One of the claims theists often make is that ethics and morality are the reason why religion and a belief in God are necessary to humanity. Without it, they insist, there can be no morality. They moreover often accuse atheists and other freethinkers of having rejected religion and/or belief in God specifically because they want to behave in immoral or unethical ways, and do so freely.

This is, of course, complete bullshit. There have been and are many moral people — and many systems of morality — which are not theistic in nature.

Not only that, theists’ assertions that a belief in God is necessary to make people morally upright, are ironic in light of the things that theists actually do. A recent example of this was revealed on the Unreasonable Faith blog; a pastor, of all people, had misrepresented himself as an atheist and then posted incendiary comments in that guise:

The other day this comment was posted by an atheist:

What’s wrong with killing babies? I see no problem with it. I have enough mouths to feed. I don’t get the argument and I am an atheist. Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in anything characterized as good, bad / right, wrong. So, what’s the big deal?

At first I was shocked that anyone could say that. Then I realized that it must be a fundie in disguise, a sheep in wolves clothing. …

Who would do such a stupid thing?

It turns out, a pastor would. After some more digging, I was able to figure out the commenter’s identity: Pastor Chris Fox of Kendalls Baptist Church in New London, NC.

It goes without saying that the guy never admitted that what he’d done was wrong. Of course it’s not, because he did it for Jesus, and that makes everything right, no?

Now, I know you believers out there are going to say that Pastor Fox is just a human being and that human beings do lie, cheat, etc. from time to time. This is, of course, very true. But it also demonstrates the problem conclusively: If believing in Jesus isn’t enough to make someone a morally-upstanding person who doesn’t lie or misrepresent him- or herself, then what value is there in being a Christian? Seriously … if Christians’ behavior isn’t visibly improved by their Christianity, then how are they any different from non-Christians?

But in addition to this we have the problem that Fox is a pastor. His behavior should be better than that of the average Christian since he’s supposed to be an example to his flock. If he’s going to behave like anybody else, he may as well step down from the lectern.

Final note: Further down the page, commenter “shamelesslyatheist” posted Fox’s response to criticism he must have received. He claims not to be a fundie or extremist, and claims he did not intend to deceive anyone. He also doesn’t want people to judge his character based on his misrepresentation. Woops, Pastor Fox, too late — I’ve already done that! You lose.

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