April 3, 2009

Top Ten Myths About Atheism

Each of the following are arguments that I or personal friends of mine have come across, in real life (or right here on this blog). People have really made these arguments, with a straight face and credulity. The responses to these should all be quite obvious so I'll only provide them in minimal form:

  1. Atheists have never heard the word of God before. All you need to do is get them exposed to the Bible and they will become Christians. If that doesn’t work, try Pascal’s Wager.
    Response: No, we have heard it before. We're just not convinced by it. And Pascal's Wager is logically unsound, and does not recommend Jehovah as a superior choice to, say, Allah, Kali, Quezacoatl, or Zeus.

  2. Because atheists do not believe in God, they have no basis for morality, and therefore do all sorts of immoral things.
    Response: We have as fine a sense of morality as anyone else. You don't see atheists raping, killing, or stealing in any unusual numbers; indeed, there are proportionally fewer atheists in prison, particularly for violent crimes, than there are of any religion. We don't really eat babies, that's just a joke.

  3. Atheists hate Jesus, Christianity, and Christians, and will do everything in their power to prevent people from being Christians and doing Christian things.
    Response: Nonsense. The vast bulk of atheists have a live-and-let-live attitude. Sure, there are some obnoxious atheists, but there are obnoxious Christians, too.

  4. Atheists worship the devil. (Or Charles Darwin, or random chance.)
    Response: By definition, this cannot be correct. Atheists do not worship anything or anybody. Someone who worships the devil is a Satanist, not an atheist.

  5. Atheists hate America. They have never made any meaningful contributions to America.
    Response: Nonsense. Atheists love America as much as anyone else. We think it's great that we have the freedom to be atheists here, as opposed to other countries in which atheism is a capital crime (as is Christianity).

  6. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. When there is a really life-threatening situation, even the most hard-core atheist will pray to God for help.
    Response: There are too atheists in foxholes. Plenty of atheists now serve in the military. One of the partners in the firm I work for now fought honorably in Vietnam, was actually in a foxhole while under file, and reports that he was most concerned about taking the opportunity to eat a can of cling peaches until a U.S. counterstrike could be called in.

  7. Atheists are not capable of feeling joy or happiness or love (because those things come from God and atheists have rejected God). That’s why they’re grumpy and unhappy all the time.
    Response: We feel joy and happiness and love and all of the other range of human emotions. We love our spouses, our families, our children as much as anyone else. We are as happy, or as unhappy, as anyone else, and pretty much for all the same reasons.

  8. Charles Darwin (or Carl Sagan or Albert Einstein or Voltaire or some other famous historical atheist) converted to Christianity on his deathbed, proving that even atheist heroes ultimately realize that it's not right to be an atheist.
    Response: First of all, this isn't true. Secondly, so what if it were?

  9. Stalin (or Hitler or Pol Pot or any of a number of other famous historical villains) was an atheist, and this proves that all atheists are evil.
    Response: Hitler was not an atheist. It's not quite accurate to call him a Christian since he had a morbid interest in magic and the occult but he sure wasn't an atheist. As for Stalin and Pol Pot, these were political fanatics and the terrible evils they perpetrated (and they were terrible evils) were the result of their political fanaticism, not their atheism.

  10. There is no such thing as a real atheist. There may be “agnostics,” but no sane person really disbelieves in God.
    Response: This is as insulting as having an atheist tell you that you aren't a "real" Christian. I am too a real atheist: I lack a belief in God. If you show me a good reason to, I'll change my mind -- that doesn't make me less of an atheist, it means I'm open-minded.

I think that just about covers it. If you can think of any other common myths about atheists, let me know in the comments.

1 comment:

Kaz Dragon said...

I've found that a lot of Christians find the phrase "I lack a belief in God" to be a direct challenge to their beliefs and close their ears immediately. I suppose that's what you get when you call your deity by his species rather than his actual name.

I prefer to say "I lack a belief in gods" which, although even more encompassing, seems not to kill a conversation immediately.