[Buddha-l] Be good for Godsake

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at xs4all.nl
Fri Apr 3 13:38:30 MDT 2009

Richard Hayes schreef:
> Dear denizens,
> Just about every day something comes along to remind me that I am living
> in the wrong country, perhaps even on the wrong planet. Today's evidence
> comes from a Pew Forum survey, which was actually released in December,
> but of which I was reminded today. On this survey people were asked "Is
> it necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good
> values?"
> 57% of Americans said YES! Tell me it isn't so. In contrast, all the
> civilized countries reported on the survey had a strong majority saying
> NO to that question. Canada, Britain, France, Sweden, Spain, Italy,
> Germany, Japan, China and Israel all had a majority of respondents
> knowing the right answer to the question. (I keep waiting for Americans
> to catch up with Italians in religious sophistication, but I'm not
> holding my breath.)
> Mind you, there are some countries in which even more people got the
> wrong answer than in the USA. In India, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia and
> Egypt substantial numbers of people gave the wrong answer. The same, for
> that matter, could be said of most of the countries in Africa and South
> America. If an atheist roams outside Canada, Israel and Europe, the
> majority of people she encounters will think she's incapable of being
> moral or having good values.
In the Netherlands, the country where I live and that you'll be visiting 
shortly, the situation is not much better than in the USA. I guess the 
line of thought is quite obvious: heathens go to hell and Christians go 
to heaven. Hell is for bad people so heathens must be bad.
I used to quote Albert Camus in order to convince people of of the 
absurdity of this kind of reasoning, but some political leaders of the 
recent past in general and of the USA in particular provided more 
falsification than one could dream of.



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