Atheist, why don’t you just shut up?

Yesterday I had a little moment on Facebook when one of my friends posted a picture that repeated the “April Fool’s day is the atheist’s national holiday” jibe. I decided a few days before that I would embrace this meagre attempt at cleverness by the religious crowd, and make the day my own. So I posted a comment to that effect on the image.

I’ll be happy to claim April Fool’s day as international atheist day. And I’ll tuck into some Halaal hot cross buns to celebrate 🙂

Were my exact words. I don’t think that this is particularly offensive or dismissive. What I was aiming for was something along the lines of “sure, whatever.” My comment about the Halaal hot cross buns is a reference to a recent tornado-in-a-teacup that erupted when the South African Woolworths chain dared to print a halaal certification on their spicy bun packets and a group of Christians felt that this was an insult to “their” tradition.

Shortly thereafter, another friend posted the following comment:

Do you have doubts about your atheism? Why do you keep on about it? Most atheists just quietly get on with living their lives the way they like. Its not necessary to denigrate other peoples beliefs. They need the support mechanism.

Well, this is exactly why I “keep on” about atheism. Because I am expected to shut up and behave myself like a good Christian while the bible crowd can happily make statements such as:

Fear of God has vanished and that means that humanity has vanished.

~Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

I pity any offspring you might have produced and can only pray for it.

~J.N Laubscher, via email

I speak out about atheism and religion because it is the right thing to do. Never mind my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, if I was to sit quietly by (and if all the other vocal atheists were to zip their lips too) then we would only ever hear one side of the story.

People who doubted their beliefs would never know that there is a large, and growing, community of people who have found a way to live a meaningful and positive life without the fear of post-mortem punishment.

If atheists didn’t speak out, would we know about the Roman Catholic Church’s systematic abuse of children and their decades long protection of the paedophiles who perpetrate that abuse?

Would homosexual people ever be able to openly and freely express love for one another?

Would we even know that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around?

Religion demands obedience and submission intellectually, emotionally, sexually and physically. It demands that you give up your ability to think critically about the world around you and the things you are told by people in authority, and if we do that we are lost.

I “keep on” about atheism because I think that religion is the greatest long con of them all and the sooner we pull the wool from our eyes the better.

You don’t need the “support” provided by believing in a fairy tale. You have a family.

You don’t need the intellectual suffocation of faith, you have a mind.

You need to speak out and not shut up. I do, at any rate.



136 responses to “Atheist, why don’t you just shut up?

  1. “If atheists didn’t speak out, would we know about the Roman Catholic Church’s systematic abuse of children..”

    I don’t recall an atheist group breaking the story. I recall a bunch of newspapers braking it.

    “Would homosexual people ever be able to openly and freely express love for one another?”

    There are plenty of Christian groups who accept gay married individuals, again, I seem to recall LGBT organizations spearheading these sort of things, not atheist groups.

    “Would we even know that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around?”

    Not that either one matters in the grand scheme of things, but yes, we would. human curiosity indoors, religious or not, and it’s interesting to note that Copernicus, often associated with heliocentrism, was a Christian Cleric. Despite a few hiccups, once enough empirical evidence was present, any religious objection heliocentrism was put aside. heliocentrism prevailed, and religion accepted it and moved on. and yes, it sucks for Galileo, but no worse than the religious were oppressed and enprisoned by the atheistic communist in this century for dating to maintain their faith in the face of the obvious superiority of Godless communism. of the two, only faith survived, communism did not. But that’s a whole other discussion. Andd heck, religion was proclaiming that the Universe had a beginning long before the Big Bang Theory, back where everyone thought steady-state was the truth.

    “You don’t need the “support” provided by believing in a fairy tale. You have a family.”

    I’m not sure what that means. people believe in fairy tales about their family, such as the fact that’s their parents love them. that fairytale provides comfort and support, though it happens to be true…despite being something with no empirical or mathematical proof. People don’t look to religion for the same thing they look to their family for. People look to religion for inspiration, transcendance, purpose, and spiritual Direction.P For an ethical compass. These are not things that your family can provide you in any absolute sort of way. What you see as weak-mindedness is actually the courage to reach out and search, not to simply subscribe to a dark nihilistic outlook that atheists seem to enjoy turning to just to prove to themselves how independent and strong they are, but it belies a deep emptiness and mask of invulnerability inside.

    “You don’t need the intellectual suffocation of faith, you have a mind”

    Most religious people don’t find Faith to be a Suffocation… In fact quite the opposite, they find it to be freeing, transcendent, a momentary escape from the prisons of our inner base animal. the mind certainly can’t provide that meta-ascension. intellect is great for a lot of things, but it’s fairly useless when it comes to what’s in our hearts, and most religious people find that faith, not intellect, bridges the gap between the base world outside and the heart.

    perhaps if you stopped with the ad hominem name-calling, intellectual superiority posturing, and the like, you might understand what makes people of faith tick, and what faculty they are accessing which you have chosen not to, for whatever reason. not every religious person is just an idiot believing kindergarten fairy tales. Most people’s faith is far more nuanced and thought out, and any of your implications to the contrary only give you an easy straw man to burn.

  2. All religion (yes, “Christianity IS a religion!) is based on blind acceptance and the denial of critical thought. Just as medicine can only advance through an evidence-based approach, humans can only advance through curiosity, an open mind on new ideas and rejecting those that have been disproved. Every aspect of literal biblical statements have been disproved, whether creation, the flood, you name it. Any useful guidance and homilies are best extracted from these and other texts and stripped of the mistakes, lies and ignorance. Continuing to “believe” in the face of evidence is stupidity, and those who propagate religious observance propagate stupidity and ignorance. And that is enough of a crime to humanity!

  3. My wife and her family are Christian but I’m agnostic, my other family are mostly dead or distanced (another story).

    My wife and daughter are free to believe anything they want. I do make the occasional comment but mostly just let them be.

    Anyway, I don’t think I’m smart enough to be atheist or dumb enough to be a Christian.

    Cheers for the article

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  5. Angela,

    I want to say thanks for posting this and starting what has been an interesting thread. Even those people I don’t agree with have added some interesting discussion points and most everyone (MOST, not all) has been civil in their discourse.

    • You’re welcome Paul.
      I’m also really glad to see how well the discussion has gone, not too much poop flinging. I guess we can be civil after all 🙂

  6. One thing I have to keep in mind when talking to a religious person.

    If the things I believe, IE a scientific fact, is proven wrong, I can prettymuch guarantee that my life will go on with little to no change: I will live tomorrow as I did today. It will almost certainly not affect how I treat people, how I conduct myself, or how I view myself as a human being. Advances in scientific knowledge may affect my quality of life, as technology evolves, but I do not base the principles by which I live on scientific facts.

    In contrast to this, if a religious person’s beliefs are proven wrong, they are then forced to reevaluate their entire lifestyle. The way they percieve reality, how they treat other people, and how they view themselves as human beings. So for them, being wrong is a LOT scarier than it is for me.

  7. I have been following these comments and have found it interesting how the original post, has become an argument about the existence of God.
    Sisyphus, may have better luck in this argument.
    On the Atheist side the argument is from Naturalism, which would state that nothing exists outside of the natural world. (Correct me if I am wrong).
    On the side of the Theists the argument comes from super naturalism, in that the source for the natural order and existence is in itself beyond the natural realm.
    There is no way that this can be argued.

    What we fail to realize is that one does not change their mind or accept a certain view based on proof. Instead, we form our opinions and beliefs based on experience.

    For myself, I believe in Christ, because I have experience him.

    For my Atheist friend, he does not believe in anything outside of the natural world because he has experienced the depth of the natural world in itself (or so he claims).

    One cannot experience by reading, but must live something out. They must test it through personal trial, thus experience.

    Perhaps that is why we engage in endless arguments like this (myself included) because we are too afraid of leaving our mental comfort zones, to experience what the other seems to know. Instead we just assume. Or we just base what we think we know on what scholars have written, without ever taking the time to discover for ourselves.

    • Atheists simply don’t believe in a God, because they haven’t seen any solid scientific evidence for one.
      Atheists can believe in fairies, aliens, ghosts, telepathy, panspermia, etc and still be Atheist.
      And if I’m not mistaken, Atheists can believe in a living, biological being that would fill the role of ‘creator’ on Earth – that is, a non-supernatural entity – and still be Atheist.

      • There may be other beliefs that lead people to become atheists. I am an atheist because I can see that religion is a way to control masses of people in terms of their behaviors. That specifically means getting them to support the one party/president/church, financially, politically and morally over another one. In the old days this was done by bringing gifts to temples. Today this is usually some kind of financial and political support. Science cannot disproove god’s existence, but if one looks at religions in their social and political context, then it becomes clear that it is a ploy to gain power in the physical world. I don’t think that religious leaders even believe in god themselves as they tend to abuse their worldly powers by killing their opponents – typically people who claim to believe in other gods – even though their religion forbids this. All world wars were fought in the name of god by all parties.
        Religion should be seen in its’ worldly context and it can be exposed as an elaborate hoax.

        • Some use it that way. The real reason ( in my opinion ) is the fear of the unknown A.K.A death. I HOPE there is a heaven or something like that because everything in life seems like a waste of time otherwise

    • @tobeforgiven, you sound educated, reasonable and rational. Even flexible. But then I also felt that way about myself while simultaneously proclaiming the truth of the supernatural. It’s happened twice; both times while I was busy trying to make my life better. But each time, when I found myself on my feet again, and didn’t need to believe so ardently anymore, I realised the limits of blind faith. I could maybe use it as a method to get my act together, but it wouldn’t help me end world hunger. Or win the lottery. Or eradicate war. Or heal one sick person.

      The first time was as a Christian. The second, as a Buddhist. Both times I experienced a powerful inner peace and warmth; more poetically, a golden glow in my heart and a wish to help others become happy. But eventually I had to be honest with myself. I could get the same feeling (and more reliably at that) from a sudden, unexpected kindness in a time of crisis; or from listening to a magnificent piece of music composed by the likes of Bach or Albinoni; or from contemplating Hubble Ultra Deep Field pictures; or from just thinking about Brian Greene’s description of infant universes emerging from the collision of two branes. More importantly, those things are rooted in reality. They are the products of human creativity, human generosity, and human research.

      Like believers, I subscribe to the idea that humans have a spiritual sensibility. But I absolutely disagree that we should fill it with religion. That would be selling ourselves short.

    • Ultimately all religious arguments are about whether your-God/My-God/no-God exists. And it’s a great argument because you can’t prove that He does and I can’t prove that he doesn’t. So, out of respect for your beliefs, I capitalise my ‘G”s and ‘J”s and bow my head when someone says a prayer.
      The question here is why you get to ring the bells on sundays while I get called Atheist filth needs to be PURGED whenever I voice my beliefs?

      • Christian here:
        Yeah, you seem alright, it isn’t all christians who do that but I see your point. I am a great lover of debate in all forms and more than willing to play devil’s advocate in almost any situation. Atheists and Christians( and perhaps all the religious but I don’t want to assume) can learn something from eachother, but Christians often forget to let some things go and many atheists who seek out arguments are just looking for a chance to say a few things they read on a forum to make themeselves sound smart or philosophical. I have engaged in debates about the existence in god, but I always go into it with the understanding that I am not going to change any long held beliefs with a few rhetorical tricks, it’s all just fun to me.

    • {For myself, I believe in Christ, because I have experience him.

      For my Atheist friend, he does not believe in anything outside of the natural world because he has experienced the depth of the natural world in itself (or so he claims).

      One cannot experience by reading, but must live something out. They must test it through personal trial, thus experience. }

      Here’s where my problem with religious thinking lies. When you say you have “experienced Christ” The word “experience” is a completly proper word to use. It actually means something. Then you somehow twist it that I’ve (supposedly!) experienced the natural world in this way. No. We all experience the “natural world” in the same way. It’s not some magical, ethereal buzz word. the world is natural and we can test it and come up with shared data that we call “reality.”.

      Your “experience” with Christ is nothing like this. It always seems to amount to a feeling or other completely unverifiable “spiritual” nothingness. I find it insulting that you think me experience is unjustified, even though I would ask for independent verification. And yours doesn’t even mean the word experience in a meaningful way. It is experience in the same way your imagination is

      • I didn’t say your experience was unjustified.
        I cannot say what your experience is, no more than you can say what my experience has been.
        My experience with Christ has gone well beyond just a feeling or imagination.
        You may find that hard to believe, but you don’t get to judge the quality of my experiences, the same as I cannot judge yours.

        To distracted; the arguement of persecution also means little, when you are looking at the entirety of humanity. As persecution happens to all people somewhere in this world. Christians are being purged, by Atheists none the less in other parts of the world. China, North Korea, etc. Atheists are suffering the same fate in (ill give you the US) and in middle eastern countries. Our bells don’t ring loudly everywhere. I would also point you to similar words said by Bill Maher in Religioulous, during the last scene.
        People persecute, its bad, but persecutory attitudes are not limited to Christians.

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  10. I’m atheist. I see religion/belief in a higher deity mostly when people need to believe that something is going to make their life better. Lose your job? Obviously praying will land a new one in your lap. Right. Has nothing to do with your ability to sit through an interview and string intelligent sentences together. Instead of having faith in a bunch of old, irrelevant passages written in a book so over translated it’s impossible to know if the text is even what was intended, believe in yourself. So few people believe in themselves, they spend all their time praying that something will good will happen instead of just going out and believing in their own potential to make it happen. Good and bad happen in life. There are no explanations for the random we see in how our lives play out. Shit happens. Talking to your imaginary friend won’t change that.

    • Dear thejessaleigh,
      One thing you said is scriptural:

      He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

      God does answer prayers, but He also expects us to do the things He has equipped us to do so that we do not sit around waiting on Him to do everything for us. While we walk our daily walk, however, we are always reminded that we cannot make ourselves taller and have no control over whether our heart continues to beat, or that our next breath will come.

      It is comforting to know that there is Someone who does have control and that this Person cares for us. There has been much discussion here about atheist trying to spread their belief just as Christians spread Christianity and is this good or bad?

      If atheist are wrong, then it is very bad. If Christians are wrong, believing has still helped many and given many much comfort.The wonderful thing about believing, however, is the fellowship with Christ that shows us we are not wrong.

      Check out some of the work Christians are doing around the world before answering. There is: Leading the Way, Samaritan’s Purse, Rahab’s Rope, and many listed here:

      • No you want to believe God has done it. That’s a sentence written in a book. And if God expects us to do things then why do so many people sit around waiting for him to answer them on what to do? The bible is a big circle of hurry up and wait and see with no solid answers on anything. You can turn any scripture in the bible in to an answer for something. That’s why I find it so useless. There really aren’t any answers, just a lot of fluff that can easily be adjusted to suit what you want it to be telling you.

        • For me, it is more. It wasn’t, however, until I committed my life to Christ and it was like the Bible was suddenly opened to me. There is continuity and one central theme throughout the Bible. There are two events in mankind’s past that God performed for us. The creation and redemption are two things that are common threads from Genesis to Revelation. Understanding for me did not all come in a day, but God continues to reveal new aspects of the word. It is amazing and magnificent and I hope you are able to trust and receive.

          • I’ve read the bible, attended church regularly within 3 denominations and there’s nothing there. I feel nothing, get nothing from it other then the feeling that I need a nap. For me it was lip service. Sing this, repeat that, listen to this and go have a nice week. I didn’t get anything deeper out of it. Overall I find most of it highly ridiculous on any sort of common sense level. I don’t buy creationism because there is too much evidence to support that it’s impossible for it to have happened. I don’t agree in invisible deity’s who oversee everything and have some master plan for you. It’s all fine and dandy if you want to, or anyone else wants to, but I’m not going to pretend that I think it’s worthwhile.

      • Jlue,

        It strikes me that you are a sincere and caring person. For that you should be commended. Please understand this reply is not meant to be insulting or dismissive but I want to help you understand something about your premise.

        Your argument that “If atheist are wrong, then it is very bad. If Christians are wrong, believing has still helped many and given many much comfort.” is a variant of “Pascal’s Wager” and does not address one iota the core tenant of your belief system which is, clearly, that there is a God. You are making a baseless argument and defending it with a logical trick. God either exists or doesn’t. My belief in God should make absolutely NO difference just as my belief or non-belief in Heliocentrism makes no difference in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

        As an Atheist I am not interested in who is right or wrong on something none of us can truly be certain about. I am primarily interested in the pursuit of truth to the extent that it is discernible. In the case of God/No God I can only base my views on evidence. I do not find any of the various religious texts compelling as evidence for a host of logical, moral and historical reasons. I do not find any revealed truths, validated prophecies or even sound historical records sufficient to elevate them to the point that I could trust them.

        I am also not interested in the “personal experience of Christ/Allah/etc.” as such experiences are anecdotal at best and could always be the result of mental illness, intoxication or some combination of the two.

        Finally, and this is most important for me, is the fact that I don’t need anything more to be happy. I am ok with a universe where justice is a nice human concept but not part of the whole system as it gives us something to aspire to as a species. I am fine with a universe of natural wonders so amazing that raising the dead or healing the sick seems like a bad Vegas dinner show. I am fine with a universe whose operating principles are so complex as to defy even marginal understanding by the best and brightest of us. I am fine with a universe where we each have to make our own way, answer the fundamental questions of our existence and live with the results. I don’t expect to be rewarded for being good or punished for being bad when I die. I only expect to be dead and thus cease to exist. And this doesn’t scare me. It shouldn’t scare anyone. It has happened trillions of times before and, hopefully, will continue to happen for many years to come.

      • I don’t want to play ‘anything you can do…’ but href=”” rel=”nofollow”>christians are not the only ones doing good

    • I beg to differ. The denial of God arises from the denial of the very possibility of a deity of any kind. There is no need for a deity, human or otherwise. If the human race were to suffer a near-extinction event, the survivors will reinvent religion, but their holy texts would look nothing like any scripture existing today. But they will also rediscover the principles of science, and their discoveries will be identical to the scientific knowledge we have today. Religion is at best a comforting fiction. It can teach you nothing besides a bunch of Bronze Age myths, taboos and preconceptions.

      • Atheism isn’t, in its simplest form, a denial of the possible existence a deity of any kind. That would be anti-theism.
        Atheists would acknowledge a deity if they saw one.
        In order to be a person who thinks scientifically, you MUST be agnostic. You must know that human knowledge is not perfect, it is subject to change or complete overthrow as we discover new things. Unlike people of faith, the scientific thinker is not threatened by changes to what they thought they knew. Instead, they rejoice at the addition of new understanding, and are excited to explore it.
        (This is not to say that there aren’t some people who’ve invested their lives in theories that turn out to be wrong because of said new knowledge, and may even try to resist it, but that’s where peer review comes in.)
        This lack of faith in science is necessary in order for us to continue to evolve and refine it.
        This is in stark contrast to faith, which claims infallibility, perfect, immutable, absolute knowledge, which must never be questioned. And the assumption that its self-claimed perfection must make it superior to maleable, adaptable, imperfect science.

        • I was being rather absolutist, wasn’t I? I should rather have said, “… denial of the necessity for a deity of any kind”. And I agree that not having faith in a deity should not become an item of faith in itself, i.e. if a deity suddenly appeared in front of me I should not have to try and keep my head from exploding. But over the years I got increasingly tired of the agnostic position. I wouldn’t deny that a deity existed if this was proven to me, but I do deny the necessity for a deity, and I certainly deny the need to submit to one. “You were born free!”, as Clive Owen said to the serfs in the Antoine Fuqua version of King Arthur. Agnosticism may be the only truly valid position from a purely scientific point of view, but not so much from a secular-humanist point of view.

        • In response to this statement, I disagree.

          Unlike people of faith, the scientific thinker is not threatened by changes to what they thought they knew. Instead, they rejoice at the addition of new understanding, and are excited to explore it. (This is not to say that
          there aren’t some people who’ve invested their lives in theories that turn out to be wrong because of said new knowledge, and may even try to resist it, but that’s where peer review comes in.) This lack of faith in science is necessary in order for us to continue to evolve and refine it.

          Much of evolution, including the evidence presented by the fossil record, requires faith and I do not know of any group of people who guard their belief more vigorously than evolutionary scientists. Anyone who points to a flaw in the research or a different conclusion than “evolution is responsible for life as we know it” will be hit with a barrage of adjectives that are scathing. There is no dissention allowed, at least not in the ranks of those who blog. Scientists, today, who believe in creation or even intelligent design have reported difficulty with the establishment in most, if not all, areas of their professional lives and their findings ignored, buried or attacked. Others from the past are ignored. (Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin. Chemistry-Boyle, Dalton, Pascal, Ramsay. Biology-Ray, Linnaeus, Mendel, Pasteur. Geology-Steno, Woodward, Brewster, Agassiz. Astronomy-Kepler, Galileo, Herschel, Maunder) Anyone who challenges the accepted dogma is treated in much the same manner as people such as Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, or Walter Williams have been treated by the liberal Democrats in this country, and that is far from accepting. There are many people today who hold science in higher regard than they do any religion, but they would probably be the first to jump ship if the evidence for creation or a higher power began to be presented in scientific journals.

          I strongly disagree with the idea that scientists are objective and ready to admit when they are wrong. The only time I see evolutionary scientists admit something was wrong is if they think the admission is something that furthers the theory.

          • Ok. I’ll bite Jlue. Please provide specific examples of the following:

            1. Flaws in the theory of Evolution, who is stating they are a flaw, their CV and the peer reviewed EVIDENCE to support their view.
            2. Biblical prophecies that have “LITERALLY”, your word not mine, come true with all of the supporting EVIDENCE to back up that claim.
            3. Evidence for Intelligent Design that has been peer reviewed by reputable researchers and DOES NOT refer to supernatural causes (see… supernatural means NOT SCIENCE). If it is SUPERNATURAL then it is outside of nature and therefore NOT science.

            I will gladly review each pience of evidence you present to back up your claims and post my findings with my sources.

          • Um, jlue… Where are you getting your information? There is a huge difference between evolutionary scientists and people who blog about evolution and that might give you the wrong impression.

            I would love to see you point to ONE single piece of fossil evidence that requires faith in its interpretation or acceptance as evidence of evolution. I can see that you fall into the “evolution is a belief” category of people and the problem is that you are just plain wrong. I don’t think this is through any fault on your part, I think you have been systematically misled.

            There is plenty of debate among evolutionary scientists (perhaps not bloggers, people on the internet can be real buttholes), and alternative hypotheses are always considered on the strength of their evidence.

            It would be a great shame if scientists who also believe in the creation story were to suffer professional prejudice because of their beliefs, except if they are trying to convince the scientific establishment that creationism is a better explanation for the variety of life than evolution is. If you insist on clinging to fringe beliefs, regardless of the field of science you study, you will naturally be sidelined by the progress of science that is supported by evidence.

            I’m not sure I understand your statement that “others from the past are ignored”. Would you care to clarify?

            If good, high quality evidence for the existence of a deity of any kind were presented, I would have to refine my position on the matter. And I imagine a lot of other people would too. And if high quality evidence for creationism were presented, the scientific community would HAVE to refine their hypothesis as well. This wouldn’t be so hard to do, really. All it would take is a fossil found out of sequence; a rabbit in the Burgess shale, for example, would blow the Theory of Evolution out of the water. No such fossil has ever been found.

            “I strongly disagree with the idea that scientists are objective and ready to admit when they are wrong.” – Well, you’d be wrong about that.

      • Being challenged to provide evidence, being proven wrong, and having their work dismissed because of lack of proper citation or proof is not attack.

        Losing credibility for the above is also not attack. I don’t imagine you’d take an astronomer seriously if they believed in ancient Norse explanations of the planets and stars.

        There ARE some people who have faith in science, but this is a non-scientific mode of thinking, and one adopted by people who don’t understand it well enough to make rational decisions about it.

        And there ARE some people in the scientific community who will mock and belittle people with creationist ideas, just as many people who are Creationists will mock and belittle scientists who support Evolution. This behaviour is also not related to science, it is merely people being jerks to each other.

        But that doesn’t change whether or not the Creation hypothesis is right. It’s been repeatedly proven to be wrong, and even if one test out of 100 doesn’t rule Creationism out, that isn’t evidence that it is correct.

  11. You know, in the Freemason fraternity discussion of religion and politics is forbidden at all Lodge meetings. They learned centuries ago that those two topics only divide people, they do not unite them.

    So if you believe in God and heaven/hell, fine. If you do not believe in God and heaven/hell, fine. Arguing about them only hurts people. Its a no win.

    • Regardless of whether anybody will win (and I don’t think that anybody ever will), I still find it offensive that anybody should be told not to talk about their opinions on a matter as important as religion is in our society.

      It is only through open discourse that we will ever be able to achieve a modicum of tolerance for people of different faiths.

  12. At the very least it should be a theory in your eyes, just like a different set of areas in science that we use implicitly and without fail, are theories, but we hold stock tp them as true till proven otherwise. Its possible that all of this is true, but it can be quickly subject to change when the evidence shows up

    • I grant that the existence of God, heaven or hell is an idea.
      We cannot test the idea, so we cannot call it a hypothesis.
      We have NO evidence for the idea so we certainly cannot call it a theory.

      The word “theory” in a scientific context, as you are trying to apply it here, refers to a concept that is well understood, well tested, and thoroughly supported by evidence.

      The theory of Gravity is one such theory.
      The existence of supernatural beings and magical realms is not.

  13. I read this and i see your point. But what i see a lot out of some real outspoken athiests (aka theamazingathiest) is close to the bigotry on the opposite side if the line that theists can have. I want to be able to talk about my faith in a discussion without the other person having a snarky attitude. Yes, athiests helped catch the Catholic Church and its Pedo status, that was a fuck up i cant even begin to comprehend how they think its acceptible, but its not terrible for. believing in something more. Faith isnt completely blind following. The truth about faith is the willingness to accept that there really is a heaven and a hell and that we may have ro fess up our sins. Believing in the idea of Christianity with a sinless man commiting a. sacrifice (it a very normal concept) becomes a little bit. easier. Athiests dont want to believe, fine, but dont. write it off as a “fantasy

    • I can’t speak for all atheists here, but when you say ” Faith isnt completely blind following. The truth about faith is the willingness to accept that there really is a heaven and a hell” you enter a type of discussion that I don’t think we’ll ever be able to settle.

      Faith IS the blind following of an idea, when there is evidence to prove it wrong and when there is no evidence to prove it right. I simply cannot accept the existence of mythical realms of torture or bliss based on the insistence that these places exist. There is no evidence for their existence (yet). If there were evidence, good quality evidence, I would happily re-think my position on this, but until then I can dismiss your claim without applying my mind to it at all.

      That’s not snark, it is a perfectly reasonable and logical position to take. You prove it exists, or I’m not going to accept your insistence that it does.

      If you don’t have evidence for it, it is fantasy.

    • In case you didn’t spot the irony in the comment above, I thought I would point it out to you…

      Here’s the original sentence –
      “Faith isnt completely blind following. The truth about faith is the willingness to accept that there really is a heaven and a hell and that we may have ro fess up our sins.”

      Here’s the expanded edition –
      “Faith isn’t completely blind following. The truth about faith is the willingness to accept, without any evidence whatsoever, i.e. complete blind following, that here really is a heaven and a hell and that we may have to fess up our sins.”

    • Ben,

      Some of the snark you are experiencing may be the result of spending out entire lives being called evil, militant, misguided, immoral, ammoral, etc. In a country with rougly 90% of the population claiming belief in a god of one sort or other you definitely have to put up with an astonishing amount of crap when you dissent.

      I was physically assaulted in High School for stating that I didn’t believe in God. Guess who got suspended? Me. I will point out it was a Catholic High School and my mom pulled me out of the school and moved me to public school promptly after the incident but I got harassed there too. And what was I told in public school? “When the subject comes up keep it to yourself.”

      So try to see it from out point of view. Trust me… our lives have seen far more “snark” than yours when it comes to belief in God.

  14. The Comment from Brandthilde (or whatever his name was) generated a good deal of disgust. (Though I doubt this person is for real, as their link goes no where!). But I wonder why then comments like the “Mother Mary…” Joke, or that Christians cannot be moral , Christians are a blight on humanity,
    While his post, is anti-evangelical Christianity, would seem that it generated a good deal of hatred towards Christianity. Although by those words, this man could have been a muslim, a jew, a JW, a Mormon, or any other religions.

    How bout we stop saying one group of humans is somehow less prone to stupidity and persecution and realize that we all have this tendency to persecute those different than us. These above comments Illustrate this. As do the Church burnings in Norway, or persecution against Christians in Communist (Atheistic) countries.

    Being an atheist, or a muslim, or a Christian, or whatever, in no way makes you more prone to being a jerk. Humanity on the other hand….

  15. Hello Skeptic Detective,
    You said,

    ‘Religion demands obedience and submission intellectually, emotionally, sexually and physically’

    I am not an atheist, but in many ways I agree with what you said about religion. There are many religions in the world and each has a differing set of demands.

    We Christians do not always express Christ message clearly so that those who are burdened with demands and keeping of laws are able to see that the Christ came as a liberator and that Christianity sets mankind free.

    I am sure that you and your readers are not unfamiliar with John 8:32 when Christ says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    What every atheists, every Christian, and every other person in between should be seeking is truth. Every person should question and explore this one verse because it is universal to want to be free and to want to know the truth.

    Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost.The Bible never states that He came to demand anything from us. The demands that living for Him will make are for us to love God and love our neighbor. God is righteous and good. When we love Him we love good and we love righteousness. This is what Christ demands which actually means His demands are what make the world a better place.

    Christ realized that religions were a burden to men. That is why He invites us to:

    Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.. Matthew 11:29-30

    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

    I realize that most atheists have their ‘heels dug in’ so to speak and do not want to hear from Christians, but I wanted to share this with you and I hope you find the peace that passes understanding. This life isn’t easy and as we age, we need the peace of God in our lives.

    Faith in the person of Jesus Christ brings freedom and peace.

    • Again Jlue… you must be reading a different bible than the one(s) I have access to. Christ made many demands on his disciples.

      Maybe you remember this one:

      Matthew 5:38-39

      “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
      But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.”

      So… if someone is going to harm you offer no resistance. So by that reasoning no Christian, if a true Christian they be, should EVER fight in a war or resist evil men in any way. That sounds like a pretty unrealistic demand to me.

      • Paul, I appreciate your being willing to discuss this and not attack me. I realize that I am in a minority here and most people disagree with me and I am grateful that no one is ‘blasting’ me for my faith. Faith is just that and what Christians believe, cannot be proven scientifically. There are things that support our faith such as prophecy, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and truth found in scriptures, but a scientific experiment isn’t available. I understand how ‘turn the other cheek’ seems like a command that we must follow, but it isn’t a necessary thing to do in order to receive redemption. Christ finished that work on the cross. I apologize for not making myself clear. There are many things that Christ tells us to do or ‘commands’. He then adds, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The only necessary requirements for redemption are repentance and faith. Repentance is understood as changing ones direction. Stop trusting what you have been trusting and put your trust in the finished work of Christ. After that is done, Christians begin to see the commandments in a very different light. They are not grievous, but actually a part of a lifestyle that brings peace.

        As for the turning of the other cheek, I believe that Jesus was telling us to return good when someone treats us in a hateful or evil way. It is believed to mean war in some sects, but most Christians see it as a principle of living a kind life that gives a soft answer when someone is unkind. I know there are people who call themselves Christians who never do this and others who mess up some of the time, like me. But I do believe that when we obey Him, we will be better people for having done so.

      • To Jlue, whose messages did not have a reply button, and Paul,

        Actually many aspects of Christianity and God can be tested. I would refer you to Victor Stenger’s work. Stenger is a scientist and philosopher who shows the whenever a claim about God having a effect on the world that claim can be tested. Look for the book – God The Failed Hypothesis.

  16. I am not an atheist, but still I like knowing about anyone else’s point of view because it makes each one’s beliefs more rich. So, I really encourage atheists or anyone else speaking up their minds, because respect and tolerance truly helps heighten ones own point of view.

  17. When I write things like “Mother Mary, full of grace, you won’t get pregnant if I come on your face,” that’s just meanness. What you write here is good sense.

  18. Thanks for writing, and speaking out about rational, reality based beliefs. You are the candle in the dark… Well, you and people like you.

  19. Huh, I would have thought I’d have heard some Catholics grumbling about it if it were atheists that started whistleblowing against Caholic Pedophilia. Weird.

    And I was pretty sure that most of the astronomers who initially adopted Kepler’s model of the sun and the planets weren’t out and out atheists either. The era just seems all wrong for them to have been anything other than deist or religious as far as speaking of them generally. And it seems a bit early for deism as well. I’ve looked into early astronomers a fair amount and their atheism has never really come up, so if you’ve got some sources to back that assertion up I would be very interested in learning about them.

    Certainly you should consider adding it in to their Wikipedia pages if it’s so pertinent to their work.

    • Excellent point.
      What I’m trying to express here is the fact that the Roman Catholic Church tried for so long to enforce their world view regarding geocentricism, and went to such great lengths to protect the paedophiles in their pulpits.
      I’m not claiming the discoveries as atheist accomplishments, but am pointing out the obfuscation and deception of the Church.

  20. “Most atheists just quietly get on with living their lives the way they like. Its not necessary to denigrate other peoples beliefs.”

    Wha….? Is calling atheists “fools” somehow not denigration?

    • “Most atheists just quietly get on with living their lives the way they like. Its not necessary to denigrate other peoples beliefs.”

      Statement is about Atheists not denigrating other people’s beliefs.
      Your question is about other groups denigrating Atheists’ beliefs. Which is opposite to the statement.

  21. If you don’t like being one of God’s children, then why don’t you just dig your way into hell?

    What an absolutely DESPICABLE rant about godless sinning and hedonistic debaucheries.
    Atheist filth needs to be PURGED. The devil walks on earth, in the soul of EVERY ATHEIST!

    • Jan-jaap Z. Brandthilde, please tell me you’re being sarcastic…

      I’ve never heard such an absurd statement. The fact that you would purge the world of those who dont think just like you is PATHETIC. I cant imagine how unhappy you must be in real life. You’re beyond ignorant.

      • I agree it’s unsettling, but to give them a provoked response gives them the attention they were trying to elicit in my view. Some people are just clearly ridiculously misguided / totally vicious, and there’s no point trying to condemn them as it only encourages them!

    • Wow, Jesus would be proud of how well you’ve damned your fellow man to an enternity of pain and suffering. “Atheist filth needs to be PURGED”, sounds like genocide. Do you also take your philosphy from Hitler, or was you view of Atheism inspired by the slaughter portayed in the old testament?

      • No, see: It’s ok because it’s his religion, and therefore it’s correct! Isn’t it nice to always be on the winning side of an argument because JESUS!

    • What a steaming example of exactly the kind of horse shit I am referring to. Well done Jan-Jaap. You are a bigot.

    • Someone has been fed bullshit for a while. Try thinking for yourself. It works very well. If this was trolling, then successful troll is successful.

    • Speaking as a Christian, I see the devil in your comments. If new testament God is Love, if Christ was about Forgiveness, I have absolute Faith that God prefers kind atheists to hateful Christians.

    • Christian troll is Christian.

      Sorry, you can’t expect critical thought, intelligence or even morality from a theist. Especially an x-tian.

      You’re talking out of your rear-end.

      • Anti-theist troll is anti-theist.

        I’m almost as far from Christian as it gets, but I’m not exactly atheist, either.
        I still like to think I have critical thought, intelligence & morality.
        Science & reality > my belief system’s mythology
        My morality does not come from my personal belief practices. Rather, it’s the other way around.
        And I am perfectly willing to admit that my hope (not even a solid faith) in a sort of afterlife event is purely wishful thinking.

        Next time, try to generalize less. You’ll sound less like the stereotypes you’re railing against.

    • Dude.. really? Im Christian and thats NOT how you win people over. Your supposed to discuss it out, like a rational person. I really hope thats a late April Fools joke. Or are you from that Radical baptist (it i thinkhave its in Massachusetts)church and posting signs like “God hates Fags”?

    • Not at all. My reply would be:

      “I will start digging if you will go to a tall building, jump off and start flapping. Hell… I will even let you go first so you get to heaven a few minutes before before I break through into Hell.”

    • Well someone’s an angry little spud who can’t think for themselves.

      Assuming you’re a christian then I would say you’re ignoring the teachings of the very man you CLAIM to venerate. “Judge not . . . ” mean anything to you?

      Calling for a purge. Hitler, another christian, would be proud of you.

  22. We, the humans, are made with both brains and hearts. Isn’t it silly to use just one of them? We have science AND religion, but we can’t tell the difference? Believe what ever in the world (or out of it) you want, but please don’t consider it science. Organized religions have helped to compelled us (& our empathy) to organize a charities to get help to others around the world who need it. And science has advanced our knowledge of exactly how to help (nutrition, for one, health care) and how to get it there (logistics & infra-structure). We can make use of both and, in my opinion, will do better all around if we can keep ’em straight. I’d like my airplane mechanic, my surgeon, and my tax accountant to know the latest facts and I’d like them also to be happy with their spiritual identity. Can’t we have both? Why do we get them so mixed up?

    • There are a lot of hard working secular charities that do a great deal of work without having to call on a god as their inspiration. The existence of a higher power is completely unnecessary to the completion of humanitarian activities.

    • I understand your reasoning, but it is flawed.

      Religion, in this day and age is obsolete. It’s no longer needed. As a matter of fact, it leads to more negativity than it does positivity, to a VERY large degree.

      By the same logic you use, wouldn’t it be better if every human being was balanced, intelligent and didn’t need a non-existant sky-friend?
      Honestly, that’s the world I’d rather live in.

      • It was ever needed?

        Whatever for?

        I’m not sure you quite grasp the point of the exercise you so hate if you’re going to go on about not needing religion.

        I mean, if we’re going to talk about serving needs then you leave yourself open to the argument that small religious groups serve the need humans have for a sense of community in a day and age where the actual community doesn’t deliver that even in “traditional” small towns.

    • Ummm… I think you will find that Atheists can do all of those things (or none of them) without religion. Charitable works is not a justification for religion. If it were then the opposite would be valid arguments against religion (namely abuse, genocide, etc.) I also disagree that organized religion stimulates out empathy. By observation and evidence it often does the EXACT OPPOSITE. The list of examples of that would be too long to list on this entire blog post.

      I am fine with someone saying “I believe such and such because I do” but don’t try to justify it with non sequitur arguments that it is ok because of x.

      Here is the rub. I have never seen any atheist get on national television and accuse christian’s not being patriots, moral, humans, entitled to freedoms just because they are Christians. I have seen WAY TOO MANY examples of the opposite. To be sure I have seen Atheists point out specific people being immoral but that has always been based on the individual behaviors not simply for a specific religious affiliation.

      Also… just to be a jerk. You do know the heart is just a group of muscles right? I mean no part of human emotion/thought/empathy resides there. And for this the evidence is undeniable. 😉

    • We do use both of them. Brains are for thinking and hearts are for pumping blood. The problem is that some people are better at using their brains than others. There is nothing done by a religious organization as far as empathy and helping mankind that cannot be done or is not currently being done by secular charities.

  23. Pingback: Atheist, why don’t you just shut up? | The Skeptic Detective « Abel Ashes·

  24. So then the christians are doubting their belief because they are constantly on the street corner and college campuses spouting off about the sinners in their midst. Are they doubting as well?

    • But that would mean we expect them to apply the same rules to their beliefs that they apply to everybody else’s. *gasp!*

    • Gee..I live in a big University city….. and maybe once a year see someone preaching Christianity on a street corner. BUT I CERTAINLY THINK “KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT” IS A TOTALLY STUPID COMMENT/DEMAND!
      However, I am curious. Are you Athiests only slamming Christians? I don’t hear any mention of Jews, Hindu’s, Muslims, Buddists, etc. here. Are they included in the Athiest thinking?

      • I go to UC Berkeley, one of the most liberal colleges in the nation. And there is almost ALWAYS a band of preaching Christians at the entrance to campus. If not crazy preachers, there’s still no lack of student organizations where handing out conversion pamphlets seem to be one of their primary activities.

        As to the other religions, it’s probably because most of them are nowhere nearly as influential or outspoken (speaking geographically of course, I’m sure this changes if we were in, say Iran) as those of Christians.

      • Of course they are included, it’s only that Christianity has the largest influence and impact on Politics and general public opinion in the US. I have seen countless instances of Christians promoting ignorance over science in public schools. and trying to inject their “faith” into the public square by claiming that the country was founded on Christian principals. If that were so, then why would the first amendment to the Constitution be, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”. Stop trying to throw your weight around, and just be a part of this wonderful, free, society. Quit with the bigoted outcries about LGBT, quit thinking that just because someone is different than you, that you have the right to judge them, that you have some moral obligation to “save” them from something. Quit with the self righteous assertions that Marriage is “sacred” to Christians, and that US Law should reflect that view. Marriage was not conceived with Christianity, almost every culture and every religion has developed some form of it. read

        Also, most of the religions you mention do not have a policy of proselytizing their religions like Christians do.

        Let me pose a question to you. I am assuming you are a Christian, so with that in mind… Do you believe in Buddha, Allah, Krishna? Why not? When you truly analyze the reason why you do not, you will understand why atheists do not believe in your god. You are an atheist too in respect to all the other gods except the Abrahamic god, we just take it one god further.

      • I am an equal opportunity atheist. I don’t find any one religion less deserving of criticism than all the others.

      • As a polytheist with mostly atheist friends, I’d like to say that Christians are singled out because the rest of us aren’t being DICKS. Stop oppressing non-Christians and you too could coexist peacefully.

      • From my own perspective (and I feel it’s important to say my OWN perspective when representing atheism because I don’t feel we are a collective faction, but like-minded individuals), it’s about power and control.
        It’s about those who wish to stifle our freedoms. I don’t feel it’s an attack on Christianity, but it’s more of a defensive position.
        I’m proudly anti-authoritarian. I don’t mean that in a rebellious teenage way, it’s just that I respect good ideas first, the people willing to carry them out second, and above all, do not force anyone to live by your beliefs. I will add an exception to that last one, I demand that people be free to choose for themselves and not have choices made for them (with the exception of harmful behavior, or takes something from another person). There, I’m an awful person for forcing my beliefs of freedom and choice on others.
        The other religions aren’t trying inject their beliefs into politics and make others live by their rules, and if they are, they aren’t doing it in a way that infringes on my freedoms. If they do, I’d say the same thing.

      • I can only speak for myself, personally.

        I believe ALL religion is a blight on humanity. It leads people around by the nose and prevents the development of critical thinking faculties.

        It’s DANGEROUS. ALL Religion.

        Were it up to me, religion in its entirety would be completely wiped off of the surface of this planet. Not just christianity, ALL religion.

      • April, there is a reason why atheist and agnostics slam Christians more than other religious group or exclusively. Satan hates Christ and the wonderful work that He did on calvary. Satan doesn’t mind a person being ‘religious’. What he is against is a person knowing and trusting Christ. He is the enemy. Those who do his work are deceived. Christians must remember that:

        For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places]. Ephesians 6:12

        Our job is to shine a light into a dark and dying world. Jesus is the light of the world and we become light when we allow Him to be seen in us. That is why He calls real Christians ‘light and salt’.

        Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. John 8:12

      • @jlue, it’s funny that you say “Our job is to shine a light into a dark and dying world.”. I thought that was what atheists did 😀

      • Hi April, As a matter of fact, I can. 1.Josephus wrote during the time Jesus was on earth and his writings agree with the writings of the gospels. 2. There were witnesses including the disciples who were there at Christ resurrection who were willing to die for their Christian belief. People do not die for a lie or a myth and the disciples were hiding in fear prior to the resurrection. 3. Christ changed my life. 4. I have seen other lives changed by Christ. 5. The Holy Spirit within me is real. 6. I see the work done by Christ church, of which that most people are not aware. 7. The scripture proves to be true when tested. Prophecy has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled in the world today. 8. Christ speaks to me and I know His voice.

      • Jlui, my name is not April. And you need to learn what constitutes an argument. Every point you just made can be dismissed because they are unsupported by evidence and logic.

        • Sorry about the name change, Angela. Christ asks us to have faith and the Bible teaches us that we walk by “faith and not by sight.” Paul defines faith:

          Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

          As a believer, I find many things that make it easier for me to have faith and those things I mentioned are among them. I do not agree with your statement that they are not logical. What is not logical about reading a book by a contemporary of Christ? What is illogical about checking prophecies to see if they were actually fulfilled? The statement that the disciples were willing to die in order to spread the gospel after the resurrection seems to me to be logical when we think about how the event affected their lives. But you are right, we live by faith. Saying, “This is what happened to me” may not seem logical to you, or looking at changed lives of others, but it does appear pertinent, at least it does to me.

          Once one has encountered Christ and His love and mercy, it seems that not believing is actually illogical?

      • You say, “What is not logical about reading a book by a contemporary of Christ?” The illogical thing about that is that nobody can prove that any of these people even existed. Let alone did anything supernatural. The terrible truth about having “felt” a deity or “talked to” a deity is that you probably have to work very hard every day to keep convincing yourself that this actually happened.

        • History has a lot to say about the existence of Christ, Josephus and the disciples. There is evidence still around after 2,000 years. Don’t believe all the propaganda that no evidence exists.

          When Christ speaks to me, I know it is Him.

          I cannot convince you, however. Only the Holy Spirit can speak to you in that way and only the Father can draw you. What I say in and of myself has no power, but God’s word has power.

          • I don’t know, jlue. I grew up as a practising Christian and I never saw convincing historical evidence. Could you point me to it?

            • Hello rezerche,
              When I was seven years old, I joined a Christian church and had a Christian Baptism. Nothing changed in my life. I felt and acted the same as before I joined the church. I had nothing new in my life and I did not feel that it changed my life, but being seven, I didn’t think much about that. As I grew, I occasionally wondered about life and death and Jesus death and resurrection, but I wasn’t too concerned about any of that. When I was seventeen I decided that I would read the Bible. I had just read “Gone With the Wind” and I thought I should read the Bible, too. I read from Genesis to the Gospel of John and nothing really caught my attention. One day, when I was home alone, I read Jesus words to Nicodemus. It was like an awakening or a revelation. When I read, “You must be born again”, I knew that I had never been born again and I decided at that moment that while I did not understand, I believed. I prayed a very simple prayer to God. My life began to change. After that, when I read the Bible it spoke to me. When I prayed, I felt connected to God. One Sunday, the Lord impressed upon me to go to the altar during the invitation time. I did not want to go because it was the same church where I had joined as a child and I feared what people would think of me. Then I decided that I did not care what people thought and I stepped out. I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I really cannot tell you all the changes it made for me. Nothing has been the same since. My prayer for you is that the Lord will speak to you as He spoke to me and that you will have ears to hear. May God bless you.

              • jlue, you seem quite sincere, but the path you’ve chosen is not for me. If I tried to convince myself that something is there that cannot be sensed or proven, I am opening myself up to abuse by anyone who claims to be in touch with it. Been there, done that. So, if God speaks to me thanks to your prayer, well and good. But I am not going to start interpreting random events in my life, or have someone else interpret them for me, as “signs”. God had better be a lot less subtle than that before I’m going to be convinced.

                • rezerche, Thanks for being kind to me and I understand your wanting to be sure. In my case, I was certain. Have a good week-end and leave a door unlocked in your heart. 🙂 Jan

      • jlue, I admit I don’t know much about the writings of Josephus but I will spend some time familiarising myself with them. From what I can see, he wrote at the end of the first century AD, which would put him after the time that Jesus was allegedly alive, but I can’t comment on that until I know more about it. If there is something in particular that he wrote that you’d like me to look at I will be happy to.
        I cannot accept your claims in point 2 because I do not accept that Jesus was resurrected. I can’t see any reason to accept that a man who was dead for three days, clinically dead, would be resurrected after such a long time. This claim is so mind-blowingly extraordinary that it needs equally extraordinary evidence, and that evidence does not seem to exist.
        Your points 3,4,5, 6 and 8 are based on personal feelings and emotions and therefore are not logical, are not testable and cannot be used in a serious discussion.
        Point 7: please provide examples that are specific, not vague generalisations.

        You can’t use the bible as a source of evidence or argumentative authority with an atheist because we simply are not as convinced by it as you are. I require more than one source of evidence before I accept something, and that evidence has to be of a suitably high quality. The very fact that you quote this:

        “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

        From that book makes me wonder if you know what actually constitutes good evidence. Faith is not evidence of anything and to otherwise is ludicrous.

        By “logical” I mean having some kind of underpinning in logic. Not what you think feels or sounds good. The two are not the same.

        I really don’t mind having an honest and good natured discussion on this topic with you, but I think we would need to agree on common principles before we go any further.

        • You didn’t mention prophecy fulfilled in your answer. If you check Biblical prophecy and how they have been fulfilled, literally, it may give you some insight into the reliability of the Scriptures. We do have a gulf between us and I can only share with you what I know is true in my life. If you want ‘evidence’, there are some books on the subject that I can recommend, however, we do accept by faith. I believe that the Lord will guide you into faith if you want that and you ask Him sincerely to show you. There is a story in, well, the Bible, about a man who came to Jesus asking that his child be healed. Jesus told him that all things are possible if he could believe. He said, “Lord, help my unbelief” and Christ did just that and the child was healed. He is the same today as he was then and He will help us if we will humble ourselves and call on Him.

      • Pat… Atheism by definition encompasses a lack of belief in ANY deity. Though I would argue that Buddhism isn’t a religion in the same sense as the others you list.

        I think we are Christian-centric in this thread as most (all?) of the comments have been from/about Chrstians. So more just circumstance than design… like something else we are talking about 😉

  25. The world needs Atheism to push religious beliefs away from certain fields so intelligent people have a chance to correct it.

    • I would say that the world needs science to fulfil that role, and that we need religious extremists to keep their beliefs out of science.
      And, of course, if we could get religion out of politics too, it would be a double WIN!

      • This is a “no win” subject. Beliefs are beliefs are beliefs. And in most parts of the world, it is our right to have these beliefs. Thus, no matter what any of us might feel is right or wrong… let’s just celebrate our RIGHTS to express them. NOT ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE FREE TO DO THAT!

      • All beliefs are not equal. Isaac Asimov said, “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

      • @Pat Unfortunately, Religious beliefs more often than naught effect the rights of minorities, specifically people that don’t believe in the same religious myths. And that’s a problem. Religions are the REASON people in other parts of the world are not free to think differently. Science will bring us all the answers we seek. Religions are doomed to fail. Just because you ‘believe’ in myths, doesn’t make them real.

  26. So a Christian friend can call you a fool without fear of being called doubtful about their faith, but you’re not permitted any sort of response to it whatsoever. Or more accurately, “Keep your mouth shut while us pious folk are talking about you!”

    How nice.

    • Yeah, exactly.
      I think it stinks, so I wrote this post. I have a bigger audience than they do 🙂

  27. I was also told recently, in angry disbelief, that I was being presumptuous for wanting to divest recently bereaved religious people of their support structure. To be fair to me, I wasn’t targeting recently bereaved people. But I was still raked over the coals. All pretty sad.

    • …How did you get to talking about funerals and wakes if you weren’t meaning to be?

      • It was on a book forum. Someone had posted an article on why religion never hurt anybody, and why it was in fact a good thing for humanity. (It just happened to be Catholicism.) In the comments section I begged to differ in no uncertain terms. Another commenter then brought up the fact that a friend of hers had recently lost her father, and how much worse it would have been for her without the consolation of religion.

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