Atheism For Dummies
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Most religious believers want to live in a world in which people behave ethically. Funny thing…so do most atheists. An ethical society is simply safer, less scary, easier, more satisfying to live in, and simply better, whether or not a person believes in God. That’s the kind of place everyone want their kids to live in. It’s the kind of place everyone wants to live in.

Be careful not to confuse atheism with moral nihilism — the idea that nothing is inherently right or wrong. In fact, when it comes to defining right and wrong behavior, studies show an amazing amount of agreement on the most basic ethical ideas, even among people with wildly different religious and political beliefs.

They may put stronger emphasis in one area or another, and there are certainly some areas of disagreement. But that’s up in the branches. Down at the roots of moral understanding, most atheists and theists agree that they want to live in a world where people treat each other fairly and don’t harm one another.

After everyone recognizes this shared desire, the community at large can all talk about how to make it a reality.

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Dale McGowan, PhD, writes the popular secular blog The Meming of Life, teaches secular parenting workshops across North America, and is executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable organization. He has been interviewed in major publications, such as Newsweek and the New York Times, and was 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year.

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