This will be addressing a host of misconceptions about atheists; as well as explaining aspects that may be accurate. Up until April 2010, atheists were the most distrusted group in America; gaining more condemnation than Muslims. Only recently did the Tea Party loose social footing with the general population.
Atheists have little to do with the troubles that plague us today beyond the same interaction that has been afforded any individual participating in society. There is as much good as there is bad in the atheist movement as there is in anything else in this world. Because the distrust wanes just a bit from atheism, this would be a good time to try to clear up what believers seem to think misguidedly.
Atheists want to destroy religion.
This, for most atheists, is not true. While we want to see religion come to an end, most atheists have a deep appreciation for equal rights. We support the idea of equal rights for everyone including the religious. What we need to see is a separation of church and state return.
Most of the world’s wars and conflicts have been fueled by religious belief. Our forefathers had the smart idea of separating religion from state to prevent the dominance of any single religion while ensuringother religions are not disparaged or discriminated against. This means the government should not vouch for or allow religious presence in the political arena, nor should government branches such as public schools give support to any religious view. Religion is something that the church should be handling alone.
Atheists hate God.
No sane atheist should hate God. The thing we do draw ire from is the limitless potential for people to cause grief, misery, and pain while defending their actions with God. No other entity has had more suffering cause in their name than God.
It is understandable when a person thinks there is spite for God. Looking closer, we could not rationally condemn something we earnestly disbelieve. By our two core principles: a] seek out the tangible truth and b] rely on logic and reason; there isn’t any room for us to feel anything for God. We more appropriately look to the person acting in God’s stead.
Atheists have no morals.
I left Christianity because of an inability to accept a lack of moral accountability. This is not an uncommon catalyst for an atheist. Many atheists leave religion because they fail to find qualities matching their moral beliefs. Some give up living cooperatively with the world, but there are usually a few negative people in any sizable group.
Where there exists a greedy, backstabbing atheist, there is a perverse, deviant holy figure. Most atheists chose to figure out for themselves what their moral compass points to; ranging from abolishing racism, supporting equal human rights (including gay rights), or simply being a productive member of society.
I f morality comes from God, then without God there is only wicked people. No one would be able to make a choice to be good without God. This would mean everyone is an evil, malicious monster in their natural state and cannot be anything else unless God allows it.
Atheists don’t believe in God because they haven’t read the Bible.
This is one of the more inaccurate myths. Atheists often do not believe in God because they came to an understanding of what God was and discarded it. According to a recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, atheists are usually better informed on religion than the people that believe in it.
Ironically, many atheist agree that the simple act of completely reading the Bible and understanding it almost ensures the reader will convert to atheism. There is a certain moral responsibility taken that breaks faith. Can you honestly say you respectfully and completely believe in God if you haven’t read the Bible?
There is no proof God does not exist.
There is no proof that something doesn’t exist beyond your own measure of perception. There is no proof that God is not just outside of your vision. There is no proof that there are no aliens in the universe. You will also never know if there isn’t a “Flying Spaghetti Monster” flicking its noodled appendages through space.
Nonsense aside, we are aware we have no proof to our claim that there was not an entity that started the creation of the universe some billions of years ago (we have proof that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old ) We have no proof that there is not an all-knowing God supervising the universe at this time. We do not have any proof that the religion that evolved from the Mesopotamian polytheistic cults was not crafted over time through divine inspiration after continuously absorbing the rituals and ideals of other religions only to become one theistic religion that was split into the three primary religions and a slew of secondary religions we know today.
I cannot disprove God, but I feel very secure in assuming God isn’t there. Statistically, there are better odds winning millions of dollars in the lottery than confrontation by a deity cobbled together by ancient humans long before science existed and long after an endless list of “things we were wrong about” became apparent.
“What if I’m wrong?”
“What if you win the Mega Millions lottery?”
It sounds wonderful; but the odds of winning are so vast, there really is no reason to commit any preparation for something that will likely never occur. People would think you mad should you engineer the course of your life on winning one in 175,711,536 odds. Believe that God exists, have faith in the implausible; but the odds aren’t in God’s favor.
There are no atheists in foxholes.
In times of extreme duress, there is the potential for a person to negotiate for their safety. Whatever they are, they have been; and some creative attempts to ward off death could occur in the form of negotiating to becoming a ‘new person.’ The person is willing to barter their faith for instant safety.
I want to share a story of an ‘atheist in a foxhole’: Lance Armstrong
It is true that most times under extreme duress, people are prepared to make a deal with God. I believe this happens because Christianity is one of the few religions that offers a broad and inexplicable way out of most given situations. Desperation will do strange and uncharacteristic things. This is the death cry of their hope to live.
I believe something overlooked is the pay off. In a desperate moment when a person is not of sound mind or judgment, they have an urge to reach out to anything. It seems like the point of this ‘no atheists in the foxholes’ statement is to illustrate that everyone believes in God under the right conditions. This still does nothing to prove God exists because proof is in the payoff.
To have this statement hold water, you would need to compile and tabulate the number of people that: call for God and were saved, called to God and were not saved, did nothing and were saved, and did nothing and were not saved.
Meanwhile, Lance can keep you company in your foxhole.
Atheists are just another religious group.
Atheism is a rejection of religion, and its trappings. People mistake atheism for a religion because atheists are compared to religion. Atheists do not observe any mystical rites, perform any rituals, or give homage or worship to any godlike beings.
Atheists fear death.
One immediate difference between believing in an afterlife and not is that atheists accept death as a part of the natural cycle. Once life ends they no longer expect to be around. That is a dramatic difference from earning your way into an afterlife. Based on this alone, its fair to say an atheist is at least tempered to the thought of death if not a bit disenchanted.
Atheists are miserable.
This is as true as “rock-n-roll is music of the devil.” There are a distinct few miserable and apathetic atheists. This is more a personal problem than an atheist problem. If an atheist is too depressed or negative, odds are they are a nihilist. The difference between the two is an atheist does not believe in a sentient god-like power, and creates purpose or meaning for themselves. A nihilist believes that nothing has purpose or meaning and to some degree, believes that there is no functional value to life, the universe, and everything.
Atheist have a certain advantage over religion and happiness: no sin. This does not mean there is no good and bad, but it does mean that there is no eternal resting place that you have to be stuck with. Without God, there is also a distinct lack of living up to the standard of a good Christian (or ‘down to the standard of’ for some of us). Atheists do not have a constant set of hidden rules or invisible people to impress. An atheist is in charge of their own joy. It is on the will of the person to decide to be happy or not.
Atheists are arrogant.
This is true to a point. Atheists have outright rejected a widely accepted and respected concept. With this, that arrogance ends in most cases. Once we get past the near certainty that we do not believe in God, the arrogance slips away. It is in science we trust. When science tells us no, we listen. When science tells us we are wrong, we correct ourselves. Despite the arrogance we feel when confronted with religion; we are equally if not more humble in the face of science.
Atheists are all the same.
There are outstanding similarities between atheists, but these similarities end much sooner than those you might find in other broad reaching groups. Atheists have a particular world view they agree on; but thatview tends to end with their own moral and social limits. Atheists are anyone without a belief in God and usually with a need to see proof and look for logical, factual answers. There are no further similarities that anyone can be certain of. We are bound by a basic world view and practically nothing else substantial save for human equality.
Atheists are stubborn and close-minded.
I am not really clear how this would be a stable opinion when speaking of a group of people whohave discarded rituals, conditions, superstitions, idolatry, and divine proclamation in favor of meeting the world on their terms that call for exploring, understanding, anddiscovery. When you want an atheist to change their mind, you have only to show them a genuinely better way.
To change the mind of a religious person, you first have to be sanctified to tell them anything. Then you have to present the idea in a way that doesn’t offend their beliefs. Should you pass the first two steps, you may not need a better idea for them to accept it.
Atheists are more prone to criminal activity.
Completely untrue. In America, atheists are actually last in the case of religion in criminal behavior. Apparently the least criminally influencing religion is no religion. That isn’t all: globally, countries with the highest population of atheists also have the lowest crime rate.
Atheists worship Satan.
This is a paradox. To accept Satan, you must acknowledge the creator: God. To acknowledge God, you must renounce atheism. An atheist cannot worship Satan.
Atheists treat science as a religion.
I have heard atheists give a certain reverence to science that seems like worship and some even make this statement. Most atheist do not for a variety of reasons:
Religion has a principle of avoiding reason in the name of faith.
Science is a foundation of proofs and deductive reasoning.
Science is hobbled by faith.
Religion is suspicious when analyzed. .
Religion relies on accepting without questioning or reasoning.
Science relies on not accepting until questions can be answered and reasons can be applied.
Atheists treat religion as mythology; and science as law.