Without a belief in ‘God’ how can you be good? People often ask.

Indeed alot of people think that without a belief in ‘God’ people cannot be good. Uganda’s Minister of Ethics, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, in an incoherent rant last year went as far as claiming that secularists pretty much want to destroy the country.

But are we really such evil people, we non-believers?

Not so, according to a new study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. The study found that people who have no religion know right from wrong just as well as regular worshippers – and are just as ethical and have as strong a moral compass as churchgoers. The Telegraph reports:

Dr Marc Hauser, from Harvard University, one of the co-authors of the research, said that he and his colleagues were interested in the roots of religion and morality.

“For some, there is no morality without religion, while others see religion as merely one way of expressing one’s moral intuitions,” he said. The team looked at several psychological studies which were designed to test an individual’s morality.

Dr Hauser added: “The research suggests that intuitive judgments of right and wrong seem to operate independently of explicit religious commitments.

Believers might also be interested to know that three out of the top five most generous philanthropists in the world are known to be atheists who, between them, have in total so far donated over $74 billion to charity. Just last week, Bill Gates (one of the three) announced that he will donate a further $10 billion over the next decade to develop and deliver new vaccines to children in the developing world.

All this – with no belief in a ‘God’, or the promise of heavenly rewards.

Don’t be scared, Dr. Buturo. We don’t bite.