Letter Re: Atheism and Choosing Your Neighborhood

I am a new reader to SurvivalBlog and a big fan of “Patriots” ., I have been reading all the archives and old posts, and I would just like to clear one thing up. I am an atheist. I don’t believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove the existence of a supreme power. This does not make make me a bad person. There have been some posts about choosing your neighbors that have said Christians and Jewish people make best neighbors because they are “God fearing” etc.

Just because I don’t believe in a god does not mean I am going to kill/steal/rape in a TEOTWAWKI situation. It hurts me when I read such generalizations. Just because I’m an atheist, I am not going to harm you. I believe in the rule of law and mutual respect. I don’t decide not to kill or steal because I fear a punishment from god. I choose not to do these things because they are wrong, I don’t need a god or bible to tell me they are wrong.

Atheists are not barbarians, without morals. I help my neighbors, I work hard and believe in self reliance and preparedness. I am trustworthy and respectful. I have encountered many so called “God fearing” believers who I cannot say the same for. God may not be a driving force in my life, but I still know the difference between right and wrong. I will not try to convert you, I am not one of those loud atheists who will try to tell you how wrong you are. I believe in everyone’s right to believe what they may, and I ask all to give me the same courtesy.

Religion and morals are not the same thing. I don’t need to believe in a supreme power to have morals and know what is right and wrong. I just wanted to clear up these misconceptions. I really hope you post this. Thank you for your work, SurvivalBlog is a great knowledge source, – J. in Michigan

JWR Replies: The comment in my Precepts page that you mentioned is not a question of individuals, because there are indeed exceptional individuals, and I’m confident that you are one of them. Rather, this is a question of averages. On average, people that have the moral underpinning of the Judeo-Christian religious ethic are less likely to commit property crimes than those that don’t, and statistics bear this out. For example, look at the “Property”crime rates for particular counties in California (The City and County of San Francisco, for example, has one of the lowest church attendance rates in the country). Compare that to the more religious counties of North Dakota (a “Bible Belt” state). This map is quite an interesting starting place. Sorry, but facts are facts. Property crime rates are generally higher in communities with a low ratio of church attendance. My choice to live in a tight-knit religious community is not a reflection on you as an individual. It is just a conscious choice, based upon statistical correlation and my strong conviction as a Christian, to do so. FWIW, please consider that a religious community is also the safest place for you–an atheist with morals–to live, too.

If I hypothetically had to live in New York or New Jersey, then I’d probably pick a small town with a predominance of Christians or Orthodox Jews for neighbors.