Societies without God are more benevolent

From the Observer
Writing sometime around the 10th century BC, the furious author of Psalm 14 thundered against those who say there is no God. “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” If the denunciations of wicked atheists coming from today’s apologists for religion are any guide, the spirit of Iron Age Israel is abroad in 21st-century Britain.

Carry on reading

16 thoughts on “Societies without God are more benevolent

  1. It will probably make Christopher Hitchens laugh, seeing the word ‘bald’ next to his name. I’d say he would like that.
    An excellent piece.


    The evidence of nicer but damned is closer to home…

    “…And what about the people in neither camp? The same researchers report: “Those with no religion are overwhelmingly more likely than either Catholics or Protestants to label themselves as ‘neither’ (unionist/nationalist).” Among atheists, in fact, 67 per cent rejected both political viewpoints.

    Godlessness is booming. The 1951 census recorded “only 221 freethinkers and 64 atheists, amounting to 0.02 per cent of the population”, but in 2001 almost 14 per cent said they had no religion – making them the fourth-largest “belief” group in Northern Ireland after the Catholics and the two main Protestant denominations.

    Dawkins will find a lot of comfort in their story: 90 per cent of the children of atheists inherit their parents’ non-belief and will do better in life; 38 per cent have a third-level qualification, compared to 26-28 per cent of Catholics and Protestants…”

  3. correlation doesn’t equal causation. this article seems rather more like a muddled rant than anything rational/logical/measured/reasoned. I’m at a loss to see how you are any different to those against which you stand.

    This wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for the fact that it is published on Guardian CiF. All such presence of ill-considered thought will do is give atheists a rather bad name don’t you think? for future, it would probably be best if you stick to matters either about which you have thought in rather more detail, or that have less public interest.

    Thanks, Michael.

  4. Hello Ross Burns,

    Having never read any of Nietzsche’s work, let alone that of his elderly years, I have absolutely no idea as to what your post means, or to what it refers. If you cared to illuminate, it would be appreciated.

    Did my initial post confuse? Was it misplaced?

  5. Michael, to assume that you are commenting on the article simply because your comment appeared after it in roughly the same place would be to mistake correlation for causation. Can you please confirm that it was your intention to comment on the article, and provide some real evidence for this.

    Ta muchly.

  6. The European nations with the highest levels of non-belief include Denmark, Finland and Sweden. obviously terrible places to live – gulags everywhere, repression, low standards of education…
    As to Saudi Arabian charitable works – Bosnian workmates of mine can confirm that these are largely religious in nature. Oil money is used to “charitably” spread the Wahabi brand of Muslim faith.

  7. Ta muchly,
    You perceive an absence of real evidence corroborating my intentions, yet simultaneously deduce that it might have been my intention to comment on the article. Indeed, the assumption that I am commenting on the article SIMPLY because my comment comes after said article is entirely yours and, I would argue, insincere – no?

  8. Ross Burns,

    Yes, well clearly my post is not like that of an insane man, by definition of your response necessitating an understanding of at least what it is trying to say.

    In which case, your use of insane becomes rhetorical – in a Gadamerian sense – thus rather more similar to playground bullying than anything engaging.



  9. Ooo!
    Well, Mr one-minute-you’re-a-little-green-birdie -the-next-not, since you showed such an expert misreading of Nick Cohen’s piece, I thought I’d be charitable about your state of mind.
    Look, that you call yourself a little birdie then don’t, coupled with your highfaluting rubbish, does make it seem to me (and others) that you have indeed squeezed your brain too much.

    Tweet tweet!
    (Here kitty kitty…)

  10. Ooo indeed! And how you have morphed into an authoritarian master figure, tweeting, calling me a kitty – very Galloway if you don’t mind me saying – and then, at the same time(!) getting so cross – how naughty! And as for talking about squeezing my brain…well.

    Part of me thinks you’re right – maybe I have squeezed my brain too hard – and I’m sure that now is the correct time to exit such forums (not of course, prior to a final post). But then on the other hand, nothing has been said by you of any substance, other than that the piece is excellent. Indeed, at the hint of someone saying – albeit overeagerly – that the piece is nonsense, your response is first to softly whisper ‘you’re mad’, and the second to get all stampy-footy and cross. Whilst, as your post implies, you believe that you squeeze your brain to just the right degree, it rather appears from my – albeit insane – perspective, that you either don’t squeeze your brain at all, or are not prepared to.

  11. You once were a greenfinch.
    I’ve read your Apologia Pro Rita Sua et Bobbus Tua and here’s what I think.

    Er, no – wrong again. You aren’t the cat – you, from your own typing, were a bird. If you wish to be a cat (why not? you have been a bird) then call yourself, erm, greencatgreen.

    I wasn’t cross, I was enjoying myself.
    I didn’t whisper a thing, neither did I stamp anything.
    Why don’t I say something more about the piece?
    I don’t have to, and, from that, I won’t have bored anyone.

    Please, take no heed of me.
    You can write to here, this site, as often as you wish, saying whatever you want to. Nick Cohen decides if it is reasonably enough unlike something by Judith Butler and will put it up if that is the case.

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