03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Thank God I'm An Atheist

From time to time some religious leader, somewhere, seeking to be provocative, will announce, smugly, that of course all morality comes from religion and therefore atheists, those scum of the Earth, have no morality.

Let's leave aside for the moment, the fact that not only is there absolutely no truth in this proposition but the reality is in fact the diametric opposite. The most immoral people on Earth are, always have been, religious, while all atheists are extremely moral people. Let's also leave aside the obvious remark that if it were true then the more extremely religious you were the more moral you would be, and this would make members of Al Quaeda, say, or the people who blow up abortion clinics, extremely virtuous.

So, let us behave as the climate change deniers do and set aside the real world. Let us pretend, just for the moment, that morality did come from religion. This would mean, would it not, that the only reason some people have for being moral, the only reason that stops the average citizen of, say, Kansas or Waziristan, from murdering and raping and robbing and blowing things up and being really nasty to contestants in reality shows, is a belief in an imaginary being.

These people have to have an imaginary friend tell them what's right and wrong?

Thank god I'm an atheist.

All David Horton's writing is on The Watermelon Blog.