brien, 2005-03-23

Congratulations on an excellent site. Just recently plucked up the nerve to stop calling myself agnostic and state proudly that I'm an atheist. Your site will no doubt provide me with many cut and paste quotes to back up discussions with the religous.

I'd just ask that you improve the navigation a little as it is a little silly having to go back out to the TOC to change section. I'm a web designer by trade so if you want any help with that I would be willing to offer.

Webmaster's Comment : Thank you very much for the kudos.
The use of frames to display a Table of Contents persistently is a design choice that comes with a certain cost: the TOC consumes precious screen space and frames make the site difficult to navigate for the visually impaired.
With its current design, every page on this site contains, at the top, a set of links back to the TOC and every intervening level. A single click will get you back to the TOC. I think that that is neither silly nor too inconvenient.
I have considered offering the site in two versions: one with frames and one without. But the site lacks other features which are much more important. For example, there is a rich history of atheism, scepticism and freethought which dates back thousands of years and which should be documented in some detail on a web site such as this one. Now that would be worth the effort. If I could only find the time...

Link of possible interest

Herman Krieger, 2005-03-17

"Churches ad hoc: a divine comedy"
Satirical photo essay on churches in America
Herman Krieger

December 2004

Again about Atheistic Morality

Nicolas, 2004-12-12, responding to comments by Tony Wilson, 2004-08-03

I'd like to comment on Tony Wilson's intervention (August 2004) about atheistic morality.

First, I can't help being disappointed when a physicist claims being religious.

Second, I'm happy to see that atheistic morality as explained in this website (last question in FAQ) arises once more as unclear. I'm not saying this explanation is wrong, I'm saying it is incomplete and may seem frightening for most people. I had already let you (the webmaster) know in the past (march 2003 in the French section) how your description of atheistic morality disturbs me. If it had been clearer, maybe you wouldn't have had to argue with Tony Wilson, the physicist. I'm happy to see you admitting now that "Morality is a vast and difficult topic".

As Nietzsche pointed it out a long time ago, morality is relative. But nevertheless it is there! It is relative because it is the morality of human beings and we, human beings, couldn't live happily without it. There are indeed no clear rules. The Law is vague. But we feel the same about many issues, we often agree on what we find good and what we find bad. For example, do you think it is funny if someone is lying to you? No, it is unpleasant because this person is fooling you. We conclude that telling lies is no good.

Now why can we feel good by making people happy although we don't believe in anything else but matter? Because of empathy (as you mentioned quickly in your response). The compassion (which is the empathy for suffering) is a physiological process that human beings are able to do. Once a human being has become compassionate then he/she can be good without searching for his/her own interest (at least not a direct self-interest). For example, I have learned to like justice. So I think it is unfair that some people have nothing to eat while some have swimming pools. This has become a repugnant thought for me. I might now be able to die just if my death could make the world more just. And still, I know that, after my death, I will not get anything since I'm a materialist. I just couldn't stand living in a completely unjust world. It is difficult to see, in such a case, the "collective interest" that you mentioned.

To explain to people why they have to be moral without having to believe in a god is a fundamental problem. Probably the most crucial problem for the survival of the western civilization. Andre Comte-Sponville released a "Philosophical Dictionary". I recommend the reading of the definition of "Relativism", I think he tackles the problem in this definition.

Webmaster's Comment :
If you find my explanation of atheist morality incomplete, it is for two reasons:
Firstly, my explanation (in the FAQ) is intentionally a very brief response, answering a single question. A complete response could fill volumes.
Secondly, you have a very narrow and simplistic idea of what constitutes "self-interest". Where do you think compassion comes from? I submit that it is a highly evolved form of what Bertrand Russell called "enlightened self-interest". You say yourself that you might be willing to die in order to make the world more just -- in other words, to die for the "collective interest" which you apparently reject. (But please, do NOT do it! Sacrificing one's life for what one perceives to be justice is a hallmark of fanaticism.)

November 2004

Bible/Koran, etc. critiques

Dr. Richard Creamer, 2004-11-23

I would appreciate any suggestions on books which are scholarly and critical of the "Holy Books", especially the Bible. Can you recommend some?

Webmaster's Comment : Here are a few suggestions. I have not read all of these works, and I do not know whether you would qualify them all as "scholarly".

Dangers of religion

Asia, 2004-11-17

What exactly, are the dangers of religon?

Webmaster's Comment : Books and books could be (and have been) written in reply to your question. The short answer is this: Nonsense is not trivial; it can have disastrous consequences. To put it another way, falsehood has its consequences. Supernatural beliefs are nonsense, and when they are promoted and taken very seriously, as the various religions do, great harm can be done.
The idea that believing in god (or in a particular god as opposed to some other deity) makes one a better person is dangerous nonsense, because it implies that all those who do not worship that god are morally inferior.

Fundamentalism kills civilizations

JHF, 2004-11-06

The psychoreligionists are going to cause a civil war in the United States. We're going straight to hell in a handbasket... because of the republifundanazi churchgoers.

Webmaster's Comment : Indeed, in spite of the secular nature of the American constitution, the government of the USA has been hijacked by the Christian fundamentalist right.

September 2004

Atheism, skepticism, and this website

Quirinias0, 2004-09-13

This website was a nice find for me. I'm one of those non-believers who feels a bit "rudderless". Some years ago I chose to refer to myself as agnostic, but only because I prefered not to say atheist in front of people. A couple years ago I finally chose to define myself as an atheist in front of others when pressed, but I prefer not to define myself. I eventually felt that defining oneself as an atheist seems to link you to a larger set of beliefs that I wasn't sure I wanted to be associated with because I wasn't terribly familar with atheism. About six months ago I thought that perhaps I would define myself as a skeptic. However, I recently found out that Skepticism most definitely isn't just related to theology, but to science and politics as well. I still consider myself to be a theological Skeptic, but after reading through your "Basic Principles" section and other parts of your website I believe that I'm most definitely an atheist.

What I desire now is to interact with like-minded people, which is in part why I happened upon your site. Furthermore, I want to read books written by non-religious authors about atheism, religion, philososphy, and sociality. I've started with Cicero and am moving on may move onto Kant. However, I'd like more selection and request that this site add to the list of books at its "Atheism and Philosophy" books section.

On an online forum I frequent, I posted a question that may interest you. The question is worded in somewhat of a radical fashion because I wanted replies, but as I said in the post, I consider myself to be a moderate. Here is the question: "Could it be considered child abuse to force your child to go to a place of religious worship, whether it be a mosque, church, or whatever?"

Finally, I'd like to say that this website is well presented. The site is simple an efficient and the content is well organized and presented. Other than additions to the book suggestions, I only saw two other things that I'd comment about. First I wasn't able to find any info about the webmaster, which can be helpful when assessing the website content. Second, it would be more convenient if the table of contents was a persistant part of the navigation.

Webmaster's Comment : Thank you for your positive comments and constructive criticism. Yes the book section is far too small, but the resources required to expand the site (i.e. time!) are limited.
The question you ask about child abuse is an excellent one, and the appropriate answer, in my opinion, is often "Yes". You will be interested to know that Richard Dawkins asks (and answers) basically the same question in an article "Religion's Real Child Abuse" in Vol. 22, no. 4 (Fall 2002) of Free Inquiry magazine.

Psychological Insight

Newton Joseph, 2004-09-02


Just as Las Vegas has a gambling game to fit the taste of every gambler so too Christianity has a denomination that will fit the taste of every Christian. The pathology of the compulsive gambler is that while gambling they can shut out their contemporary problems and is willing to risk all of their money to do so. Those who remain in the religion of their families are also compulsive in their religion and get their neurotic needs met by familiarity as to not cause cognitive dissonance. When they find their religion no longer satisfies their psychological needs will join a denomination that fits their particular neurosis just as the gamblers will find the game that satisfies their neurosis. There are those who can step back and examine their religion with critical eyes for the first time—even if they do suffer from cognitive dissonance and can stay with it long enough until the new information becomes familiar, they will discover the psychology of change. When religion ceases to comfort one intellectually and psychologically they often become atheists.


Patrick O., 2004-09-01

Here is my original quote (as far as I know):
"Churches, social clubs for the superstitious."

August 2004

U.S. President and religion

David, 2004-08-20

A few weeks ago I saw research that "75% of the US population agreed with the President seeking religious guidance in his decision-making." Now I can't find it. Anyone know?

Webmaster's Comment : Sorry, I can't find a reference to that story. Can anyone else help?

Atheistic Morality—2

Tony Wilson, 2004-08-03, responding to comments by the webmaster

Thanks for your prompt posting and reply to my first message.

I don't think that you response really gets to the heart of the issue. Perhaps if I pose a number of specific questions then this might help me to make my point more clearly than my previous posting.

1. Do you you think that there is an absolute morality (i.e the same set of morals for all people at all times)? Or is morality relative (i.e. each society must choose its own definition of what constitues good and evil)?
My belief is that for there to be an absolute morality there must be an agency (I would call God) beyond the Universe that defines that moral code. This would have to be truly God (and not one arbitrarily made up by humans - like you say a 'god' of this kind can be made to define any moral code one fancies and is not God at all).
If God does not exist there can be no absolute morality. The majority of people in the Europe would not agree that the death penality is morally sound whilst the majority of US residents probably would. Who is right? In one hundred years the world will probably consider some things morally correct that we would now consider abhorrent.

2. How do you personally decide what is morally good?

3. (a) What do you do if you meet someone who holds a mutually exclusive moral code to your own (which perhaps curtails your own freedom of expression)?
(b) On what basis would you try to persuade this person that your moral code is superior? Or would you accpet that it is their right to choose an alternative code to your own and allow them to curtail your freedom?

Ultimately every intellectually honest atheist must reach the point where they realise that their own morality is arbitrary.

To make my point clearer - you have probably heard the description of a human being in terms of the constituent parts (40kg of water, enough carbon for 1kg of coal, enough iron to make six nails...). I then put all these constituent parts together in a big bucket and put it on a table and then sit a living human being next to it. You are given a flame thrower and asked to make a moral judgement about whether to torch the bucket or the human. Clearly (to me at least) it is more moral to annihilate the bucket. The atheist has no logical way to choose between the two; they are identically constitued articles (albeit that they are differently arranged). You will probably respond that the complexity of arrangement of the atoms in the human makes it more worthy of preservation. I would respond by saying that this is purely arbitrary for you to choose to value complexity over simplicity. You may instead say that you would not kill the human because you are human and you would not want someone to kill you. Again, this is a purely arbitrary form of morality that cannot be argued from first principles.

I come back to the point of my first posting. The honest atheist cannot defend any system of morality any more than I can hold myself up by my bootlaces. I stress again that this is not an argument for the existence of God it just points out that morality is simply a non-topic if God doesn't exist.

Webmaster's Comment :
Since you have not addressed all the points in my response to your first post, I feel no obligation to respond to all of your questions. As I explained, all gods are human inventions including yours. The Christian "God" does not constitute a special case replacing all other gods -- that is merely the arrogant pretention of every monotheism, to have found the "true God".

As for whether a particular moral code is relative or absolute, I would say that there is no such thing as an abstract absolute moral code independent of human decisions. But that point is not necessarily relevant to this discussion. What is relevant is that theistic morality is just as relative as atheistic morality. Why? Because theistic morality depends on an arbitrary choice of god about which nothing is known, and it is relative to the fictional will of that invented god. Even if one believes in the existence of a god, there is no objective way whatsoever to obtain knowledge of the moral code favoured by that god. I know as much as you or anyone else about the will of Jehovah, and I know nothing about it, except that it is invented by human believers.

As for your specious thought experiment about the flamethrower and the bucket of chemicals, I know which choice I would make, and I do not need a fictional supernatural policeman to enforce my choice. I rely on my own intuitive moral sense, just as each of us relies on other people's intuitive moral sense in day-to-day life. Empathy and atheism are fully compatible.

Atheistic Morality

Tony Wilson, 2004-08-03

I have stumbled across your website and found your comments interesting. Firstly let me declare my own personal bias. I am a Christian (having formerly been an atheist) and work as a professional physicist.

I take on board your comment about atheists being moral agents. I am sure that if one was to conduct a survey of morality and correlate this to worldview, I am sure that we would learn little apart from some people act in a morally superior way to others. We should probably find that there is little difference in the morals of those with theistic belief and those without.

So I am certainly not going to accuse any atheist of being less moral than me! I would like to question the basis on which you choose to define morality. It seems to me logically absurd to talk in terms of any form of absolute morality in the absence of a moral agent beyond the boundaries of our Universe. So this means that your form of morality must be a relative morality. If this is the case who decides what is and what is not moral? Is a moral action today an immoral one tomorrow if a majority in society decides it to be so? Is morality democratic? This path leads to utilitarianism (greatest good to the greatest number) but even this is relative. Who decides what 'good' is? I am sure that Western democracy has delivered many good things to many people, but exploited members of the Third World might choose to disagree - in the utilitarian model of morality their voice must be subjugated to the greater good of the majority. Is this morality? Once adrift from a system of absolute morality there can be no true morals. To choose a system of morals from an atheistic point of view is fundamentally dishonest (as Nietzsche was brave enough to admit over a century ago) and any attempt to do so is simply a unwillingness to let go of the benefits of a Judeo-Christian heritage.

Ultimately all forms of atheism, however framed (i.e. naturalism, existentialism, post-modernism etc., if honestly pursued to their logical conclusion, all end up as a variant of nihilism. Life ultimately has no meaning and there isn't any point in trying to construct your own meaning either. Sorry to sound so bleak!

I am the first to admit that just because the atheist world is bleak does not make it wrong and more than the converse argument about a theistic worldview. No, each worldview must be weighed according to its own internal logic and each person must decide for themselves.

As I read your website I feel that the logical endpoint of atheism has not been reached in your analysis. Thought provoking though!

Webmaster's Comment : Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I do not find atheism bleak at all. I find it mature. There is nothing dishonest about attempting to determine a moral code in the absence of theistic belief. (If Nietzsche really said that, then he was wrong on that point.) The "benefits" of Judeo-Christianity, such as they are, must be weighed against its significant and sometimes horrible disadvantages. And even if you conclude that the bottom line is positive (I do not) there remains the problem that theism is quite simply false. Further, you yourself admit that theists and atheists are probably similar in moral action. Thus theism is unnecessary as well. And by the way, your example of Third World exploitation is not valid because it involves the imposition of the will of a minority—not a majority—on the planetary scale.

Morality is a vast and difficult topic, but theism does nothing to solve the problem. In fact, it makes the situation worse by adding an arbitrary element. Gods are mythological creatures invented by human beings. You can invent whatever god you want and who is to say which one promotes "correct" morality? Some gods say it is good to kill others of a different race or religion. Some gods say we should love one another. One god says you must not eat meat on Fridays. Another says you must never eat meat. Some gods forbid abortion and/or homosexuality, but others disagree. Which god is right?

A character in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov promoted the idea that, if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. Well the situation is exactly the opposite: if morals are based on some mythological supernatural agent, then they become arbitrary. We can change morals by simply changing gods, or keeping the same one but making him, her or it say different things. After all, it is we humans (or our ancestors) who put words into the mouths of gods.

Deciding which morals are preferable is a difficult task but I can tell you who must decide: we human beings, collectively. The decision of which god to obey is made by humans. The task is made more straightforward by simply throwing out all gods (which obscure the issues with supernatural nonsense) and recognizing that we human beings must somehow decide how we will live together.

When a child grows up and becomes an adult, that adult must recognize his/her own responsibility for his/her actions and moral choices. Humanity must grow up and take responsibility for itself, casting aside childish myths.

February 2004


Paul F., 2004-02-16

I just wondered if you were aware of a new web site that presents an enlightening parody of classic children's bible story books. It's called Illustrated Stories from the Bible (that your pastor never told you). I think your audience would really enjoy the site. It's at

Webmaster's Comment : Thanks for the link!

Thank you

Gary, 2004-02-09

Thanks for the resource. When someone in a very religious family moves away from credulity he finds himself lonely, feeling he is alone to have these thoughts. This web site gives me hope that one day we'll all be together without religious barricades.

Webmaster's Comment : Thanks for your comments. You are not alone.

December 2003

Einstein Quote

Dwight, 2003-12-11

I know it is an unpopular opinion, but in this time in history, I agree with Einstein's view of not pushing his non-theism. As I used to believe that my religious faith was a private thing, so I now believe that my belief in the correctness of science and the childlike nature of religious belief is private. I would discuss it with anyone who asked, but would not proselytize to anyone if it was not openly sought by someone. Although my views have changed, I still respect the rights of people to believe as they wish. I will forever maintain that beating people over the head with your opinion never wins people to your side the right way. That should be left to zealots of all kinds, and not persued by intelligent, enlightened people. Maybe humanity will one day outgrow it's need to religious comfort, maybe not. It's not anyone's choice to make but the individual. The best thing that a morally fit non-theist can do is set a good example, the way I plan to do with my new baby girl. Ultimately, however, she will make the choice of how to believe.
Thank you for your time.

Webmaster's Comment :
The idea that one should refrain from open criticism of religious belief is certainly not an "unpopular opinion". On the contrary, it is far too popular. You are committing the classic error of confusing respect for the individual's right to believe, with respect for the belief itself. Your assertion that religion fills a need (what need?) and is comforting (the concept of eternal damnation is comforting?) is itself a dubious notion that needs to be examined. I would say rather that religious belief is a dangerous old habit which threatens the very survival of our species. And I would add that non-believers who would suppress criticism of such irrational beliefs—out of some misguided sense of "respect"—are part of the problem.

In the spring of 2003 I visited the Einstein exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. At the boutique near the exit, I picked up one of many books on Einstein where I discovered several pages devoted to Einstein's "theology". This was ridiculous, because Einstein had no theology. One visitor to this site referred to Einstein as a Christian, evidently ignorant of the fact that he was a non-practicing Jew and a non-believer. Einstein himself must be held partly responsible for these misconceptions, because he was less than forthright about his non-theism.

In my day to day life, I rarely discuss religious issues except with a few friends or colleagues who I know are interested. I wonder how you would define "proselytize" or "beating people over the head". Are you saying that any open criticism of religion is unacceptable, even morally unfit?

The best way we non-believers can respect the religious is to be honest with them, and that means that there need to be places where their beliefs can be placed under the lamp of rational examination. (This web site is small example of such a place. No religious person is forced to read what is written here. At any rate, the target readership of this site is atheists, not believers.) Complete self-censorship is not an attitude of respect; on the contrary, it is intellectual laziness.

How the terms "spiritual" and "religious" compare

Jon Alexandr, 2003-12-07

A query...
Many people in the so-called New Age movement -- or otherwise (and even some atheists) -- say something to the effect that "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual." I think that these terms are fundamentally related and are not very different from the perspective of someone who does not believe in the supernatural. I think people who say that they are not religious but are "instead" spiritual are making a false distinction to a nonbeliever. At best they are trying to distance themselves from a formal, bureaucratic structure. But I think that the underlying beliefs in the supernatural are virtually the same. And to a nonbeliever like me, the associated terms of "soul" or "essence" or -- yes -- "spirit" have their secular counterparts, such as "character" or "feeling" or "emotional nature." More to the point, it seems clear to me that almost all references to the former terms really refer to a person's emotional state -- at any given moment or over time -- as defined by their belief in the supernatural. Nonbelievers like me have similar feelings, or analogous feelings, or even the same feelings, but do not need or want to bring in references to the supernatural. The query is this: Does anyone know of a good published essay that focuses on the underlying connections between the two terms "spiritual" and " religious" as I present above? I would welcome your suggestions and references. (I'm sorry if I've overlooked something already present on this site.)
Thank you.

Webmaster's Comment : I recommend an article by Tom Flynn, "When Words Won't Die, A Dispiriting Proposal", which was published in Vol. 22, no. 3 (summer 2002) of Free Inquiry magazine. Unfortunately this particular article is not on-line. Flynn argues that, although the original usage of "spirit" may have included non-supernatural meanings, the word has, in modern English usage, become almost completely identified with religion and should therefore be abandoned by secular humanists. Any attempt to use it in a secular way runs the risk of causing misunderstanding and confusion. His article includes a long list of suggested alternative words, categorized by connotation.

August 2003

Spontaneous Creation of Information

Danner Omerick, 2003-08-06

Very Interesting Site.
Without intelligence, how does information spontaneously create itself?

Webmaster's Comment : What information?

June 2003

Does god exist?

Joe, 2003-06-25

Hi, I'm a christian.
There is a good debate (in 10 rounds) between a christian pastor and a radical atheist going on here and the topic is:
"Does god exist?"

Webmaster's Comment : What is a "radical" atheist?

May 2003

Military faith

Tony Keene, 2003-05-27

You may be interested to know that there is one entire department of the Canadian government that requires its personnel to participate in prayer and other religious ritual as a condition of employment. That is the Department of National Defence, or specifically the Canadian Forces. Military people are subjected to imposed, mass prayer under the leadership of Christian ministers on such occasions as the presentation of Colours to a Regiment, the commissioning of a ship, or such mundane events as the opening of a new building.

The most egregious example is the Cadet summer program, where they seem incapable of holding any parade or ceremonial event without ordering the children to remove their headdress for prayers, usually conducted by padres who are 100 per cent Christian in orientation. These kids are also subjected, each summer, to "Life Skills" counselling conducted entirely by Christian religious leaders, many of them officers serving in uniform.

My complaints and concerns over the past 25 years have been met with rejection, insult and threat. They get away with it by calling it tradition.

Promoting global atheism

Patrick Bens, 2003-05-14

This is an excellent site. Down in Miami we are sincerely trying to expand atheism deep into the Latin-American lower half. If you have Spanish and Portugese essays that will promote atheism and/or expose the dangers of religion, and/or you can translate said texts will you please lend us a helping hand?

Webmaster's comment: I strongly encourage your plans to promote criticism of religion and religiosity in Latin America. Pentecostal Christian churches are growing in number and influence at an alarming rate in that region, while the Catholic Church remains strong. Perhaps some visitors to this site could contribute texts and/or translations?
¡ Vaya sin dios !

I'm glad I found y'all

LittStrawberry, 2003-05-04

I need an atheist chat room. I love chatting with fellow atheist. Can you chat on this one. This new roadrunner has me all screwed up on aol you just went to the site. I need y'all. I'm surrounded by xtians help help lol

Webmaster's comment : Sorry, no chat here. Try some of the other sites listed on the Links page.