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Question for the group. A man walks into a store with a gun and points it at a child. Two men move to stand in the way. A Christian man and an atheist. The Christian man believes if he dies this way he will be rewarded with heaven if he dies. The atheist believes he will simply die and be nothing, and if he's wrong, will go to hell for his beliefs. So who is more brave? More noble?The man with nothing to lose, or the one with everything? Does religion rob men and women of their capacity for true nobility and self sacrifice?

Randalltague 4 Mar 17

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Both are stupid. Only a moron would step in front of a gun.


If we are talking brAvery the believer is not so brave.


IMHO, the Xratian does it simply because of what he/she is indoctrinated to think, the Atheist does it because he/she IS a true, decent and caring Human Being with Ethics and Morals that teach him/her that a life IS important.


They were both willing to save the kid. The rest doesn't matter.


Last I checked they will both lose their lives. Both are noble to save the kid. What they think might happen to them afterwards is irrelevant, they are both willing to save the kid.

lerlo Level 8 Mar 17, 2019

As an atheist I'd get behind the Christian, grab the and head out the back door. Then I'd turn the over to CPS so they could take care of it, since it's parents are clearly not.

1of5 Level 8 Mar 17, 2019

Clearly, the atheist has everything to lose (unless he's suicidal). He realizes there is no heaven nor a hell (a true atheist does not believe in any after-life). Those without an idea of some reward are braver than those who think there is something in it for them (it's called being selfish).

What prevents an athiest, or ‘true athiest’ whatever that is, from believing in an afterlife?

@indirect76 Then he/she is an agnostic not an atheist. Atheists do not believe in magic or supernaturalism.

@JackPedigo Well, an athiest to me is someone that doesn’t believe in a god. You’re talking about something else, and it’s your prerogative to use ‘athiest’ for that.

@Allamanda Buddhists are an example. While I don’t know of any, I think it’s possible for an atheist to believe in a non-reincarnate afterlife.

It’s simple really. God and an afterlife are two separate ideas. They need not be related.

@Allamanda I don’t know. I haven’t asked all the atheists. ?

@JackPedigo Hear, hear, precisely 100% correct.

@JackPedigo, @indirect76 Well, as a Life-long determined Atheist, I can state personally that I neither think nor believe in re-incarnation nor any kind of After-life what-so-ever.

@indirect76 The one thing that separates true atheists from others is our sense of reality. There is no magic in the real universe and we are certainty not the center of it and deserving of some sort of immortality. This fear of death is what drives most people to some sort of religion. The definition in the Humanist group: []

@JackPedigo That link doesn’t say anything about atheism, and I’m still lost on what the word means to you. Can you just state your meaning?

@Antifred It sounds like a semantics issue. I am an atheist and I am also a historian and recognize issue from the past.

@indirect76 The Humanist group is an atheist group. I already did state my definition - no belief in anything supernatural or magic. It is an implied meaning from the dictionary one. FFRF says the 1st amendment protects freedom from religion. Many religionists say it only says freedom of religion not from. The from is implied and is valid.

@Antifred I think even with identification the issue of identity theft is so pervasive that simple id is often not enough. I was recently hacked and am grateful we need substantial id to get into bank accounts and other important institutions.

The world is increasingly becoming a global theft ring and the one thing that helps to protect one's belongings is identification.

I do not believe in conspiracies nor biblical misquotes.

@Antifred I use 666 where ever I can. Sometimes I reverse it to 999.

@Antifred But then money would be worthless or we would have hyper-inflation. Besides, some of us don't need vast amounts of moola to live a decent life.

@Antifred Of course in a perfect world with perfect people. Too bad there is no such thing.


For me, it is simpler. I recall the story about Lincoln and the piglets, as told to me in my very first philosophy class:

While campaigning for presidency, Lincoln was in a carriage crossing a bridge over a swollen river when he noticed several piglets beginning to drown in the current below. He immediately ordered the carriage to stop, jumped from it, and scrambled down the muddy bank to rescue all of the piglets.

After witnessing the heroic and selfless act, the carriage driver remarked to the future president how impressed he was by his altruism. Mr. Lincoln replied by saying "My good sir, I only rescued them because I knew I could not sleep this night if I didn't".


I don't think one is more brave or nobler than the other. Before coming to terms with my atheist views, I'd been in a real life/death situation and never thought once about an afterlife, a god, etc. I was totally in the moment-not one second before or after even crossed my mind.

Likewise. 3 times I have been in situations where, had there been a bookie present, I would have taken out a bet against my living. The thought if an afterlife, reincarnation, or other myth never once entered my head. I was too busy trying to neat the odds.
I therefore think the question posed in this post is actually ridiculous, unless part of a phschology study on altruism.


I think the scenario is contrived. Anyone instinctively protecting a child or other vulnerable person at risk of their own life is probably acting instinctively based on the level of empathy and compassion they actually have, and this has nothing to do with the presence or absence of magical beliefs. The religious man is acting morally in spite of the immoral, nihilistic religion he subscribes to; the areligious man is acting morally because he doesn't have a religion muddying his moral compass. So in a sense you could say the religious person is more noble in this situation.


I think when the situation comes, neither man will consider what they believe. Only react based on who they are in their core, despite religion.


I think they are equally noble. If I had to pick one, in the way you are framing it, I guess I would go with the atheist being more noble.


Or maybe the Agnostic, being a very practical guy, simply draws and fires his own concealed sidearm before the child is harmed.

Soon in Kentucky, you won’t need a permit to conceal carry.


I should move 80 miles south. 😉
I have to carry my CCW license at all times here in Ohio.

@bigpawbullets I live right across the river from Cincinnati, so I’m in Ohio a lot. I love the city, but it’s definitely more dangerous up there. So, this bill won’t be helping me as much as others.


In Indiana, I have to have my carrying license whenever I take a firearm out of my home (except for when transporting to/from a sale or the shooting range, and then it must be in a closed case, stowed in the trunk). The law is silent in Indiana as to whether one may carry concealed, so anyone with a carrying permit may carry a concealed weapon.

Also, just in case this is helpful, here is a handy link to state reciprocity rules - updated for 2019:


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