Monday, 25 October 2010

3 Atheist Myths

Atheists have had to deal with some pretty bad PR over the years. Sure, at least they're not being sentenced to death or incarceration anymore; but all the negativity still surrounding atheism today is based almost entirely on  misinformation and misunderstanding. Here are 3 brief examples of Myths about the godless:

1. Atheists are just rebellious people who hate/are angry at God.
First of all, since atheism is just a lack of belief in God, it is probably incorrect to label the entire atheist community as anything other than a group of people who lack belief in god. Different Atheists believe in all sorts of things including the afterlife and bad luck. I don't know any who actually hate God, there may be some; but since they are so few, it would be like basing your definition of christianity entirely on the Westboro Baptist Church.
Secondly, how can you hate something you don't believe exist.

2. Atheists are closed minded.
It is possible to be open minded without believing everything you see or hear simply by being skeptical. This is done by rejecting ideas unless they are currently supported by good evidence.  The  problem is that none of the "evidence" given for the existence of god is good enough. It is about the same standard of evidence as that used to support UFO abductions stories and Loch Ness Monster sightings. However if better evidence were to arise that supported these phenomenon, a true skeptic would have to reevaluate their stance. In doing so they remain constantly open to new ideas.

3. Atheists can't have morals without believing in God.
We know that many social animals have some simple yet fundamental moral principles. Still, we do need some more complex morals to build a society upon; but does this require a belief in god? Unfortunately belief in god has become almost synonymous with organised religion and good look at most texts that these religions are based upon suggests that they shouldn't the basis for anybody's morals  Much of their argument seems to based around the reward and punishment system enforced by a celestial law maker, a concept that is prevalent in many religions. But is it moraly superior to do something good purely for personal gain or fear of punishment? Furthermore, are these the only reasons people need to commit moral acts?
I would have thought that the actions of atheists today make a pretty convincing case against the idea that morality oly comes from a belief in God. The worst thing those atheists labelled as 'fundamentalist' or 'militant' have done is discuss their ideas in public, regardless of how strong their views are. Yet you can think of many examples of violence, child abuse and persecution caused by religion. Although it is only a small fraction of the whole religious community it should make anyone think twice before claiming moral superiority. Perhaps these people think that offending someone by expressing your views is more immoral.

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