The Right Opinion

Evangelicals Against God

By Terence Jeffrey · Dec. 19, 2012

I was driving near the Washington Beltway recently behind an evangelistic atheist. It was not the Obama-Biden bumper sticker that gave this driver away, but the one just below it: “You don't need God – to hope, to care, to love, to live.”

That seemed an oddly defensive bit of secular scripture, and since the bumper sticker also promoted a website (, I decided to see what the Godless were preaching.

“We who are nonreligious lead meaningful lives without reliance on the supernatural,” said the website.

“Moreover, we who are nonreligious don't believe our lives lack meaning because there is no God to supervise and direct them for all eternity,” said the site. “Frankly, we like the fact that no plan is imposed on us by some immensely powerful being; we create our own meaning.”

This website, it turned out, was a project of the Center for Inquiry, which proclaims on its main website that it has a “mission.” “To oppose and supplant the mythological narratives of the past, and the dogmas of the present, the world needs an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values,” it says. “The Center for Inquiry is that institution.”

The center's first goal: “an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy.”

Of course, the center has its own public policy positions. Lower marginal tax rates? A balanced budget? Not quite.

In a position paper titled, “The School Voucher Crisis,” the group explains why school choice is bad for America. “Most religion-based private schools are unfriendly toward women's rights, reproductive choice and LGBT rights and interests,” it says. “Vouchers would deal these interests a severe blow.”

Presumably, good public schools teach children the correct positions on these things. And what would those be?

For starters, “There is no evidence that consensual sex between adolescents is harmful,” says the center's position paper titled, “The Importance of Appropriate Sexuality Education.”

“The public schools, supported by government policy and funds, should teach comprehensive sexuality education,” says the paper. “Government policy that promotes the expectation of abstinence until marriage is based on religious ideology, not science, and is neither in the best interests of youths nor reflective of the wishes of the citizenry.”

Consistent with this view, the center believes the government should compel taxpayers to fund other people's “family planning” – including other people still in their teens and in foreign nations.

“Family planning services in this country should be publicly funded for those who cannot afford them, including adolescents,” says the center's “Public Health and Contraception” position paper. “The United States should provide its fair share of funding for family planning services worldwide through the United Nations and/or directly to countries requesting aid through organizations which have proven to be effective.”

In its position paper on “Same-Sex Marriage – and Marriage,” the center argues that in an ideal world there would be no marriage, only civil unions. But, as long as “marriage” exists, it must include same-sex couples.

“We should be able to make publicly recognized arrangements ensuring that committed couples, heterosexual or homosexual, receive all the benefits – legal, economic and social – that marriage now automatically entails, but without its historical baggage or the name that implies stereotyped roles,” says the paper. “Thus, all unions would be civil unions. 'Marriage' would still be available to couples who want the name, but it would not confer additional benefits.”

Perhaps the center's most telling position paper addresses embryonic stem cell research. The group does not favor licensing the deliberate destruction of all homo sapiens, so where does it draw the line?

“We maintain that the scope of morality, which is a set of practices that ultimately relies on reason instead of force, should presumptively include all beings who are capable of reasoning and, therefore, capable of being influenced by moral norms,” says the position paper.

“Our children embody our hopes and aspirations, and assuming a moral community has a desire to survive for more than one generation, its children are the key to its survival,” it says.

“So children who are wanted and intentionally gestated are entitled to the protection of our moral norms even when they are too young to be capable of reasoning,” it says. “However, embryos that are designated for research use are, by definition, not entities that are, or have the potential to become, children and members of the moral community. Nor do they possess consciousness or rationality or any of the other characteristics that might entitle an entity of membership in the moral community. Accordingly, the fact that their genetic composition may be similar to members of the moral community does not, by itself, entitle these entities to the protections of our moral norms.”

Tactfully preached in the passive voice, this doctrine teaches that one human being can decide how to use another even if it means terminating the other's life. Those who are “wanted and intentionally gestated are entitled to the protection of our moral norms.” Those “designated for research” are not.

These evangelists against God would give the most innocent of human beings no chance at all to hope, to care, to love, to live. It is a very dark creed they preach.



wjm in Colorado said:

The Center For Inquiry, another marxist statist aberrant group of useful idiots, voting for their own slavery and the destruction of the Constitution and America. They are just as bad as Jihadi islamists, and just as treasonous. What a group of subhuman filth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Danny Handelman in Ottawa ON replied:

Slavery currently exists in the US in the form of partial or complete disenfranchisement of those under the age of 18, non-citizens, most felons, many ex-felons, and the residents of the District of Columbia and the five inhabited territories. The constitution can be interpreted however the reader prefers. If the document is intended to protect individuals from the state, I don't see how the American populace closer to possessing perfect information will increase the ability of the state to restrict individual liberty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Daniel Schealler in New Zealand replied:

@wjm and Danny

Neither of you should be so casual throwing around the term 'slavery'.

Actual slaves had their children taken away against their will and sold as property. This is one of the reasons why the slave population in America was able to grow - conditions were good enough that enough slaves survived to breeding age, allowing for profit in the form of trading of children born to slavery.

Plantation-farm slaves lived under the alternate horror of of having daily working conditions so abysmally poor that not enough of them survived to breed, requiring a steady import of fresh slaves to replace dead workers.

The reality of slavery is horrific in ways that I can't claim to entirely grasp - but even my shallow understanding is enough to inform me that the way you two casually throw the word around is seriously messed up and trivializing to the still-unnervingly-recent history of chattel slavery in the west.

Slavery isn't a concept to be invoked lightly.

Please stop doing that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:39 PM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri replied:

Uh, what:?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Daniel Schealler in New Zealand replied:

Using the term 'slavery' is a common hyperbole - but it is always used to refer to something that is not actually slavery.

Doing so undermines the horrible-ness of what slavery truly is/was. It's minimizing and insensitive to throw it around casually.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Daniel, you socialist tool, those who are doomed to a life dependent on government handouts in the American Ghettos are worse off than the owned slaves of History. We in America can recognize slavery to the man for a pitiful existence, while you socialist tools in New Zeland can't quite comprehed Freedom. I abhore the slavery our new marxist Democrat Party holds on thier electorate. I don't throw it out casually, it is real and it is horrible.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY said:

"We maintain that the scope of morality, which is a set of practices that ultimately relies on reason instead of force, should presumptively include all beings who are capable of reasoning and, therefore, capable of being influenced by moral norms,"

I noted that that just about each of their positions require Government funding. So it is not immoral to take the fruits of labor from one person (by the same force which they object to)and give it to another based on the fact that the latter has none? If these folks are so intent on creating a technocracy (that is a society ruled by scientists), then perhaps they themselves should be donating the lions share of funds.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA said:

"Those who are "wanted and intentionally gestated are entitled to the protection of our moral norms." Those "designated for research" are not."
Right out of the book The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, Marlaine Delargy (Translator)

The book details a world where women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Eppur in Michigan said:

Apparently, Mr. Jeffery thinks there is nothing particularly dark about forcing women to be incubators, providing false information to children under the guise of religious dogma, a god who "ensouls" embryos and conception and then kills the majority of them (70% of all conceptions spontaneously abort or fail to implant), or religious ideologies which externalize blame and responsibility by teaching that humans are incapable of acting morally without fear of eternal torture. And CFI is supposed to be dark? I also note that he has no challenge to the facts of the matter such as the lack of evidence that premarital sex is harmful or that comprehensive sex education is damaging. I'd say CFI seems to be lighting a candle in the dark compared to his ideology.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Birth control is readily available to anyone who needs it but some like Sandra Fluke believe the taxpayers should pay for it. Sex education is a parental responsibility and not the schools or the government. It doesn't matter if you are religious or not some things are just not moral. When pre-marital sex results in having chlldren you can't take care of and it results in being on welfare that becomes a burden on the taxpayers to take care of these children. That is a direct correlation between cause and effect. It's people with a total lack of morals that will be the downfall of this once great nation. Apparently there is nothing in the liberals world that is immoral to include aborting viable fetuses. Moral values of hard work, being responsible for your actions, taking care of your own, and helping others when you could was a set of values that worked quite well until the liberals decided the government should be the one who decides what moral and what is not. You and others of your ilk don't have the right to tell me or anyone else what we should teach our children. Typical bashing of religion because Christians make easy targets in today's world of secular progressive government knows best ideology. What a despicable way to live with the government making your decisions for you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

Given that 1) the onset of sexual activity is roughly the same regardless of the religion or political conservatism of the region or family of origin and 2) the U.S. has vastly more teen pregnancies than any other industrialized nation and 3) the only difference between these countries and the U.S. is the availability of comprehensive sex ed... most responsible and knowledgeable individuals can only conclude one thing: if you want to reduce unwanted pregnancies (who sap your tax money, which is apparently the only thing you care about) then providing such sex ed and contraception is the only realistic way to achieve this goal. Also given that 1) the primary source of teens' info about sex is from peers, not parents and 2) the consequences of unsafe sex and teen pregnancies are not limited to the individual teen but are social in scope therefore this is NOT a family morals issue but a public health issue. I do have a right to tell your children what is factually true or not and parents don't have a right to give false information to children about scientific matters pertaining to empirical data. How ironic that libertarians' idea of "freedom" really translates into "to control our families, women, children, money while using religion to dictate how others should live".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

No you don't have the right to tell my children one damn thing. It's not just the money spent on children born to single mothers, its the harm it does to society. Study after study has shown these children are more prone to commit crimes, drop out of school, and eventually become welfare recipients themselves. We have had sex education in the schools for years now and unwanted pregnacies are still occuring. Where do you get this BS about parents giving their children false information? One of the governments biased studies that are meaningless? I noticed you had to get in your dig at religion. According to liberals, religion is the basis for all the evils in the world. Next thing you'll be telling us what to believe and completely contradicting your statement about using religion to dictate to others how they should live. That is your basis for scientific matters and empirical data.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Danny Handelman in Ottawa ON replied:

You are citing a correlation rather than a causation; the same conditions which are associated with having children out of wedlock are associated with those who have relatively little formal education and low economic status, which is consistent with crime rates. Given the fact that the states which direct their electoral college votes to Republican presidential candidates tend to have a higher frequency of children resulting from pre-marital sex and greater religiosity, and given the Republicans advocate for less government intervention, wouldn't that suggest that more government intervention is needed, and less religious intervention, to reduce the number of children resulting from pre-marital sex?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Why should the taxpayer have to fund programs to assist people who make bad choices and then don't take responsibility for their choices?. If government is the answer then why are we in this situattion? Shouldn't the problem have been solved by now? Lack of an education and low economic status is who's fault? Surely you don't suggest that it occurs only in states who vote Republican? Chicago comes to mind when talking about education and its in a Democratic state. If your going to make statements about religion and Republican's then back them up with facts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:04 PM

JR in Mountain Grove replied:

Pray for Eppur: he misunderstands! It is not God who "ensouls emrbryos" and then kills them. People do that! If fear of eternal torture were the reason for loving God, He wouldn't want human love. The word "awe" in the Scripture does not mean fear, but awe as we feel when we gaze at a mountain, or the Grand Canyon. Premarital sex is harmful in too many physically and psychologically ways to list, in an article that was not about it. "Comprehensive sex education" wouldn't be damaging, for an appropriate age group, provided it were actually comprehensive, exposing the actual pros and cons of human choices. CFI represents a group of miserables looking for company and government imposed mock (hypocritical) social approval.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

Um if you want me to believe that a god exists who lovingly creates all life at conception and that is equivalent to an adult human person, then explain to me why god then spontaneously aborts and wipes out the majority of persons. This is precisely the type of scientific fact that exposes religious moral views as being lacking in.. well... reality. Again, its factually false that any premarital sex is psychologically damaging. look up the studies. Why is it that these "psychological effects" are lacking in societies that don't stigmatize early (female) sex? what a crock that conservatives set up a stereotype then point to the feelings it engenders as evidence of the reality of the effects. And finally, if you say you are against teen pregnancy and abortion, but say that you are also against birth control, you have no right to participate in a reality based dialogue. Every other industrialized nation has a fraction of teen pregnancies and abortions as the U.S. So according to you that is a "moral outcome". So why do you not want to adopt the specific policies that enable them to achieve that outcome? They have comprehensive sex ed and available contraception. Thats how they do it. You can either choose high numbers of abortions or you can choose your ideology about sex ed. you can't have both.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado replied:

No one is trying to make you believe in God, Eppur, you certainly have a high opinion of yourself. You also certainly enjoy telling everyone what your rights and their rights are. Seems you have a God complex to deal with. "Look up the studies?" If you are so sure of your position why can't you just provide the proof for your thesis? Just lazy?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

That's classic. your buddies can assert all sorts of things like "premarital sex is psychologically damaging" and "abstinence works best" and you don't raise a finger but if i say "look at the studies" you call me arrogant. i was not citing them because i know you wouldn't look them up anyway but you can start with NM Else-Quest, Hyde JS, DeLamater JD. Context counts: long-term sequelae of premarital intercourse or abstinence. J Sex Res. 2005;42:102–112, which demonstrates that any negative psychological correlates of early sex are due to third variables, not the sex itself. As far as the lack of effectiveness of abstinence sex ed, there are too many studies to mention including the massive one by the Mathematica institute and Bruckner and Bearman's (2004) study of pledge programs. There is ample evidence that the availability of contraception together with comprehensive sex ed does reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancy, teen births, and abortion rates, as can be seen by even a passing glance at international comparisons of those factors. As Cahn and Carbone (2007) and (Strayhorn, 2009) have pointed out, the rate of unwanted pregnancy is higher in conservative areas and lower in liberal ones. And a recent study by Peipert et al., (2012). entitled "Preventing unintented pregnancies by providing no-cost contraception in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology demonstrated, abortion rates in areas where no cost contraception is available, un-intended pregnancies were lower. Now you were saying something about evidence? oh wait, you have "abstinence is the best method" on your side. how defeated i am.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Brian in Newport News replied:

How ignorant you are. Forget the emotional toll on young teens that have multiple sexual partners before marriage. Have you not heard of STD's? And if a woman does not want to be "an incubator" perhaps she should practice the only 100% reliable birth control method: abstinance!

You know, a whole host of problems and costs are alleviated by practicing abstinence outside of the marriage bond: teen pregnancies, abortions, birth control costs, etc. It is a documented FACT that chidlren who grow up in a two parent (male-female) home are significanlty less likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.

See, and I did not even need to invoke God to support any of this!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Danny Handelman in Ottawa ON replied:

Two-parent households are, on average, of higher economic status, which explains why offspring from these households have lower crime rates as adults than one-parent households.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

STDs are higher in the puritanical U.S. than in any other industrialized nation. why? not because our kids are any more sexually active, but because those other nations take precisely the opposite approach that you do with your "abstinence works" unsupported b.s. The only emotional toll that premarital sex causes is that produced by the dissemination by people like you that the sex MUST cause emotional damage. there is no evidence showing that the sex itself causes this. Perhaps you could also explain why the divorce rate is higher for fundamentalist christians than for the nonreligious, thus producing more of the non two parent families you decry. Oh wait, we know why. its because low age of marriage is the strongest predictor of divorce. if you really wanted more two parent families you would support greater spending on education and contraceptive programs, as higher education is the strongest predictor of later age of marriage. Again sir, look at the evidence, not in your dogma.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Where is the data saying fundamental Christians have a higher divorce rate than the non-religious?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

Well if the pew forum on religion and public life's religious landscape survey from 2008 chapter 3 pg. 67 showing that the divorce rate for evangelicals (13%) and mainline protestants (12%) is higher than atheists and agnostics (10%) is not enough for you, you can look at such radicals as the Barna christian survey site which has basically the same finding.
Hey mac at least the "faggots" aren't responsible for out of wedlock births, so count your lucky stars, you moral man.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM

India in GA replied:

"forcing women to be incubators"

LOL... and that's where I quit reading.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Tad Petrie in Westerville, OH said:

I got a cold chill reading the part about a "moral community's" children being it's key to survival! Where in the hell do these people come from?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

My mother has been in heaven since 1984 but she used to say, "the new morality is the old immorality dressed up to fool people" How right she was. The rules for a satisfying, good, moral and edifying life was laid out in The Book ages ago. The rules have not changed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Daniel Schealler in New Zealand replied:

Before the Good Book made us good, there was no good way to know
If a thing was good or not that good or kind of touch and go
So God decided he'd give writing allegoric prose a go
And so he wrote a book and it was generally well-received

The Telegraph said, "This God is reminiscent of the Norse."
The Times said, "Kind of turgid, but I liked the bit with horses."
The Mail said, "Lots of massacres, a violent tour de force.
If you only read one book this year, then this one is a book
And it is good, and it's a book!"

Swing your daughter by the hand
But if she gets raped by a man
And refuses then to marry him
Stone her to death!

- Tim Minchin, The Good Book

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Brian in Newport News said:

Public, secular schools should only be teaching reading, writing, 'rithmatic, history and the sciences. "women's rights, reproductive choice and LGBT rights and interests" should be dealt with at the family level just like all other social issues should be. To do otherwise is to indoctrinate our children, not teach them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Danny Handelman in Ottawa ON replied:

There is overlap between "social issues" and reading, writing, arithmetic, history and science. The term "family" can include the community, which would include the school. Are you of the opinion that parents do not indoctrinate children?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Army Officer (Ret) in Kansas said:

If one is looking for logical consistency among atheists one will wait for eternity. Moral Law without a moral law-giver is an oxymoron. I wouldn't mind their shallow-minded prattling so much if they would stop using words like: good, bad, right, wrong, should, ought, etc.. Any atheist who uses those words in an ethical/moral context is exposing one of two things (or usually both):

1) Ignorance, if he/she doesn't understand that their belief that "there is no God" does not mean that they get the job.

2) Hypocrisy, if he/she does understand that and pretends like it does anyway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

Actually atheists have been found to be more logical and analytical than the religious who are more intuitive (Gervais & Norenzayan, 2012; Pennycook et al., 2012). So if "shallow minded" can be taken as "less intelligent" its the opposite; atheists have higher IQs and more education than the religious. But referring specifically to morality Army Officer also has it backward, a morality based on logic and reasoning is much less arbitrary than one based on authority, scripture, or consensus. Why is fill in the blank wrong to an atheist? because its either not something i wish you to do to me or because it has some demonstrable negative effect. Why is something wrong to religious types? because.... god says so. now which is more arbitrary? Could god make slavery, the murder of children, rape, or genocide moral? well yes, according to the bible, he does. So how does citing an external metaphysical source make morality more objective? so its the opposite, morality with a law giver is not ethics, thats just obedience to an arbitrary authority. Whereas a morality based on something non divine like a golden rule is based on the principle of non contradiction, thats perfectly rational: don't do anything you wouldn't like others to do. So please, take a course in ethics and logic first.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Liberals love to rewrite history and psychology books, then site their own works as fact. You are so deluded, but thanks for another stellar example of the insane marxist staits mind. Rot in Hell Traitor.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Eppur in Michigan replied:

ok so in other words, i have data, you have none, so I'M the one citing myself? wow. breathtaking. See.... here's the thing about scientific articles.. they have this thing called actual data. and you can look it up yourself. And if you don't have data. then you have to go crawl back into your troll cave. thats the way adults interact in science. its why you have gadgets instead of stone tablets. might want to take a science class out and try it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Daniel Schealler in New Zealand replied:

"Moral Law without a moral law-giver is an oxymoron"

Not exactly - I think you're going for "Moral Law without a moral law-giver is absurd and incoherent." An oxymoron is typically snappier than that - something like 'dark light' or 'Microsoft Works'.

Anyway, this atheist (I do not speak for all) agrees with you in a sense: Moral law requires an intentful agent (or agents) to devise and enforce it. I'd agree. The difference is that I think we are those agents - that morality is a broad cultural construct that is neither subjective nor objective, but that draws from elements of both subjectivity (values and goals) and objectivity (consequences of actions) in its formation and melioration.

For me, moral law is very much analogous to temporal law. Temporal law is formed by (for example) parliaments. Moral law is a bit fuzzier as it is more of a bottom-up process (thus breaking the analogy a bit), but that's why we have moral philosophers and literature and stories and culture.

Just because you and I disagree on the metaphysical assumptions behind concepts like 'good', 'bad', 'right' and 'wrong' doesn't mean that either of us should stop using them. It just means that we both need to be a little bit clearer, try a little bit harder to understand the other person's point of view, and also strive to be a bit more self-aware as to the limitations and extent of our own biases and assumptions.

As for your 1) or 2): If we want the world to be looked over by beneficent consciousnesses, and if we also accept that there are no divine beings looking out for us, then it follows that there's no-one left to pass the buck to. So we need to start doing a better job and work to become beneficent ourselves. No-one else is coming to clean up our messes for us - and all we have to fall back on is each other.

If there's any hypocrisy in this view of how we should treat each other and why, I'm clearly too biased to notice it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Jim in Thorndale Texas replied:

Daniel: Thank you for stating some of the issues in discussion more clearly and respectfully. I am of a different set of metaphysical assumptions than you, being of Christian, specifically Lutheran, persuasion. The moral law that we are debating in some respect is part of the created order of things. That is why one who believes and one who is a non-believer can perceive the existence of right-and-wrong whether it is based in a person only or in God who creates the person. The core moral impulse of the Biblical narrative is to love God and others. Because we struggle with how best to do this in every situation we find much opportunity for disagreement - even deadly disagreement. There is a need for a chastened attitude on all our parts as we pursue this. Eppur is wrong in my opinion when he declares the all powerful use of reason. It is of great help. Yet it is finally limited in its capacity. Again, thank you for your comments. Please excuse any slight that my bias may have given. In the end Biblical Christian thought is about more than the pursuit of moral rectitude. It is also about the rescue from failure and meaninglessness.

Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Hank in Texas said:

The Bible says watch out for them that say evil is good and good is evil. How did the writers from 2,000 years ago know about the Center for Inquiry?

Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM