Category Archives: Atheism

Atheist Meme of the Day: The right to beliefs =/= the right to not be criticized

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

People have a right to our beliefs. But we do not have the right to have our beliefs never be questioned, criticized, or made fun of. And that includes religion. Religion is a hypothesis about the world — and if you think it’s valid to question, criticize, or make fun of other hypotheses, you shouldn’t expect religion to get special respect.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Religion has no right to special respect.

(A two-fer today as they’re related…)
Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Religion has no right to special respect. It is entirely fair to criticize religion, question it, point out its flaws, ask it to support itself with evidence, and mock it when it’s being ridiculous — just like we do with political opinions, scientific positions, artistic expressions, and any other ideas being expressed in the public forum.

Atheists often get accused of intolerance and disrespect for saying things like, “I don’t agree with you,” “I think you’re mistaken,” “What evidence do you have to support that?”, “I think your reasoning is flawed, and here’s why.” Criticizing ideas is not the same as attacking people — and religious ideas are no exception.

Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Unlikely /= designed

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

“Life and the Universe are extraordinarily unlikely” is a terrible argument for God. Lots of wildly unlikely things happen that are not intentionally caused or designed. If you roll a die ten times and get 3241154645, the odds against that particular sequence are over 60 million to one. Does that mean this sequence was designed to come up?

Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: The unexplained /= evidence for God

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

“We don’t understand everything about the universe” is a terrible argument for God. Of course there is much about the universe that’s unexplained. How does that imply that any one explanation — whether that’s space aliens, a flying spaghetti monster, or God — is the right one?

Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

“Christianity is a Cultural By-Byproduct”

John Loftus, (former evangelical preacher and theology student who’d studied under the reknown Christian apologist William Lane Craig), author of the thought-provoking book, Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity, (and edited the recent collection of essays, The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails), has an interesting blog post today:

“Christianity is a Cultural By-Product and That’s All it Is”

“… I say this evolutionary development looks entirely like the human quest for knowledge–that it doesn’t look as if there is any divine mind behind this human quest. If Christians had faith in any particular era of the past they would believe what they did and that God led them to their beliefs. In this era they say what they do because they live in this era. And although they would reject the theologies and moralities of the past they still think there is a divine mind behind this quest.
[…]
Christian, you believe what you do now. But it is patently obvious that what you believe now is not what the earliest Christianities did, nor the what the Medievals did, nor what the early moderns did, and it won’t be what future Christianities will believe either. You say there is continuity but we must ask if earlier Christianities would embrace you or excommunicate and kill you for what you believe, and we know the answer to that. …”

Why did God create atheists?

Greta Christina is the source if my “Atheist Meme of the Day” posts, and today she has an article: “Why Did God Create Atheists? — If God is real, and religious believers can perceive him… why is anyone an atheist?”

There’s really not a thing in this article I don’t agree with!

… “I want to understand the world. I care about reality, more than I care about just about anything. If there really is a God who created everything, who guided the universe and the process of evolution so conscious life could come into being, who animates all life with his spirit — I bloody well want to know about it. I don’t want to be flatly wrong about one of the hugest questions humanity is faced with. In my years as an atheist writer, I keep asking believers again and again, ‘Do you have some evidence for your belief? If you do, please tell me about it. I want to see it.’ And I’m not being snarky, or baiting them into a debate I know they can’t win. (Well… not mostly.) If I’m wrong about this, I sincerely want to know.” …

Atheist Meme of the Day: Religion is not just personal opinion

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Religion is not a subjective personal opinion, like taste in music. Religion is a claim about cause and effect in the real, non-subjective world. And as such, it’s reasonable to expect it to be backed up with solid arguments and evidence.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: The difference between proof and plausibility

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Very few claims can be proven or disproven with 100% certainty. But we can still assess whether those claims are more or less likely to be true. And that includes religion. Atheism doesn’t mean 100% certainty that there is no God: it’s the conclusion that the God hypothesis is not plausible.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: The comfort of reason

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Atheism does offer comfort in the face of suffering. Among other things, it offers the idea that our suffering isn’t a mystifying punishment or attempt to teach us a lesson. It’s simply cause and effect, and we can make reasonable, reality-based decisions about how to deal with it.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Religion is not entitled to a free ride

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Religion is not entitled to a free ride in the marketplace of ideas. It is not intolerant or disrespectful for atheists to point out its flaws, and to ask whether there’s any good evidence to support it — any more than it would be with any other idea.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: You can’t have it both ways

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

If you’re going to point to all the wonderful things in the world as evidence of God, you have to explain all the horrible things in the world as well. With a better explanation than “mysterious ways.”
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Open-minded != Gullible

(Almost caught up so there really can be one a day…)

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

Being open-minded doesn’t mean thinking all possibilities are equally likely. It means being willing to consider new ideas if strong evidence supports them. And that’s just as true for religion as anything else. Atheists aren’t close-minded — we’ll happily reconsider the god hypothesis if we see some good evidence for it.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Treat your personal experiences just like anyone else’s

Today’s Atheist Meme of the Day. Pass this on; or don’t; or edit it as you see fit; or make up your own. Enjoy!

As vivid as personal experience can feel, if we’re going to treat it as evidence of a hypothesis, we can’t give it any more weight than anyone else’s experience. And that includes religious experience. Our intuition is important, but it’s biased, and we have to step back from it and view it like we would anyone else’s.
Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Yes, atheists have considered religion

It is absurd for believers to tell atheists, “You need to be more open to possibilities.” It’s like telling gay people, “Have you considered the possibility that you might be straight?” Religion is the dominant paradigm in our culture. We’re soaking in it. Do you honestly think the idea has never occurred to us? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Atheists Feel Wonder and Connection

Atheists experience transcendent wonder and awe at the magnificence of the universe and the fact that we’re part of it. We just don’t think these experiences have anything to do with God, the soul, or any sort of immaterial entities or forces. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

One moment, if you will, to allow me to share with you one of the many things that makes my heart speed up with excitement and provides me with a sense of true and sincere awe and wonder that no religious idea, story, or thought has ever quite matched:

(This is a photo of a distant galaxy, edge-on. Click the image to read more about it.)

Morality without God?

I’m going to keep this short, because I want to mainly present this potentially interesting documentary in the works: “Skipping Sunday School“:

I’m amused and annoyed by the old and ridiculous canard of Pascal’s Wager used at the end of the clip. Spoken by the guy who throughly didn’t believe that a person could be good without the indoctrination of religion. The truth is, there are countless people throughout the world who are perfectly ethical and moral people without having been indoctrinated into religion. If, without religion people would go wild and be amoral, northern Europe should have self-destructed by now! The Scandinavian are majority atheist/agnostic, and yet they have far lower crime rates and a far better social structure than certainly the U.S.

I used to think myself that, even as an atheist, a religious upbringing was still important for the learning of social rules and guidance. I am now horrified I once thought that. Terribly embarrassed. The morality that religion instill is not a thoughtful, empathic, selfless morality. The basis of religious morality is carrot-and-stick: Do what God (who is so hidden as to be indistinguishable from invisible, so you need this book to know what God wants) and you’ll get rewarded. Don’t do what he wants, and you get eternal torment. What kind of basis for ethics is that?!

No, the ethical guidelines and morality a secular humanist upbringing can provide is, in my opinion, a “truer,” more sincere and responsible ethics.

Atheist Meme of the Day: What would convince you you’re mistaken?

(Kind of behind and need to catch up –this may be Atheist Meme of the Half Day for a couple days.) 🙂

If religious believers can’t say what evidence would change their minds — if nothing could possibly persuade them that their religion was mistaken — then it’s unfair for them to accuse atheists of being close-minded and unwilling to consider other possibilities. Especially since most atheists *can* answer that question. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheist Meme of the Day: Good ideas should welcome criticism

If an idea is good, it should be able to withstand questions and criticism, and should even welcome them. And that’s just as true of religion as anything else. When believers passionately insist that religion should be above criticism, it doesn’t make the God hypothesis look stronger — it makes it look weaker. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.