The Top 10 Good Things About Being Godless

Phil Zuckerman is the author of Society Without God and the forthcoming book Faith No More: How and Why People Reject Religion.

He spoke at the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s convention last November and a transcript of his talk is now available online in the most recent issue of Freethought Today.

In it, he listed (in no particular order) the Top 10 good things about being godless:

  1. Secularity is on the rise in the U.S. and throughout much of the world.
  2. Godless people and secular people are less sexist, less chauvinistic and much more supportive of women’s rights.
  3. We are more tolerant and accepting of others not like us.
  4. We are better educated and maybe even a little bit smarter.
  5. The godless are less homophobic.
  6. We are more moral and more ethical.
  7. Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do.
  8. We are better parents.
  9. When there are a lot of us in one place or one nation or one state or one group, the result is societal success and well being.
  10. We’re just better looking.

Obviously, some of those items are tongue-in-cheek, some are debatable, and some are very serious. Before commenting on any of them, check out how Zuckerman defends each item in the actual piece, since he goes into quite a bit of depth.

  • Alec

    The top thing for me? No church. Thank FSM I don’t have to attend mass anymore.

    I think the oral sex one is a bit “out of the blue”…

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I’m excited about his new book! Society Without God was hands down the most fascinating book I read last year. Hemant, I think you should do a review of it sometime.

  • muggle

    I’m with Alec. No more church and all the head trips that go with it.

    The best thing about losing your religion is how utterly damned liberating it is!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Havnig never been religious I can honestly say that I don’t knwo what I might have been missing and that I’m glad of it.

  • Killer_Bee

    We are more moral and more ethical.

    True, unfortunately. And, consequently, even more full of shit than the religious.

    Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do.

    Horseshit.

  • bigjohn756

    Number 10 is obviously correct. After all, just look at me. I’m still waiting for #7 to come true.

  • Hugh Kramer

    7. Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do.

    Not according to what Ted Haggard’s wife says in her new tell-all book, “Why I Stayed.
    :^O

  • Trace

    7 and 10, totally true! ;)

  • Jessica

    Personally, I like the accountability that comes with being godless. If I don’t like gays, it’s because I don’t like gays, and not because God told me I don’t like gays. There is no passing the buck, and it makes me and only me responsible for my prejudices.

    For the record, I like gays fine.

  • Alec

    I’m going to have to agree with muggle and add to my top things.

    I’ve been an atheist for about a year now, and I have to say, I’ve been 1000x happier than when I was religious. I don’t know if they’re related or not, but I think my atheism has *something* to do with it. I know it’s cheesy and clichéd, but I really feel free. I just love living with no religion. Sometimes I randomly smile and laugh to myself out of happiness and just overall enjoyment for leading an atheistic lifestyle. I feel incredibly free to think, to question, and to just enjoy my life and not worrying about pleasing an imaginary sky man.

    Sorry if that doesn’t make a lot of sense, I’m walking my dog as I write this so I’m writing bits and pieces separately.

  • Shane

    11. Guilt-free depraved, licentious, or deviant (but consensual) sex acts.

    Bring me a case of Twinkies, one scuba-diving mask, one ninja outfit, two medium-sized potatoes, copious amounts of lube, a life-sized cutout of Hulk Hogan, and a condom. Better make that 2 condoms. Sexual partner: optional.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    10. We’re just better looking.

    11. and humble

  • J. J. Ramsey

    I don’t really buy that being more moral is one of the benefits of godlessness. Arguably, a lot of the current crop of godless happen to be more moral, at least on certain issues, but that probably has more to do with historical contingencies than anything to do with godlessness per se.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster


    Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do.


    WRONG. Phil Zuckerman obviously has had no experience as a juvenile with Catholic high school girls. Oral sex was the number one way to have fun and maintain their virginity. I found Catholic girls to be absolutely wild. Uh, I mean, I HEARD that from some other guys…I was too busy praying and stuff.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ The Godless Monster…that cracks me up. So the wild-Catholic-schoolgirl thing is actually true…Who would have thought?

    I don’t know about the oral sex part, but what he talks about as far as religious versus secular teens is true. Religious teens that prize virginity still have the same amount of sex as secular teens, but they tend not to use condoms or birth control, resulting in lots of unintended pregnancies and STIs. Ick.

    My favorite is the second one on the list. Misogyny was the main reason I left the church (refusal to listen to reason was a close second).

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Beth,
    Yes, it’s all true and was even covered in this documentary film:
    http://www.videosift.com/video/Catholic-High-School-Girls-in-Trouble

  • http://supercheetah.livejournal.com supercheetah

    Well, on #10, the Catholics have Adriana Lima, which is hard to beat. We need to deconvert Lima so we don’t lose that argument, unless someone has a counter argument to her.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @muggle,
    no problemo!
    I’ve got no love for any of the Abrahamic cults, but I’m dong my best to change my outlook a little and frame it in my mind more as a war of ideas and not necessarily people. The key word is trying. So far, I’m still struggling with the overwhelming urge to….oh, never mind. I think you know what I mean :-)

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @supercheetah,

    …unless someone has a counter argument to her.

    Uh, yeah…my Tatar Russian atheist wife. Beyond smoking hot. And no, I’m not posting pics or links to pics.:-)

  • http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com krissthesexyatheist

    I agree with the last one.

  • Revyloution

    Jeff P beat me with 11. Humble, so Ill add

    12. We have better hats. Excluding Hoverfrog of course.

    The Godless Monster, now I have the song ‘Catholic Girls’ by Frank Zappa running through my head.

    Thanks! That’s an awesome song, much better than having Hannah Montana beats grinding through my synapses.

  • Revyloution

    I just had to post the lyrics for anyone who might have missed it in their youth.

    A festive cyo party with crepe paper streamers, contestants for the broom dance, the hokey pokey, baked goods, & father riley making sure the lights don’t go down too low…

    Father riley and various party goers:
    Catholic girls
    With a tiny little mustache
    Catholic girls
    Do you know how they go?
    Catholic girls
    In the rectory basement
    Father rileys a fairy
    But it don’t bother mary
    Catholic girls
    At the cyo
    Catholic girls
    Do you know how they go?
    Catholic girls
    There can be no replacement
    How do they go, after the show?

    Joe:
    All the way
    That’s the way they go
    Every day
    And none of their mamas ever seem to know
    Hip-hip-hooray
    For all the class they show
    There’s nothing like a catholic girl
    At the cyo
    When they learn to blow…

    Father riley:
    They’re learning to blow
    All the catholic boys!

    Mary:
    Warren cuccurullo…

    Father riley:
    Catholic boys!

    Mary:
    Kinda young, kinda wow!

    Father riley:
    Catholic boys!

    Mary:
    Vinnie colaiuta…

    Chorus:
    Where are they now?
    Did they all take the vow?

    Father riley:
    Catholic girls

    Warren:
    Carmenita scarfone!

    Father riley:
    Catholic girls

    Officer butzis:
    Hey! she gave me vd!

    Father riley:
    Catholic girls!

    Warren:
    Toni carbone!

    Chorus:
    With a tongue like a cow
    She could make you go wow!

    Joe:
    Vd vowdy vootie
    Right away
    That’s the way they go
    Every day
    Whenever their mamas take them to a show
    Matinee
    Pass the popcorn please
    There’s nothing like a catholic girl
    With her hand in the box
    When she’s on her knees

    Larry:
    She was on her knees,
    My little catholic girl

    Chorus:
    In a little white dress
    Catholic girls
    They never confess
    Catholic girls
    I got one for a cousin
    I love how they go
    So send me a dozen
    Catholic girls
    Ooooooh!
    Catholic girls
    Ooooooh!
    (etc.)

    Central scrutinizer:
    This is the central scrutinizer…
    Joe had a girl friend named mary.
    She used to go the church club every week.
    Theyd meet each other there
    Hold hands
    And think pure thoughts
    But one night at the social club meeting
    Mary didn’t show up…
    She was sucking cock backstage at the armory
    In order to get a pass
    To see some big rock group for free…

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    On the oral sex thing I must say that atheists have greater empathy for their partner’s needs, adopt the moral principle of reciprocity and have no “authority” telling us which sex acts are bad. With some statistically expected anomalies such as Catholic school girls it stand to reason that we both give and receive more in the way of oral sex.

    Why else would evolution have endowed me with a tongue?

    Revyloution, don’t diss the pirate hat. It is magnificent.

  • http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/ UNRR

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 3/19/2010, at The Unreligious Right

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Revyloution,
    Guess what song was playing on my ‘puter while I was typing my first comment on this stream? heh, heh, heh…Zappa was an awesome human being.

  • cathy

    I suspect that religious MEN receive oral sex at the same rate (or at similar rates) but in my experience, fundies get really worked up about sinfulness when it comes to eating pussy. And, sexist men are far less likely to reciprocate oral and fundamentalism really loves its sexism.

  • Angie

    You forgot one!

    11: Not having to live with the paralyzing fear of eternal damnation!

  • http://brielle.sosdg.org Brielle

    Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do.

    That should read…

    Atheists experience and enjoy more oral sex than religious people do… Except for catholic priests.

  • Andrew

    It’s impossible to be more moral than anyone since you decide your own morals. Morals are like an opinion. And as for #9 – U.S.S.R. Sadly as a religious person numbers 2,3, and 5 are true for a lot of people.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Andrew,
    You couldn’t be more wrong. Soviet and East European studies were my specialty back in the day. My wife was raised in the former Soviet Union. I’ve been there and am familiar with the different peoples and their cultures. Many folks were closet believers back then. It was a way of rebelling against the State. These folks were taught atheism, but they were never taught critical thinking skills. That’s the last thing that totalitarian governments and religious leaders want. A thinking flock is a flock that cannot be controlled.
    Soviet citizens’ atheism was not based on logic or an understanding of the natural world. It was imposed on them from above. Few took atheism seriously, and many more were religious adherents to Soviet style communism. Look to modern Northern Europe for examples of secular societies.
    TGM

    • http://www.facebook.com/lydia.maslukmissiuna Lydia Cesaria Masluk-Missiuna

       Just one word.  I live in the center of bovin and sheep raising area.  Sheep are extremely stupid and do not think.  When one finds a hole out of the pasture, all the others follow.  I was always afraid of having a massive sleep suicide in my pool. My kids have been delighted to see our whole back yard streaming with sheep.  I would call the owner and he’s be there right away.
      “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ”
      (George Washington )
      which is exactly what the Soviet leaders wanted, expected, and got.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    GM says:

    Soviet citizens’ atheism was not based on logic or an understanding of the natural world. … Few took atheism seriously

    That was my experience as well from my time in Moscow in the mid 1980′s… at least from observing attendance at the various museums and monuments. About the only thing that brought a crowd was Lenin’s tomb. None of he locals seemed to care at all about any of the museums or monuments to any of the abstract causes (like atheism).

    • http://www.facebook.com/lydia.maslukmissiuna Lydia Cesaria Masluk-Missiuna

      You in Moscow were the lucky ones.  My grandparents were aristocrats and were murdered at the beginning of WW2, as they were foreigners from neighbouring countries that were annexed., The russian aristocrats were generally killed during the 1917 Revolution.  I was in the USSR trying to find the few remains of my family.  The lucky one had a house and a garden, because both wife and hysband were on the excellent worker billboard. We lied, we cheated, we stole (I was there with my oldest brother).  And we were given the royal treatment.  When the chief of police learned that “strangers” wanted to talk to her, we were wizzed right in.  Same thing at the train station, and the modern tourist guide, who found us places on a plane for the next day, when the average waiting period was 2/3 months.  My star-studded aunt showed me her factory in great pride.  You could eat off the floor. We were allowed in stores only for strangers, and especially those with american green bills, while the family members waited to see what we bought them.  But unlike what you saw, atheism was the rule of the day.  Sunday morning we found a hidden church that accepted us with love and care.  When the service was over, there was a strange looking man at the door taking notes.  We were wise enough not to tell where we were from or who was looking after us.  We walked home with this man tailing us.  We walked for 2 hours backing up, going in circles, going in front of my aunt’s home many times.  Another man took over after an hour and we were still walking.  When he went down the wrong street, we slipt into my aunt’s place.  We didn’t go outside for the rest of the day.  My uncle almost had a heart attack when he found out what had happened.  The whole family were nervous wrecks and we told them to go outside and eat as if nothing had happened.  The only time we went outdoors, was to go to the outhouse before going to bed.  My uncle didn’t sleep all night.  He was certain that his family and himself were going to have their throats slit, like he had seen what happened to his own father in front of his eyes.  I’m a therapist and I can you that this family was in post traumatic shock, shaking in their boots for a number of  days, because we went to an underground church.  We decided to leave and the lazy  tourist official found us a flight leaving the next morning.  Atheism is not dead.  Another brother went over with a group of Christian bring in tonnes of necessities, that the christians, (non-atheist) if you prefer were denied.  This was after the Berlin Wall fell and countries of the USSR declaired independance.  Hypocritical bosses would hire christians if they wanted a good job done, and if he wanted to keep his tools.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ Andrew: I disagree. Morals often (though maybe not always) are tied to objective benefits to individuals and society. Things that are considered morally wrong by the vast majority of the population (such as murder) have an immediate negative outcome for somebody. It would be hard to argue that thinking murder is wrong is merely an opinion. While defining morality is by no means easy since it is not a solid thing, that doesn’t make it an opinion where either side is equally valid.

    You’ve probably heard this hypothetical scenario: Hans’ wife is very sick, and the only pharmacist in town has a drug that may cure her. Knowing that the wife will die without the drug, Hans tries to buy it, but he cannot get enough money even after borrowing from friends. The pharmacist refuses to let Hans access the drug despite his promises to pay the pharmacist back as soon as he can. So Hans steals the drug to save his wife.

    While there are opinions on which morals are the most pertinent in this scenario, the identification of the moral dilemmas tends to be pretty universal. Everyone can identify the “morally wrong” things here (theft and the pharmacist’s refusal to dispense drug even when promised payment). The only difference seems to be the debate over which act is the most morally reprehensible. So the ranking of morally unacceptable actions may be a matter of opinion, but the actions’ moral values seem to be easily recognizable by everyone.

    Thoughts? I know I didn’t explain it perfectly; it’s a hard subject.

  • Joe Fogey

    I don’t know if we enjoy more oral sex than believers, but I’m sure we enjoy oral sex (and every other kind) more than those poor guilt-ridden wretches.

  • Karen

    I’ll have to take issue with the “better-looking” reason. Present company excluded, of course.

    ahem.

  • http://sundialsaga.blogspot.com Modern Girl

    I disagree with #8, the better parents thing. Yes, among the fundamentals, there are higher incidents of child abuse, so that influences the average among ALL religious people.

    But if you compare the moderately religious and the secular, I highly doubt you’d find a difference.

    Overall, I’m not impressed with the list. Several things fit into the category of “being more tolerant” so it seems really repetitive.

  • Polly

    “12. We have better hats.”

    Yes. But. The Pope is surely giving us a run for our money.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Polly, Benny the Poop’s hat is certainly impressive but he wears it as a badge of office and not as a fashion statement. It is more a crown that a piece of stylish headgear. Can you imagine him wearing his hat to the shops or the pub or going on the pull wearing it?

    I don’t think so.

  • Polly

    Can you imagine him wearing his hat to the shops or the pub or going on the pull wearing it?

    I totally would.
    Plus…a cane.

  • Andrew

    @Godless Monster
    Ok well if the government is atheist and those are the people in power making the life of the religious who were according to you were pretending to be atheist. Then there society is still worse off because of atheism and not religion.

    @Beth
    What you are calling morals are actually social norms. Morals is what I feel is the difference between right and wrong no one else’s. However in each society there are a set of rules unwritten or not called norms that apply to all the members of that society. You can violate a norm while still being morally responsible.

  • Andrew

    Also has anyone noticed on this site there is a lot of complaining about how religious people try to change other’s beliefs? It seems after reading this blog for well over a year that you people are trying to do the exact same thing to the religious community. Maybe that isn’t true but as a non-atheist it sure comes off that way. I mean if you weren’t doing that why have bus campaigns or try to prove that there isn’t a god?

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