Tag Archives: Sam Harris

Common Misconceptions About Atheists and Atheism

Atheism has been garnering plenty of attention lately, mainly negative attention due to its position that disparages the beliefs of more than 80% of the world population. There are many outspoken Atheists – Dawkins, Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens to name a few – but Atheism remains very much an anathema within society. Spirituality, along with superstitions, is revered above all else, and to deny it is to declare war on personal beliefs. In this “war”, many absurd claims have been made about Atheists and Atheism. It is important that we confute these claims, filtering out the stupidity and foolishness just so we can move on to issues of actual significance.

Atheists eat babies
Probably the most ridiculous of all claims, but nonetheless, as an Atheist, I’ve learnt to turn every baffling statement into humour. This myth has its origins in blood libel, which is the (Christian/Catholic) false accusation that enemies of Christ murder children for ritualistic purposes. Christianity has a strong vampire-blood-flesh fetish, so it’s no surprise that the negative antipode of their claims would revolve around the exact same fetish.

A little note to theists, if you are inviting me over for dinner, I like my babies medium-rare, preferably with a side of steamed carrots and cauliflower, lightly salted. Thank you.

Yummy!

Atheists are satanist, devil worshippers
From an Atheist’s perspective, god – especially the Abrahimaic versions of god – is the bigger devil than the devil himself. He is misogynistic, homophobic, murderous, and cruel; all round not a very nice bloke. Not to burst the religious bubble or anything, but Atheism assumes the convincing position that there are no deities or any supernatural beings, which would include Satan or the devil. However, if I tried extremely hard to be stupid, I could understand the logic of this claim:  it originates from the religious arrogance that concludes if you deny god, you are on the devil’s side.

Atheists hate god
I’ll keep this sweet and short: We can’t hate an entity that does not exist; but the idea of god, along with the various fictionalized doctrines, will receive universal criticism from Atheists because of its detrimental effect on the human race.

Atheists are immoral
Morality (and its origins) is probably the most heavily-debated topic between the religious and the non-religious. I’ll shamelessly allow the words of Sam Harris to make this point for me, because he speaks my mind on this matter, a little more eloquently.

If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

On a more personal note, my experience with charity has shown me that Agnostics and Atheists tend to be more helpful than religious people. The religious herd tend to have conditions attached to their morality, riddled with hypocritical questions such as, “Are the orphans Christians/Muslims?”

Atheism is a religion
I wrote about this a while back (link). To reiterate my view on this:

I am sure there are long, drawn out arguments regarding the issue, often with the semantics being manipulated to suit the case. 

I am a staunch believer in Occam’s razor, which states from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false. My stance on religion is rather simple and straightforward: Religion refers to the belief in a supernatural being, which in and of itself has some form of afterlife, may it be the Abrahamic heaven and hell concept, or Hinduism-Buddhism reincarnation cycle. These are all elements I reject, without having the need to dwell on the semantics and the complexities of the definitions.

Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

Belief: An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Atheism: The belief that God does not exist.

As the famous line goes,”Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour.”

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