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Atheism Myths

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Myth:
Atheists hate God and that is why they claim not to believe.


Response:
To atheists, this is a really odd claim. How can someone hate something in which they do not believe? As odd as it may sound, some people really do argue for this perspective. For example William J. Murray, the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, has written:

...there is no such thing as "intellectual atheism." Atheism is a system of sin denial. Atheists deny God because they decry and violate His laws and His love.

This argument and its variations imply that atheists really believe in a god but hate this god and want to rebel. First, if this were true then they would not be atheists. Atheists are not people who believe in a god but are angry at it - those are just angry theists.

But, ignoring that for now, this simply isn't true. Most of the atheists who are here really have no belief in any gods. Some atheists here actively disbelieve in some gods and deny that they exist. You can't hate something in which you don't believe or which you are certain does cannot exist. Saying that an atheist hates god is like saying that someone (maybe you?) hates unicorns. If you don't believe in unicorns, the claim simply doesn't make any sense.

Most atheists have come to their beliefs or lack thereof by reviewing the available evidence and either deciding that there is no evidence to support a positive belief, or that there is evidence to support disbelief. That is why they are atheists. Atheists don't hate god(s).

Now, there might be some confusion due to the fact that some atheists do have strong feelings about related subjects. Some atheists, for example, may hate the idea of god(s), religion in general, or some religions in particular. For example, some atheists have had bad experiences with religion either while growing up or when they started to question things.

Another point of confusion occurs when atheists make claims about "God" being psychotic or immoral. In such cases, it would be more accurate if the author were to add the qualifier "if He exists," but that is cumbersome and rarely happens. Thus it can be understandable (if not quite accurate) why some would see such statements and then conclude that the author "hates God."

Other reasons for any anger will vary considerably, and one of the most common is that they feel that these ideas or practices are ultimately harmful to people and society. However, the specific reasons for these beliefs aren't relevant here. What is relevant is that, even if atheists have strong feelings about some of these concepts, they still can't be said to hate god. You just can't hate something you don't believe in.

Myth:
Atheists hate Christians and Christianity, that's why they are always so critical.

Response:
Related to the above, some will try to argue that atheists hate Christians. To be honest, some atheists might indeed hate Christians. This statement cannot, however be made in general. Some atheists might hate Christians. Some might hate Christianity but not Christians themselves.

Most atheists do not hate Christians. It is true that many atheists may get frustrated or angry at some Christians' behavior, especially in forums for atheists. It is all too common for Christians to come in and start preaching or ranting, and that gets people upset. But this is not the same as hating Christians. Indeed, it is actually rather rude to make false general statements such as "atheists hate Christians" just because some atheists have acted improperly If you would like to have any constructive discourse on atheist forums, it would be best if you avoided statements like this.

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