In a post at Mormon Stories I was having a conversation in which an atheist suggested that “…religion inclines people toward having a more selfish perspective…[because] it’s all about earning the right to get into ‘heaven’” Then he asserted that atheists are focussed on how to make this world a better place for ourselves, our children and others less fortunate. Aside from the fact that the first reason he mentioned for being less selfish was to make this world a better place for himself, my feeling was that the Gospel is ALL ABOUT service/sacrifice for others and by so doing I will become a better person. Then the argument was made that because I recognize that I can become a better person through being selfless, that is somehow selfish. Then the comments were shut down. Hrmph.
I should have known that one of the classic blunders is to never get into an argument about morality with an atheist (along with getting into a land war in Asia and making a bet with a Sicilian when death is on the line). I guess my feeling is that if you’re becoming unselfish, whether through atheism or religion, great! I’m not too worried about which one is more efficient at doing so (even though I have my opinion), as long as it’s happening is what’s important.