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The Moral Goal

Christians often ask atheists about the purpose of life. But I think a better question is what is the purpose of our morality? On this question, the divide between Christians and atheists couldn’t be wider.

For Christians, morality amounts to God’s whim, while for atheists morality is about the well-being of sentient creatures. Christians tend to be concerned about the next life, while atheists are usually concerned about this one. For Christians (particularly fundamentalists) the goal is to save souls at all costs. But for atheists, the goal is to improve the lives of the living.

What are the consequences of these goals? For Christians, it means trying to convert people often time no matter the consequences. It means sending missionaries to poor or devastated areas of the world and exploiting people when they are at their most vulnerable time. That, after all, is the mission. Since a poor quality of life makes people more vulnerable to the message of Jesus, religious believers have a vested interest in keeping the poor, poor. They have a vested interest in helping people just enough to make them grateful, but not enough for them to have the time, education, independence to think critically and doubt.

Atheistic morality cares more about helping people period. We don’t need to use people’s desperation to spread our message. Our message isn’t the goal. The goal is to help people to be more educated and to have a better quality of life here on Earth because we have but one life to live and we would like people to live their lives well.

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