“I don’t need a bible or the fear of hell to not do bad things – I pride myself on being a good citizen and contributing to society.”
I feel exactly the same way, as do pretty much all the atheists I know.
“Blind faith is a crutch that some people need and I’d never want to take it away from them.”
I concur, up to a point. But what I would like to take away from them, if I could, is their usually unwarranted “holier-than-thou” attitude. Perhaps it’s a weakness of mine that their attitude bothers me so much. But bother me it does.
“However, I’m thankful that those lacking in similar moral fiber have a smattering of commandments and some religious fear and guilt to keep them in line.”
I suppose it’s better than nothing. It’s too bad it doesn’t work better. Part of the reason it doesn’t work better, in my opinion, is the idea that they’ll be forgiven, almost regardless of what they do. Whoever made up their religion really screwed that one up.
(A separate) part of the (bigger) problem comes from the fact that religious tenets aren’t subject to logic or reason. It’s god’s word, and therefore it doesn’t matter whether it’s good for society in real life or not. No matter how ridiculous it is, it’s considered true and right by the blindly faithful.
“If it weren’t for religion we’d have anarchy, because most people would go insane without some kind of “higher” purpose and reason for their otherwise meaningless existence.”
I’m not sure whether I agree with that or not. In most civilizations throughout history, religion has played a fairly large part. But what about the Soviet Union? A basically godless culture. A miserable one, to be sure, but I think that was more due to totalitarianism than to atheism. In any case, there wasn’t anarchy nor were there people going insane (that I know of).
“Opium for the masses? Sure. But keep it coming.”
I totally understand what you mean. And, being pragmatic, I must agree that for this world right now, it’s probably for the best, Islamic extremism notwithstanding. But I think that it would be possible to have a society where humans set the rules for the maximum benifit to society and to individuals. And I think that if we could get there, we’d be better off than we are today. I don’t know for sure, and I could easily be wrong, and I’ll never find out. But that’s my opinion.