Saturday, June 25, 2011

Atheist myths?

Among many of the more militant atheists, there are a number of common claims made about religion. Some are fair, some are not, but they have become as entrenched as dogma. It is refreshing when one of their own argues for a more thoughtful and nuanced view.

So I was impressed when I came across this reasoned discussion by Be Scofield. His five myths often repeated by atheists are:

  1. All Religions are the Same and are “Equally Crazy”
  2. Atheists are Anti-Religious
  3. Religion Causes Bad Behavior
  4. Religion Requires a Belief in a Supernatural God
  5. Liberal and Moderate Religion Justifies Religious Extremism

I have seen all of those on the internet, but I wouldn't think all of them were important. For me, 1, 3 & 5 are the important ones and make it difficult to participate in friendly and constructive discussion with those who hold such views. In place of #2 & #4, I'd add '2. There is no evidence for God and all religion is based 100% on blind faith' and '4. It's not possible to believe in a religion and be intelligent, so religious people must be delusional'.

I wonder what myths christians believe about atheists?


  1. The linked post for some reason elicited a heated response from PZ Meyers, ironic as that may be.

    Be Scofield replies to it here:

    His site, God Bless the Whole World, is very interesting, though. There is much to read, view and hear:

  2. hmm myths christians believe about atheists? maybe:
    *they despise all religious people
    *are arrogant and aggressive in their conclusions
    *have blind faith in science - even if its only hypothesis (not evidence based)
    *have no sense of morality (ie. all fervently support euthanasia/abortion/cloning

  3. p.s. in your above post - I really find number myth no 5. Liberal and Moderate Religion Justifies Religious Extremism - the most disarming and perplexing... what is your response to it?

  4. G'day WH, nice to hear from you! Hope all is going well.

    Yes, I think some of your suggested christian myths are apt - probably we all tend to judge the 'normal' many by the vocal few.

    The idea that Liberal and Moderate Religion Justifies Religious Extremism, and therefore that atheists should oppose even friendly and moderate belief, is widespread on the internet. Yet it can be seen to be silly quite easily, by applying the same principle elsewhere ...

    Liberal and Moderate Politics Justifies Political Extremism
    Liberal and Moderate Art Justifies Artistic Extremism
    Liberal and Moderate people Justifies Extreme people

    I think that when someone comes up with a phrase or idea that sounds like it is saying something telling, many people of like mind quickly take it up (it 'goes viral') and it becomes ubiquitous, even if examination suggests it is meaningless or inaccurate. I think that is what has happened here - one of the 'advantages' of the internet!

    BTW, you may not know I have started a blog aimed at encouraging christians to think outside the square and to do their apologetics in a different way. If you are interested, you'll find it at the Way?.

  5. There is merit in 5 as it happens, and this can be easily demonstrated using Islam.
    The Qu'ran sanctions Jihad (among quite a few notable extreme beliefs) yet by extending tolerance to what one might refer to as "Ordinairy Muslims" one is tacitly shielding the whole religion from serious questioning and criticism from these extreme views.
    Ask any of these "Ordinairy Muslims" to condemn Jihad and ask them to campaign for its removal from the Qu'ran and see the response.
    And , yes, I have asked this question.
    Furthermore, one of the reasons tolerance is expected is if not it then opens all religion to criticism.
    In fact, because each religion basically considers every other religion heretical (Christianity even considers many of its own sects heretical) religion is
    incredibly INTOLERANT and this so-called tolerance is merely a facade, especially in light of the above and also that adherrants of Islam and Christianity are obliged to proselytize and to the winner take the spoils.
    A single worldwide religion is undeniably part of monotheism's agenda.
    There was mention made that within a few years the Muslim community of Canada would be strong enough to vote a Muslim into power.
    A theocracy is something to make people sit up and take notice.
    The aggression towards Islam in certain European countries clearly demonstrates how hostile many traditional Christian nations are to Muslim demands to implement Islamic culture, inclucding Sharia Law.
    And in Australia, there was ,(if memory serves) a while back, quite an outburst from an Aussie politician about Australia being a 'Christian country'.

    Religious tolerance? Yeah, right!


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