Law & Religion are two sides of the same coin

If you are atheist like me, then you consider Religion as a wrong path to walk through. but I found out that many atheists I know, consider the law as it’s their solid reference about how they should live, like it’s their actual new religion. Actually I find that the law is such a complete nonsense as well for many reasons;

1- It based on voting, majority or even religious views which doesn’t mean it’s right at all. simply majority doesn’t mean anything when it comes to differentiate between right or wrong.

2- To contain human dreams about how life should be and put it in papers and expect to exclude nature laws that create conflicts, wars and suffering, expecting it to simply vanish is complete nonsense

3- Prison or punishments in general have no influence on crimes, all countries and regimes couldn’t stop crimes even with millions of armed men on the side of law, besides they just use the same tool of religion which is fear.

4- Lack of the opposite example of a country with no written laws or religions at all, to compare if there is any difference.

5- People who protect the law turned into real criminals and broke all laws when they had more Power.

After all I’m not saying living without law is better, all I’m saying there’s no difference.

What is your opinion?

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I would love a citation on this. As most atheists are liberal, they are generally opposed to many laws; abortion rights. LGBT rights, and many, many more. You are way out in left field when you assert Atheists reference laws to see how they should live.

Your premise does not lead to your conclusion. It’s a fundamental aspect of our democratic system that laws are determined by a majority of votes. This does, in fact, make a significant difference in how our country is run vs. how N. Korea is run. You are demonstrably wrong.

There is nothing in nature that asserts wars and conflicts must happen. The fact that we engage in such matters is a demonstration of our inability to get along. This too is not necessarily natural. After all, we do have the ability but don’t seem to use it. None of this leads to the conclusion that “There is no difference.” Of course there is a difference. Without people working for peace and a better world, we would have gone extinct with our ancient ancestors.

Prison has no influence on crime? This is certainly an error. Recitivism rates are somewhere around 75%. That means prison worked for 25% unless you can cite the intervening variables contributing to success rates. Even if you could, the fact that prison does not work has no bearing on making no difference. The fact that harmful people are locked away and can not harm others while they are locked away certainly makes a difference.

Lack of the opposite example? There is probably a good reason for that. Humans are social creatures. When we get together we set limits, draw lines, and make rules to facilitate cooperation, self-preservation, and community. Human species that were unable to do that have all gone extinct. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

Obviously you are incorrect.


Yeah, the laws are fucked; but I haven’t had to murder anyone to get something to eat because of them. I’d assume with no laws that would be a major concern.

  1. The law(s) are, ostensibly, contrived to provide equal protection and/or representation.
    The laws reflect the consensus views of the given society on right and wrong and if allowances are made for heterogeneity, they should provide for a maximization of inclusivity. (This, of course, is an idealized view and does not necessarily reflect reality.) The efficacy of the system depends on the widespread education of the populous and their active participation. Herein lies a glaring problem currently at play.

  2. “Human dreams about how life should be” are the philosophies that have provided opportunities for the development of much more egalitarian societies, evidenced by the earliest western style democracies. The inclusion of “nature laws” comment is ambiguous. As we have learned more about “natural human tendencies”, those proclivities have come under much closer scrutiny than was possible prior to the development of the social sciences and certainly should be considered when shown to be relevant to establishing or editing a functional system of laws.

  3. The plethora of widely available data on punishments presents a varied picture. While arguably less than ideal, they were the most practical response to crime available to the limited intellectualities at the time of their contrivances. Unfortunately, the levels of punishment necessary to serve as deterrents to crime have become such that the meting out
    of such treatment overshadows the crime in its repugnance. Yes, fear can and is a deterrent, but is fear something we as a society should be promulgating? The fear of eternal damnation is far less practical as a deterrent than the all too real fear of incarceration, especially with the failures of religion to provide any evidence for an afterlife. However, as people experience extremely harsh living conditions, the fear of punishment loses it’s effectiveness.
    The nurturing of the concept of “we the people” has been demonstrated to be effective in many cultures. Although difficult to achieve, having societal members view themselves as one part of a whole provides an incentive for lawful behaviors. Efforts have to be concentrated towards inclusivity to implement this methodology, however.

  4. The occurrences of widespread non-enforcement of laws in various locales has provided evidence for the results of lawlessness. It is somewhat rhetorical to say there is no example of a country with no laws or religion. So what? These have been elements seemingly coexistent with the ongoing progression of the understanding of human behaviors and collective interactions.
    As with any flawed system, abandoning the underlying mechanisms in the pursuit of something better is fraught with difficulties and always meets with resistance.
    The idealist in me would love to live in a world where laws were un-necessary. Dream on…

  5. Baby/bath water dilemma…yeah, laws have been corrupted by the corrupt. This is why everyone has to be held accountable regardless of their socioeconomic status.

It seems apparent to me that your opinion that there is no difference, is highly prejudiced by having grown up in a world of the privileges afforded by the very thing you are now questioning. Don’t misunderstand me, I agree to the notion of criticism of the current system(s). However, anarchy is not an alternative. We are far too deep into the “human societal experiment” to abandon underlying mechanisms, absent arguably and demonstrably superior ones.

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You seem to be saying that democracy is imperfect, and doesn’t always reflect the way you want things to be. If you have a better system than democracy I’m curious what it might be? Also I don’t see what religion or atheism has to do with this? Oh and right and wrong are subjective concepts, the best we can hope for is a broad consensus on morality, and yes this will by necessity always be imperfect since we ourselves are fallible.

I think religion is about more than ringfencing laws from criticism as well, and while I cannot speak for any other atheists, I can say with some certainty that I don’t regard the law as my religion, even as a metaphor. I don’t have a religion in fact.

Laws are simply a necessity for societal living, I’m not sure what the alternative would be now, given the size of human societies and population?

A thought occurred to me, you may find more satisfaction if you stop expecting life to fit your perception of fair, and simply try to be fair, at least as far as you can perceive fairness. Derive satisfaction from that effort, expect to fail occasionally, and try to be be fair on yourself when you do.



Sometimes laws and religion are the same side of the coin. It depends on the jurisdiction in which those laws are made. Think Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. Even in countries that are supposed to have secular governments there are laws rooted in religion. Think laws against adult prostitution or abortion.

Let’s now take the whole law thing down to a very small community, say, a family. I raised my kids without any gods but sure had rules (laws)! Did they obey those rules/laws all the time? Oh my, no. Sometimes they were complete shits. When that happened, they got freedoms taken away and had to participate in a tedious discussion with me about why this was happening.
Have you seen families that operate without rules/laws? It’s quite frightening.
Societies are similar. Recalcitrance must be handled or that society would break down. Some jurisdictions, of course, handle those who misbehave better than others. Some jurisdictions define misbehavior better than others (think victimless crime).
I think decent rules/laws are mandatory for a functioning society. Region is not. No two sides. No coin.


This is nonsense.

Those of us who paid attention in class, reognise that some human beings will behave in ways that are deleterious to other human beings for personal gain. In properly constituted jurisdictions, we devise laws either to prevent such actions, or provide redress to the victims thereof and punishment of the perpetrators. At no point do any of us who paid attention in class, regard these laws as “sacred”. We merely regard them as useful.

Furthermore, those of us who paid attention in class, are also aware that some individuals will abuse jurisprudence, by passing laws aimed at pushing an ideological agenda. Oddly enough, the worst offenders in this regard tend to be right wing Christians.

You do realise that the history of the developed world is positively littered with examples of bad or unjust laws being overturned, as a result of the pursuit of justice by those on the receiving end of those bad or unjust laws?

No one who paid attention in class accepts your strawman caricature of the reality of jurisprudence.

We recognise that like any other human endeavour, it will be flawed, and at times subject to malign influence by the usual suspects. That doesn’t negate the validity of working against said malign influence.

You’ll find that properly constituted jurisdictions don’t stop at retribution, but also include rehabilitation in their penal systems.

We don’t need one. We simply need the evidence of what happens when those laws are ignored.

Not all of them. Do learn the difference between “some” and “all”.

You’ll soon learn the hard way if you find yourself in a true anarchist state.

I’m not interested in opinion, I’m interested in ideas that work.

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You’re going to have explain what you mean by “unbalanced”, and what evidence supports this?

Nope, a scientific theory is not theoretical, that’s not what the word theory means in a scientific context. This is the kind of howler we normally get from creatards.

The one would very likely lead to the other, so you will have to explain how order is maintained with no authority vested in anyone to enforce laws, and anarchy would be avoided?

The end of that sentence becomes unintelligible sorry, but if you read carefully and slowly, you will see my post merely asserts that laws are a necessity for any societal living, it makes no comments whatsoever about which laws should or should not be enacted, which is of course subjective. So this seems to be a straw man you’ve created. being dissatisfied with some laws is inevitable, scrapping all laws is not a solution, obviously, but please do answer my question and explain what system you want to replace democracy with?

the absence of laws, and therefor consequences, if you are unable to grasp that concept, try opening all the prisons, having no police or courts, then imagine you’re being robbed, raped, tortured, murdered etc., and all happening with impunity, in broad daylight on a crowded street with people ignoring it, and no one to help.

I ask again, since you are dissatisfied with democracy, what are you replacing it with?

That doesn’t mean it didn’t go on, nor does this argument from personal experience represent evidence that this is a typical example. This is of course an anecdotal and unevidenced claim.

I don’t believe you, see above. It is an objective fact that people break the law, without a criminal justice system or any consequences they could do so with impunity, and others who are checked by the consequences might also not control their actions. We have ample evidence of how many behave when laws and consequences are removed in countless wars, where people have acted with impunity, and often these were disciplined soldiers, never mind the hoi polloi.

You mentioned majority voting specifically in your OP, so that’s seems untrue, nor do I see how this makes any difference to the question, if you are dissatisfied with democracy what are you suggesting we replace it with? if you have nothing, then that infers despite being imperfect there is nothing better you can conceive of, and we should work to improve the best system we have, rather than tear it down.

I don’t accept your opinion since you can offer no alternative, and no objective evidence for your claims, only an unevidenced anecdote.

Indeed, and that doesn’t suggest you have given this sufficient thought. dismantling a complex political system without even an idea of an alternative, and removing all safeguards and laws, while relying on nothing but some naïve notion that everyone will go smilingly, helpfully and honestly about their business, just sounds like a recipe for anarchy and disaster in some dystopian nightmare to me.

As far as the anecdote goes, it is hard to imagine the burning of police stations went along without even the suggestion of violence for a start, and one wonders that the police stood meekly and smilingly by in anticipation of this hitherto inexperienced utopia of lawlessness?

As for the worst examples in societies, I’d need to see some hard evidence that having behaved without regard for the rights of others when faced with dire and life changing consequences, that removing all those laws, restraints and consequences would suddenly turn them into Gandhi on ecstasy. I must say I am dubious…


Although several members here have aptly responded to most of your claims/comments in a succinct and well-reasoned fashion, there are a few additional points which I think are relevant as well.

First, respectfully I have to ask, is English your first language? I ask because you seem to have some unique definitions and applications of commonly used words and terms.
Your confusion of the usage of the word “law” for example. Do you understand the difference between “natural laws”, “laws of nature “, and “societal laws”? Please take some time to review the differences. (I won’t clutter this post with definitions.) also review your understandings of “balanced”, “theoretically”, “political”, affect vs effect. (not a complete list)

The reason for that is the lack of an establishment of mutually acceptable laws or rules has been shown to be incompatible with what we generally refer to as “order”. The use of the word here (simplified) being a “predictable structure”. whether or not the “laws” are written is entirely irrelevant.

Yes, there is a difference in the application of the word which is possible, but my point is that it makes no difference which one you use here, because the end result is the same. With “NO hierarchy or organizing system”, chaos ensues. Not all members of a given tribe, group, organization, society, etc., are equally capable of self-regulation.
Likewise the “non-recognition of authority or otherwise regulating system” indeed results in chaos as well.

While I try to respect other people’s experiences, this is useless blather. Without context, without independent verification, without acknowledgement of the prior existent widespread acceptance of general laws of behavior, your “experience” carries zero weight in the conversation. I do not deny your qualification to assess your own experience…for yourself.

Lastly, and this one has been somewhat addressed…it’s really not that useful to just criticize a functional system or thing, but adamantly declare you have no alternative. I understand the uselessness of this because I too have been guilty of it, in spite of my efforts to do otherwise. The mere fact of identifiable failures within a given system in no way justify the notion of equating a flawed system with no system at all.

Edit to review the plan

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Looks like Art is giving up. He’s deleted a bunch of posts and has asked for his account to be deleted.

Title reminds me of this quote from Dune Messiah (Frank Herbert):

“You produce a deadly paradox…Government cannot be religious and self-assertive at the same time. Religious experience needs a spontaneity which laws inevitably suppress. And you cannot govern without laws. Your laws eventually must replace morality, replace conscience, replace even the religion by which you think to govern. Sacred ritual must spring from praise and holy yearnings which hammer out a significant morality. Government, on the other hand, is a cultural organism particularly attractive to doubts, questions and contentions. I see the day coming when ceremony must take the place of faith and symbolism replaces morality.”


DAMN, that was quick.

So you jerks chased Art away. Sheesh, when are you going to learn to be nice to people.

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Heat, kitchen, etc etc etc…

Art?.. ART???.. Who the hell is Art?.. What did I miss? (Text removed by mod) NOT FAIR! :weary::weary::weary:

Art…you know…”Our father, who is Art, in heaven”?


Well, I guess we need you to teach us just precisely how to go about doing that. Maybe you could introduce me to that sarcasm thing, whilst you’re at it…
Edit (grabbing paper towel to catch the drips)

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Ohhhh… THAT Art. Okay. So, like, did he go back up into heaven or something? Like, maybe, he just swung down here for a quick peek at how we common-folk get along? I mean, despite amazing advancements in satellite imagery, you have to admit that pictures don’t always give a complete and accurate view of what is really happening.

Well, that’s true to some extent, although I would be reticent at attaching an exact value to the probability of such. Keep in mind, he also goes by the name “Howard”.
Edit ( Howard be thy name)

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