Among many of the more militant atheists, there are a number of common claims made about religion. Some are fair, some are not, but they have become as entrenched as dogma. It is refreshing when one of their own argues for a more thoughtful and nuanced view.
So I was impressed when I came across this reasoned discussion by Be Scofield. His five myths often repeated by atheists are:
1. All Religions are the Same and are “Equally Crazy”
2. Atheists are Anti-Religious
3. Religion Causes Bad Behavior
4. Religion Requires a Belief in a Supernatural God
5. Liberal and Moderate Religion Justifies Religious Extremism
I have seen all of those on the internet, but I wouldn’t think all of them were important. For me, 1, 3 & 5 are the important ones and make it difficult to participate in friendly and constructive discussion with those who hold such views. In place of #2 & #4, I’d add ‘2. There is no evidence for God and all religion is based 100% on blind faith’ and ‘4. It’s not possible to believe in a religion and be intelligent, so religious people must be delusional’.
I wonder what myths christians believe about atheists?
Rebuttal by point:
1) Properly worded this would read: “*Any* entirely evidentially-unsubstantiated, irrational “belief” system is functionally indistinguishable from any *other* equally unsubstantiated and irrational belief system with regards to veracity.” Yes, this is tautological, but it strips the comment of its intentionally derogatory overtones.
2) This wouldn’t be repeated / espoused by erudite atheists. What this comment describes is called ANTI-theism.
3) Religion often *excuses* bad behaviour (after all, you can almost always be forgiven later!) and as has been said many times, it’s purposeful suppression of critical thinking and reason make it an effective tool for getting otherwise good people act in evil ways: “Got mitt uns”..
4) Again, this comment wouldn’t be repeated by any educated atheist as there are extant supernatural belief systems that neither presuppose nor invoke a divinity.
5) Again, it is the active suppression of critical thought, and the denigration of reason and logic as well as capricious prohibitions against questioning authority’s dictates that renders religion a breeding ground for extremism. Furthermore, “mainstream” theists are disinclined to disavow such elements for fear of being perceived as denigrating / delegitimising / questioning the faith as a whole.
Hi Brett, have you misunderstood this post? Did you read the article I linked to? I think you are actually agreeing with it, but you sound to me like you are disagreeing. Can you clarify? Thanks.
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