Dear Atheist

Dear Atheist,

I respect your rejection of belief in the existence of deities.  I believe you have just as much right to live your life based on a framework of atheism as a theist does based around his or her particular religion.  What I do not understand, however, is why you feel so compelled to convert others to your way of thinking.  You see, Christians, for example, are guided by their Bible to spread the good news and share their faith with others:

And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.
Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you:  and lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world. (Matthew 28: 18-20)

You, however, have no such mandate.  You have chosen your path, why not allow others to choose theirs?  You claim your way is one of logic.  If so, then why do you insist on bullying theists, calling them stupid, failing to recognize them as individuals capable of engaging in reasonable discourse?  It is not the presence or absence of religion that is the cause of all Good or all Evil in the world; there will always be good and evil people who identify as theists and atheists.  If we could just stop arguing about the existence of God and agree, for example, on the importance of helping our fellow humans I think our time would be a lot better spent.  Does it really matter whether a clothing distribution center, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or job training center is run by Catholic Charities or an atheist organization?  No.  In the end, people may do good things for different reasons, but the good things are still good things.  The time you spend tallying up how many people have been killed “in the name of God” is time you could be spending helping people who are alive right now.  You are not going to change my mind.  I recognize as a scientist that there is something inherently illogical about believing in God.  I struggle with it almost daily.  It is called faith.  But you and I can disagree and STILL achieve great things.  Think about it.  If you change your mind, you know where to find me.

Moses

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106 thoughts on “Dear Atheist

  1. I have always regarded atheism and agnosticism as two different schools of thought. Agnosticism is the statement that god may, or may not, exist. Atheism is the emphatic declaration that there is not god. In order to ‘know’ god does not exist, you have to know the universe in its totality. Which, by definition, makes you god. By these definitions, most atheist are functioning agnostics. The atheist who remain are, themselves, deist. Deists who are angry at their perception of god [most likely the ‘god’ they were raised with]. And think that they are ‘sticking it to god’ by pretending that they do not believe. This mental convolution, however, comes with a steep price. The atheist is constantly bombarded with images and projections of this god it pretends does not exist. As a consequence, it feels the need to lash out at all who follow the god they like to pretend they think does not exist. So as to allow them to be more comfortable in their ‘unbelief’. [their convolution is so twisted, it is difficult to spell it out logically]. It is unlikely that atheism is a manifestation of the practitioners hatred towards ‘god’. But most likely a disdain for a childhood authority figure. An arrested development, if you will. Come to think of it, it is the sort of perpetual adolescence you see from the #p2 portion of the twitterverse.

  2. “You, however, have no such mandate. You have chosen your path, why not allow others to choose theirs? You claim your way is one of logic. If so, then why do you insist on bullying theists, calling them stupid, failing to recognize them as individuals capable of engaging in reasonable discourse?”

    Hmmm. I sure don’t bully theists! Good luck to, you, individuals capable of of engaging in reasonable discourse! And please don’t stereotype me.

    To each his own.=)

    -Atheist

    • Then you, dear kind atheist, would never have received a link to this post from me. I originally wrote it in order to have something handy when I, or one of my friends, was getting bullied. Thank you for being a member of the silent, reasonable, majority. Unfortunately, the vocal minority usually gets all the attention.

  3. I go to church every week, and yet I don’t feel the compulsion to convert atheists or anyone else to my way of thinking. In fact, I find it most distressing when others seem to want to do this — such as when they go ballistic when someone offers them an innocuous (friendly, even) wish of “Happy Holidays.”

    I share with you the desire to see believers and atheists stop slashing at each others’ throats. I wish believers would stop calling atheists horrible people destined for eternal damnation and I wish atheists would stop referring to believers as idiots.

  4. As an atheist I am constantly annoyed by the air of superiority that many atheists convey. They tend to ignore that religion has played a role in many good things in the world.My background of being raised in a devout Christian upbringing brings a certain bias which I acknowledge,but reasonable people can recognize the many charitable religious organizations that have evolved to help the disenfranchised,while may in the atheist community do nothing to help their fellow man except to “enlighten” them on the error of their ways.Look,I believe when you die that’s it,but I feel no need to tell any one else.As an atheist they should care less,no one will recognize our superior logic when we are all dead!

    • Thank you for your comment. If more theists and atheists could agree to disagree on their personal beliefs and stop beating each other up, much good could be accomplished in the world. Ultimately that was the point I was trying to make.

  5. “I recognize as a scientist that there is something inherently illogical about believing in God. I struggle with it almost daily. It is called faith. ”

    Scientist? Hah. You’d wish. You are a fool. Religion and science are incompatible; true scientists understand there is a rational explanation for everything in nature. The bible is a fairy tale; at best a storybook written by people who were fooled by someone’s wild claims; at worst, lies. Things that your religion used to claim as “proof” have long since been debunked and rationally explained: ebb and tide, solar eclipses, the planets, lightning – anything you can come up with. Even the big bang can been explained.

    There’s nothing in your silly little book that has one ounce of truth in it. But if you choose to believe in something with absolutely no proof, something that’s been obsolete since the dark ages, something that has resulted in more death and misery than anything else, then go ahead. Just don’t call yourself a scientist, you fraud.

    • Science itself is based on faith. To start with, the faith that the universe is ultimately discoverable. There is no proof of this, yet you persist in what is quite possibly a fool’s errand. Are you also guilty of everything you call believers..?

    • Wow. Take that giant chip off your shoulder and cash it in at a casino. We get it. You think you’re smarter than everyone who believes in God. My question to the vast majority of athiests that I have met and definitely the one’s that I read about and see on television is this. Why are you all so angry? Shouldn’t your absolute superiority result in peace of mind? Maybe that’s Gods way of punishing you for your impertinence? By the way it’s “You wish” not ‘You’d wish”.

    • cherzra

      You are the self loathing bigot the author writes of. Congratulations.
      I am not what anyone serious about religion would call religiosity devout. Therefore I feel free to wish you a pleasant trip to hell. Of course you will laugh and say there is no such thing. When you and I come to that day that we die one of us will be proved correct and the other will be proved in error. Now if I am the one in error I will never know it. How about you?

      • Bob, I am going to post your comment, because I don’t like to disapprove any comments, but I would ask that you reconsider and try to win over people of differing opinions rather than say unkind things, or at a minimum find a way to agree to disagree.

    • hmmmm, that sounds a little, no a lot, holier than thou, and very much bullying and belittling. You obviously have some issues if you feel the need to attack people for their beliefs. making what the author said exactly true!

  6. Thanks… I had this very conversation with my young’uns recently. It’s terribly annoying to hear the constant drone of condescension from those who choose not to believe yet need to needle others about their beliefs.

  7. You have a choice. You’ve always had a choice.

    Either you Christians cease murdering and subjugating millions in your endless war against non-whites… or we invite the entire world to come here and dispose of you.

    But you won’t stop. We already know that. You people knew your country would have to find another avenue of “prosperity” after slavery was outlawed, and saw your chance after World War II. And big surprise, you chose empire.

    Do you really think 6 billion humans can’t figure out why there are US military bases all over the world, twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union? You’re only fooling yourselves.

    • Do a body count for the officially atheist USSR, China, Cambodia etc… and then get back with us. Tens of millions have died in the name of atheist statist religions.

      • That thought process gets us nowhere. Let the past be in the past. An atheist living in your neighborhood today has nothing to do with any of that. Work together. Do good. Help people.

      • That was hardly done in the name of atheist states. The fact that these leaders realize they cannot have complete control over a population, if the that population has loyalty ties to other institutions (i.e. Religions) has nothing to do with atheism. Not one of those countries claimed what they did/do was in the name of atheism (and if you can find credible sources that prove I’m wrong, please post them). Now you can hardly make the same claim for religions.

        As a side note, I don’t agree with what that Geneva guy said, he seems bat-shit crazy to me. I would never wish harm on another human being, regardless of their beliefs, religious and otherwise.

  8. Dear Moses,

    You are right to say that we atheists do not try to convert people because of any “mandate.” It is not in our nature to follow orders, only reason. We believe that if more people followed reason, the world would be a better place. True, people of faith may do good things, and atheists may do bad things, but on the question of whether it is right to abandon reason for faith in some deity, atheists are right and theists are wrong. That truth matters to us, as all truth matters to us. Because of that conviction and not the mandate of some holy man, we press on.

    V/R,

    Atheist

    • I would be interested to hear your thoughts on what illogical or unreasonable choices you think I make in my daily life because of my theism, such that you must convert me to your way of thinking. Please provide at least three concrete examples so that I may respond.

    • Stalin was an atheist
      Ditto Mao and Timothy McVeigh
      How did that work out for making the world a better place?

  9. Moses: “What I do not understand, however, is why you feel so compelled to convert others to your way of thinking.”

    Tribalism. When competing for claim to the dominant world-view, a tribe needs competitive numbers of adherents.

    I understand that you don’t want to have to compete for percieved relevence. You just want obedience. Not happening.

    Craig Lueschow:

    “In order to ‘know’ god does not exist, you have to know the universe in its totality.”

    I taught Astronomy for more than two decades. I do not know that god exists. I do not know that god does not exist. I can surmise that knowing the universe in its totalilty, or at least quite a bit of it, is not a requirement for knowing that god does/does not exist (I.e.: your post is BS).

    “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.”
    — Richard P. Feynman

    • If you could derive and explain Richard’s theories I could not accuse you of having faith-based scientific understanding. As far as I can see you use Feynman as sort of a shaman guide to use science inappropriately to gauge the metaphysical. Science needs to stay in the lab and out of the philosopher’s lounge.

    • You reinforce the point of my post by declaring “I do not know that god exists. I do not know that god does not exist”. As an aside teaching astronomy is not the same as knowing the universe in its totality. I would be interested to know, exactly, where my post is bs? The post was merely an explanation of the atheist’s seemingly neurotic compulsion to have others adhere to their worldview.

      • “The post was merely an explanation of the atheist’s seemingly neurotic compulsion to have others adhere to their worldview.”

        I know and have read many atheists for the last 30 years. Not one has such a neurosis. Have examples?

    • That sounds like the Golden Rule. Not that the Golden rule is unique to Christianity, but rather a good sound principle by which to live one’s life that made its way into the Christian bible.

      • Dear Christian,
        No more ‘Dear Atheist’ posts. Respect is earned; give it first.
        I resisted turning my other cheek because I know the insult for what it was.
        Tomorrow is another day.

  10. This is idiotic. Why hot air linked to it is beyond me. “You have chosen your path, why not allow others to choose theirs?” Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?

      • It might have something to do with the fact that you obviously think you have an (actual) god-given license to spread your beliefs, but that atheists should just shut up and mind their own business since they lack this divine sanction?

        fyi I came this way via hotair also.

      • Jealousy? No. Hypocrisy. You think you should be able to harass and annoy people with your doctrine, since you have allegedly divine orders to do so (from a source that atheists inherently don’t recognize the authority of). Then you go write this passive aggresive “letter” about how the big bad bully atheists should just keep all their views to themselves. After all, you don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to hear YOUR stuff either, but you don’t respect that. Since as you say, you are “commanded” to evangelize to them. Ever consider that maybe they feel “commanded” to dispel superstition and ignorance, by their own conscious?

      • @sinhalin Bingo. You knew exactly what I was saying and the big M here had no clue. Save your breath with this guy. Why Hot Air thinks this drivel is worth reading, I have no idea. Maybe the editors couldn’t make it in because of the weather and the janitor picked the headlines today. The Darwin one is equally inane. (No offense meant to janitors in general.)

  11. I dont understand why you have a conflict– thinking that if you believe in God you must be illogical since you are a scientist. If you believe that science truly indicates that there is not, was not, nor could be a deity, then follow your belief and make no apologies. But if you are convinced that there actually is a God who rules and reigns in the universe, then follow him without hesitation or doubt.

    Faith is not hoping against reason. Faith is instead a sure and fast certainty that the spiritual realm is real even though it is not seen. That world is more real than the world you see around you. The Bible says that faith is first of all a gift of God– you cannot drum it up within yourself. It is given, and comes most readily by hearing and accepting the Word of God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the very evidence of things not seen.

    Don’t go around wringing your hands saying you are doubting, hoping against hope, against the facts, against logic. That is insulting to God. Did Jesus act that way? Either get in, or get out. Believe, or don’t believe. Don’t halt between two opinions because you do no one any good in that position, least of all yourself.

    Buck up!

    • Thanks for the encouragement David. It’s not that I don’t believe, I just believe differently than most, especially most in the church I belong to. I think I have yet to come to terms with my faith being very personal and not something that I necessarily experience the same way others do, or at least say they do.

      • We don’t deal with God on our terms. But you and I have a reason to rejoice in “that we know he is God.” That is something to rejoice in above wisdom, strength or riches.

    • I feel I need to share this, but before I do, let me assure you that I am a reasonable and sane person. I had an experience where I felt God’s power within my own mind. I had said a prayer with no real expectation of anything, but this thing did happen, and I am absolutely sure that God does exist. It isn’t even just faith, it is knowledge. God does exist and he loves us and he wants us to share his love with each other.

  12. Dear Theist,

    I am flabbergasted at your rejection of belief in the existence of dinosaurs. I believe you have just as much right to live your life based on a framework of mythology as an atheist does based around the truth of the world. What I do not understand, however, is why you feel so compelled to convert others to your way of thinking. You see, Atheists, for example, are guided by truth to spread the good news and share the facts with others:

    “You ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved? You ever noticed that? Eyes real close together, eyebrow ridges, big furry hands and feet. ‘I believe God created me in one day.’ Yeah, looks like He rushed it.”

    You, however, have a mandate. You cannot deviate from your path, why force others into your company? You claim your way is one of divinity. If so, then why do you insist on bullying atheists, calling us disciples, failing to recognize the dinosaurs? It is not the presence or absence of religion that is the cause of all Good or all Evil in the world; there will always be good and evil people who identify as theists and atheists. If we could just stop arguing about the existence of dinosaurs and agree, for example, on the importance of helping our fellow primates I think our time would be a lot better spent. Does it really matter whether a clothing distribution center, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or job training center is run by American Atheists or a theist organization? No. In the end, people may do bad things for different reasons, but the bad things are still bad things. The time you spend tallying up how many people have been killed “in the name of God” is time you could be spending helping people who are alive right now. You are not going to change my mind. I recognize as a homosexual quadriplegic that there is something inherently illogical about believing in God. But I never struggle with it. It is called honesty. But you and I can disagree and STILL achieve great things. Think about it. If you change your mind, I’ll see you in Hell.

    Ssstumpy

    • You see, this is exactly what I am talking about. Why would you want to call me names? You don’t even know me. You know nothing about me or my specific beliefs. We’ve never met. We’ve never talked. I suggested that theists and atheists put aside their differences and try to achieve some good in the world and you devote your time to sarcasm. And just so you know, Eddie Izzard does a much better job with the whole dinosaurs disproving the bible as the word of God thing. You should leave the hard stuff to the pros.

  13. God does not recognize atheist, therefore atheist do not exist!

    I am sorry, I could not help myself, the quote is not mine, I just adopted it.I just get so tired of atheist trying to run God out of our country. I read something an atheist said once about prefering to live in a country that was Christian rather then living in one that was not.

  14. The main reason I officially “became” an atheist was because I was so sick of all the other religions/sects out there trying to “convert” me to each of their beliefs or telling me that the way I am living isn’t proper in their eyes due to their beliefs. So, rest assured, while there are active people in all religions who want to gain more for their side, there are plenty who are just as annoyed by it as you, though they believe something else.

    • That was a very insightful comment. I had a similar experience in college when I was told by “recruiters” from a certain religion that my father was going to hell because he is Jewish. Needless to say I still don’t think fondly of that experience to this day. As I quoted in the post, there is a mandate for Christians to spread the good news, but not to terrorize people or, as far as I know, convert people who are already Christians. And again, back to my original point, I would really hope that the ultimate goal is to help people here on Earth, not just to boost the number of members in one’s own group.

  15. I liked your post, but disagree that there is anything inherently illogical about believing in God. Where do you think logic comes from? Unconscious matter?

    Just saying…

    Thanks for the courage to look out of the foxhole. There’s people shooting out there…

    • Asking “Where does logic come from?” is like asking “Where does math come from?”, it came from humans developing a means of drawing conclusions from observations about reality, deduced from things which are inherently impossible (such as contradiction, things cannot simultaneously exist and not exist).
      There’s nothing inherently illogical in belief in God, if it comes as a byproduct of a logical process. I think there probably is something that exceeds any human conceptualization of existence as for existence to begin something had to happen to cause it to begin. The illogical stuff is more pertinent when it comes to the Bible – it claims all sorts of things happened that run counter to observable experiences (like God talking to Abraham, tongues setting down on people’s shoulders, etc.) and others that don’t necessarily run in opposition to experiences but are still big enough to require some kind of evidence while presenting none. Moreover, there’s constant emphasis placed on faith, which is defined practically as believing in something without having any reason to believe in it, which doesn’t provide any basis of distinguishing between anything and anything else (if I’m going to believe that Jesus is the messiah, or even that there’s such a thing as a messiah, based on faith, why not believe that air is really invisible gumballs? Not equating the two beliefs, just pointing out that once you open the faith box, you lose the means of differentiating one from the other).

      • You say logic is “The ability to observe… and deduce.” That’s my point. I asked “Where does logic come from?”

        Your answer is deduction. Deduction is a part of logic. Re-asserting that humans operate on logic doesn’t account for logic… especially if one holds to a materialistic view. How does inanimate matter come to observe and deduce? How does it have awareness that it is doing so?

        The problem persists.

        What about numbers? How do they arise from matter when they are immaterial concepts? I don’t believe they do…

        Thanks for conversing.

    • Non-sequitor.

      If there were no theism there would be no atheists.
      That there are theists is not actual evidence for the existence of all the gods that have ever been said to exist.

  16. Hmmm…funny that Mr. Moses portrays himself as a freethinker, liberal, tolerant, non-fundamantalist believer, in order to portray atheists like just the opposite. But the truth is that atheists need to come out and fight for their rights precisely because they are a minority struggling to live in a society ruled by a majority of believers. Most atheist activists out there fight not for the imposition of atheism to the rest of society, but the right to live and think freely. If you want to live your life based on your faith on the Flying Spaghetti Monster…then do it, but don’t impose your deity on others.

    • Please name three specific rights that you are fighting for. And just to warn you in advance, I don’t think attending a graduation in a cross-free building and not being wished a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Hanukkah” are rights (just like it would not be a “right” to ask that a cross be put on a building or to demand that someone wish you a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Hanukkah”).

      • Why does it have to be three? Isn’t one right enough, like the right to have a neutral state that does not sponsor religious beliefs. And if the government will sponsor anyone’s beliefs, then atheists have the right to receive the same support to express and disseminate their ideas.

        Anyway, I attended my own graduation in a building with a cross, but I wonder if all those cross believers in the building would have accepted someone’s right to replace (in the middle of the ceremony) the cross with a symbol of the egyptian god Horus. I’ll bet they all would fight for their right not to be imposed such a symbol.

      • 1) Teaching of scientific fact in high school science classes
        2) Removal of tax breaks and increased accountability for faith based institutions that are allowed to get away with most anything. Charitable work is of course written off.
        3) Ending genital mutilation for children who cannot consent to it (No, there is no significant benefit from circumcision. Look up some unbiased studies)
        4) Indoctrinating children into a Stockholm Syndrome fueled death cult that convinces them that they’re broken from birth before they have the ability to discern fact from fiction.
        5) Teaching people its OK to believe something without evidence because of the fuzzy feeling it gives your brain and not because its true.

        • Your definition of “rights” is interesting. First of all, we will have to agree to disagree that “high school” is even a right, yet alone what is taught there. My child attends a public high school and I am very confident that what I’m guessing you would refer to as “scientific fact” (i.e. evolution) is taught there, as I review the curriculum and books. I would also assert, however, that educating a child is ultimately the responsibility of that child’s parents. If something were to happen to me, the people who would raise my child in my absence know how I feel about such things and would be just as attentive. If you disagree with the curriculum, it is your “right” to home school your child. That is how you can pursue happiness.

          As to your second point, we can totally agree there. This country’s tax system is complicated and broken. When half the people in this country don’t even pay taxes at all, it is a shame so many organizations can arbitrarily receive a tax exempt status. I say that no organization receive such a status. Because, honestly, who decides? If you are truly a charitable organization, then your donors will simply donate just a little bit more to pay your taxes for you.

          On your third point, I’ve seen studies showing a significant reduction of AIDS transmission for circumcised men. Also, it is very difficult to say that an uncircumcised man has different sensation than a circumcised man, since you cannot take the same child and have him exist in both states and grow to manhood. And please…unbiased studies? Every study will be biased one way or the other.

          You sort of tried on the first three, but the fourth and fifth don’t even approach being “rights”.

  17. Interesting comments.
    One quip by a comedian, though i can’t place whom just now went something like this
    “I would be an atheist but I can’t. It would really suck to be wrong”

    • To be fair, there are some really great atheist comedians as well. Eddie Izzard, as I have already mentioned, really cracks me up. Like I said, if we can agree to disagree about what we believe in, we can do great things, and Mr. Izzard has done a great deal to raise money for various charities, including Sport Relief.

  18. Our mandate comes from the conclusion that the human mind is an amazing thing, and subsequently it’s a terrible thing to waste. Moreover, I find our mandate to stand up to considerably more scrutiny than a mandate that comes from an unverified quote from a source there’s no evidence exists (let alone that it can speak/has ever spoken). I appreciate that Christians try to convert me. It’s almost certainly never going to happen, but if someone thinks I’m making decisions that are leading me towards burning in a lake of fire for eternity, I’d certainly hope they’d at least make a little bit of effort to convince me to avoid it. Similarly, I feel a duty to point out the problems that come from faith because I think you only have one life to live and it’s hard to see fully appreciating it if you don’t trust your mind to the extent that you’ll just accept stuff based on faith (aka nothing).

    • First, I think it is great that you appreciate the reason Christians are trying to convert you and that you have an admirable reason for trying to point out problems you see as coming from faith.

      I just wanted to take a minute to comment on something you mention in your last sentence: “… it’s hard to see fully appreciating it if you don’t trust your mind to the extent that you’ll just accept stuff based on faith (aka nothing).”

      The comment is meant to help an atheist better understand how “faith” works from a Christian’s perspective.

      Faith means both believing in the existence of God without scientific proof, but it has an additional meaning to many Christians, which is faith that God will take care of you if you trust Him. (That is a very simple way of putting it, but it’s the best way to explain it quickly.) It’s kind of like, if you have enough faith and trust in God, and sometimes, if you have a strong enough desire just to have faith – that God may do things for you that strengthen your faith in His existence. Multiple times in my life, things have happened that defy any explanation beyond them being small miracles. (And I am a very logical, practical person who is a skeptic and has an advanced degree) When such things happen to Christians, then their faith is based on something more than just “blind” faith. It’s kind of like God giving them a pat on the back to let them know they’re headed in the right direction. To some Christians at least, faith in God’s existence is later rewarded by personal events that serve as confirmations of His existence. This still requires an initial “leap of faith” that God exists, but if someone is struggling with faith in God or they sincerely want to have faith in God and they want God to exist, and they go out on a limb to ask God to help them if He does exists – God will answer. Therefore, faith is not based on “nothing” though it may appear that way to atheists – it is just not something necessarily tangible, it is more experiential.

    • I think that being glad that someone would at least try to convince you to avoid burning in a lake of fire is a really good way of looking at it. but, i find it sad that you think that living as a Christian is not living our one life to the fullest or trusting our minds, because I believe that exactly the opposite is true. I feel that my life is MUCH more satisfying the way it is!

  19. There’s no Santa yet people still don’t believe in him.

    We’re all atheists. It’s just a matter of how many gods we don’t believe in.

      • More specifically, my personal definition of atheism is the position that theist have never proven that there are deities.

        Gods existing is the claim of theists. Theists bear the burden of the proof. The rest of us have only to kick back with a beer to await the actual proving of the heretofore untestable assertion.

      • Yeah man, don’t worry if someone’s understanding of the fundamental way our reality works is right or not — lets not calmly explore it at all and find out who’s right — its so trivial after all. Lets hug it out and plug our ears, because atheists’ is eventual death and mine is eternal life!

        If you don’t talk about it I won’t! (Stage 3: Bargaining)

        • I’m guessing you were being sarcastic. If so that’s not really helpful. Calm discussion is certainly welcome. At some point, however, discussion turns into name-calling or a blame game of which side killed more people at what point in history. My point is that when you’ve exhausted all of your logical (or theological) arguments and it’s clear that you haven’t convinced the other person to convert to your way of thinking, just agree to disagree. Do good together or do good apart, but don’t waste your time being evil to each other. It certainly won’t win them over any more than your logical argument did.

  20. Moses, your post reads like a rhetorical question, but I’ll give you an answer. Firstly, there is a strong and noxious strain of Christianity in the US that equates their narrow interpretation of their own religion as universal morality. For them, it isn’t enough to follow their own religious morality. It isn’t enough for a Christian conservative to not choose to have an abortion, pray at a football game or stay in the closet. Instead, they want to compel everyone to do the above and more, regardless of harm or fairness.
    That’s why atheists are strident and evangelical. They are tired and they aren’t going to take it anymore. You said it yourself, “[they want to] live their lives based on a framework of atheism.” They don’t want someone to point to a book and say “we will pass laws so this book can tell you how to live your life.”
    I would argue that moderate theists like yourself are guilty of holding inconsistent worldviews, but they aren’t a threat. I mean, why get upset when an atheist tells you there is no god? Why get upset when atheists tell you they don’t want you forcing their god onto them through the government?

    • I do not get upset when an atheist tells me there is no God. I get upset when a disagreement on the existence of God resorts to name-calling, on both sides. I find it ridiculous. Also, with respect to religion driving policy, lets take abortion as an example, I feel that if we worked together we could achieve common goals but we don’t. What do I mean? Well if the “right” wants to reduce the number of abortions, why not work with the “left” to promote the proper use of birth control? It makes logical sense to me that it is something that both sides could agree on. I actually wrote about it here: https://mosesmosesmoses.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/would-you-save-just-one-life/. Now I personally do not believe in abortion, but saving one life through the use of birth control before pregnancy is much more important to me than winning a “moral” victory by having a law that says abortions aren’t allowed. Anyway, I don’t think you and I differ so much in our thinking. My main goal is that people get off their soapboxes and start helping the people right next door, or down the street.

    • If an athiest does not see a Christian conservative as having any validity to their views on morality, why does their opinion matter to an atheist. Why do so many athiests need the government to make policy so that their actions must be accepted as being “morally acceptable” as well. Why not just laugh behind your backs at the Christians and do whatever you want since their opinion of you means nothing. If some people want to pray at a football game, if you beleive it is all meaningless, why would it bother you? If a person beleive there is no afterlife, why not let the Christians be happy during their time on earth with their beleif – it won’t matter after they die if they are wrong, they will have enjoyed their time on earth and found personal fulfillment. From an atheists perspective, It would appear to me that it would be like going around outlawing Santa Clause for kids because its not true just out of spite. This isn’t a purely rhetorical comment by the way.

      • The answer was in my original comment, but I’ll repeat it again. If a Christian prays before the kickoff, I would scoff, but it is just harmless silliness in my view. When a prayer before an otherwise secular event is mandatory, that’s authoritarian garbage.

        The first amendment of the US constitution guarantees a secular government. It says that government cannot interfere with someone’s practice of religion (e.g. ban Methodist churches), nor can it favour one religious belief over another (e.g. teach one particular creation myth in schools). What you are describing is a persecuted hegemon complex: Christian sectarians take for granted that they cannot promote their religious preferences through government, so they feel persecuted. It’s natural, but wrong.

        There is another component too. Speaking for myself, I hate seeing people do something wrong. Whether it’s spelling or promoting crank beliefs (e.g. astrology), I speak up because I prefer truth to falsehood, and welfare over suffering. Do I like helping people come around to see the error of their ways? Sure. Can you show me a True Christian who doesn’t?

    • Just one question. Why do we have laws, do you think? To protect the innocent and maintain order. Is it my responsibilty to protect an innocent human life or am I just to look the other way while someone else makes the “choice” to end someone else’s life? With regard to abortion, the desire is to maintain the rule of law—for all–even the little souls that cannot speak for themselves.

      • I am approving this comment, but respectfully request that you continue your discussion of this issue in a more appropriate forum. It is, of course, an important discussion, but this may not be the best place to have it.

  21. Those who believe in science as the path to the discovery of truth is just an alternative to using belief in the supernatural and spirituality as a path to the discovery of ultimate truth. As someone mentioned earlier, the premise that human beings can rationally explain and discover every detail of the entire universe is a premise with no foundation beyond mankind’s faith in their own intelligence. Those who believe in a God and have spirituality use a different premise – usually that God is the ultimate creator. Though atheists may not see the evidence that God exists, that does not mean that theists do not have evidence, it just means it cannot be measured by the scientific method (which is fallible just like the human beings who created it.)

    Science also seems to be starting to show evidence of alternate “dimensions” of reality that make spirituality and supernatural events as much “reality” as those we can test with the scientific method (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080131161812.htm).

    Theists and atheists have different paths to seeking the same truth that all human beings have an internal drive to discover. One primary difference that the article does not mention is that pride is one thing that drives people to feel they must prove and force people to acknowledge when they are “right.” Many theist religions teach humility as being a desirable trait, so at least some of that drive in theists is tempered by that fact, but there is no such feature in atheism.

    • Vrasz: “Many theist religions teach humility as being a desirable trait, so at least some of that drive in theists is tempered by that fact, but there is no such feature in atheism.”

      In Science, if a hypothesis can be proved false just once, it can never be really true:

      “I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.”
      — Richard P. Feynman

      If that’s not humility, you are no authority.

      • I never claimed to be authority on humility (which would make one, by default, lacking in humility) and exalting humility was not the point of my comment.

        From my observations in life, many scientific theories that are unproven are presented as scientific fact; however, this is a digression from my point. The statement you gave does not go to the core premise I am referring to, which is that human beings are capable of discovering the absolute truth and that human scientific discovery is a final authority. Individual atheists may believe that in specific scientific endeavors human beings may reach points where a hypothesis is proven false, but that does not mean they believe that humans are incapable of discovering all truth through science eventually.

        I was simply seeking a logical explanation for the behavior the author mentions. There is no tenant of atheism that I am aware of that says humility advances society and mankind (which is to my knowledge the goal of atheists). That was the only point I was making.

  22. mosesmosesmoses,

    I believe that America’s tolerance of the killing of the unborn is one of its biggest failings, and devote much of my free time to helping women avoid abortion. Do you oppose abortion, and do you work to discourage it?

  23. I’ve had many occasions where religious conversionists have tracked me to my car or knocked at my door insisting that I allow them to “save me.” I talk with them, banter a bit, discuss my unpopular views with them and agree to disagree. They leave disappointed, but they leave. I enjoy the conversation, I’m fascinated by the searching soul and all it’s aspirations. What I can’t understand is why atheists so often take someone condemning them to hell so hard. So what – hell doesn’t exist anyway, right?

    Likewise – the fear that Christianists might impose their values through legislation…it’s nonsense. What holy writ have the religious been able to impose? Don’t blame the high price of marijuana on them – there are plenty of reasons to resist libertine culture without bringing God into it.

    To me, it’s a self esteem issue. if you are firm in your beliefs, whatever they are, nothing a nutter says is going to upset you. Know yourself, and find peace there.

  24. I’ve read that post. My one concern is that ultimately, your position is that the law should never step in to prohibit or restrict abortion at any stage of the pregnancy. Rather, some form of “working together” should always be sufficient.

    One would never adopt this position with respect to the killing of toddlers. Certainly, supporting a pro-economy candidate, volunteering at a child protection charity, or discouraging child abuse would all reduce the number of toddler-killings, but “working together” in this way would be no substitute for a clear legal prohibition.

    • That’s not actually what I said. I simply suggest that rather than demanding that all abortions stop immediately, which is highly unlikely, people put their energy into efforts that will stop some percentage of abortions, especially those efforts that will be supported by a majority of their neighbors. Many people look at Abraham Lincoln and think that he abolished slavery on moral grounds. This is not the case, or at least not the case that he made on paper. Many people also compare the immorality of abortion with the immorality of slavery (at least when they argue with me). Unfortunately what is moral (or immoral) to some is not so to others. Choose your battles. Help as many as you can in the here and now.

  25. Dear atheist. Here is a short list of religious scientists:http://astronomy.byu.edu/ldsastro.php?who=professional . And that is just one religion. Do a Google search on Scientists who are religious. I am not a scientist but I have no doubt that quantum mechanics can no more explain the many mysteries surrounding the scope of the universe than theists can explain the universe. Both operate on a degree of faith. As for all of the evil wrought in the name of god is just that evil. Evil men/women will exercise their evil in any name. Whatever works. The God I believe in is very offended by these people and an accounting will surely take place; however, free agency is still a critical factor in choice. God does not compel. Now why do we “theists” share what we call the “good news of the gospel”? Because good news is always worth sharing! (OK, sadly there are those who insist on sharing hell fire and brimstone and errantly neglect the positive: a peace that passeth understanding ). If you choose not to believe; I won’t make any claims that you will go to hell. But I do believe there will come a time when “every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ”. Lastly We [Christians] claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” OR NOT! 😉

  26. In reply to: VRasz: August 29, 2011 at 3:56 am; where no other opportunity to reply directly seems to exist:

    VRasz: “…but there is no such feature in atheism.”
    VRasz: “I never claimed to be authority on humility…”

    You made the first quoted unqualified assertion as if, in fact, it were true.

    Now that it’s demonstrably not true, I don’t have to consider the rest to have merit.

  27. I suppose you are implying that atheists are somehow persecuting Christians, which is utterly false. I understand that Christians are compelled to spread “the word” because of fun little bits of scripture like the one you posted (although certain bits of scripture get conveniently ignored. We call this “cherry-picking”). You may want to consider that atheists throughout history have been persecuted (even to the point of death in certain cases), and pardon me for saying so, but I think any Christian who would imply that an atheist is being a “bully” by criticizing religious belief is being a hypocrite in light of that fact.

    Until recently Christians have been granted many, many privileges in most western societies, and have been given public license to criticize whomever/whatever they wished in the name of God. Now that atheists are fighting back against such double standards Christians are claiming persecution because privilege is all they’ve ever known. Like just about all aspects of religion, this reeks of hypocrisy.

    • I wrote this in order to send to specific atheists when they were bullying me. It was by no means directed at all, or even most, atheists. We will never be able to work together to help real people alive today until we stop talking about who did what to whom at what point in the past.

      • Well, now it starts making some sense. Bullying is wrong, whether it comes from atheists or believers. But it must be acknowledged that believers started it all.

  28. No one can know who first started ‘it’.

    But the fact that competition over much of anything still exists is comforting.

    Messy is better than staged.

  29. Pingback: Short Rounds #205 | The Marshian Chronicles

    • Actually no. This was written as a prepared response for those times when I, or my friends, am being bullied by an athiest who resorts to name calling. It was certainly not intended to address ALL, or even MOST, athiests.

  30. I must say, for every one atheist who pushes his views on others while belittling and ostracizing them there are probably at least three Christians who do the same thing. Most people who are atheists just want to be left alone and believe what they want to believe, and religious people try to ‘spread the word’ by manipulating and guilt-tripping them. You talk about ‘live and let live’, so why don’t you practice what you preach? Stop demonizing us and work on the ‘beam in your own eye’.

    Matthew 7:3: Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?

    • Interesting. Again, rather than taking a census of who’s worse, why not just go out and start doing good? I know that I personally have never demonized you personally. I wrote this so I could have a canned response to link to whenever I was being bullied.

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