Perhaps it’s the time of year or the lovely conversations I’ve had with some local Jehovah’s Witnesses recently or the tremendous amount of hateful back-and-forth I’ve seen between Christians and Atheists online. Whatever the reason, I’ve been feeling compelled to address some “myths” about Atheism.
However, I would not be so bold as to presume that I speak for all Atheists. I speak only for myself. Given that, I’ll share some of the most common myths I’ve encountered about Atheism and my response to those myths.
1. Atheists are horrible people.
“You can’t be an Atheist. Atheists are horrible people.” I’ve actually had those words spoken to me.
I don’t generally announce my thoughts on religion to people unless it comes up in natural conversation. Because of that, I’ve usually known someone a while before they know about my lack of religion. At this point, they know that I care deeply about being kind to others and supporting and encouraging people in their goals. They know that I’m a good friend, that I support my community, and that I cherish my family. Essentially, they know that I am not a horrible person. Neither are most Atheists, I suspect. :)
2. Atheists are mean.
Sadly, some of the loudest Atheists are also full of disdain and quite mean. I view them the same way that I know a lot of Christians view Westboro…kind of like the loud, obnoxious relative who crashed the party and made the whole family look bad. I have found that if you want to know the truth about any group, look to the quieter members.
I used to follow some “prominent” Atheists on twitter (names not given to avoid supporting hate), but I had to quickly unfollow them. I have no desire to have that much anger pushed into my life, and I will not intentionally support, even in the smallest of ways, the spread of hate. The religion-bashing, I’m-better-than-you, anger-filled, tiny-minded voices do not speak for me…and I suspect they don’t speak for the majority of Atheists. I know they don’t speak for the Atheists that I know and love.
I can only truly speak for myself here, but I’m hoping those of you who visit my blog regularly have come to the conclusion that I’m not a mean person…regardless of my religious stance. :)
3. Atheists hate Christians.
No. I don’t hate Christians. Or Muslims or Hindus or Jews or any other group of people. I mean, really, have we not learned that across-the-board hatred for a group of people never leads anywhere good? Disregarding that notion, why would I hate someone based on their religion? That makes no sense to me. None. If your religion brings you peace and comfort and explanations and guidance, I’m truly happy for you.
4. You can’t have morals without God.
I have two responses to this:
- The plain and simple response? Of course I have morals. I wasn’t raised by wildebeests! (Close, but not quite.) ;) I’ve never been really clear on which morals I don’t supposedly have, but I do try to do the right thing. Yes, I mess up and make the wrong choices sometimes, but I believe that’s a characteristic of being human, isn’t it?
- I want people of faith to know that this response to Atheism is terrifying to Atheists. It suggests that if you were to have a crisis of faith, you could potentially become a raving lunatic axe murderer. Question marks in the brain abound at this notion.
5. Atheists want to de-convert people.
Nope. I sure don’t. As I said earlier, if you’re happy in your faith, I’m happy for you. I am not on a mission to change anyone’s religious status. Having said that, I sure would appreciate being treated with the same level of acceptance. :)
Bonus: Atheists are at war with Christmas.
Pffffbbbbbttttth! What-evah! I love Christmas! I think it’s a beautiful holiday that celebrates the birth and teachings of a great man. I also love, love, love that it is actually a blend of faiths and traditions across millennia of humanity (though, granted, that isn’t always acknowledged). Now, I’ve been told that I have no “right” to celebrate Christmas before, and maybe you believe that, but this Atheist will “Merry Christmas” you with gusto anyway! :D
Polite discussion is appreciated. Rude comments that sass or badmouth an entire group of people will be edited to say things that amuse me. You have been warned. ;)
Also, if this is your first time to my blog, you may want to have a poke around before jumping to any conclusions about my life, morality, or values.
Having said all that: What about you? Do you have any questions about Atheism you’d like me to address in another post? I’m guessing most of my regular readers aren’t shocked about my stance on religion, but maybe you are…if so, why? If you’re an Atheist, is there anything you’d like to add?