Apparently this is an exclusive topic and I am redundant!

BFG- Good points! Fear is NOT a good foundation for a humane belief system.

And Richard, nice arguments. This is very true:-

"...... my FAITH, as an atheist is that people are capable of great good, to those that are not family or even part of their community."

I think kindness is often found where and when we least expect it. We experience the goodness in people much more often than the evil. As you imply, it helps if you assume people prefer to be nice,( in fact it actually makes them happy, few prefer to be mean). I really enjoyed that post. You and your wife are examples of what I was trying to say about kindness, support and love..

Now I'd better go away before Rev catches me posting!