That atheists are immoral is a statement that we hear from theists constantly. Simply not believing in God automatically makes us immoral. The actions of atheist Communists in the 20th Century demonstrate that atheists are immoral. But is it an accurate viewpoint?
This is a site that shows dozens of secular/ atheist humanitarian groups. Christians are not the only people who help out their fellow Man. Christians do help, but often with strings attached.
If atheists are right, and god is simply a myth, then our disbelief, in and of itself, cannot make us immoral. Because that would make all people equally moral or immoral. However, as a society, we all tend to agree that certain behaviors are immoral. Genocide, murder, slavery, theft; these are all actions we currently consider immoral. First, it needs to be noted that not all people in all times have considered these actions to be immoral. However, in most societies today these are considered immoral actions. So, what makes these actions immoral to most everybody today? These are all actions that harm people. So, are all actions that harm people considered immoral? Oddly, no. There are many actions that people do that cause harm to others and are not considered immoral. For example, killing in self defense or times of war. Some cultures accept killing others because of passion, such as finding your spouse being unfaithful. What is intriguing about this is that it shows that immorality is not a cut and dried proposition. What some cultures consider immoral, others yawn at. Now this seems odd from the viewpoint that god has determined all acceptable behavior. However, from the perspective that people actually determine what is acceptable or not, it makes perfect sense.
It is also interesting that the Christian god has condoned many of these actions in the past. The bible makes no reference that slavery is immoral. In fact, it provides rules for owning slaves.
Exodus 21:1-4 "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself."
Deuteronomy 15:12-18 "And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him."
Exodus 21:7 "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do."Regarding the beating and killing of slaves, the Book of Exodus contains laws regarding punishment for the one who kills the slave as well as injunctions to avoid injuring the eyes and teeth.
Exodus 21:20-21 "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money."
Exodus 21:26-27 "And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake."The Book of Leviticus prohibited the harsh ruling over other Israelites, but that slaves could be taken from the Gentiles.
Leviticus 25:44-46 "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour."Also, in Leviticus, a distinction is made between the hired servant and the slave.
Leviticus 25:48-53 "After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him."Slaves were to undergo circumcision.
Genesis 17:13 "He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."
Genesis 17:27 "And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him."Female captives are considered spoils of war.
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her."
Deuteronomy 20:14 "But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself"The punishment for sexual activity with a female slave who is engaged consisted of animal sacrifice in the Temple. There is no comment on sexual activity with one who is not married or engaged.
Leviticus 19:20-22 "And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him."The Book of Numbers makes references to thousands of female captives who were to be given to the priests.
Numbers 31:28-47 "And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the Lord. And of the children of Israel's half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the Lord."
Mark 14:66 "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest."There were restrictions on reselling slaves. Apparently a Hebrew slave could not be resold.
Exodus 21:8 "If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money."If one were to purchase his own brother into slavery, laws in Leviticus prevent treating him as other slaves, but rather as a guest or servant. The Living Bible refers to "a fellow Israelite" rather than "brother."
Leviticus 25:39 "And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return."The Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy mention that the punishment for kidnapping an Israelite and selling them into slavery is punishable by death. And a debtor who could not pay back creditors could be sold into slavery or have his children sold.
Exodus 21:16 "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death."
Deuteronomy 24:7 "If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you."
II Kings 4:1 "Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen."Slaves could, themselves, own slaves. Saul's slave Ziba owned 20 slaves of his own: 2 Samuel 9:10: "...Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants."
The Sabbath applied to slaves as well.
Exodus 20:10 "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates."The New Testament did not forbid or alter the institution of slavery, nor did it improve their conditions.
1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:11 "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."
Murder has been condoned by the Christian God many times in the past. This is one of the reasons we say the bible is inconsistent. Christians tell us that if we only followed the 10 Commandments, then we would have a wonderful society. One of the 10 Commandments says "Thou shall not kill". However, God then gives a multiple of reasons to kill throughout the Bible. The commandment was not "Thou shall not kill, unless I say otherwise", it was a straightforward rule that we should not kill others. Why would God give a rule and say not to kill people, but then turn around and tell people to kill others all the time? Here is a thought; the bible was written by men and it is not the inspired word of an all knowing deity.
"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
Did Communists kill in the name of atheism? This is a bizarre claim of theists. Communists killed in the name of their state totalitarianism. Theist totalitarian governments also kill in the same manner. The issue here is that any totalitarian government is bad, not just atheist ones.
Atheists get divorced at lower rates than Christians, especially Evangelical Christians. Many Christians try to rationalize this but it is clear that a true follower of Jesus can neither divorce someone nor marry someone who is divorced. There is an exception to the rule, however. If a spouse commits adultery, divorce is permissible. On the same token, the Bible also says that anyone who obtains a divorce and marries another is an adulterer. Remember that 80% of this country is Christian yet we have a 50% divorce rate. A majority of divorces are a result of irreconcilable differences, not adultery, which implies that Christians are again practicing selective morality. How many Christians are working on a second, third or fourth marriage?