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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I'm an Atheist. I have been for a while now. But What I don't Quite understand is why Are So many people against it?

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Long, long ago, I was in the Army, training to be a light-weapons infantryman, destined for Vietnam. I was an opponent of the war, and was doing my best to win over my fellow trainees to my point of view. Most of them, like me, were draftees, so this was not as difficult as it might sound.  I was making especially good headway with the Black draftees, this being the era of the Civil Rights movement.

Then, one evening, in the barracks, when we were sitting around talking, I decided to show how clever I was at the expense of one young man who was very religious.

So I asked him this old chestnut:  "Can God do anything?"  "Of course He can," he replied.

"Can He make a rock that's so big that a person can't lift it?", I asked.

"Sure he can."

"Well, can He make a rock that is so big that no humans, even aided by cranes or any other sort of machine, can lift it?"

"Of course He can, He can do anything, He's God."

"Well, can He make a rock that is so big, that even He can't lift it?"

Silence.

Then one of the Black soldiers asked me, "You mean, you don't believe in God?"

"No," I said.

And ... that was the end of my influence with them.

People are repelled from atheism because they think, along with Dostoevsky, that "Without God, all things are permitted."  That is, are permitted to you, the godless person who has no restraints on what he can do.

And in a sense, they're right. "Morality" is just a set of feelings that we have been socially conditioned to have.  Societies which do a good job of imparting these feelings survive history's selection pressure better than those which don't. (An example of 'group selection'.)

But there is no 'objective' reason to behave in an altruistic way. If you do, you do it because you have been conditioned to do it.  Most people recoil from this conclusion, and seek some outside force to validate their inner moral feelings ... in many cases, this is an Invisible Man in the sky, who distributes rewards for those who act in what we almost all agree is a moral way and punishments for those who don't.

One attempt to escape from this conclusion goes like this:  "I act morally, because I want everyone else to do the same, so I must not set a bad example which will spread, ultimately harming me."  Thus, moral action is presented as enlightened self-interest.

Anyone who believes this should answer the following hypothetical: suppose you could cause the death of someone else -- an innocent person --  and benefit materially from it. They die, you get ten million dollars. We hypothesize that you will never be caught, and that their death will look natural, so it's not setting a bad example.  Would you kill them?

I have no doubt that everyone here would say "No". But why? There will be no bad consequences for you, either directly or indirectly, from your act. On the contrary, there will be very good consequences: ten million dollars. (You can give it to starving Africans if you wish.)   But you won't do it. You have -- thank goodness! -- been conditioned to feel bad about killing someone in these circumstances. And that's the only reason.

And the problem is, we know that over time, societies have conditioned their members about all sorts of things: for example, to believe that sexual activity between people of the same sex, or outside of marriage, is evil and should be condemned and even punished severely. 

So -- in present company at least -- we know that not all social conditioning is 'good' from our current perspective -- which is itself socially-conditioned!

Anyway, that's why people react against atheists. 

They believe that without God, all things are possible. Of course, anyone who knows human history, or even the present state of humanity around the globe, knows that with God, all things are possible as well, and that even the most horrible of these things seem to find Divine blessing in the eyes of some believers. 

So we're quits.

What I have sifted out from all the chaff that religion requires servility but Atheists buck that servility since they have no desire to be servile to a god of one stripe or another. This is why Religion is the boon of tyrants and any other wanna be Overlord as religion especially the Abrahamic religions demand that their followers show servility to their god by worshiping and bowing down to them which  then flows on to them by saying they are the head of their religion for their little bit geography and you know the other ways they pull to make out their the overlord. So you must bow and scrape down to them thus be servile to them.

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