By: Matthew Chatterton
As an atheist, I have heard Christians say the darndest things. Here is my top ten list of dumb things Christians have said to me.
10) Atheists are communists.
Although, I am a marxist, I certainly do not speak for all atheists on that note; just ask Bill Gates and Penn & Teller.
This comes from the misconception that Karl Marx tried to convince Charles Darwin, through a series of reciprocal letters, to adopt the term 'atheist'. In reality, it was Edward Aveling who attempted this. Edward Aveling's mistress just so happened to be one of Karl Marx's daughters. Through the course of of time, Aveling and Marx's papers were mixed together and the misconception was born.
Fact of the matter is, Charles Darwin and Karl Marx never had any communication with one another.
9) Einstein believed in God
This misconception comes from the following quote from the legendary Einstein.
"As I have said so many times, God doesn't play dice with the world."
Simply put, Albert Einstein was using God as a metaphor for nature. In other words, Einstein was using "God" pantheistically.
"Pantheism is the view that the Universe (or Nature) and God (or divinity) are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, or anthropomorphic god." - Pantheism - Wikipedia
If you don't find this convincing, maybe you could do to hear a little more from the great physicist.
"I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist." - Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr, July 2, 1945.
I think that settles it.
8) America is a Christian nation.
This line is spouted repeatedly by the religious right. Unfortunately for them, it's simply not true. The founding fathers certainly didn't intend to base a nation of Christian teachings. Think of the ten commandments.
"You shall have no other gods before me." VS. Freedom of religion
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" VS. Freedom of Expression
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" VS. Freedom of speech
Apparently, the constitution, which makes no mention of God, is not too friendly to Christianity.
7) The founding fathers were Christians.
This plays into the last one. For this, I will simply quote the founding fathers.
"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." - Thomas Jefferson
"In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people." - James Madison
"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin
"I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution." - George Washington
"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." - John Adams
Apparently, the founding fathers were not all Christian and some even loathed Christianity.
6) Prove there isn't a god
First of all, I'm don't say that there definitely is no god. I am saying that, without evidence, belief is not justified.
The theist is the one making the positive claim which gives them the burden of proof. By attempting to shifting the burden of proof, the theist is committing a logical fallacy. It is nothing more than trying to dodge accountability.
5) Atheism is a religion
And bald is a hair-color. Atheism is a lack of a belief in any god or gods.
Sure, atheists can be religious; just look at Buddhists, Jains, and Raelians. Atheism itself, however, is not a religion anymore than not playing golf is a hobby or sport. Of course, golfers aren't killing, oppressing, or suppressing the rights of anyone based on their hobby.
The claim that atheism is a religion is nothing more than a game of "I know you are but what am I?"
4) It take more faith to be an atheist
A variation of this is "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist." When I hear that, I usually respond with, "And let me guess; you don't eat enough meat to be a vegetarian either."
I am an atheist because I am not convinced that a god exists. That takes faith? I have it many times before and I'll say it again; without evidence, belief is neither warranted nor justifiable. I care whether or not my beliefs are true which is why I require evidence, not faith.
The reason Christians laugh when they say that nonsensical line is that even they realize how ridiculous it is.
Again, this is nothing more than a game of "I know you are but what am I?"
3) Hitler was an atheist.
I have already addressed this one at length. To avoid repeating myself, I will simply refer you to Adolph Hitler: Christian or Atheist?
2) Atheism is responsible for more death than Christianity
This is not only not true, it is an admission that Christianity is responsible for so much death in the world. Christians often cite Hitler (See number 3) and Stalin.
Stalin was an atheist but that had just as much to do with his actions as his mustache did. Atheism lacks content as it is simply a lack of belief in deities. The definition really goes no further. Stalin and atheism is no more than guilt by association, an ad hominem fallacy.
With that being said, I will, for the sake of argument, give Christians Stalin.
Christianity still has the following to account for.
- Hitler and the Nazi regime
- The massacre of the Incans and Mayans
- The crusades
- The Spanish Inquisition
- The witch burnings (They were actually hung.)
- The witch trials
- Top Ten People The Bible Tells You To Kill
Need I say more?
1) Atheists really do believe in God
A variation of this would be, "You're just pretending God doesn't exist!" This statement is usually followed by "You just don't want to be held accountable for your sins!"
That accusation is not very well thought out. If I really did believe in a god then I would be afraid of Hell and would be doing everything I could to avoid going there. I recognize that being an atheist wouldn't absolve me of anything and I would just be putting myself in danger of Hell-fire.
Here is what I usually say to people who make this claim.
"If I really did believe in God, I would be doing everything I can to be a good Christian. I wouldn't be as big a hypocrite as you. For example, that cross is a violation of the second commandment."
I am a strong believer in "Know thine enemy." I care to have the correct information on my opposition, lest I commit a straw-man fallacy. Many theists only seek to demonize atheists which leads to statistics like this.
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