I didn't want to derail the thread that Aiki said this in, but I thought it'd make interesting discussion, so I'm turning it into a new thread. This isn't necessarily aimed at Aiki, but rather anyone who shares his sentiments or has an opinion on what he's saying. Are all Christians really only good out of fear? Is there no reason whatsoever to be good if you can get away with being bad? Was Glaucon right, can nobody resist the ring of Gyges? I think that morality that stems from fear of punishment is not morality at all. There is nothing virtuous or honorable in being good only to avoid harm. It's easy to be good if you're in threat of retribution for being bad. But as we all know, the easy way is never really one to be praised. From this it follows that theists who are good because they're too scared to be bad are not admirable or to be honored/respected/praised/etc. in any way. Nobody talks about what a sweet, good little boy Johnny is because he cleans his room so that his momma doesn't beat him. On the other hand, if little Johnny cleans his room without ever being threatened, or even told at all, well then Johnny is the greatest little example of a good boy you ever did see. I know a lot of atheists, and the vast majority of them, myself included, are very well behaved, kind, compassionate people.... and not a single one of them believe that they must act this way lest they be judged by an all powerful being. Why oh why would anyone actually believe that you have to fear punishment in order to be good? Why would anyone possibly volunteer to help homeless people? Or send money to help fight AIDS in Africa? Or do any number of selfless acts when surely nobody, not even God, would punish them if they didn't? I think Aiki, and everyone who shares his mentality, is wrong, and has a very undeveloped conception of morality. The simple fact is, there are millions of moral atheists. There are millions of Christians who don't believe in hell or divine punishment, and most if not all of them are very moral as well. If you remove the threat of punishment and people continue to act moral, then quite obviously there is more to the moral equation than "Will I or will I not get in trouble for this?"