Ethics and Religious Upbringing
Articles
100


Agatha writes that I gained an ethic based on religious
upbringing which I guess proves that you can gain
meaningful ethics and value from a religion without believing in
its literal truth. I don’t deny that. I would say I gained a lot of morals and
ethics because of my religious upbringing.
My parents raised me as a religious believer. And yeah, that was the framework for a lot of my,
you know, ethics and morals growing up. No one– I don’t think any atheist would deny that
you can learn a lot of really great things from religion. But I don’t think that has anything to do with
whether or not that religion is true. And I would argue that if you believe in something–
if you believe that, you know,
you shouldn’t steal, what– what was really more ethical?
Is it more ethical to say: “Don’t steal from someone else because God’s
watching you and he’s going to be angry?” or is it more ethical to teach someone, you know,
“Don’t steal from someone else because you wouldn’t
want them to steal from you.” “And if all of society acted that way and we were all
stealing from each other, like, our society would
practically collapse.” To me it makes much more
ethical sense to teach someone
to do the right things for the right reasons, instead of saying, you know, “God’s watching and you’re
going to go to hell if you don’t do what we say.” And the problem is,
when it comes to certain issues, religion really isn’t ethical.
I don’t think it is ethical to tell someone: “If you kiss someone, if you have
sex before marriage, you’re condemned.” Or “If you use the birth control pill,
God’s going to be angry.” So, it’s not like religion has
the right answer on a lot of ethical issues, too. One thing I also realized that,
you know– When I became non-religious, when I dropped my faith, this is one of
the questions I had to– to consider, which is: I learned to be
a good person in part because of
my religious upbringing. But could I still justify all my thinking, all my ethics,
all my morals. Could I still justify them outside of the
framework of God? So, okay, I used to do this thing because
I thought God wanted me to do it. But, does it still make sense even outside of that?
I mean, we made a video about this before, but I was a vegetarian because of
my religious upbringing. And after I stopped being religious,
I really did have to ask myself, you know, well I don’t eat meat,
but should I not eat meat even though I know God’s not
going to be upset if I do? And I could basically convince myself, “Yeah, I think
there are a lot of ethical reasons not to eat meat.” Cool. So, I could
justify it for myself. And I think all atheists kind of go through
that phase if you, at least, become an atheist where a lot of those thoughts you had
that were steeped in religion you gotta rethink
how it all works. I remember Julia Sweeney
in her show “Letting Go of God,” she said, you know, if God– if I don’t believe in God anymore,
what is holding the planets in the air? It’s like, “Oh, right, gravity.” Like there’s good
reasons to believe in stuff, even outside of religion. So, no one’s denying that religion
can teach you to do a lot of good things. My worry is that sometimes
it teaches people to do good things, but for the
wrong reasons. And that’s unfortunate
because the right reasons are so easy to find
if you just look for them. My name is Hemant Mehta and I write
for FriendlyAtheist.com Please, leave your comments and thoughts below
and we will check them out.

Of course I agree but the cherry picking of forming the ethics from the Bible is in many ways the same as reason in atheism where we are raised without Gods.

Well a fairy tale can also change your mind to act in public different. Or Hitler… he manipulated millions of germans with his ideology. When a story even if its not true can change you positive, it is good. (Not saying that hitler was good, just as an example)

What advice can you give to a young atheist (sophomore) in high school that lives in the south (Texas) about coming out to my friends and family who are Christian?

I really like the way you explain and argue about all these themes! It's just so logical and I don't know how anybody can still have another opinion after watching your videos. And I'd also like to say thanks, because these videos really help me expressing what I want to say in discussions. (I'm at a catholic school and it's totally awesome when a teacher can't reply to my arguments because he doesn't know how to answer them ;))

I'm an administrator on a group of Team Fortress 2 servers, and there are a ton of people who are taught to only behave when there are consequences. I know all too well how people are not being taught to do the right things for the right reasons. They're taught to care only when authority will punish them, just like the point that you made in your video here.

I decided that I'd become an out-of-the-closet atheist and openly say it; but I'm getting annoyed by a lot of people's complaints about buying atheist related accessories, say a necklace with the AAI symbol on it. Should I just ignore them or just argue with them as it been the same as them buying religious things?

Nobody BECOMES an atheist. We RETURN to atheism. No child or infant in history was ever born a religious person. 🙂

I've been told before(by a teacher in college) that I was a christian whether I believe in it or not, because I was raised Christian. I argued with him for an hour after class over it, but since then I've met other people who have had that same belief.  I assume it's no different than someone else saying that they are culturally jewish, in sense of they were raised jewish but don't believe in it.

Yea agree totally..like them religous fcks dwn worshipping the owl at bohemian grove…dressed up in their nighties or robes..

I think i got my basic moral framework from my parents who are fundamentalists, but when i got older i started to think that not all of it was correct. After becoming an atheist i started to want to find some sort of moral framework that or something to that extent, so i could be a "good" person. I later realized that i didn't want to base my morals off of others moral framework, so I strangely started to look at important influences in my life and i thought that fictional characters such as Goku or Superman had much better morals then anyone from the bible or any religious person that I knew, and neither of them needed blind praise/worship to do what was right. Of course now that i'm a little older I base everything I due off of science and empirical evidence.

Hemant.. great vid 😀 I like your friendly style.. how can you keep that friendly attitude up despite the many unfriendly reactions towards atheist?? I frequently get tempted to mock or get arngry at the unfriendly reactions of theist ( mostly christians).. You almost seem like some sort of serene/balanced zen master 😉 how do you do that?

Certain values and rules have been with mankind before religion popped up: Don't kill, don't steal, respect your elders etc.
You could base these on rules and ethics that were beneficial for our survival as a species. Killing other members of your species, especially females, is detremental for its survival. Stealing decreases the chance that others members will survive, e.g. when you steal food. Respecting elders and authority figures makes sense because they survived. What they can teach you can help you survive as well. "Don't swim in that river because there are poisonous snakes" is usually sound advice…

Our values and ethics evolved naturally, religion only picked up on them and codified them. Humans produce religion and its values, not the other way around. And 99% of our values are taught to us regardless of religion by society, which embodies those values and ethics.

Doing the right or wrong things to yourself or others, carries with it a consequence that naturally lets you know whats good or bad for you and others. Sometimes they are immediate and sometimes they are delayed and often there are multiple consequences. So, it goes beyond ethics, to simple cause and effects.

Behaving morally because of fear, is not true morality. So no, religion can't teach morality. They teach obedience, and disguise it as morality. This is self-evident when you hear people say they would kill their own child, if God told them too. Because, if God commands it, it is moral.

It seems to me that people learn ethics despite their religious upbringing. If you realize that slavery is wrong, and that killing your children for sassing you is insane, and that women are actual people, you have an ethical system that's far superior to a bible-based system.

I've never done anything because I thought a "god" wanted me to do it. I've always done things I wanted to do because I thought they'd make both other people and myself happy. As a lifelong Atheist I never really saw religious people do anything that I myself couldn't do.

0:52 "don't steal from someone else because you wouldn't want them to steal from you"
Let's go one step further: don't steal from someone because you're hurting them, and that's reason enough not to do it.

While religion can teach valuable morals, in order to have moral values one does not require religion. In fact, I would argue that the most valuable form of morality is one rooted in rationality and not religious pronouncements. First, a morality that is product of rational thinking is far more amenable to correction, when new information is discovered, where as a morality constructed around religious dogma is not receptive to such new information. Secondly, as history can attest, one can believe in many pernicious ideas, with deplorable consequences, just by assuming God supposedly thinks it is correct. Finally, a person who is kind, generous, honest, loving, and considerate of others as a result of believing in the inherent value of those things is far more laudable than a person who tries to be all those things because he fears the imaginary punishments imposed on him by an imaginary all seeing tyrant. 

people use their ethics to cherrypick the good morals from religion and say that religion gives them these good morals, not being human and having observations as to why things are right or wrong.

you know my i have a few stories both ways where both the  chirstian and the athiest where in the moral wrong. and some where they were both right i feel that morality is a more deeper thing than relgion or none. i feel it is a inner thing. sorry about my spelling and my no paragraphs useing a ps3 and i'm not used to doing it this way.

I think that ethics and morality come more from a good upbringing than from religion, even when you have been brought up as religious. My parents aren't religious, and I have wasn't brought up in any faith but I still have the same ethics as most people and tend to stick to them a lot more closely.

*I share not to argue, but to share my understanding. *

As a Catholic I was not taught to do the right things because I would go to hell if i didn't. I was taught to do the right things for "the right reasons". By doing good and being virtuous, I could show love towards other people and towards God. 

There isn't anything exclusive that religion has for sale in the "Good" section of the Morality Store, but it has plenty of unique items in the Depravity Department that can only be bought by card carrying members of the theistic variety.

"How to teach your children to do the right things for the right reasons" is a bit too vague for me, particularly if you decide to change your mind mid-stream. Well, what are those “easy to find” right reasons for doing everything, where can I find them listed and who decided for everyone? This might do for the title of a paper or a book but it is meaningless just considering the diversity of people here and around the world.

Liked the video but, only comment I'd make is that morals and ethics are just like any other biological imperative.  Natural selection favored over time our desire to cooperate, share, and do other 'nice' things for each other.  This doesn't mean that our mores and ethics are 'right' or 'wrong'.  Sorry if we don't like the answer but, a nice nihilism is as good as it gets as an answer for why we have morals and ethics.  Great vid, Hemant!

Most religious people do what they want regardless. Stealing is not something that people generally want to do, they know it's wrong. So they don't do it and tell themselves they have a guilty conscious because of God. Sex on the other hand is something that people don't think twice about. They know deep down that there's nothing wrong with pre-marital sex so they do it and don't feel guilty in the slightest. Religious morals are irrelevant for most religious people.  

It proves one thing, that people 2000 years ago had the ability to have ethics just like us. They created religions because they didn't have the knowledge we have today & our ethics are better because ours improved from theirs, such as no more slavery, animal rights & LGBT rights. People in the future will be even better than us.

speaking as a fifth generation atheist you don't need religion to give you morals you just need common sense and theirs never been a need to punish anyone from my family by law or otherwise . so to me it stands to reason if you don't have a religion your less likely to commit a crime because you can empathise with other people  

Ethics/morality are an evolutionary process and the OT to NT is a proof of this. Today the ethics of the NT is no longer applicable either as the more well thought of ethics are in place. Abortion and use of birth control are not immoral anymore. Slavery is immoral now but slavery was business as usual as far as the bible was concerned. The bible actually promotes slavery and it does not say anywhere in the bible that slavery is immoral and should be abolished. This is proof that the bible is not the "words of the lord" and its contents were limited to the knowledge of people who wrote it at the time without any divine intervention from an almighty knowledgeable god who reportedly created all man equally in his image.

Of course religion can make you a good person. Christians pick and choose the parts of the bible that sound moral and just and live that way. But he made a very good point. It's much more ethical to teach children not to do bad things for the right reasons. Because it hurts them, you are all equal, etc. It's silly to not think anyone raised atheist can't have the same, or even better morals than religious folk.

a comedian said something that I find relevant ; Doing good to get in to heaven is like being nice to a girl to sleep with her.

I'm in drama at my school, and part of the class is to say the announcements once every couple of days. Me, being the little atheist heathen I am, I purposefully did not say "under god" during the pledge. When I got back to 1st period, about half the class was looking at me, asking me why I "forgot" to say it. I told them the truth. That I'm atheist. Some really religious kid came up to me and told me that it is against the law to not say "under god" during the pledge, and I countered with the idea of separation of church and state, that schools are a state function, meaning religion should not have any kind of foothold in education. Being the theistic little shit that he is, he just completely ignored my completely valid argument. I am sick and tired of discrimination just because I'm not some brainwashed cultist.

Gravity is what pulls us towards the earth. Gravity does not hold planets in the air. The planets are held up by the will of God.

@The Atheist Voice , 
I'm happy that you seem to respond to some comments. However, I have made 2 video responses to you, which several thousand views. I would love to hear your thoughts. Care to comment???

God I love this channel…see what I did there? Haha, but out of seriousness, your videos are amazing! Love using these in Christian-Atheist debates against my friends. 🙂

Wasn't the original comment about religious people who don't believe the literal truth of the Bible? I mean, it's one thing to accept the symbolic meaning of the stories and follow the ethics behind them. You don't have to believe that those things happened to do that.

On the contrary: If someone believes that something happened, that means they won't accept its symbolic meaning. The symbolic meaning only has relevance if we accept that these stories are literature.

You're the only youtube atheist I know that is even to both religion and atheism. You don't brash religion or agnostics! When you speak; you don't speak with hate! You stated once that atheists have done their fair share of evil in this world! That topic is what most atheists try to avoid. You don't denied the existents of Jesus! You speak with an open mind and be fair to both religion and atheism. I can understand why you have chosen science over religion! I also love science because it makes me think, and ask questions, and makes me want to learn more. But I also follow my religion! I like your videos a lot cause you state the good and bad of religion, and that's very rare for an atheist to do! You're a fair and square atheist!!!

As a fellow Atheist, I got a golden cross (Just the cross) for my 21st birthday for my mother, she knows I am an Atheist and I don't symbolise the cross as a religious thing, I symbolise it just like any other symbol. It has no religious meaning to be what so ever. Is that strange? or is it okay. Considering A cross symbolises ones faith and religion, but I publicity (to all my friends and family, call myself an Atheist, which I am to the bone) 

Hemant, your line of argument in this video on ethics and religion is obviously true and irrefutable, to anybody who is not religious.

Religious people find it impossible to believe that ethics are created by societies for practical purposes.  In the face of the fact that ethics vary between societies, they argue that morality is universal, and is judged by the objective eye of their favourite god.

If Texas has the death penalty, while New Jersey does not, New Jersey must be wrong, because God's ideas on retributive justice are clearly laid out in the Bible.

Which they are not, of course.  The Bible is the construction of many minds and differing societies, and the contradictions are legion.  Which, of course, is of no consequence to a person of true Faith.

Why let facts get in the way of belief?
   

I think people can be just as ethical without religion. Try developing it first. And if you can do that on your own, you'll make a better Christian. Don't be one of those people that thinks you can only be moral by having God and say that you can't know what morality is if God doesn't tell you the difference first. Use a little common sense and the Golden Rule, and you'll be a better Christian — or a great Atheist or Agnostic. Whichever path you choose, make sure it's for the right reasons, for yourself and for whoever you think God is. ^_^

I really don't understand just why people put themselves under the heavy pressure of religion. why they just have to force themselves into doing things that makes them unhappy or to slip their god into every good or bad thing in their life..
religious and traditions were made for you – not you to them!
i believe that religion started as a primitive idea that was created by the leaders in the past to keep their people moving forward towards the future.. and when people started interpreting it – they stopped moving forward and develop and just got stuck in their past. the only reason we are here today, surrounded by all this technology (which i don't know if is that much of a good thing either like almost anything humanity had created) is because of people who thought out of the box – sadly.. many of them were outcasts
i feel ashamed living in a world that encourages you to do good only because of a higher power and not because you are surrounded with people like yourself.

The two religions, in my opinion, that has any moral value would be wicca and Buddhism. What I learn from wicca is that they have one rule: do what ye will ,hurt none. A lot of power in its simplexity. I was raised mormon than christian, and they have a very twisted look on logic and morals. I have gain more empathy and compassion as a atheist.

Funny thing, I became atheist out of laziness haha. My church believes that people who aren't christian go to hell. I asked myself, wow all my friends and coworkers who aren't christian will go to hell, and there's no way in my life-time that I'll convert all of them. Then I realized I don't have the energy to convert anyone, and that everyone has different life experiences. 

Well another point is for animals. There are quite a few stories where the house pet or friendly animal aids in a humans help or does something good that we recognize in some fashion. But animals aren't religious. Being good because of religion is being good for the wrong reasons. In that case religion becomes like police and the act of being good is only for the sake of being in fear of the consequences.

Love this video! I really wish that atheism spoke more about morals and ethics and doing the right thing! I feel like that's something that religions often have and atheism often lacks. 

One requires empathy to do the right things by his/her own, then religion is quite unnecessary.
However when empathy does not exist… what happens there with out religion? A libertarian point of view: not everyone can be a libertarian, the world is proof the idea is flawed. Same goes for religion and perhaps lack of it, at least to this point in time

I grew up in a non-religious home and I'm still an atheist and yet, today I'm a perfectly moral, law-abiding human being.
Why? Because I had good parents who taught me right from wrong, plain and simple. No ancient book needed.
Granted I did get "if you steal the police will come after you" or similar every now and then, but hey, that's actually true.
But mainly it was from a "Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you" point of view. You know, empathy.

Wouldn't hell be a nice place if you were a bad person (and if it was a real place) because satan is supposed to be bad. Wouldn't he reward you?

Religion teaches people not to think about the reasons why something is ethical or not. You just do what your religious text says. Some things in the Bible are ethical, but others really aren't.

meh i never had this hole.. coming to light, when it came to religion, my parents tried the whole santa claus, and religion thing on me, making me go to church.. and i just ended up questioning my pastor, and questioning my mom.. i was like 5 years old when my mom gave up trying to convince me there was a santa, cause i kept asking logical questions about it..  same happened with church, i kept asking questions, i remember one i asked was, in heaven could i eat whatever i wanted?, and the pastor replied " you would not need to eat because you would not have a body", so i replied. "what if i wanted to eat?".. and the pastor replied yet again "i would not have to".. it was silly things like this that made me realize when i was.. not even 10 yet that religion was . well terrible, and false.. then around the age of 10 because of all the pressuring i finally was like "ok i will read this bible thing", and guess what i found out? it is full of immoral, and wrong ideas, and has absulotley no way of teaching people ethics, unless they have a good mindset going into it and have preconceived the fact that what there reading is good, so then they construe it into what they want it to say.. it is so silly.. i read that book 3 times, easily.. then i went wrote down every single passage i thought was wrong, or immoral, took them to church and asked them in front of all the other kids, i asked those pastors why these were in the bible.. i got kicked out of church for that.. KICKED OUT, because i turned several of the other kids atheist.. on the spot. they could not answer my questions.. they could not give me a valid reason for any of the invalid passages in that book.. that they base there faith on.. and that is why since i was like 10, i have been a adament, atheist, activist, i sit here on youtube, going from video to video.. commenting, debating, conversing.. and eventually ima make me some videos.. but in the end, certain relgious people are so convinced by there preconceived notions, that the "good book" is good, that it does not matter what i say, or do, there is no convincing them.. yes the atheist population is growing.. but the majority of that growth is from youth, youth with access to the internet, and the ability to seek knowledge for themselves.. that is the downfall of religion.. access to knowledge.

I brought my kids up with no religion. They are all grown and wonderful productive people. I have 3 sons and 1 daughter. All college educated professionals and very moral. No religion is necessary! 

Dear Mr. Mehta,

I have been watching your videos for a few months now and I just wanted to thank you for showing me that I am not alone, that even though I am the only openly atheist kid I have met at my school that there are others like me. You have helped me lose the chains of religion, and for that I thank you.

Sincerely,
Nathaniel Page

I'm from Austria and was raised kind of Catholic. But i never really got into believing that cause even with 4 years stuff like that was so unreal to me that i thought it has to be a big joke. reason will always win if you are rational

I was raised in a deist/agnostic household, and I have a pretty strong ethical and moral view of the world. I see many religious people doing unethical and immoral things based on their belief structure, and people within those confines doing good things despite it. Religion isn't a requirement for moral or ethical thoughts and beliefs. 

It is difficult to know if my moral ideas would be different had I been raised differently or if it is just a part of who I am. This video makes me think about that.

Without religion you shouldn't believe anything at all. Instead you know things. You do not believe that gravity holds things this less mass to things of greater mass, you know gravity holds things of less mass to things of greater mass. You know that the sun emits photons, you do not believe it.

Your explanation of why people should not steal isn't really any better than "Don't steal because God will be angry." Why do people have to find some selfish justification for practicing ethical principles? What's wrong with "Don't steal because it is hurtful to the person you are stealing from. How would you feel if someone stole from you? Don't willfully make other people feel like that. Even if you can get away with stealing a whole lot. Refrain from doing wrong because it's wrong. Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, even when you will be punished for doing the right thing."? I don't see why I should have to invent some ridiculously improbable scenario that has the final result of biting me on the butt and then circling around to blow up in my face to explain why stealing is wrong, especially when that is merely a left-handed way of trying to intimidate people into refraining from doing wrong. 

You can learn the same good ethics as an atheist that you can as a theist. The difference is the amount of bullshit involved.

…or alternatively, i worry religion doing the wrong things but for the right reasons (that is to say, making decisions that are based in good intentions but have a negative impact on a group of people). 

Have you ever felt connected to a stranger at first sight? Not love, but a feeling that you know them internally though you don't recognize them physically? I don't understand why this happens. Can someone please explain this to me?

Have you ever felt connected to a stranger at first sight? Not love, but a feeling that you know them internally though you don't recognize them physically? I don't understand why this happens. Can someone please explain this to me?

rofl you vegetarians can even train tiger to eat tofu …. human is more like scavanger we eat what we found ….. eating meet iznt about morals it is just your choise tiger dont kill its prey instanli actuali it let bleed it to dead in pain or sufocate it did you know sufocation is fuking painfull as hell? humans proces 99% of animal that is killed and kiling it almost painfulles agree that animals in farms dont have much of a living and this is wrong but still dont justify eating meet as EVIL! wrong animal threatment comed from mass production and it comes from you americans so what about first make change at your home then care about somebody eating MEET ….

I don't need god(s) or a holy text to keep me morally in check. If you just educated yourself and use reason you'd see, without the help of religion, why something may be bad or not beneficial. I really like that point about religion teaching morals for the wrong reasons. There is already evil in the world. Religion I think just adds fuel to fire more so than it helps anything. I mean if you're gonna sin, just own it. Don't hide behind your religion. That way it'll be easier to spot evil and hopefully enough people will care enough to do something about it. I mean and even that's just if it really does hamper society. Premarital sex? No big deal. Rape. Big deal. Required religious affiliation in order to become president? I wish it was a big deal.

Could you please state your ethical reasons for not eating meat?
I think a balanced diet is a very important thing.I`ve start watching your videos and you are,obviously,a very smart person and you made me curious,what are your ethical reasons for being a vegetarian?

Sadly, I love the taste of meat too much to give it up. I know it's not morally defensible, I know it's bad and unethical. I understand and support people who choose to not to eat meat/animal products. That's why I never get into any discussions involving vegans/vegetarians; I won't be able to defend myself anyway because my main reason for eating meat is because I am a hedonist. shrug

I was raised as a Christian (Evangelical Lutheran, to be exact) but as a kid I was still mostly told that "you can't do this and that because it's wrong and you wouldn't want someone to do the same to you". My Mom didn't usually bother spouting up nonsense about God watching me and condemning me if I do something wrong. I guess it comes with being Evangelical. She put me to a club for christian kids instead. I'm an atheist now, though, and she threw a nice huge fit when I told her.

i am in a christian high school right now, i feel like the people's thoughts are just too old and so ignorant….they dont care about science, they dont know about science

So true.

After I became an atheist, I went through the exact same "phase" and was trying to figure out WHAT was moral, and WHY. It turns out while I could say my religious beliefs STARTED my moral background, I was still was able to justify most of my beliefs, and even get rid of bad ones or ones that made no sense.

It's an important question to ask really, and I'm not entirely sure what to think myself either.. I wasn't really raised as anything religious or atheistic, it's just something that never played a role in my life.. I've come to figure that my mom is kind of christian while my dad is the more atheist type though.
So.. on one hand I agree completely with what he says, about believing in things for the right reasons and that, but on the other hand it's easy for us to say that now being brought up in a peaceful and civilized society very much shaped by christian values already, but what if we weren't?

I mean for instance a thousand years back in the time of vikings in Iceland, the population was actually starting to get decimated because of blood feuds, aka. eye for an eye.. and that really only stopped when they converted (gradually of course) to the christian idea of forgiveness and turning the other cheek.

It's something that I contemplate a lot, but my flimsy intellect will probably never reach a conclusion D:

I've been struggling with my spirituality for about two years, and just recently I have begun to refer to myself as an atheist. I was raised Christian and still live with my very religious parents. I want them to know that I don't believe in God and I want them to stop taking me to church and bible studies, but I'm not sure how to approach the subject. I feel like they're just going to refer me back to the Bible and I don't want that because I don't believe in it. I also feel like they'll begin to take things away from me that I love because I do not believe in God. I'm only living with them for a year and a half more, but I'm not sure I can handle being in their environment. As I get older they want me to perform more "Biblical acts" and attend more religious events and I feel like I'm going to break.

Religious morals were created by humans, despite what theists would like to believe, so we always follow human morality, no matter how or where we learned it, and most of us "edit" what we were taught to fit our own standards.

1:22 it's not biblical. Jesus paid for all sins and we are saved by grace alone.
Of course, a Christian will think twice before falling into sin, because faith is justified by works. (but still not condemnable)
You are only condemned for being an apostate, nothing else. (victory of flesh over your spirit)

2:41 Do you expect God standing in space, holding the earth ? No ? So yes, it's gravity. Can you remind me where does gravity come from ? Oh wait, no you can't.
Letting go of Julia Sweeney might be a better idea.

there is o one thing wrong not every religion says do it cuz of God. there religion I follow tells me "love for other what you love for your self"

I'm joking but, does that mean that I'm going to hell by stealing stuff when I was younger and having sex before marriage?

The biggest factor for me is whether or not the good outweighs the bad. It's true that you can find plenty of positive passages in the New Testament, but that's only about 10% of the actual Bible. The Old Testament, however, is predominantly genocide, torture, plague, rape, destruction, war, instructing you to kill homosexuals, kill any whom work on the sabbath, burn witches alive, stone children to death. Most of these crimes were even committed by God, repeatedly. As far as the church goes, have they done good things? Yes, especially charities. Unfortunately, a century or two of good deeds doesn't repair the damage done across 4,000 years. It doesn't undo the crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, forced conversions, mass-rape of children, and millions upon millions of lives lost as a result of a few words written in a book. Most believers are unaware of just how much damage it does to this very day. The bad outweighs the good to a degree beyond words.

I just think there's something weird about being afraid of Hell so you HAVE to be friendly towards other people, instead of the golden rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated. 'God' doesn't seem to go to that rule.

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