Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Things atheists should stop saying about theists

"Theists are delusional." No they aren't, in the vast majority. If you were raised christian and you are living a good life with god in your heart, you are not delusional. If you researched Christianity vs. atheism and stayed christian because you felt the atheist's arguments were lacking, you are still not delusional. However, if you did your research, found your faith severely tested, and then clung desperately to your beliefs despite the evidence, now you're getting delusional. But it is not fair of an atheist to assume that a theist is delusional.

"Theists are idiots." Again, vast majority, no they aren't. There are Nobel prize winning scientists who are believers; I would not call them idiots (unless they pulled a Linus Pauling, and even then...). There are idiots who are theists, and they do seem to thrive here on the Internet, but it is an unfair assumption nonetheless.

"Theists abuse their children." There are certainly cases where religions is wielded like a weapon against children, but it is in the minority once again. Most theists do their best to raise children well, and use their religion as a positive influence rather than a negative one.

"Theists are hypocrites." This one I struggle with. This is aggressive and like to be incendiary in an argument, so I'd shy away from it, but is it accurate? Christians say they believe in the bible, but it's really clear that they don't pay attention to large swaths of the book that say horrible things, since most Christians don't have a problem with pork, or tattoos, or wearing blended fabrics. But does that make them hypocritical? Is it ok for a Christian to decide what god really wants and doesn't? If their priest told them that their pig roast event this week was totally ok, would that make the Christian the hypocrite, or the priest? Could the priest also not be a hypocrite? 

My take, personally, is that even if some or most Christians are hypocrites, a lot of those who are may not even realize it. Therefore I'm going to stay away from that particular statement unless someone I'm engaging with truly is being hypocritical. 

I'm sure I've missed plenty of other options, but these are a good start.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things to stop saying about atheists...

Even I, one who usually avoids the conflicts of the atheist blog-o-sphere, have heard many inaccurate statements about atheists. I'll have more to say on this towards the end, but first some of the often entertaining things I've heard said.

"Atheists don't believe in anything." This is absurd. Mind-bogglingly absurd. I believe the sun will come up tomorrow, and I'd go so far as to say that most atheists believe that too.

"Atheists worship Satan." Atheists, by definition, don't worship anyone or anything. That's kind of the point. Satanists worship Satan, and they believe in god, which makes them... not atheists.

"Atheism takes a lot of faith." Believing in a god or gods takes faith. Not believing in god takes no faith. Atheism isn't something supplanting god, it's removing god(s) from the equation.

"Atheist's lives are empty." This is back to absurdity. If you are defining a non-empty life as one that has god in it, then I would have to concede the point. However, atheists go to school, get jobs, have children, make good art, read books, live, love, lose, and all that. What about that is empty?

"Atheists are just mad at god." Absurd is clearly the word of the day. If we don't believe there is a god, why would we be mad at god? How would that even work? I'm not mad at the stamp collection I don't have for not being good enough, that's... just... seriously?

To me, for any of these statements to make any kind of sense, you have to not know any atheists. I mean, it's possible you know an atheist, but you wouldn't know or respect that they are atheists. Someone who would make a statement like those listed above and honestly think it is a true statement doesn't know very much about atheism.

Also, to me, anyone who makes a statement like that is someone I really don't want to talk to about religion, atheism, or anything in between. I would suspect people who think like this aren't so much coming to these conclusions on their own, but are being told by someone else what to think. I have seen/heard pastors, priests, and preachers (on YouTube) tell their congregations such things. And many other worse things, but that's beside the point. If a person has rigorously looked at atheism and decided it's not for them and that religion is better, that person I can have a discussion with. Someone who would spout the statements above at me isn't worth my time. I'm not out to change the mind of anyone who isn't interested in that change, so bitterly arguing with a person who won't listen to me isn't high on my to-do list.

To be fair, there are plenty of things that atheists say about theists they shouldn't, but I think I'll save that for a separate post...