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Tue Jul 2, 2013, 04:52 PM

Al Westerfield: Atheists victims of hypocrisy by some groups

Al Westerfield: Atheists victims of hypocrisy by some groups
Al Westerfield lives in Crossville, Tenn.
Knoxville News Sentinel
Posted June 29, 2013 at 3 a.m.


The godless commit less crime, have longer marriages and are more highly educated than almost any other group in America.

According to Federal Bureau of Prisons data, the number of responding people in prison acknowledging they were Catholic was 39 percent; Protestant, 35 percent; Muslim, 7 percent; Jewish, 2 percent; and godless, 0.2 percent (20 percent did not respond).

Since the number of godless is estimated to be 10 percent of the general population, all things being equal you would expect their prison population to be 10 percent.

If, as many people assume, the godless do not lead moral lives, you would expect the number to be greater than 10 percent. The fact that the actual number is 50 times less than expected can lead to only one of two conclusions: either the godless commit less crime than the religious or they’re too smart to get caught very often.

According to a Barna Research Group report, fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rate, followed by Jews and Baptists. The godless are tied with Catholics and Lutherans for the lowest divorce rate. It seems that some groups that claim to follow the Bible most strictly are not putting their money where their mouths are. The godless who are thought to be without morals seem to take their vows more seriously.

According to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Survey, the least-educated Americans are Jehovah’s Witnesses, followed by black Protestants and fundamentalist Christians. The most highly educated are reformed Jews, followed by Unitarian Universalists and the godless.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/29/al-westerfield-atheists-victims-of-hypocrisy-by/?partner=popular


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Reply Al Westerfield: Atheists victims of hypocrisy by some groups (Original post)
Ghost in the Machine Jul 2013 OP
Nye Bevan Jul 2013 #1
Ghost in the Machine Jul 2013 #3
Arugula Latte Jul 2013 #2
Logical Jul 2013 #4
Ghost in the Machine Jul 2013 #5
Romulus Quirinus Jul 2013 #6
RainDog Jul 2013 #7
chaped Aug 2013 #8

Response to Ghost in the Machine (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 04:58 PM

1. I'll switch to atheism if it will keep me out of prison (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 3, 2013, 12:49 AM

3. If you're not in prison, NOW would be the time to be an Atheist, since lots of people "find God"

inside the prison walls. I don't know if He gets in trouble a lot to always be there, if He's doing a life sentence there, if He just gets lost there a lot or what? I just know lots of people find Him there, so stay out trouble and it'll keep you a good Atheist.

Peace,

Ghost

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Response to Ghost in the Machine (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 05:11 PM

2. ...

In spite of this easily obtained information, the groups with the highest crime rate, the poorest marriages and the lowest education continually strive to force their beliefs on the nonreligious. And the politicians pander to them. Why else would they pass laws to put religion in the schools and on courthouse facades? And then they wonder why the godless could possibly be upset.

And then we get called "Militant."

Religion and ignorance, the inseparable pair ...

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 3, 2013, 12:51 AM

4. +1000 n-t

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 3, 2013, 12:53 AM

5. Yeah, we get called "Militant", but I've never heard anyone singing "Onward Atheist Soldiers"...

... have you??

Peace,

Ghost

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Response to Ghost in the Machine (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 3, 2013, 12:59 AM

6. Relevant Oatmeal Comic

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/atheism

Ich Bin Ein Polynomial!

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Response to Ghost in the Machine (Original post)

Wed Jul 3, 2013, 01:04 AM

7. actually, that "godless" figure is closer to 20%

that indicates even worse outcomes for the religious in comparison.

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Response to Ghost in the Machine (Original post)

Mon Aug 12, 2013, 06:51 PM

8. Atheists and more . . .

As a response to the article by Al Westerfield: "Atheists victims of hypocrisy by some groups."
Westerfield begins with "The godless commit less crime, have longer marriages and are more highly educated than almost any other group in America." He then presented a number of percentages as to the prison population. My response:
This opening highlights a major truth about prison populations. Notice the 20% who failed to respond; prisoners are wary of “score cards.” Because visits to and from the chaplain, or use of religious facilities and activities, fit in a privilege category, prisoners are never in a hurry to deny themselves of that opportunity. The categories are skewed toward North American “normal.” Where is the category for Wiccans? Where is the category for Moorish Science Temple? These are two groups that are huge in prisons. Beyond that, many of the people who claim one or another of the religions don’t even know what the distinctives of that religion might be. In practice, they are atheists, regardless of the claim they make for a religion.
Westerfield continues:
"If, as many people assume, the godless do not lead moral lives, you would expect the number to be greater than 10 percent." My response:
What this statement does is highlight the wrong impressions that many people hold about “other people and religion.” With even a minimum amount of effort, it can be uncovered that Atheists are not immoral. Indeed, as a group they may hold the highest level of morality in any society. A goal for people in this group is to prove that people can be “good” without God. Also, Buddhists, for example, are a non-theistic group (they recognize no god, no deity) yet practicing Buddhists have a very high level of morality.
More from Westerfield:
". . . fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rate, followed by Jews and Baptists. The godless are tied with Catholics and Lutherans for the lowest divorce rate." My response:
As previously stated, this assumes a wrong “fact.” It also draws attention to the reality that true Christians do not claim perfection, only forgiveness.
Turning to the Pew Forum, Westerfield continues with survey results:
". . . the least-educated Americans are Jehovah’s Witnesses, followed by black Protestants and fundamentalist Christians. The most highly educated are reformed Jews, followed by Unitarian Universalists and the godless." My reponse to that:
The assertion is that religious groups want ignorant followers. While on a bad day I might hold that idea, a more accurate reading is that highly educated people abandon religion in favor of their own beliefs. From a Christian view point, that comes as no particular surprise. We all want to think and feel as if we "run our own ship." When people place a greater value on their own thoughts than those thoughts and views expressed by many, many people over many centuries, it's not surprising they abandon religion.
Westerfield turns next to studies of criminality and other social ills. My response:
It’s because of, not in spite of, the fundamentalists teaching about the wrath of God that make criminals “give up” attempting to live a Christian life. They (many criminals) think God will never forgive them, so they quit trying and leap over into total depravity. Sadly, it’s not that God loves them any less; rather they stop any attempt to seek after a God they view as judgmental. Also, in states of the “Bible Belt” it’s almost impossible to separate religious belief from cultural addenda. Many people assume this or that reality about religion, when in fact it’s a cultural thing. That makes Atheists look pretty good, and religious people look like idiots. (Return to my previous point about practicing Atheists to realize the distinctive.)
As to Westerfield's conclusion, I challenge not the numbers but what he does with the numbers.
“. . .it is total hypocrisy for those in such groups to claim that the godless are not and cannot be moral.” So show me where groups declare that Atheists cannot be moral, and show me what group it is. I’d love to know who conducted the survey, how the questions were worded, how the audience was selected, how the final comparison was constructed. Was there actually a question which tested trustworthiness? Was this extrapolated from various other trustworthiness data?
Westerfield goes on, ". . . the groups with the highest crime rate, the poorest marriages and the lowest education continually strive to force their beliefs on the nonreligious. And the politicians pander to them."
It’s not just the godless who are upset by these things. I’m upset by these things because they reflect poorly on God; they make a mockery of God. As Christ followers we are to bring glory to God, not dishonor and disgrace.

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