Attacks on Atheism: Analysis and Critiques of Attacks on Atheism
Atheism is the Least Rational of All Choices?
Is it irrational to not bother believing in any gods? Many theists think so, but what is the quality of their arguments on behalf of this position? I've never found any arguments for this position that have had any real substance. Usually they begin with a false definition of atheism and then just get worse from that point.
Republican Party of Texas: Officially Bigoted Against Atheists
Bigotry against atheists can be widespread in America - though it tends to be unofficial rather than official. By this I mean that personal bigotry against atheists on an individual basis is common, but official bigotry in sense of institutions taking bigoted positions against atheists isn't so common... except for the Texas Republican Party
Adam Gadahn, aka Azzam the American, on Atheism
Adam Yahiye Gadahn is an American from California who has joined Al Qaeda. Born Adam Pearlman and the grandson of a Jewish surgeon, he was raised Christian and homschooled. He converted to Islam in 1995 and moved to Pakistan in 1998. Since 2004, he has appeared in a couple of Al Qaeda videos under the moniker "Azzam the American."
Blogsnark: What Would Atheists Do if the Gospel Were True?
Sometimes atheists are asked what they would do if it turned out that a god really existed. Perhaps it would be more interesting to ask what atheists would do if a particular religion turned out to be true - not that some random god exists, but that particular doctrines and requirements were genuine. At least one atheist, for reasons I can't imagine, says that he would kill himself.
Fear of God is at the Root of Atheism? Benedict Flubs Again
The more time that passes, the more disappointing Pope Benedict XVI becomes. Granted, I can't claim to have ever thought very much of him to begin with so it's not like I ever had very high hopes for his papacy. Still, that doesn't mean that he can't speak and behave so awfully that he will go even further downhill and become even worse.
Blogsnark: Thou Fool
Many theists think that atheists are fools. Perhaps that's fair, because many atheists think that theists are fools as well. If we take a look a how theists argue that atheists are fools, though, what do we find? Do we read convincing, sound arguments for why atheists are fail to reason well, or do we see theists revealing themselves as being unable to reason well?
It's Not Easy Being An Atheist... When Reporters Write Bad Articles
Being an atheist in America isn't easy. Despite the fact that nonreligious Americans are not only the second largest 'religious' group in America and but also the fastest growing category, openly disputing the value or truth of religion, religious faith, and religious institutions often leads to discrimination, harassment, and bigotry. How is it that Christians think they are the persecuted ones?
Gen. H. Steven Blum Categories Atheists with Bigots
Religious bigotry towards atheists can pop up in the most surprising places. Sometimes people will express hostility towards atheism and atheists for no immediately apparent or good reason - it's as if they simply needed some group to slam and feel superior to, so they picked atheists as the easiest target.
What Was She Thinking? Margaret Atwood Doesn't Understand Atheism
Margaret Atwood is a fairly well-known author in freethinking circles because of her book The Handmaid's Tale, a story about a dystopic future when extreme religious fascism has taken control of America. Margaret Atwood also suffers from a serious problem known as Arrogance of Agnosticism: by misdefining atheism and agnosticism, she pretends that she is superior to everyone else.
U.S. Military: Playing the Atheism Card Against Pat Tillman
A professional football player who left a lucrative contract in order to volunteer to serve his country after 9/11, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. His family was devastated, but understood that sacrifice and risk come with the job - at least until they learned that he was killed by friendly fire and the government tried to cover it up.
Military Chaplain Pat Hash: No Atheists in Foxholes
A great many Christians are convinced that there are no atheists in foxholes. This belief may be even more popular among Christians in the military, despite the presence of atheists all around them. Christians may believe this because they don't want to accept the fact that a person can face death without the need to cry out to their god. Can't deal with honest and consistent atheists?
Just Another Salem: Christian Persecution of Atheists in the American
Not long ago I wrote about the experiences of Charles Smalkowski and his family in Okalhoma. Falsely charged with assault, Smalkowski was offered the chance to leave the state and not file suit against the school district because of their official Christian prayers and persecution of his daughter. He resisted, the charges were increased to a felony, and his family suffered. In the end, he won.
Godless Atheists Responsible for Youth Violence?
Focus on the Family vice president Bill Maier says that atheistic beliefs are responsible for the increases in youth violence. Of course, Bill Maier doesn't have the slightest idea what "atheistic beliefs" are; this is just Christian Right code for "evolution" and thus all we have is one more example of the Christian Right using sensational news stories for their own ideological goals.
Why Do Theists Think that Atheists Are in Denial?
A common misconception or misunderstanding which many Christians have about atheism is that atheists "really" believe in God, but are in denial about this fact. Atheists say that they don't believe, but they really do and only say they don't because they are angry at God, they don't want to admit that they sin, or for some other bizarre reason.
Ben Shapiro Misrepresents Atheism
Critics of liberalism think that associating it with atheism is an insult, which says more about their bigotry than it does about liberalism. Particularly interesting, though, is that they only manage this by grossly misrepresenting atheism in the process. They can't attack liberalism by associating it with real atheism, only a made-up straw man that exists nowhere by in their twisted minds.
Just Try Jesus... Or Burn in Hell, Scum
Christianity has a marketing problem. As much as Christians try to sell their beliefs by proclaiming how wonderful things are as a consequence of being a Christian, discussion always comes back to what even they sometimes acknowledge as the most fundamental reason for becoming Christian: if you don't, you'll burn in hell forever. Christianity, it seems, can't be sold without threats.
Blogsnark: Atheists are Pig-Ignorant Lying Bigots
Atheists are popular targets of personal attacks not just among theists, but also among self-professed agnostics as well. There are quite a few agnostics out there who appear to have adopted the position not because of any serious reflection on the issues, but rather because it allows them to pretend that they are better than everyone else.
Ask Margot: Don't Lose the Faith!
I've written a couple of times down about "Dear Amy," an advice column written by Amy Dickinson who appears to have trouble seeing atheists as deserving the same respect and dignity as theists. She isn't the only one, though. "Ask Margot" is a dating and relationship advice column which also doesn't seem to think very highly of atheists and atheism.
Dear Amy: Atheists are Human Beings, Too
I've written twice before about the advice columnist "Dear Amy" (Amy Dickinson) and her apparent inability to accept that atheists are fully equal human beings who deserve the same respect and consideration as theists and Christians. Sadly, she continues to print letters which indicate a preference for privileging Christians over atheists.
Christian Reading Comprehension (Or Lack Thereof)
Every so often, I check for copyright violations against this site - that is to say, I check to see if people are simply copying material from here without permission. Most of the time, it's religious believers copying historical information I have without even providing a link. Are they embarrassed that they have to learn from and copy an atheist? Even more amusing are the misrepresentations.
Dear Amy: Respect is Still a Two-Way Street
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the "Dear Amy" columnist responded to a letter from an atheist, chastising her for not wanting religious rituals performed in her home before meals. I pointed out the various flaws in Amy's "argument" and encouraged people to write in. She received over 100 emails, hopefully some from readers here, so how did she respond?
Angry Rabbi Tries to Understand Angry Atheists
Are all atheists angry? That's a common prejudice among theists - usually trotted out after the theist does something really obnoxious. Apparently, atheists are supposed to sit there and let atheists do annoying, condescending, and obnoxious things without even getting the least bit annoyed. Otherwise, the "angry atheist" stereotype is used as if it were a rebuttal.
Melinda Barton, Religious Bigot: Most Atheists are Whackjobs
Melinda Barton describes herself as a "biracial Jewish lesbian from the South's working class," but she should probably add to that list "religious bigot who doesn't think that atheists should be given the same political considerations as religious believers." Based upon recent writing, Melinda Barton seems to believe that atheists are a threat to liberalism and democratic liberty.
Richard John Neuhaus: Atheists Can't Be Good Citizens
A common expression of bigotry towards atheists is that they can't be good citizens - meaning either that they can't be patriotic (like George H.W. Bush claimed) or that they can't be moral people (as so many Christians claim). This smear is a basis for the Boy Scouts' refusal to admit atheists into any part of their organization and it's even endorsed by Richard John Neuhaus.
Do Atheists Act in Vain?
Far too often I see theists insist that the actions of atheists can't really matter if they don't believe that they will live forever in some sort of ill-defined, unsupportable after-life. Such a claim is little more than a poor substitute for serious thinking because making the claim indicates that the person hasn't given serious thought to the issues involved.
Dear Amy: Respect Is a Two-Way Street
When you show respect to a person and their beliefs, they should return it and show the same respect to you and what you believe. When they don't - or worse, then they act as though you don't even deserve it - what's happening isn't so much that they want respect as that they want privilege. They want to be treated better than you because they consider themselves to be better than you.
John B. Shea: Atheists Can't Tell Right from Wrong?
Many theists arrogantly presume that their beliefs are required for being able to tell right from wrong, good from evil. People who don't share their beliefs (atheists) or who don't share their religion are necessarily deficient in this manner and can't be trusted. It's a bigoted perspective based on arrogance, self-righteousness, and a failure to take seriously the perspectives of others.
Knee-Jerk Left Scorning Religious Politicians
Is Amy Sullivan capable of writing about religion without saying something false, something stupid, or something insulting? Probably, but she hasn't been demonstrating that ability lately. Recently she suggested that atheists should just sit down and shut up lest they offend Christians. Now she is attacking the "left" for their "knee-jerk" reactions to the Christian Right.
Do Outspoken Atheists Hurt Evolution & Science?
It's not just enough that atheists and religious skeptics have to sit down and shut up in the field of politics rather than criticize the Christianity people are pushing in government; atheists also have to shut up in the field of science rather than criticize Christianity there because this prevents Christians from accepting the truth of evolution. Why don't we just gag all atheists permanently?
Criticism of Atheists
In 2004, Robyn L. Blumner wrote in the St. Petersburg Times about being an atheist. She received a lot of reactions, positive and negative, some of which she published in a follow-up column. At one point she requested that she not be prayed for and this, too, led to negative reactions.
What Motivates Atheists to be Good?
It's common to hear from theists, and Christians in particular, that atheism and morality are incompatible. Completely ignoring the extensive literature on morality that doesn't assume the existence of any gods, much less the Christian god, these people insist that atheists can't possibly have any reason to be good. To point out that they are ignorant is an understatement.
Dealing with Reality
Although it's rarely stated outright, a common objection people have to atheism seems to be the fact that atheism doesn%u2019t allow them to think of themselves as being special in the universe. Religious theism often includes doctrines about gods singling humans out for special treatment; atheistic philosophies don't.
Should Christians Abandon Apologetics?
Quite a few Christians seem to enjoy engaging nonbelievers in arguments over whether a god exists or not. Few Christians really understand what they are doing, though, and even fewer realize the inherent contradiction in their effort: if they could successfully prove the existence of their god, they would eliminate any need for faith.
Challenging Atheism: Are Atheists Consisting in Belief and Actions?
Religious theists sometimes seem to have trouble understanding atheists. They can't quite fully comprehend how a person can live their lives without belief in gods, without religion, and without all the things which religious theists generally take for granted. Thus, when they ask questions about atheism, they often betray a profound ignorance of atheism and atheists.
Blogsnark: Is Atheism America's Established Religion?
There are a lot of Christians in America who are angry that their religion is no longer privileged by the state. In the place of privileges for Christianity, we have neutrality: no religion is preferred over any other. Christians can't mount serious arguments against this, so they make incoherent, contradictory arguments about atheism being the preferred religion.
The Utility of Weak Atheism
When religious theists attack atheism, they prefer to attack strong atheism, the denial of the existence of gods, because it's a positive claim which can be evaluated and critiqued. They don't like dealing with weak atheism, the absence of belief in gods, because they forces them to defend and support their own claims. Is that why they try to insist that weak atheism isn't real atheism?
Blogsnark: Atheists Don't Really Exist?
A popular game among a certain segment of Christians is to try to find ways to argue that atheists don't really exist. Why? I'm not sure - it's not like the people or their criticisms of religion and theism will cease to exist. Redefining them serves no substantive purpose. Is it mere coincidence that all attempted redefinitions are set up to make atheists look worse?
Blogsnark: Truth Decay - Creationists Blind to the Truth
There has, naturally, been a lot of negative reactions from religious conservatives to the Dover trial ruling which struck down the introduction of Intelligent Design creationism in school science classes. Unfortunately, little of that reaction appears to be based upon a sincere and careful reading of the decision itself.
Is Atheism Privileged in America Today?
Religious conservatives are having a hard time making a case for their belief that their religion should be privileged. This has left them with few options, and one of the most popular is the argument that a failure to privilege their religion means that atheism is being privileged. No, it makes no sense and requires distorting atheism, law, history, and more. Some people are simply shameless.
Harassment of and Assaults on Atheists
It's difficult for many theists to imagine just how extensively atheists have been harassed and persecuted over the years. Conservative Christians talk a lot about Christians being persecuted in America, but the truth is that Christians do most of the persecuting that goes on - sometimes against other Christians, often against members of minority groups.
Blogsnark, Worst of the Worst: 2005 Worst Blog Posts on Atheism and Secularism
Blogsnarks are commentaries on awful blog posts written by theists — mostly Christian — about atheism, secularism, the separation of church and state, science, etc. Collected here are 10 Blogsnarks on the worst of the worst, blog posts by religious believers who display what might be considered negative knowledge of atheism and a negative...
Danger of Practical Atheism in Society
Have you ever heard of 'practical atheists'? This is a category of people created by theists to describe all those theists who technically believe in a god, but who behave immorally. The assumption is that moral behavior follows automatically from theism, thus immoral behavior is a consequence of not genuinely believing. The term 'practical atheist' is thus a smear against atheists generally.
Is Star Jones is Bigot? Said Atheists Unfit for Presidency
This isn't a new story, but since I haven't found any evidence of her having retracted her statements, it's worth bringing up again. Back in 2002, Start Jones suggested that atheists cannot be patriotic and are unqualified to be President of the United States. Imagine if she had said this about Jews or Catholics.
Blogsnark: Islamic Reactions to Atheism and Atheists
It's always curious to witness how angry and even violent some believers get at the mere thought of nonbelievers who reject their religion and their theism. People don't get so angry in the face of others with differing beliefs about the best cars or best washing detergent. Why, you'd almost think that it's a defense mechanism in order to cover the realization that one might be wrong.
Defending Freedom of Religion? Defending Deceit...
It's always interesting to read the screeds of those who claim to be defending freedom of religion when real freedom - especially freedom for adherents of other religions - seems to be the furthest thing from their minds. It boggles the mind to ponder how their reasoning process must work.
Blogsnark: Theists Can Be Scary People
Religious theists often claim that without their religion and their theism, there is no reason to be good and not kill others. They seem to think that this is a reason to adopt their beliefs, but they don't realize just how psychopathic such a position really is.
Secularism and Practical Atheism
America is an increasingly secular nation, which means that religion and religious organizations have less power and influence than they once did. This bothers religious conservatives, which is understandable, but far too often they blame secularization on unseen, sinister forces than on the real cause: people are choosing to ignore religion in favor of other pursuits.
Are Atheists Too Uncritical?
Religious theists are always looking for another way to attack atheism. A new one that I have discovered is to claim that atheists do not uphold the same standards of criticism against atheism that they do against religion and theism. Unfortunately, those who make this claim do an abysmal job of actually supporting it.
Archbishop Attacks Extreme Atheism
Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, does not have a good track record when it comes to dealing with critics and outsiders. There is a tradition of former archbishops not causing public controversy, but it looks like he doesn't agree with that entirely. He recently complained about Christians being persecuted by those mean old atheists.
Does Atheism Hurt People?
There are quite a few theists who are so caught up in their beliefs that they simply cannot imagine how or why others might reject those beliefs. Why, though, would they claim that the existence of atheism hurts them?
Are Atheists UnAmerican?
Is it wrong for atheists and others to disagree with the addition of the words 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance? Is it unAmerican for people to think that a religious oath shouldn't be part of an expression of patriotism? Apparently it is, at least according to some ROTC cadets.
Dennis Prager Simplifies the World into Nonsense
Quite often when someone is making an argument that cannot stand on its own merits, they engage in a logical fallacy known as the "false dilemma." In this, they reduce the number of allegedly available options to an artificial number (usually 2) and demand that we pick. This way, they don't to explain why their preferred option is best.
Blogsnark: Bigotry Against Atheists
It's not too often that someone admits that their bigotry against atheists would lead them to engage in discrimination against atheists. I wrote about one such case a little while ago when a business owner admitted he would discriminate against atheists in hiring. Now, I've found another example
Atheists Aren't 'Real' Americans
Why are some Christians so arrogant as to think that only their religious beliefs are compatible with being an American? Why are some Christians so arrogant as to think that humanists, secularists, atheists, and even perhaps more liberal Christians aren't "real" Americans? It's a mystery to me.
Coffee Shop Kicks Out Atheists
In Homewood, Alabama, the Cool Beans coffee shop has informed a local atheist group that they can no longer use the place to meet. Local religious groups will continue to meet there, which means that the shop is likely violating federal anti-discrimination laws. Rather than file suit, the atheists are organizing a boycott.
Theists' Misunderstandings About Atheism
Theists tend to have a lot of misunderstandings about atheism. This is understandable, given the fact that atheists tend to keep a low profile and given how much disinformation can be spread by the Christian Right. Dispelling those misunderstandings is not easy.
Blogsnark: Atheism and Secularism Have no Moral Benchmarks?
It's a pretty consistent pattern that those who complain about the absence of Ten Commandments monuments on public property betray no real understanding of the legal issues. When the same people criticize atheism or secularism, they betray even less understanding of the issues involved.
Atheists Not Really Human?
Bigotry against atheists is widespread; even those who might not come right out and say that atheists are second-class citizens may nevertheless express the idea that atheists are "lesser" beings.
Goon Squad: Silence Atheist Family Members
The Goon Squad (they call themselves the God Squad, presuming to speak on behalf of God because they pretend to be ecumenical or something) can always be counted on to attack atheism and atheists. It seems that being part of any religion and having any sort of theism is good, but being an atheist is just awful.
Blogsnark: No True Atheists Exist?
Quite a few theists try to argue that atheists don't really exist. I'm not sure why, though I suppose that denying the existence of atheists makes it easier to pretend that atheists' critiques of religion and theism can be dismissed. Most of these arguments are old, tired, and silly. Theists need to come up with new ones.
No Such Thing as an Atheist?
Lots of people imagine that atheism just isn't possible - their religion, their theism, and their habits of thinking are so ingrained that they are incapable of imagining that anyone could be so different from themselves.
Atheism is in Trouble... Because We Say So...
There are people who like to say that atheism is on the decline and going away. They seem to have been saying that for a while... and what is there evidence? Not much, it turns out.
Pity the Poor Atheist Children
Atheists who attended the San Francisco "All Atheists Weekend" actually had the temerity to bring their children. This seems to have bothered some religious people who don't think that children should learn about atheism.
Atheism Responsible for Poverty?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, recently gave an address in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo where he called upon Christians and Muslims to unite in efforts to reduce poverty. He also associated atheism with the causes of poverty.
Blogsnark: Muslim Fanatics Hate Us Because of Atheists
One of the most common critiques that Muslim fanatics have about the West generally and America in particular is that they are "godless." This conflicts with many Americans' self-image as a godly nation, so they are forced to seek scapegoats elsewhere: the atheist minority.
Thank God for Anti-Atheist Bigotry
Bigots rarely like to admit that they are bigoted, so they search far and wide for "rational" reasons to defend their prejudices. People once cited "studies" about low intelligence and criminal propensity to justify bigotry towards blacks. Today, people find "scientific" reasons to be prejudiced towards atheists.
Blogsnark: Atheism = Satanism Humanism
Sometimes, in the quest to smear atheism and attack atheists, Christians will reach for the most ridiculous and absurd arguments. These are arguments to bad that one led to seriously question the person's grip on reality itself because it seems improbably that a person could genuinely believe such things.
Goon Squad on Converting an Agnostic on his Death Bed
A few days ago, I commented on how the God Squad (now dubbed the Goon Squad) complained about the prejudice against people of faith being the "last acceptable prejudice in our society." Why are they now recommending that someone annoy an agnostic on his death bed?
Blogsnark: Hijacking Funerals to Preach
There are many Christians who regard their religion and their "mandate" to preach as more important than basic human kindness, politeness, or civility. If they are asked to not preach out of consideration for others who don't want to hear it, they insist that they are being repressed by "God-haters."
Blogsnark: Atheism as a Biological Disorder
There are many people who are unable to seriously deal with theological arguments - either in the sense of creating and defending their own or in the sense of addressing the arguments offered by skeptics, critics, and atheists. So what do they do? They make up a way to dismiss atheists out of hand and pretend that atheism can just be ignored.
Defending Religion as a Kind of Art
Some argue that religion is a kind of art and, therefore, must be judged as such. Religion is an interpretation of life, like a painting, and not designed to be a literal representation. Religion helps us appreciate non-empirical aspects of our existence. Is there any validity to this view?
Blogsnark: Just Test Christianity and See
It's amazing the number of Christians who assume that atheists must not really know about Christianity, much less that many atheists used to be Christians. This stems from the assumption, I think, that anyone who really knows about Christianity will therefore become a Christian - they can't conceive of someone hearing about Christianity but then rejecting it.
Blogsnark: Atheism Nonsense
Is atheism nonsensical? Some theists think so, but when they try to explain how and why they typically use really awful misunderstandings or myths about atheism. It's clear that they haven't made any effort to learn about or understand atheism - so it's no wonder that they don't see any sense in it.
God Squad Bigots on Others' Alleged Bigotry
It's a fact that atheists are a group which experiences bigotry and prejudice more than most others in America. More people would be willing to vote for a gay man or a women for president than an atheist. hy, though, are those responsible for the bigotry and prejudice crying about how they are ones who are suffering?
Irrational Thinking about Prayer
Well, another National Day of Prayer has passed and any number of people have weighed in about how there is something wrong with those who don't pray - and something very wrong with those who object to the politicization of prayer. Anything which reminds Christians that they aren't the only people in this nation has to be struck down quickly and firmly.
Why Do Atheists Care About Who is Pope?
Quite a few atheists, humanists, skeptics, and other critics of religion have written their opinions about the new pope, Benedict XVI. These people aren't Catholics, obviously, so others have wondered why they care who the new pope is.
Is Life Meaningless for Atheists?
A common claim from evangelicals runs something like "without my God, there would be no meaning, beauty, or morality - therefore, if you want your pathetic existence to have any meaning, you should believe in my God you immoral heathen." They don't quite use those words, but that's what they communicate. Do they have anything approaching a point?
What is Atheism?
People really have trouble understanding atheism. Even some atheists have difficulty with it, but most of the problems stem from theists. It's hard to see why this would be so because the concept couldn't be much simpler: disbelief in the existence of gods. Why the confusion, then?
Blogsnark: Atheists Are Unhappy
Some Christians have this odd idea that only they are happy in the world. They know the Truth about God and the Universe, therefore they are happy. Everyone else can't know the Truth, otherwise they would be Christians; therefore they must be unhappy. This is arrogance at it's best, folks.
Justice Janice Rogers Brown on 'Atheistic Humanism'
Janice Rogers Brown is a justice on the California Supreme Court and one of the 10 candidates to the federal judiciary which the Democrats have filibustered because of her extremism. Speaking at a Red Mass, she reinforced why she should be considered an extremist by launching into a tired against atheism and secular humanism.
Blogsnark: Secularism vs. Atheism
More and more I've been seeing the Christian Right falsely equate secularism with atheism. It's only to be expected that few atheists won't also be secularists, but there is no way to stretch the meaning of either "secularism" or "atheism" that would allow equating them.
Blogsnark: Imposing Atheism?
Many Christians believe that when the government fails to endorse or promote their religion, then the government is therefore promoting atheism. That's about as logical as saying that a failure to endorse Christianity means that the government is endorsing Hinduism or Taoism.
No Atheists in Humvees?
The old canard "there are no atheists on foxholes" is sincerely believed by many and may be getting an update: there are no atheists in Humvees. It's supposed to reflect the relative absence of foxholes on the modern battlefield, but it's even dumber than the original saying.
Blogsnark: Rationalism, Atheism, and Rights
A common criticism of atheism is that it fails to produce a basis for things like rights or morality. Consequently, being an atheist entails that a person has no justification for treating others well, for recognizing human rights, or anything of the kind. Is this a reasonable critique?
Atheism in Former Communist Countries
There are many atheists in former communist countries, but some Christians seem to think that their atheism is irrelevant because it was once fostered by communist governments. Is this a legitimate perspective to adopt? No - especially you're not willing to do the same for theism in cultures where theism is encouraged.
Blogsnark: Atheist [sic] Are Fools
There are a lot of Christians out there who like to cite Psalms 14:1, which states: The fool says in his heart, "God does not exist." This allows them to call atheists fools without taking responsibility for it - they're just "quoting God," after all. It's usually clear, however, that they have no idea what they are talking about.
Blogsnark: Opening a Dialog Through Falsehoods
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts... and of Christians trying to "open dialogue" with atheists. Few of them even know what atheism is, but that doesn't stop them from making all sorts of assumptions as if a "dialogue" could be established between themselves and the convenient straw man they have created.
Blogsnark: Atheism is Not Possible
A common criticism of atheism is that it isn't "possible" to be an atheist. Instead of actually addressing arguments and criticisms offered by atheists about theism and religion, some prefer instead to act as though there is no such thing as atheists. If atheists don't exist, then they can't be saying anything worthwhile. Right?
Blogsnark: Ridiculous Atheist?
There are a lot of theists out there who get upset when atheists try to stand up for their rights. It's tough to maintain a dominant position in society when all those uppity minorities keep trying to insist that they should be treated with equal consideration and respect.
Blogsnark: Atheism & Secularism Are Substitutes for Religion?
One of the strangest confusions I see regarding atheism is people thinking that atheism is somehow an "equivalent" religion. If a person leaves religion and becomes an atheist, then somehow that atheism has "replaced" religion. The fact that atheism has none of the characteristics of religion doesn't seem to matter.
Blogsnark: Is Atheism Automatically Justified?
Most people understand that the absence of belief in the truth of a claim is the position we all start out with regarding every claim. Most people also understand that unless a person making a claim offers good support for that claim, then continued disbelief (if not rejection or denial) is the only justified reaction.
Blogsnark: Atheistic Lifestyle?
We can often read about the "gay lifestyle," a label used by evangelicals for all things "gay" in order to frame homosexuality as a choice that can be rejected rather than an orientation that is part of who someone is. Some are now also criticizing an "atheistic lifestyle."
Blogsnark: Atheism and Evolution as Faiths
There's a common assumption among many Christians that seems to categorize just about everything as a "faith." What drives people to classify things like atheism and evolution in the same category as the existence of God, the Trinity, or the Immaculate Conception?
Blogsnark: Argument Against Atheist Activists?
Sometimes theists wonder why atheists are "activists" of any sort, whether in terms of promoting atheism or with political issues like church/state separation. There is the impression, it seems, that not believing in any gods must entail either not caring what happens or, even worse, not having a good reason to care - much less to act.
Blogsnark: Atheism Is A Belief System?
Atheism is not a belief system; if atheism were a belief system, it would consist of an integrated system of doctrines, beliefs, and ideas that would used to provide guidance and stability in people's lives. Since it obviously does none of that, those who say that atheism is a belief system can't have the slightest idea of what they are talking about.
Blogsnark: Atheists Get It Wrong?
One of the most consistent and disturbing features of theists' commentaries about atheism is the almost total lack of knowledge that the writers have on the subject. They know so little that they are unaware that they are ignorant.
Liberalism, Socialism, and Religion
A common charge made by religious conservatives is that atheism is somehow equivalent to or dependent upon socialism. This is an inheritance, I think, from earlier forms of conservatism where Communists were the primary enemies. They just can't let their favored anti-socialist slurs go, so they have to twist facts and reality in order to apply them to atheists, secularists, and liberals today.
100% Of All Atheists Are Fools
It's funny that so many evangelical Christians consider atheists to be "fools." Why funny? Because the accusation is so often made in the context of the most slack-jawed, puerile, and irrational arguments imaginable. In effect, the Christians involved only serve to demonstrate their own foolishness, not the foolishness of others.
More 'God Squad' Bigotry Against Atheists
I've written before about the anti-atheist bigotry of Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman, the so-called "God Squad" whose column on religion appears all over the country. Sadly, that bigotry continues - even when irrelevant to the topic at hand.
Can you disprove atheism by claiming that the existence of atheists proves the existence of gods? This sounds like nonsense, I know, but at least one person is convinced that it's an utterly brilliant tactic.
Arrogance of Atheism
Are atheists arrogant for insisting that theists support their claims before accepting them as true? I've seen many attempts to argue that atheists are arrogant, but this is an unusual one. It's a serious sign of weakness, I think, when someone starts whining about having to support their assertions.
Quite a few evangelicals think that they have what it takes to debate atheists, skeptics, and other nonbelievers. Is there a school out there for debating atheists? If there is, it isn't doing a good job at turning out debaters.
Atheism Silent on Evil?
Theistic religion can find it difficult to face terrible disasters and suffering because it challenges the notion of an all-powerful, loving god. What about atheism, though? Do suffering and evil cause problems for atheists as well? Some Christians think so.
Blognsnark: Do You Want Tolerance, Or Something More?
It's not uncommon for religious believers to complain that skeptics, atheists, and nonbelievers are "intolerant" of religion. The question is, are these believers really seeking greater "tolerance," or something more - like an end to criticisms, perhaps?
Blogsnark: Atheism - What's the Point?
Some people wonder what the point of atheism is, but I tend to wonder what the point is of complaining about atheism when you admit that you don't actually understand it. It's bad enough when you think you understand it but don't, but a person who knows they don't understand something they proceed to attack just makes no sense.
Blogsnark: Why Are Atheists Atheists?
It's sadly common to find religious believers attacking atheism in a manner that betrays absolutely no understanding of what they are talking about. They don't even understand why an atheist might be an atheist - and they don't seem very interested in asking an atheist about it.
Blogsnark: Atheist Quiz
Many religious theists simply have no understanding of atheism. If they don't know any atheists and haven't read up on the topic, that's understandable. What's not so understandable, however, is how some of them feel the need to go public with their complaints and misunderstandings. Why don't they just do a little research first?
Blogsnark: Systematic Communisation of America
As I have noted before, conservative evangelicals with poor imaginations often resurrect the boogeyman of communism because they can't come up with a better insult to hurl at others. Communism was their chief target for so long that their rhetoric and even thought processes can't handle switching to something new.
Communism was supposedly defeated with the fall of the Soviet Union, but for some conservatives the loss of the "godless communist" boogeyman is simply too much to bear. Instead of moving on and coming up with a new invective to use, they insist on relying on their old favorite - no matter how ridiculous it sounds.
Atheists Are Terrorists - For Challenging Traditions
People get very attached to their cultural traditions - so much so, in fact, that those who challenge or overturn traditions are treated with a great deal of hostility. People in America who have challenged and upset religious Christmas traditions are especially vilified, though of course atheists are singled out from all the rest usually.
Atheists Are Not True Atheists
It's amazing how many people try to criticize atheism by arguing that there is on "true" atheism or that there are no "true" atheists. Rather than deal with atheism as it is, they seem to feel safer denying that there is anything that actually has to be dealt with. I wonder if they actually feel satisfied after such effort?
Is Atheism Logical?
Quite a few believers think it important to prove that atheism is illogical. I'm not sure why this is so - after all, if they were consistent in their beliefs it wouldn't matter because their religion is centered on "faith," not logic. Atheism doesn't need to be illogical and, if it is, that doesn't matter. Perhaps that's why they do such a poor job.
Atheism: Doctrine of Depravity?
People's anger at and dislike of atheism can be quite extreme at times. Instead of calmly assessing whether atheists have anything to offer and whether atheism might be a valid position, many believers viciously attack it in ways that are reminiscent of political campaign ads - the bad ones.
Materialism, Personality, and Souls
Do souls exist? Many people think so despite the lack of any real evidence pointing to them â€” "real evidence" meaning here testable, replicable, predictable data just like we have evidence for atoms. On the other hand, there are some very good reasons to think that souls don't exist and that we are material beings.
Atheism a Falsehood?
One of the tactics being used to combat Islamic extremism is not to tone done religion, but to increase it. Apparently the problem with the radicals and extremists isn't that they are overcome with too much religion but, rather, that they don't have enough. Makes sense, right?
No Such Thing as Atheism?
Some opponents of atheism have difficulty dealing with atheists' critiques of religion and theism. So, instead of actually addressing those critiques, they choose to simply deny that atheism exists in the first place. They define others out of existence and then congratulate themselves on their "cleverness."
Glad I'm An Atheist
Can a person be glad that they are an atheist? I'm not sure that it makes a great deal of sense because I'm certainly not glad that I disbelieve in elves or Martians. At the same time, though, I can indeed appreciate being glad that I'm not afflicted with some of the bigotries, prejudices, and superstitions often encouraged by religion. Atheists aren't immune to such things, but...
Changing Definition of Atheism?
Evangelical Christians like to insist on a very narrow definition of atheism as "denying the existence of God." The broader, more accurate definition places them on the defensive, forcing them to actually defend and support their position - something they are loathe to do. A recent tactic being used by them is the argument that the broader definition is "recent" and being "changed" by atheists.
Ethics and Materialism: Compatible?
A little while ago I responded to someone who claimed that it wasn't possible for an atheist to live a consistent atheistic worldview. Their reason was... well, there really wasn't any reason, aside from his not being able to imagine it. Now he thinks he has a reason.
Not long ago I wrote about one of the many examples of someone confused about the relationship between atheism and religion. She's clarified her position and I thought it would be appropriate to bring this to people's attention.
Those who misunderstand atheism sometimes seem to do so not simply out of ignorance, but out of a genuine desire that atheists conform to some preconceived notion as to what they are "really" supposed to be. In pursuit of this any bit of data, no matter how turbidly interpreted, is latched on to with glee.
Treating Atheism Like a Religion
There are a lot of people who mistakenly treat atheism like a religion - most are theists but even the occasional atheist does it as well. This makes no sense whatsoever because if atheism were a religion, then theism would be as well. But who treats mere theism as if it alone could qualify as a religion?
Consistent Atheistic Worldview? Part 2
In an earlier piece, I pointed out someone claiming that a completely consistent atheistic worldview wouldn't be livable. I explained that this isn't true and noted just how normal it was for atheists to value things like life, family, and morality. The author persists in arguing, though, that no consistent atheist can do this.
Godless Unfit to Lead
Should atheists, freethinkers, and other sorts of nonbelievers be allowed to hold public office? Although they are guaranteed the right to do so by the Constitution, fewer people would be willing to vote for an atheist running for president than they would a gay man, which just goes to show how common anti-atheist bigotry is in America.
Consistent Atheistic Worldview?
There is something about atheism that seems to encourage confusion in religious theists. I'm not sure what it is, but I consistently see them misunderstand it, misrepresent it, and completely fail to correctly deal with it in even the smallest way.
Weightlessness of Atheism?
A lot of people really don't understand atheism - but that doesn't stop them from pretending to have an informed, intelligent opinion on the subject and sharing that opinion with the world. This is particularly bizarre considering the fact that atheism really isn't difficult to understand in the first place. People make it complicated and then pretend to be surprised by their conclusions.
What Happened to American Atheism?
Is there something wrong with atheism in America? Some people think so, but curiously the only criticisms and questions I hear about come from Christians. Atheism is growing in terms of numbers and public profile so most atheists I know are rather upbeat. So why are Christians suddenly showing "concern" for atheism today?
One of the more common misunderstandings of the separation of church and state is that the government, by not endorsing a particular religion or religion generally, is evincing hostility towards that religion or religion generally. Sometimes this is accompanied by the claim that a failure to endorse some religion is the same as endorsing atheism. Where do people come up with this nonsense?
Atheism, the Anti-Religion?
If there is one thing that is more annoying that nasty attacks on atheism it is nasty attacks on atheism that stem from a completely ignorance about atheism, theism, religion, etc. Unfortunately, it is very rare to ever merely encounter the former - most of the time, the person doing the attacking has no idea what they are talking about.
Atheism of the Gaps
Many religious believers have a real problem with materialism. Modern science works from the practical assumption of materialism: science exists to explain and predict how the world works and that can only be done within the regular framework of materialism, not the hodgepodge of supernaturalism and paranormalism.
Sexual Promiscuity: The Heart of Atheism?
It is simultaneously depressing and fascinating to read what sorts of misconceptions and prejudices people have about atheism. I regularly get the impression that the people I am reading have never looked at any serious work written by an atheist or even talked with atheists about topics like atheism and religion. That doesn't stop them from pretending to actually know all about atheists, though.
It never ceases to amaze me what sorts of assumptions that people make about atheists. One of the most curious is the assumption that atheists are arrogant. Why? Because making assumptions without even caring enough to bother to ask questions in order to learn more is itself a sign of arrogance. Thus, we have a person demonstrating arrogance while criticizing others for their alleged arrogance.
The Irrational Atheist?
"Fisking" is a recently coined word to denote the process of going through "someone else's writing line by line and show them to be a moron." Is it pointless? Perhaps. Is it unfair when the person obviously can't parse a simple logical argument? Perhaps. But sometimes it simply needs to be done...
Irrational Atheist? Part 2
A few days ago I wrote a critique of a column written by Vox Day. In that column Vox made all sorts of ridiculous and ignorant attacks on atheists and atheism - attacks which really needed to be addressed. It's no surprise that I'm not the only one who felt that way and that he received all sorts of email about his arguments.
It's always somewhat depressing to see someone spreading misinformation and myths about atheism - always the same misinformation and same myths, too. One would think that a person writing about atheism would take a little bit of time to research the topic and learn something about it before writing about it - but I can't tell you the last time I saw something that obvious actually happen.
No Equal Rights for Atheists
We all know that there are people out there who don't believe that atheists should have the same civil rights as theists, but it's rare that you'll find them speaking out and stating their position openly. Rare, but not nonexistent.
Atheists Don't Want God to Exist?
It is a common myth that an atheist is someone who doesn't want God to exist and people will sometimes use any bit of data to reinforce that myth - even those who are commenting on the fact that, in general, people come to their conclusions by re-interpreting data to fit their preconceptions.
Message to Lefties: Go to Hell
You lefties are passing laws promoting farming of embryos for body parts, ... "civil unions," anti-gun ownership, and most importantly, you are taking Jesus out of schools, off the TV, out of the work place, and even out of the church, and replacing Him with abortion, homosexuality, and witchcraft.
Atheist Lefties Shouldn't Go to Hell?
Some readers might remember the name Bill Romansky, the Christian whose assertion that "Atheist Lefties should go to Hell" in a letter to the Illinois Leader was profiled and commented on here on this site. I also published a letter he was kind enough to write to me personally, along with my response of course. Now, it seems, Romansky isn't so sure that Atheist Lefties should go to Hell after all.
John Templeton on Church/State Separation
Readers of this site should already be familiar with the views of Michael Novak when it comes to atheism and the separation of church and state: ignorant at best, malicious and deceitful at worst. Most, however, many not be aware of a what John Templeton thinks about a the separation of church and state - but not anymore.
Bad Theism Leads to Atheism?
There is a common prejudice that atheists stopped believing in gods solely, or at least primarily, because of "bad theism" and/or "bad religion." What this means is that poor experiences with bad forms of religion or theism drove people away without their having experienced "true" theism and "true" religion.
Many religious believers insist that atheists are "blind" to all the evidence around us that their god exists. When asked to demonstrate that this is, in fact, evidence that points to their god in particular as opposed to something else or nothing at all, they only end up repeating their initial claims.
Proud John Bircher
"What is "cheap and groundless," about exposing the criminal conspiracy of the pro-communist tactics of atheists, the American Civil Liberties Union, terrorists and other ant-American zealots?"
Constitution: Not Meant to Accommodate Atheists
Does the Constitution exist only for the sake of religious majorities or does it serve to protect minorities, including atheists? One would assume the latter - after all, majorities are protected largely through their legislative power while it is minorities who most often benefit from judicial enforcement of constitutional rights. Not everyone agrees, however.
Spreading Myths About Atheism
As I surf the internet, few things that I come across are quite so annoying as articles which appear to go to great lengths in order to misrepresent atheism. There are people out there who don't seem to have the first idea as to what atheism is - if they have read anything at all about it, I'm sure that it has only been from the pens of evangelical critics and nothing from atheists themselves.
Godless Shouldn't Lead
There are many religious people in America who are furious when atheists and secularists take the time to speak out and try to make a different in politics. These religious believers seem to have the attitude that politics should be reserved for them and those who think like them - atheists need not apply.
Atheism as the Root of all Evil
Catholic leaders have been labeling feminism an "evil" which undermines God's plans for society - even in a recent and official statement from the Vatican. Apparently, though, the root of feminism's problems is atheism.
American Religion of Secularism and Atheism
In order to justify having the government promote their religion (typically Christianity), some people are reduced to arguing that atheism and secularism are religions which the government is already promoting. Therefore, promoting Christianity is just a matter of fairness - if not a preferable religion overall.
Atheists: Allies of the Islamofascists?
Apparently, atheist activists are working closely with Islamofascists in order to undermine this Christian Nation! Yes, it's true! I read it on a religious blog, so it must be true! Well, that's what they implied is going on, at any rate.
Atheism is a Choice?
"Atheism is a choice not to believe in a higher power, thereby not having to look into a mirror/soul and answer for your sins, i.e. lying, cheating, deceiving, etc. Atheism is a religion for the coward at heart. It doesn't matter how intelligent or how much intellect you have."
More Hostility Towards Christianity
A few days ago I wrote about the claim that equal rights for atheists is the same as hostility towards Christians. Although the context at the time was something written by Clayton Cramer, he isn't the only person to believe such nonsense - there are others who think that the only way for the government to be fair to Christians is to give special privileges to Christians.
Equal Rights for Atheists = Hostility Towards Christianity
We hear a lot of ridiculous claims about so-called "hostility" towards Christianity when the government is expected to adhere to the separation of church and state. Not letting the government sponsor displays of the Ten Commandments is hostile towards Christianity, not letting Christian groups proselytize to the poor while using government funds is hostile towards Christianity, and so forth.
If you work hard enough to misdefine key terms, you can prove just about anything. This is especially true when it comes to matters involving philosophy: someone with a religious or philosophical axe to grind, but no understanding of or education in the topic, pretends to "prove" that they were right all along when in fact all they prove is that they excel at the abuse and misuse of language.
Atheism is Foolish and Wrong?
Have you ever read the "God Squad"? Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman jointly write a column dealing with questions about religious issues and they never fail to denigrate atheism and nonbelievers whenever the issue arises.