I found myself biting my tongue yesterday because I didn't want to spoil the mood at my brother's home. Generally I don't start arguments, but I'll gladly engage in them if I disagree with a subject and am cornered or fed up with the other side.
As I sat in my brother's living room awaiting the fine dinner my sister-in-law was making (yes, that same SIL I debated through email and via Facebook recently), I noticed one of the throw pillows on the couch had been stripped of its decorative frills. My brother said their dog, a beautiful but less-than-well-behaved Lab, had grabbed the pillow in the night and pulled off all of the fringes and destroyed another pillow, too.
We all laughed because it was a perfect representation of how this dog behaves. But now the fun part. My SIL walks over from the kitchen and says, "Yeah, she knew what she did was wrong," and I perked up when I heard this. So I asked how did she know that? She said, "Oh, it was so obvious she was guilty." I again asked how and she said, "She came out and when she saw us picking up the pillows and all of the stuffing, her tail was between her legs and she had her head bowed down." And I followed with, "Isn't that amazing?" And someone said, "What's amazing?" And I said, "That a dog knows right from wrong. That she knew she shouldn't have done that and displayed guilt and emotions the minute she saw you picking up the wreckage of her tirade."
Everyone was like, "Oh yeah, it's not surprising, dogs know when they do something wrong all the time."
And that's when I finally bit my tongue. You see, the next thing I wanted to say was, "Tell me how a dog knows right from wrong without the benefit of the bible's horrific morality lesson or god's objective guidance?" But I restrained myself; it was my brother's birthday, we were having a really nice night and I didn't think it was worth the hassle. I love being an atheist and I love telling anyone who will listen why religion and belief in its fairy tale is hokum, but there's a time and a place for everything.