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  1. #21
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I know the OP sounds like a silly question, but there are a lot of reasons to ask it. I've been religious and I remember thinking that atheists are fundamentally different in a way that is frightening. Being non religious now, there are people I can't trust, because to them I am just somebody to convert. If those are the types of people you've run into, and if you've had bad experiences, you would wonder...
    Right, of course there are religious people like that. But they are not all like that...

    Just like not all atheists think people of faith are idiots.
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  2. #22
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    Again - anyone can be decent in actions, I am asking about intent. An atheist doesn't necessary have a persistent all-encompassing ulterior motive for being good - a religious person does.
    Are you talking about altruism specifically?

    Regardless, I think you must first answer your question in a general fashion. Determine whether any people can be genuinely decent.

  3. #23
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Right, of course there are religious people like that. But they are not all like that...

    Just like not all atheists think people of faith are idiots.
    Agreed, it's good to have confirmation.

  4. #24
    A Gentle Whisper ~MS*ANGEL~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I know the OP sounds like a silly question, but there are a lot of reasons to ask it. I've been religious and I remember thinking that atheists are fundamentally different in a way that is frightening. Being non religious now, there are people I can't trust, because to them I am just somebody to convert. If those are the types of people you've run into, and if you've had bad experiences, you would wonder...
    The sentence that I bolded: I'm sorry to all non-religious people who have had to experience that with those who are religious. People have a right to exercise their free will however they want.
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  5. #25
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morning Star View Post
    The sentence that I bolded: I'm sorry to all non-religious people who have had to experience that with those who are religious. People have a right to exercise their free-will however they want.
    This has nothing to do with free will. Some people make their relationships contingent on similarity of religious views and are within their right to do so. Qlip and everyone else is within their rights to stay away from such people.

  6. #26
    A Gentle Whisper ~MS*ANGEL~'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    This has nothing to do with free will. Some people make their relationships contingent on similarity of religious views and are within their right to do so. Qlip and everyone else is within their rights to stay away from such people.
    Well, what I was trying to say was that no one should have others' beliefs forced onto them. I should have been clear my apologies!

    I'm just going to shut up now before I say anything else that's stupid...
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  7. #27
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morning Star View Post
    Well, what I was trying to say was that no one should have others' beliefs forced onto them.
    Yes, I gathered that and it is exactly what I'm criticizing. I'm not sure where people get this notion that holding certain beliefs and having a desire to convert others to those beliefs merely through social interaction equates to forcing your beliefs on other people.

  8. #28
    metamorphosing Flâneuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morning Star View Post
    Cool, but I'm kind of stumped as to why, of all well-known secular people, they would pick Bill Gates as the example of an ethical person.

    .........

    Anyway, to actually answer the question in the OP, I think there are many good religious people who act out of genuine love and kindness towards others, not just because their religion tells them to or because they want to be rewarded by God for their moral behavior. When I was a Christian I never treated life as a game to win points towards winning the desired afterlife. I considered good deeds and the enrichment they bring to others' lives to be important in themselves, and when I stopped believing in God that didn't change.

  9. #29
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    Mostly no.

    However, there are some innate/gut emotions and instincts common to all humans which religious people will also have. Love and kin selection are good examples.

    The motivation behind the more personal choices and actions of any given individuals is unlikely to be shaped by their learned beliefs as much as it is their personality, emotions and life experiences. Ideology determines your view of greater society, and has a greater influence on your conscious, rational actions than anything emotional. So whether somebody decides to give money to charities, and even more which ones they decide to give money to, is likely to be determined by religious beliefs (or lack of them). Whether the individual gives money to his own family members, by contrast, is not.

    However, i don't think that anyone can be "genuinely decent", because beyond a few basic thou-shalt-nots there isn't any one way of being virtuous. It is different for everybody.

  10. #30

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    I think the OP's question is flawed because it seems to posit that only religious people might have an ulterior motive for kindness. Is it any "worse" to be kind in order to honor your God than it is to be kind in order to curry favor at work or try to impress someone in your personal life? No. Besides, I would say that someone who does the right thing for the wrong reason is still doing more good than someone not doing the right thing at all.
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