The religious are constantly saying that they need god to prevent them from being immoral. They actually ask non-believers what keeps us from raping, robbing, and murdering. They say that god is what stops them.
I have mentioned before that if this is true, then they are essentially all admitting to being psychopaths with only the fear of punishment to keep them in line. Could it really be true that they would all become murderers if they stopped believing in god? It really doesn't seem likely. There is certainly no evidence for it.
Why do I say there is no evidence for that idea? Because, as I have also discussed, the threat of god's punishment is a nearly non-existent deterrent. God will forgive anything if you ask him. The chances of being punished are very slim, and the punishment is in the far distant future for most believers. Yet, they are not all murderers and rapists, only a slightly higher percentage than one would expect given their proportionate representation in the general population.
In addition, I have mentioned that statistics show more serious crime in religious countries than non-religious countries. I have also mentioned that there are disproportionate number of religious people in prison.
On the other hand, in societies where local religions or religious type philosophies have no concept of god or of a watching vengeful god, there seems to be no drastically larger amount of violent crime than other places.
To a certain extent, I think many believers say this sort of nonsense simply because they have been taught to believe it their whole lives. I also think there is some truth to the notion that the religious are less moral. My personal observations and the research shows that in fact the religious do have less morality. Many of them are, indeed, psychopathic, judging from their behavior.
But, would they all really become murderers tomorrow if someone proved god didn't exist? I don't think so. So, what is it really that they are afraid they might do? Perhaps some of their other obsessions might give us a clue.
One of those obsessions is their fear and hatred of homosexuality. Their hostility is all out of proportion to any rational response. The bible bans a lot of other things with the same vehemence, but you don't see believers threatening to stone adulterers or disrespectful children or people who eat shellfish.
The religious frequently tell us non-believers that our children will grow up to be gay. In fact, that is often one of the first things they say to us when they are on the attack. This indicates that they think homosexuality is caused by a lack of fear of god's punishment. If one is a heterosexual, however, one refrains from homosexual behavior because of a lack of interest in it--not because of fear of punishment.
Remember, people who think homosexuality is a choice are called bisexuals. This is exactly what the religious think. Again, perhaps many of them are simply and unthinkingly mouthing words and notions they were taught as children. But, it is surprising the number of them who get caught doing it. When sex scandals erupt amongst the clergy, there are a surprising number of incidents involving homosexual behavior. Speaking as a heterosexual, I have always been shocked at the emotion the religious invest in their homophobia.
I don't like the idea of engaging in homosexual acts myself, but I can't imagine hating people who do. The religious frequently express the desire to kill them, say that AIDS is god's punishment (but isn't enough), engage in gay bashing, etc.
For years, I have heard gay people say that the number of gay and bisexual people in our society is much greater than poll numbers reveal and that most of them are deeply in the closet. At first, I thought they were simply trying to puff up their numbers and buttress their arguments for acceptance. I have begun to suspect, however, that they are right, both for the reasons I mentioned above and because they would be in a better position to know, having had sex with many closeted gays and bisexuals or having at least seen them at gay establishments clearly looking for sex with someone of the same sex.
In addition, there is quite a bit of evidence that bisexual tendencies are often latent in otherwise heterosexual people. Many people admit to having had an "experience" of that sort. The behavior of single sex populations deprived of contact with the other sex for prolonged periods is well known.
All of these factors lead me to a tentative conclusion. When the religious express fear that they won't be able to control themselves without belief in god, it is not rape and murder that they fear they will commit, it is homosexual sex.