Briefly, whatever the truth may be about a "Creator" I do not think that anyone sane and reasonable can argue that evil does not exist in the world? Therefore, if evil is a fact, surely goodness also exists?
Even is we just want to think from a "Humanist" perspective and leave religion and "G-d" out of the discussion, my question to you all is this: why cannot we just live in peacefulness and be decent to one another - including all the animals on this planet? Whether we like it or not we are stuck here living our lives - some living the most appalling miserable lives (maybe I should say "most people" including the total population of the planet.)
Why must we let suffering continue in all its forms? Let us try to do "good" things for one another, for all the animals, and especially for this planet which sustains our lives. After all, some of us are here for quite a long time - might as well then make life more bearable - no?
Finally, we have the question of "love". What is this? Is it "real"? Most people talk about it. Most people seek it. Even if we cannot "love" each other we have the choice to try and leave each other alone in peace and stop doing evil things. Meanwhile it is very good that we discuss together and think about these things - whatever our viewpoint.
Sadly it is usually religion that obstructs this humanist vision. Things are looking up though. With people like Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris speaking out against the barbaric nature of religion people are finally starting to realise what secular humanism has to offer. Polytheism to monotheism. Hopefully it continues this way already we are witnessing the decline of traditional theism and each time a new scientific discovery is made it seems to be another blow to these religions!
I disagree that religion is the cause of barbarism. Many religions (not jut those "of the book") have a core precept which is designed to promulgate consideration for our fellow human beings and for the other sentient creatures we share this tiny fragile planet with (eg Christianity, Judaism, Hindism, Buddhism, Jainism - [I apologise, but I do not know where Islam stands on animal rights]etc). Without religion to provide a moral base, mankind would be even more brutal than we. Religion itself is not at fault - it is the tendency of individuals to use it for their own selfish ends - and this includes Dawkins and possibly Hitchens (I haven't read him, so cannot comment). To adopt atheism to the exrent that Dawkins does is to give it the status of religion. And he is making a huge amount of money from it. Perhaps his enthusiasm isn't disinterested. I certainly feel that the accusations that he applies to others (eg he accuses Alisair McGrath of feigning his belief because he can then reap praise and monetary reward, if I've read him aright) apply equally to him.
I agree with Rebekah. Why must we behave so cruelly against one another (including the animals we keep for companionship, food and work) when it would be so much better to be kind? And this applies no matter what faith we have, or don't have.
What nonsense. How can you be kind to ALL the animals? Just a brief time considering this idea reveals its flaws. If not then I'll explain with a scenario:
Let's say a dog is run over by a car, and you call a vet out to save the dog's life. Have you done the right thing? Of course. No-one should stand by and see the dog suffer if it can be helped. But what if on the way to save the dog's life, the vet ran over an ant with his car. He saved the dog, but killed the ant. Did you do the right thing in calling the vet?
Basically my point is, while I totally agree animals should be treated with care and dignity, you end up having to quantify the value of a life, and it eventually becomes impractical. Is a dog worth more than an ant, or are they equal?
Does the insects come under your umberella of "all the animals" ? If not, then why not? And if so, then we should all stop driving our cars as this causes the suffering of countless billions of insects every year.
As a vegetarian friend of mine who ate fish once said "I have a rule about the animals I will eat - if they have eyelashes I can't eat them". This was a tongue in cheek comment, but it speaks volumes.