I was in the car today with my 10-year-old daughter, my oldest child. We were talking about her upcoming school year and we got to the topic of bullying, which fortunately seems to be taken very seriously by the school administration.
I told my daughter that I expected her not only to not be a bully herself, but to watch out for people who were being bullied. I said she needed to be a good friend and to show courage if someone else was being bullied. I also let her know to come to me, her mother, or other adults she trusted if she was ever bullied. No one deserves to be bullied, I said.
At no point in our talk did either of us feel the need to invoke God as a reason to oppose bullying. There was no necessary place for Jesus in the discussion. Reviewing the injunctions of Allah would have added nothing to the message or its meaning.
I think about this because I keep hearing that atheists have no reason to care about other people. I suppose the critics think I, the atheist, should even have no reason to care about either my daughter or her behavior. Indeed, the critics say that the fact I care means I am a latent theist whose sponged theistic values.
The theists keep saying that belief in God is necessary. It’s foundational for morality. But this is a lie, and all it takes to show the lie is to observe what we ourselves do and say throughout a normal day.
I cannot think of even one teaching of any value that requires a theistic or religious component. Not one.