All atheists think alike
Atheism today : What does someone believe who does not believe?
What Christians or Muslims believe is broadly known to almost everyone. In contrast, almost nothing is known to the general public about what non-denominational people think and consider to be “credible”. That is actually astonishing, since they make up more than a third of the population in Germany; in Berlin, for example, they make up the overwhelming majority.
A representative survey by the opinion research institute Emnid in spring 2016 showed that 61 percent of Berliners described themselves as non-denominational, 21 percent as Protestant and nine percent as members of the Catholic Church. The remaining nine percent include Muslims, Jews and around 50 other religious communities.
The majority of those with no religious affiliation represent a worldview that deliberately distinguishes itself from religion and a God who is above everything. A minority of them have left the Church, but often still consider themselves religious in some way.
Newspapers, radio and television hold back elegantly when it comes to portraying the thoughts and actions of non-religious people in Germany. It is expressly stipulated in all state treaties that were concluded between each federal state and the respective radio and television companies that they have to report appropriately on all relevant social groups and on all relevant social views and opinions. But only the “state-supporting” religions have representatives on the media councils.
And of these, almost only the Christian churches have their own editorial offices and fixed broadcasting times. Despite all the alleged separation of state and religion, they have a privilege granted by the state. It is therefore understandable that in the Emnid survey mentioned above, 54 percent of the Berliners interviewed do not feel sufficiently informed about the large group of non-denominationalists through the media and politics.
Humanist without knowing it
The Emnid study yielded very remarkable insights into the attitudes of church-organized citizens and revealed how little life-determining Christian conceptions are, even among church members. One of the statements to be answered was: "I lead a self-determined life that is based on ethical and moral convictions and is free of religion and belief in one God". An overwhelming 74 percent of the Berliners surveyed agreed with such a humanistic view of life.
85 percent of the non-denominational agreed with this statement, but also 57 percent of Catholics and 64 percent of Protestants said that they lead a life “free of religion and belief in one God”! And for many devout readers another result of the survey will certainly be perceived as irritating, namely that the higher the level of education, the greater the approval of humanistic-secular views of life, that is to say, the lowering of religious views. A phenomenon that is familiar from all major cities in Germany.
What today's humanists think, what values they start from, is largely unknown, especially among believers. At most one associates the rejection of religion and the denial of the existence of a god. These views are often associated with the assumption that people without religion and especially atheistic attitudes would know no morality, because they do not feel obliged to any divine power.
Morality has also undergone an evolution
Apparently it is assumed that moral principles that govern our actions and omissions can only be anchored in God. In fact, sociobiology can show that morality, too, has evolved. Because how else can it be explained, for example, that the core sentences of the Ten Commandments are distributed worldwide, regardless of religion and conception of God. But people can also agree on norms of behavior and insist on their observance, as shown by the American Declaration of Independence or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Humans can therefore give themselves their own ethical norms and rules. The church's disapproval of the alleged self-importance of people is that “such ethics are only oriented towards the actual or presumed interests that a person has”. A humanist would rather not take this as criticism. Rather than confirmation of the principle that man - always with a view to responsibility also for the other - is the measure of all things and not a divine being described in sacred scriptures.
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