Misconceptions about atheism

Misconceptions about atheists

Your pastor is doing a really good job!

Atheists suffer from a lower public opinion than that of rapists, sex offenders, and abortion doctors.

It wasn’t until I wrote this article that I realized just how much disdain our fellow Americans have for us. There’s no lack of evidence that Americans make a sport of hating things, like homosexuality, gay rights, Islam, and the list goes on. The hate seems to stem from fear, which results from a lack of understanding. Everyone falls victim to personal prejudices, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or religious views.

Theists think atheists are a lot of bad things

Atheism is very much a misunderstood position. Christians believe that atheists are doing the devil’s work here on earth. They call us pro-gay, anti-Christian, and anti-faith. They call us pro-abortion instead of pro-choice. They accuse us of following a religion. When we argue back, they plug their ears and sing as loud as they can so as not to hear us. They don’t like arguing with us, and they think that we’re crazy because we don’t believe in God. They think that we lack morality, so we’re more disposed to murder, rape, and homosexuality. They think that we control this country (yes, really), and that we’re somewhat responsible for “rampant liberalism”. They think that we worship the devil and we force others to worship him too. They think that we worship science, and that we manipulate it to say things to lead Christians away from their faith. They think that we’re out to disprove God’s existence, and that we actively preach that he doesn’t exist. They think that this is a Christian nation and there is no place for us here. They say it’s wrong for us to believe in secularism, and that humanism is a tool of Satan. The list goes on!

If you never are exposed to atheism, I can see how the concept of not believing in a god can be so perplexing. Especially since you believe that your God is good, just, and merciful. But this is not so. Atheists can be good, just and merciful. We just choose not to get these ideas from God.

We are not devil worshipers, and atheism is NOT a religion

Atheists are not devil worshipers. In fact, atheism is not a religion, as many theists would claim. Atheism is a position – it’s the rejection of belief in a claim of any God. It doesn’t cause us to make poor choices, oppress people, and promote immoral behavior. Atheists are not motivated by the fear of God’s wrath. To a theist, it may seem like since we don’t fear God, we just do whatever we want. Instead, we are truly altruistic and kind to people. We respect the rights of everyone, even if we don’t agree with what they believe or say. That doesn’t prevent us from talking about our viewpoints, but that’s the beauty of this country and the beauty of our own autonomy.

I frequently hear things like, “atheists are worshiping the devil and they don’t even know it!” If I was worshiping the devil, I would know it. I don’t worship anyone or anything. Nor do atheists convene for corporate worship. It’s not necessary for us to give praise and honor to any supernatural entity, especially if we cannot prove it exists. Of the many misconceptions or flagrant attacks on atheism, this is one that really upsets me. How dare you accuse me of being a devil worshiper? It’s rather insulting to me that you take the absolute worst evil ever thought to exist and accuse me of worshiping it.

Atheism gets a lot of attributes that it doesn’t need, want, or represent. Just because we don’t believe in a God doesn’t make us all prone to accepting science in the same way a parishioner accepts what his or her priest says. I use science as a method to determine what is true and what isn’t, but I certainly don’t worship it, or put any “faith” in it. And science won’t always be able to answer what is true and what isn’t, but it provides honest explanations for what it can determine. Faith is not a pathway to truth!

Atheism and evolution don’t mean the same thing. Not all atheists believe in evolution, and not all evolutionists are atheists! In fact, many Christians believe in evolution and recognize its veracity in many aspects. Evolution is currently the best explanation we have for origins of life on this earth. It is probably true that atheists tend toward this position more than any other, but any sound mind does (or should) subscribe to the Theory of Evolution. This has been proven. What is still not totally proven is the exact origins, but evolution as an actual mechanism for life on this planet has been proven and a little research would show a theist that this is the case.

Separation of church and state is a good thing

We believe in the separation of church and state, too. Big surprise, right? Actually, this institution is exactly what protects Christians from losing their rights as well. If the government endorsed any particular religion based on its prevalence in the USA, it’s possible that over time, Christians could lose their majority and wind up in a country that has a government pandering to Muslims, or Buddhists. Not that this is a major fear, but why should our government endorse Christianity? How is that fair to people that do not share those beliefs?

I don’t believe that prayer should be endorsed in school. It’s okay if I have classmates who are Christian and want to pray silently before a test. I don’t disrespect their rights as human beings, or American citizens. But a teacher has no right to lead prayer in a class. This is unconstitutional! Children do not go to school to listen to preaching on the Bible or any other “holy” text. They go to learn facts. If you want to destroy your child’s ability to reason and think for himself/herself, do it at home. Oh, burn!

Christians have a lot of misconceptions

While atheism isn’t the only thing that Christians have misconceptions about, it’s certainly one of the most frustrating for me. The second most frustrating, though, is the belief that this country is a Christian nation.

I touched on separation of church and state a couple paragraphs earlier, but I never actually addressed the issue of the constitution and whether or not it endorses theism or non-theism. God is not mentioned ONCE in this document! Our founding fathers were a pretty diverse mix of deists, theists, atheists, and non-religious people who spent a very long time debating about what the religious slant of this country should have. They decided to not give the country any religious slant, and instead let everyone be free to practice what they believe. If you’re a theist, how can you advocate free speech if people aren’t allowed to believe what they want? Wait, I get it – free speech and free thought only if everyone thinks or agrees with your viewpoint. It’s like having your cake and eating it, too.

The issue here is that the church is pressuring the state to allow organized prayer in schools. It’s pressuring schools to provide Christian counseling for nonreligious kids, or kids who belong to other religions. It’s subverting the ability for young kids to reason and think for themselves. There is a lot to be lost if the Christians win, but our only gain is more security in secularism. I can’t imagine how my parents would have felt if I was attending a public school where there were mandatory prayers or Christian counseling, classes on creationism, and so forth. I would never send my child to a place like that. If you disagree, check this article out.

It’s for this reason that there are still many Christians who believe that Adam and Eve were real. These people might also believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Any other possible answer was given by Satan in order to distract someone from Christian “truths”. Falling victim to the circular reasoning or authoritative arguments of priests and pastors is so common in the church, we don’t need it in the schools, too. If the church takes away the ability for one to reason, they’re going to chalk everything up to faith. But having faith in something doesn’t make it true.

Breaking faith

A lot of people do this with different things. You have to effectively remove your mindset from this system to take an objective look at what is being done. The turning point for me was exactly this: if this isn’t true, it’s a huge scam. When you look at who benefits from scams, you start to investigate the history of these perpetuations and make some pretty amazing discoveries.

In order for a theist (and yes, I’m picking on the Christians again) to believe in the grand lie that is Christianity, the church needs to do a few things:

  1. Provide a doctrine
  2. Declare it as truth
  3. Put something at risk if you don’t believe (i. e. your eternal soul)
  4. Purport any other evidence not in alignment with the doctrine as a ploy by the enemy to damn you eternally
  5. Repeat

If you’re constantly looking over your shoulder to defend yourself against an enemy, you’ll always be attributing science and evidence to the enemy’s work. You have to realize that first, there is no enemy. You have to take the fear you have in questioning what you have believed as truth your entire life and deal with it while you do your research. You have to understand that if God is real, and he is forgiving, he’ll be okay with you doing research and investigating whether or not he’s real.

If you believe that science is fallible, then you are right. Science is fallible. But so is everything else. Is the Bible not fallible? Or the Book of Mormon, or the Qu’ran? All of these books have demonstrated that they can fail in certain areas. But the difference is that science doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Science is optimistic that it can make discoveries and make sense of the unknown, but it doesn’t proclaim irreversible truths. I’m not attached to the Theory of Evolution. If it was agreed within the scientific community tomorrow that it was no longer a viable explanation for our origins and I was able to review the evidence, I’d stop believing it to be true. This mindset is how we can make progress and actually find answers. You have to admit when you’re wrong. Deceit doesn’t lead anyone to truth.

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About Eric

If Jesus is the answer, you're probably asking a stupid question.
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14 Responses to Misconceptions about atheism

  1. J. Downs says:

    Not to nit-pick, but I think there is a bit or irony in some of your statements… “Christians believe that atheists are doing the devil’s work here on earth. They call us pro-gay, anti-Christian, and anti-faith. They call us pro-abortion instead of pro-choice.”

    Now, I can’t speak for all Christians, but most that I know are pretty knowledgeable in the difference between an atheist and someone who worships Satan. I do apologize for those who would make such ridiculous comments, as most true believers are of a much higher caliber than that.
    Also, if you are pro-gay, would it be a bad thing to be called that? I feel like you’re making it out to be a derogative term, when it can correctly be used as a word to define your view.
    “anti-Christian” and “anti-faith” are terms I’ve never heard before, but possibly also correctly used. Would you say that you’re not “anti-Christian”? In an earlier post, you made the statement “my goal is to draw as many people away from Christianity as possible”. Now, we can play word games all day but I think that if I were to say “I’m anti-smoking” that I’m trying to prevent people from smoking, as opposed to “I’m not a smoker”, just implying that I don’t take part in that particular activity. In a personal comment made to my person, you said that “Faith is really a useless thing”. Again, word games or not, I think it would be unanimous that you could be described as “anti-faith”.

    As a side note, I mentioned in a previous conversation my opinion of the “faith vs evidence” topic. I don’t think the antonym of “faith” would be evidence, they are beasts of a different nature. Evidence is proving or disproving a fact, while faith is confidence (or belief) without evidence. Evidence can either strengthen faith, or completely abolish it.

    And yes, “pro-choice” is definitely a more friendly term than “pro-abortion”, but in that statement itself it seems clear that a bad shadow has been cast upon the term “abortion” even in your own thinking? Regardless of my religious beliefs, my “anti-abortion” stance is chosen because from conception, a baby is a living organism. With or without all “humanly” parts, it is still a living being and we are snuffing out the life from an organism. Is it safe to say that this is the case? The decision being made is whether to support or kill a living entity. Whether this is a god or godless universe, I’d like to feel that as much as necessary, we don’t think that death is the answer because someone didn’t want whatever responsibility it was that was assigned to them. After all, sex IS a choice and contraceptives (with high prevention rates) are readily available in the US. As intercourse leads to reproduction, choosing to have sex is the point at where the decision has been made to accept all the consequences of it. If I choose to take a 5th shot of whiskey am I responsible if I end up drunk? I would blame my own actions. If I choose to bang some random slut and I end up with an STD, is it her fault? I would blame my own actions.
    Now, “rape pregnancies” are quite the exception, and I haven’t chosen a particular stance for those circumstances. That’s too much for me to elaborate on at the current moment.

    • Eric says:

      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for your comments. I really do appreciate them and I always will jump at the opportunity to learn more about someone’s views and beliefs.

      I think that some of the disconnect you’re having about my statements might be that I’m referring largely to people who are somewhat fundamentalist. Even though there is not a huge number of Christian fundamentalists in comparison to the regular everyday Christiana who aren’t very vehement about their beliefs, they still make a name for your group. Much in the way that militant atheists make the agnostic, easygoing atheists look bad.

      I have heard time and time again from Christians that are even somewhat moderate in their views that atheists have the devil’s influence on them. A slightly more radical view is that we atheists are devil worshipers but we don’t realize it. If we don’t know we’re doing it, it sort of gives your camp the carte blanche to say we are doing xyz without realizing it. My intent is now subverted. Even if my intention is not to worship the devil, I have someone claiming that I am. Just like someone taking offense to a comment, and the offender claiming that their intentions weren’t in malice. The end result is still offense. The end result for the atheist is still that he or she is a devil-worshiper.

      Yes, it would be a bad thing to be called “pro-gay”. The reason for this is that I don’t want to subscribe to three hundred viewpoints and attach the label of pro-this or pro-that. It’s inefficient and opens the door for an opponent to subject my viewpoint to undeserving ridicule yet again. Another reason is that I don’t need to be “pro-gay” for the gays. They can be their own voice. When backed into a corner, I’m anti-hate. And in the context of Christianity, being pro-gay is not a compliment, for your Bible says that homosexuality is detestable. You can’t ignore these things and just cherry pick what sounds good. Does this sound moderate and nice?

      “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

      Leviticus 18:22

      Or in Leviticus 20:13, where the scripture instructs to kill both men involved in the act of homosexuality? How can one attribute any credibility to a document that teaches this?

      I’m not completely anti-faith. I sometimes have faith in things. Like I have faith in the fact that I will be wealthy someday. I have faith that my girlfriend isn’t going to cheat on me. I have faith that my parents are going to maintain a happy and healthy marriage. But I also have clear evidence that is strong enough in favor of those faiths or beliefs, that the faith is entirely justified. And I wouldn’t really even need to have faith in those things, because the evidence points to a particular outcome that I agree will be the case pretty much across the board. I hope I’m being clear enough on this, because it can be hard sometimes to draw a distinct line between the two.

      I certainly agree with you on the matter of faith versus evidence. There are times when evidence will support your faith, and times when it will detract from your faith. Perhaps a more appropriate antonym of “faith” would be “non-belief” or “disbelief” when properly used.

      In the case of being “pro-abortion”, I don’t necessarily think that the term has such a bad shadow cast upon it by my camp. I think it’s the Christians who assign a negative connotation to the word “abortion”. Then they have ammunition to accuse atheists of being “pro-abortion” or whatever. The terminology is meant to lead someone who may be undecided away from atheism. And my goal is to draw as many people away from religion as possible. It could be said that with the instructed proselytizing that your goal is to lead people to the faith. Taking into account the various “gifts of the spirit”, I hesitate to say that your personal mission is to recruit as many new Christians as possible, because I suppose that everyone in your faith believes that they have a different role.

      Your view on abortion errs in one aspect, and that’s the statement, “from conception, a baby is a living organism.” From conception, the cells that would create a fetus have potential, but not a guarantee, that they will successfully create a baby. We have to be very careful where we draw the line. I do, however, agree with you that it is a mother’s responsibility to her child, but I think that the science is a little cloudy as to when the fetus begins to have a recognized “life”. I’m somewhat undecided about this subject at the moment so I don’t want to comment any further. I definitely see where you’re coming from and I do appreciate it.

      Cheers J-D!

      • Nicole Medford says:

        Comment to Eric–

        As a Christian, it would seem that you’re quoting scripture: Leviticus that God is knocking on your heart. That’s what made me a believer… the way the earth is shaped so perfectly. It’s distance from the sun and the moon, the image of human kind- our perfectly shaped mind- eyes, ears and mouth. The ability to think- (God does give free will). The way we can interpret information. Plants, birds, animals, the ocean around us. These are just a few miracles that God performed.
        From one once upon a time non-believer to a believer– take it from me– he is very real and can hold the whole earth in his hand. You can’t even begin to imagine how big he is.

        Peace– Nicole

        • Stian says:

          Respectfully, you are wrong:

          The earth is round because of gravity pulling it togeather that way. Gravity fields are round, see. It’s not perfectly round but more squashed, it also has mountains etc.

          Our mind is not anywhere near perfect: Many people have brain damage, or suffer from depression etc. Also I would like to have as good a memory as one of the more privileged humans out there please?

          Eyes sometimes have diseases that make ppl blind. I’d prefer if humanity had more robust eyes so ppl didn’t have to suffer that problem. Of course science exterminated some viruses that god couldn’t in the dark ages for some strange reason(he doesn’t exist). I’m sure science will be even more able to give people sight back. It has already for many things.

          Many parasites infest humans and animals I’m sure god designed them to be perfect too.

          Most animals live in constant stress and suffering. Especially prey.
          They may sometimes look beautiful but you need to see the whole picture.

          Thats my entire point, you are handpicking the good things while ignoring the bad and calling creation perfect on that basis.

          There is no reason though, to be depressed about the world from acknowledging that it’s imperfect. Because we do see it clearly with its faults and beauties we can enjoy life while fixing what we can.

          Take it from me a once-believer to a believer:
          You are wrong about the world being perfect, and you are wrong about god existing.

          I’d throw in a line about yes I’m an agnostic atheist so I do acknowledge the possibillity of being wrong but then often it comes back to haunt me with people thinking I’m giving the same possibillity to this as the possibillities based on life experience.

          I’ve lifted a glass before so it can happen again). Call this “Happen again possibillity”.
          I’ve never seen Zeus. Nor have I seen his power, nor have I seen any components of that type of existence as I have with biological life.
          Call the possibillity that Zeus might exist a “Pysically never observed before-possibillity”.

          I consider god to be impossible. The former sense is the only one relevent for life. The latter sense, well, when was the last time you thought something to be PHYSICALLY impossible and was proven wrong later? Very rare right? Almost unheard of? Especially with large issues.

          Peace- Stian

  2. Terry says:

    I just discovered your posts and find your views interesting and in many aspects, similar to my own. You are fortunate in your ability to articulate these points much better than I. My comment is a bit off topic and relates the the final comment of J. Downs, above. He states that from conception, a baby is a living organism and abortion is snuffing out a life. This opposition to “killing” is the basis of his anti-abortion stance. But, he goes on to say that “rape pregnancies” are quite the exception…but does not elaborate. I assume he means that in the case of rape, the mother has NOT made the decision to engage in an act that causes the life to begin. My irritation with the pro-life group is that they support the sanctity of life in all instances EXCEPT in cases of rape, incest or issues involving the mother’s health. If the major argument is that abortion is taking a life, how can they condone taking the life of a just concieved child that resulted from rape or incest? What’s the difference. A life is a life…deliberately conceived, accidentially conceived or forceably conceived against the mother’s will. If NOT taking any life is the argument against abortion, why/ how can the anti-abortionist make these exceptions. I’ve never understood this. It seems to me that make these or ANY exception, nullifies their position that abortion is the wrongful taking of a human life.

    • Eric says:

      WELL SAID! :) Enjoyed it. Subscribe – we’re giving away a Kindle! Also, keep abreast of our latest and greatest. We’d love to hear more from you. You’re obviously very well-informed, and we like that!

    • J. Downs says:

      Please read my response again. The basis of my anti-abortion stance is two-fold. First, I believe that it is killing an organism. Second, I believe that it is wrong because two people made the decision to have intercourse, which although it may have been solely for pleasure, reproduction should be an understood risk of their actions. I don’t plant a seed in my garden without knowing that it has the potential to grow into a plant. Therefore, I don’t have sex with a woman (contraceptives or not) without understanding the risk of producing a child. I think it to be a matter of humans that are not willing to take responsibilities for their actions.

      So yes, EXCEPT in cases of rape. Although it may be killing (in my eyes), it wasn’t a mutual decision between two people. The reason I haven’t chosen a particular stance is because while I don’t usually see a need to kill a creature, I’m not above hunting for sustenance, killing a creature (poisonous snakes/spiders/etc) in order to protect those around me, and I do support capital punishment. Now, I don’t think killing an organism for the sake of not wanting to take on that responsibility is right, but I can accept that there are arguments that create some gray areas for me when it comes to rape pregnancies.

  3. Bob says:

    Just curious what your plans are for May 21st. As this is rapture and the end of time. Will you continue the blog or accept Jesus and go with him as he returns and brings his children home? OR stay on earth and suffer in a cauldron of fire, death and misery? just wondering. Thanks

    • Eric says:

      If it’s all true, we’ll admit that we’re wrong, BOB. Otherwise, we’ll be fighting the good fight.

    • What now Bob? Will you admit that you were wrong? Of course not. More back-peddling, excuses, and lies are what we have learned to expect.

      You haven’t a single atom of proof of any part of your religion but you insist upon keeping your delusions and inflicting them upon others. Having them for yourself is fine. Trying to pass them into law and brainwashing children with them is not. But you can’t see that, either. “None are so blind as those that refuse to see.”

      Willful ignorance is arrogant and offensive to any rational person. I’ll bet you can’t understand that, either.

      • Keith Pinster says:

        Hey James, good to see you as we make the rounds. :) So, how are you doing? It’s really weird, but the “cauldron of fire, death and misery” seems pretty much the same as before May 21st.

        Hey BOB! Did you get dragged up to your eternity of slavery or are you “suffering” here with the rest of us lowly creatures?

        How many times does xianity have to be proved wrong before people stop subscribing to that delusional superstition?

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  5. It is natural that christians would choose to believe lies about atheists. The religion was founded upon lies and has been telling more lies even today. That it would attract liars and prevaricate about anything it regards as a threat to its domination of believers should not surprise anyone.

    Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. For example, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, 9/11, and family planning clinic bombing in the USA. Then there were the crusades, the inquisition, witch burnings, and the dark ages. Get the idea?

    Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

  6. Pingback: The Catholics want the Crystal Cathedral | | God Hates AtheistsGod Hates Atheists

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