Is bestiality wrong according to atheism?

Since we came from animals does that mean bestiality is okay?

Posted: April 20th 2012


No. Bestiality is not wrong according to atheism, because atheism is not a belief system or a moral system. It’s just the lack of belief in god.

I think that it is wrong because of my moral beliefs, not because of my atheism.

Posted: June 30th 2012

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

George Locke

Animals do not possess our faculties. They cannot be expected to advocate for their own rights beyond a basic fight or flight level, so when we interact with them, we must take responsibility for their well-being. This means not raping them. (I hope no one actually needs to be told this. Do not rape animals!)

I’d like to address some of the fundamental issues your question brings up. Atheism doesn’t have ethical consequences. Of course, since there are no gods, morality can’t be defined with reference to gods. This is a sort of “meta-ethical” consequence of atheism; it’s “meta-ethical” in that it tells us more about where our ethics come from than what our ethics should be.

My point is that atheism doesn’t entail ethical positions on the rights of animals, women, minorities, the poor, dead white landowners, etc. You have to get your ethics from somewhere, of course, but “not god” is hardly a useful source (any more than “not triangles” would be). You know that suffering is hateful in yourself, and you know that others will also choose to avoid suffering, so a society that cooperates to reduce suffering (increasing happiness and liberty, etc.) is in all of our interests. Ergo morality.

In particular, rape is terrible. Rapists spew suffering on the earth like few others can, and they must be stopped. One of the essential aspects of rape is the absence of informed consent; animals cannot give informed consent, so having sex with them is abominable.

Posted: May 2nd 2012

See all questions answered by George Locke

flagellant www

Here is the [extended] answer I gave to a very similar question on this site last year. I do not think that there is, or should be, a standard atheist position on the question.

Most civilizations have laws governing sexual relations between humans and some make bestiality either a crime or a mental health issue. This is as it should be – it’s all a matter of informed consent: parties to an act have to consent, be of sound mind, and be eligible by virtue of their age to give consent. Having wondered how one could be certain of getting this right with respect to sex with animals, I propose that we restrict the activity to groups where it is certain that the animal is in a position to give unfettered and informed consent.

I would therefore exclude domestic animals from blanket approval [no sheep-shagging or donkey shows, then] and limit the practice to a very restricted group of creatures, including fully grown bears, lions, tigers, crocodiles and alligators because I believe that these animals would have a very well-developed ability to express their lack of consent should they wish to express it.

More generally, let me draw your attention to the search facility on this site. Before you ask a question, it might be a good idea to see if something similar has been answered before.

Posted: May 2nd 2012

See all questions answered by flagellant

brian thomson www

Do you really think “atheism” has a position on bestiality? Atheism is the lack of belief in gods – no more, no less. The rest is up to people to decide, but people do talk to each other and agree on things.

I’m pretty sure bestiality has been discussed here before, but to me it’s simple: what are the consequences of bestiality? Harm to animals, for starters, so if you have any sympathy for animal rights, it’s a non-starter. Then there’s the risk of transmissable diseases, injuries, and probably more problems beyond my limited knowledge of the subject.

The religious position is that this is a “moral” issue, but the most cursory examination of the subject, as above, should tell you that you don’t need anyone else to tell you it’s a bad idea. If that’s not enough for you, and you need an external “moral” proscription on bestiality, then please stay away from me, if you don’t mind.

Posted: May 2nd 2012

See all questions answered by brian thomson


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