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Well, not all of us had a religion to let go of! I've been an atheist since before I could remember, despite being taken to church and attending an Anglican high school. It just never stuck to me - while I hope I would have chosen atheism, I just sort of grew up that way.


Well, they're right, in a way. Following rules that are irrational, arbitrary, obviously crafted for the benefit of an oligarchy and otherwise profoundly unjust and often harmful is quite difficult for me to do: so, yes, following religious rules is harder for me that not following them.

How that constitutes an argument in favour of religion is more than I can fathom.


There is a funny tendancy for arbitrary rules to perpetuate themselves. Here's my thinking on the subject…

People naturally rank moral rules very high in importance: Don't murder! Don't steal! Don't rape! Who but a monster could disagree?

The magic trick of so many religions is to add to secular rules and emphasize their importance as equivalent: Go to church! Worship God! Don't have sex before marriage! Wear this! Don't wear that!

It's not much wonder that so many theists assume atheists are all "moral relativists" (I understand that actual relativism is more complicated than "there are no moral obligations whatsoever", but that's the popular interpretation). When someone who has believed all their life that not going to church is on par with not tipping a waiter, they'll naturally think of atheists as just looking for an excuse to be lazy and selfish.

If you're defending gays, it just means you want an excuse to have dirty buttseks. If you think cannabis is harmless enough that if should be legal, you're just looking for an excuse to get high.

This blog post addresses an example of a religious rule atheists may think is stupid but nonetheless don't intend to break: Don't worship other gods. What interesting is how the Bible presents that as some kind of alluring, seductive activity.

Also, that it's deserving of murder. I'm such a relativist that I can't really get behind that sort of punishment. I know, I know, I cut people way too much slack.

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