Posts Tagged ‘atheist’

How to irritate an atheist…

June 10, 2013

How to irritate an atheist… arguments from theists.

“How to Irritate an atheist”

Some foolproof methods to irritate your favorite atheist. Just be careful how you use them, or you may start wondering why the atheist is strangling you.

1) Ask them why they are bitter against God.

2) Tell them that if there’s no God, they might as well go out and kill people.

3) Ask them to pray with you.

4) Invite their children to go to church with you.

5) Insist that there is a God, and show them where in the Bible it says so.

6) Hide Chick tracts in clever places around their office.

7) Tell them that the universe is too complex to “just exist,” and must have been created by a God who “just exists.”

8.) Make up statistics.

9) End a discussion with “Well, I know you’re smarter than I am, but I know I’m right.”

10) Accuse them of persecuting you.

11) Bring up arguments that make no sense whatsoever; criticze their response with “You’re just not making sense.”

12) Use multiple versions of Pascal’s Wager as though you thought them up yourself.

13) Use the Second Law of Thermodynamics to disprove evolution.

14) Post inane arguments on the Internet, and never follow up on them.

15) Say that seperation of church and state isn’t in the Constitution; insist that the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments.

16) Cite Kent Hovind as a legitimate source of information.

17) …and call him “Dr. Hovind.”

18) Tell them they know in their hearts that God exists.

19) Point out that we all take things on faith.

20) Before starting an argument, say “You’re an atheist? That means you’re going to hell!”

21) After losing the argument say, “I pity you.”

22) Accuse them of willfully ignoring the “obvious truth.”

23) Use bad math to back up your claims.

24) Drink the last beer in the fridge.

25) …and buy natural light to replace it.

26) Witness for Jesus, and completely ignore anything your competition says.

27) Call him a meanie.

28) Tell him you don’t care what you say or prove, you will still have your faith.

29) When given a Bible verse that looks bad, tell him that’s what the verse says, but that’s not what it means.

30) Argue that the Bible stories are not myths . . . they’re parables. And they’re all true!

31) Lead off your criticism of the Big Bang theory with the disclaimer that you’re not a physicist like he is.

32) Lead off your suggestions for ways to prove that Noah’s Flood occured with the disclaimer that you’re not a geologist like he is.

33) Overwhelm him with your knowledge of science, using examples: “And because of entropy you have to press the nozzle on the spray can. The nozzle is entropy.”

34) Use Latin a lot.

35) Maintain that the King James Version is THE Bible; ignore questions as to who was saved prior to 1611.

36) Tell him that Moses wrote the Books of Moses.

37) Explain that the lack of proof doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

38) …and give him a blank look when he says that all people tried for a crime would go to jail.

39) Blame absolutely everything wrong in society on evolution.

40) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

41) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

42) Repeat something over and over, as if that made it true.

43) Tell him that he acknowledges Christ every time he uses “A.D.” — which, of course, stands for “After Death.”

44) Accuse him of being an agnostic, since he isn’t 100% positive that God does not exist.

45) Insist that the Bible is meant to be taken literally — all except that verse he just showed you.

46) Tell him that God works in mysterious ways.

47) …and we’re too small to comprehend his reasoning.

48) …and we shouldn’t think of him as “how he should be.”

49) Point out that the fact that he talks about God so much proves God’s existence.

50) Tell him you know God exists because Mount Everest exists.

51) If a plane crashes killing 300 passengers and crew, but one little girl survives with only third-degree burns, tell him that this miracle proves the existence of God.

52) Insist that Noah’s Ark and the Shroud of Turin are real.

53) …and tell him about the special on FOX where you saw it.

54) When he shows you a verse about genocide, ask him how he dares to question the morality of God.

55) Punch him in the face. Hard.

56) When asked to prove a statement you made, say that you already proved it.

57) Tell him that we all fall short of God’s grace.

58) Insist that faith is the only logical answer.

59) No matter what he quotes from the Bible, say that it’s out of context.

60) …and when he points out that the quotes are in correct context, tell him you need to be a Christian to understand the true meaning of the Bible.

61) Tell him you must study the Bible for many years to reject Christianity.

62) …and when he points out that you reject Islam despite never having studied the Qu’ran, say that you have faith, and faith is all you need.

63) Ask him how he knows God isn’t real if he can’t see the air.

64) Sigh, shake your head, and say “I just know that someday you’ll need Jesus.”

65) Talk about how you used to be a miserable, sinning, drug-abusing, alcoholic, sex-addicted, spouse-beating criminal until you found God.

66) Change your handle every couple weeks.

67) Knock on his door at 9:00 in the morning and offer him a pamphlet.

68) Tell him that God loves him, even if he doesn’t love himself.

69) Admonish him to have sex for reproductive purposes only.

70) Tell him about Christ’s plan for salvation for the billionth time.

71) Refuse to debate.

72) Name a bunch of smart Christian people.

73) …and when he names a bunch of smart atheist people, call him stupid.

74) Attribute every apparent error in the Bible to mistranslation.

75) …and then pull up a mistranslation from Isaiah to prove that Jesus fulfilled prophecy.

76) Burn him at the stake.

77) When shown that the Bible says that Pi=3, say that the Hebrews didn’t know anything about science, so it’s not their fault.

78) When shown the creation account in Genesis, insist that the Hebrews had all kinds of scientific savvy, being inspired by God.

79) Lead him on until the very last moment, then tell him no . . . not until you’re married.

80) Insist that a person who makes Christianity look bad was not a True Christian.

81) Claim intellectual superiority on the grounds that only smart people read the Bible.

82) Smile smugly and tell him that there are no atheists in foxholes.

83) Quote Psalm 14:1 to him.

84) …and then tell him that you think highly of him, and want to be his friend.

85) Give him the special gift of his very own “paraphrased” modern Bible.

86) Speak to him with a fake Australian accent.

87) Cite the TGE Project as a collection of successful proofs for God’s existence.

88) Threaten to kill yourself if he doesn’t believe.

89) Equivocate scientific faith with religious faith, and conclude that, metaphysically, you are both in the same boat.

90) Claim that archaeology is proof of the Bible’s truth.

91) Misconstrue logical terms in order to prove that logic does not work.

92) Claim that logic is the atheist’s god.

93) Claim that atheism is not only a belief — it’s a knowledge claim.

94) Support your ludicrous contentions with “Most scholars agree that…”

95) Use only circular reasoning.

96) Claim that the atheist only uses circular reasoning.

97) Claim that circular reasoning is legitimate due to circular reasoning being legitimate.

98) Use the phrase “Hate the sin, love the sinner” as a blanket response to the notion that Christianity is at fault for something.

99) State that Christianity has done a lot of good along with all the mass murder.

100) When asked to explain a theological concept, compare it to something simple, like “water,” and then misunderstand that you have incorrectly labeled the constructs of your analogy, then dismiss the whole thing with, “You’ve just got to have faith.”

101) Upon hearing that he is an atheist, jump back reflexively, as if you don’t want to catch whatever it is he’s got.

102) …then look at him as if he were a diseased leper who just spit in your eye.

103) End all your posts with John 3:16.

104) …or “God Bless.”

105) When he takes the time and trouble to explain where your analogy or interpretation is at fault, begin your response with a sigh, so he’ll know how patient you’re being.

106) Open a minor-league baseball game with the national anthem, followed by a gospel quartet singing a hymn, and solemn prayer. (True story!)

107) Open and close a martial arts class with obligatory prayer, including the spectators. (Another true story!)

108) Claim that God chooses who is going to heaven and humans have nothing to do with his decision, but he’s going to hell because he sinned.

109) State that whatever he says is not worthy of consideration, because the Bible says atheists can’t discern what’s true anyway.

110) Offer inane apologetics books in the hopes that he hasn’t heard the arguments in them a thousand times already.

111) Patiently explain that the 42 children that were torn to bits by two bears sent by God were not really children, but spawn of Satan.

112) When asked if they would sacrifice their own child for God, respond with “God would never ask me to do that.”

113) Carefully explain that Lot’s daughters were never in danger of gang rape, and that Lot knew this all along.

114) Most carefully of all, explain that while all of the Bible is inerrant, Revelation does not literally mean what it says.

115) Tell him that God answers all prayers — sometimes the answer is no.

116) Tell him that Christians aren’t perfect — just forgiven.

117) Tell him that he can’t love anyone — that’s why he can’t love God.

118) Offer to drive, then insist on listening to Christian Talk Radio.

119) …and laugh when you hear “This condom-nation will face condemnation.”

120) Claim that Einstein was a Christian.

121) Claim that Darwin recanted evolution on his deathbed.

122) Tell him that he’ll come around just like your daughter did . . . when she got confirmed just so that she could get married in a big church.

123) Vehemently claim that the theory of evolution is incompatible with theism, then turn around and blame the theory for promoting atheism.

124) Say that evolution is not proven — therefore the Bible is correct.

125) Tell him it’s his responsibility to prove that God doesn’t exist.

126) Invite him to a church social function, and show up late.

127) …because you were with his wife.

128) Deny that his child looks like him.

129) Ask what he believes in, if not God.

130) …then tell him that nonbelief is also a worldview, therefore there is no such thing as an atheist and Christianity is true.

131) Explain that Buddha’s last words were “Jesus, forgive me.”

132) …and tell him that you were “saved” when you heard that story.

133) …and when he explains that Buddha died 500 years before Jesus was born, give him a blank look.

134) Say that God can’t reveal himself with any real proof, because that would remove the need for faith.

135) When something awful happens, tell him not to blame God — he doesn’t interfere.

136) When something wonderful happens, tell him to credit God — he made it happen.

137) Tell him not to ask what happens to those who have never heard of Jesus . . . HE has, and what is HE going to do about it?

138) Explain that it doesn’t matter whether or not he thinks he’s sinned — all humans were imbued with original sin at the moment of their birth.

139) …then tell him that babies automatically go to heaven.

140) …and mentally retarded people.

141) …and those with Down’s Syndrome.

142) Treat nothing he says as credible, because he is possessed by Satan.

143) Show that the Bible must be true because when you take the original Hebrew letters, spread them out and twist them around, you can spell words.

144) …and when he points out that that will work with literally any work in any alphabet, accuse him of closed-mindedness and blasphemy.

145) Spell it “athiest.”

146) Spell it “evilution.”

147) Tell him that the Bible is true because the Bible says it is.

148) Tell him that Hitler was an atheist.

149) …and all atheists are therefore Nazis.

150) Tell him that he’s playing right into Satan’s hands, because Satan’s greatest ploy is convincing people that God doesn’t exist.

151) Use the word “atheist” as a verb.

152) After your argument has been effectively refuted, wait a few days and then repeapt the argument, adding, “You still haven’t addressed this.”

153) Make up your own language, and claim that his inability to understand is due to his atheism.

154) Claim that Jesus is the God based on the Old Testament, then turn around and say that the Old Testament has nothing to do with the New Covenant.

155) Use the word “presupposition” incorrectly, repeatedly.

156) Argue the most insignificant point you can think of; when he doesn’t address your pettiness, claim victory.

157) Constantly attempt to equate atheism with theism.

158) Argue that the translation “errors” in the KJV were actually God-inspired improvements, and therefore the KJV is the most accurate of all trnslations.

159) Say that God believes in him, whether or not he believes in God.

160) Call the Branch Davidians a “cult,” but insist that your particular faction is a “religion.”

161) …and argue that a practical distinction actually exists.

162) State with a straight face, “Yes, I believe that an invisible fairy god king magically blinked us all into existence in order to punish us for our salvation and that we must all humble ourselves and eat his flesh and drink his blood,” and then claim your belief is perfectly rational and supperior to the atheist “mind-set,” which can provide no answers.

163) Tell him that he can’t use absolute logic because God is the only absolute.

164) Tell him the signs are there — he’s just not looking.

165) Tell him he wouldn’t believe even if someone rises from the dead.

166) Play Matthew McConnaghey: “Do you love this person? Prove it.”

167) Tell him that the third hour was Jewish time; the sixth hour was Roman time.

168) Try to perform an exorcism on him.

169) Claim to be speaking in tongues when actually you’re just babbling incoherently.

170) Say that the Bible (as opposed to other holy books) is true because it’s an eyewitness occount.

171) When he points out an apparent inconsistency of God’s attributes, just say that God is infinite. The atheist, with his finite, human brain cannot begin to understand God.

172) For Muslims only: Say that it’s perfectly reasonable for anyone to convert to your religion, but no one has a valid reason to leave Islam; it is the perfect religion.

173) Tell him that everyone has faith in SOMETHING.

174) Say that whatever you turn to in your hour of need is God.

175) Make him clean out your car.

176) Include cosmology and abiogenesis when discussing evolution.

177) Tell him he won’t understand unless he believes, and he can’t believe unless he understands.

178) Ask how he can have any morals if he doesn’t believe in God.

179) Say that you know in your heart that belief in God is perfectly logical and rational.

180) Say that going to church is fun.

181) …and when he says it’s boring, act surprised.

182) Leave little Jesus cards on the tables at restaurants.

183) Talk about all the great things Dubya is going to do for our nation.

184) Insist that homosexuality is a choice.

185) Insist that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian.

186) Tell his that it’s not a religion — it’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

187) Sing.

188) When asked what’s wrong with evolution, tell them that it doesn’t account for the origin of matter.

189) Tell him he only doesn’t believe in God because his family hates him.

190) Advertise for heaven and hell.

191) Send a child over to witness to him.

192) …when he tells the child he’s not interested, send over two adults to say the same things.

193) …when he refuses again, give a Chick tract to a 3 year old to give to him.

194) Send a chat room message that he is a black-hearted sinner.

195) …then turn your IM off so that he can’t respond.

196) Tell them that Darwin recanted evolution on his deathbed.

197) …and when he tells you about the Lady Hope myth, cry.

198) Create a website challenging evolution.

199) …and when he actually does, close it down.

200) Create a term for a blatant paradox in your religion, then call other religions false because they don’t have it.

201) Get into a chatroom argument with him, then start SCREAMING the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” while your friends write “Amen, brother” and other such nonsense as the atheist tries to make his point.

202) After losing an argument horribly, say that you will pray for his eternal soul.

203) …then begin praying loudly without his permission.

204) Yell and scream about how he is going to hell during a debate.

205) …and when he gets tired of your yelling and screaming, back out of the debate.

206) When losing a debate, take advantage of his good nature by punching out somebody near you until he stops talking.

207) …when you see someone else do this, stop him by saying that his religion is a peaceful one.

208) Put gigantic crosses on everything he owns that you can get your hands on.

209) Counter every argument that begins with “God is defined as…” with “So you believe in God?”

210) Cry foul when he tries to create a club that is not religious.

211) Fail to have a basic grasp of history. (Spanish Inquisition? What’s that?)

212) Have your pastor hunt him down and force him into a debate over dinner.

213) When all else fails, never talk to him, and convince a lot of other people to never talk to him either.

214) Treat his Christian wife like shit.

215) Complain to him about your own church, but don’t leave it.

216) Send the DEA an anonymous tip that he has bundles of cocaine in his garage.

217) Put a large cross in his yard.

218) …then set it on fire with your hooded brethren.


220) Start your own university dedicated to religious narrow-mindedness and restriction of free choice.

221) …and name it “Liberty.”

222) Perpetually ask saps for money on your television show.

223) Avoid taxes and regulations because you’re doing God’s work.

224) Ask why he only focuses on the bad parts of the Bible.

225) Accuse him of closed-mindedness for not accepting your extraordinary claims.

226) Tell him he has to believe before he can understand the evidence.

227) Tell him he is innumerate.

228) Tell him he is illiterate.

229) Tell him he is pissed.

230) Tell him he won’t agree with you because the Holy Spirit has closed his eyes to the truth.

231) …then continue preaching to him.

232) Insist that you’ve already refuted everything he said.

233) Ask God to bless his dark heart.

234) Threaten to sue his university for infringement of free speech after he heckles you.

235) Tell him that long hair is the Devil’s work.

236) Tell him that all your music is the Devil’s work.

236) Tell him that the fossils in the earth are the Devil’s work.

237) Create hoaxes to prove cerationism (i.e. a human footprint alongside a dino’s footprint).

238) Claim that God can cure HIV if one prays hard enough.

239) …then say that it is God’s choice who he will cure, and anyway having HIV is better than an eternity in Hell.

240) Turn up your amps so that everyone within three blocks has to listen to him rant about Jesus.

241) Double park on Sunday. Claim the principle of righteousness.

242) Ask who he turns to when he’s in danger.

243) …when he says himself, say “No — when you’re REALLY in danger.”

244) Grossly misunderstand the word “theory.”

245) Declare that everyone knows in his heart that God exists, but just want to worship themselves.

246) Declare that without God there are no ultimate answers to anything.

247) …then declare that WITH God there is an ultimate answer to everything — and that answer is God.

248) Declare that without God you finally die alone.

249) Declare that atheism gives you nothing to hope for except the false promises of this world.

250) Use transitive verbs intransitively (e.g. “Jesus raised from the dead”).

251) …when corrected on the above (e.g. Jesus ROSE or WAS RAISED from the dead), shout “Then you really do believe!”

252) Announce that God was watching over a loved one who survived a terrible tragedy.

253) …and when the loved one later dies from his wounds, announce that it was God’s will.

254) Get him to admit that he KNOWS God exists, but Satan has seduced him.

255) Invite every single person in your church to give Chick tracts to everyone they know.

256) Ask if he’s ever heard of Jesus Christ.

257) Show up on his front porch at 9:00 on Saturday morning, and take advantage of his groginess by shoving copies of Watchtower into his hands and getting him to read the Bible with you, then walk away before he has any idea what’s going on.

258) When he finally gets tired of you and launches several “Do Not Feed The Troll” campaigns against you, change your handle.

259) When confronted with a sound logical argument, respond with “Yes, but I don’t believe that.”

260) Have the Gideon Bible waiting in the hotel room that he pays for.

261) Regale him with questions such as “Who do you think wakes you up in the morning? Isn’t that a miracle?” while you, the bus driver, should be watching the road.

262) Scrape your fingernails on a blackboard.

263) If you’re an ISP, repeatedly cut him off during a net session, so that he must spend 90% of his time dialing.

264) Program your church bells to play very loudly at really odd hours.

265) Every time the subject of his being an atheist comes up, burst out laughing.

266) Ask how he can possibly raise children in a godless environment.

267) Accuse him of having more than one personality.

268) Talk to him with the assumption that he shares your beliefs — i.e. start a sentence with “You know how God wants us to…”

269) When the subject of homosexuality comes up, say “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

270) …and expect it to be taken as an intelligent remark.

271) Insist that the Bible is completely true.

272) …and when he conclusively proves otherwise, acknowledge that the Bible is trash, but remain a Christian.

273) …then take him to church.

274) …and tell him he really must come more often.

275) Reply to every statement he makes, “That’s only your opinion.”

276) Post something inflammatory about him, wait for him to respond, then go back and either delete or edit your post so that it appears that the ateist is attacking you for no reason.

277) Become completely and totally paranoid about him.

278) After bringing up a number of topics, explain your lack of response by referring to some organized sport that you participate in.

279) Point to something in nature that’s really cool, and call it proof of God’s existence.

280) When he shows up at your wedding, bearing an expensive gift for you, return the favor by sicing your minister on him after the ceremony.

281) If he has cancer, tell him with a sickeningly sweet smile that you will pray for his recovery, because someone needs to.

282) Refuse to give him your wallet after he quotes Matthew 5:42 to you.

283) Insist you believe in the literal truth of the entire Bible, except for Matthew 5:42.

284) Take advantage of a horrible national tragedy, caused in large part by religious fanaticism, by pushing your own religious fanaticism as the only thing that will save us all.

285) …and announce that the tragedy only happened because of those who ignore your religious fanaticism.

286) When ask why you bother praying to ask for things if God has a Divine Plan, tell him that you’re not really asking for things, but you’re trying to get closer to him. (It’s a lie, of course, but don’t let that stop you.)

287) Insist that a denomination of Protestantism founded in the nineteenth century is the only true way.

288) Insist on deathbed conversions.

281) When ending your conversation with the atheist, promise to read whatever book the atheist may have mentioned, knowing darned well that you yourself never made it through Leviticus.



June 7, 2013

jigsaw puzzle


A billboard you’ll never see

June 5, 2013

billboard you'll never see

Churches don’t want people they can’t easily convince or manipulate.


10 Myths and 10 Truths about Atheism

May 29, 2013

10 Myths and 10 Truths about Atheism

by Sam Harris

SEVERAL POLLS indicate that the term “atheism” has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect impediment to a career in politics (in a way that being black, Muslim or homosexual is not). According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 37% of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president.

Atheists are often imagined to be intolerant, immoral, depressed, blind to the beauty of nature and dogmatically closed to evidence of the supernatural.

Even John Locke, one of the great patriarchs of the Enlightenment, believed that atheism was “not at all to be tolerated” because, he said, “promises, covenants and oaths, which are the bonds of human societies, can have no hold upon an atheist.”

That was more than 300 years ago. But in the United States today, little seems to have changed. A remarkable 87% of the population claims “never to doubt” the existence of God; fewer than 10% identify themselves as atheists — and their reputation appears to be deteriorating.

Given that we know that atheists are often among the most intelligent and scientifically literate people in any society, it seems important to deflate the myths that prevent them from playing a larger role in our national discourse.

1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.

On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.

2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.

People of faith often claim that the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable product of unbelief. The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

3) Atheism is dogmatic

Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity’s needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn’t have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the programmer Stephen F. Roberts* once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.

No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the “beginning” or “creation” of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself.

The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, “The God Delusion,” this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don’t know precisely how the Earth’s early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase “natural selection” by analogy to the “artificial selection” performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species.

5) Atheism has no connection to science.

Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God — as some scientists seem to manage it — there is no question that an engagement with scientific thinking tends to erode, rather than support, religious faith. Taking the U.S. population as an example: Most polls show that about 90% of the general public believes in a personal God; yet 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not. This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is.

6) Atheists are arrogant.

When scientists don’t know something — like why the universe came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed — they admit it. Pretending to know things one doesn’t know is a profound liability in science. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based religion. One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows. When considering questions about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it, atheists tend to draw their opinions from science. This isn’t arrogance; it is intellectual honesty.

7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.

There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing love, ecstasy, rapture and awe; atheists can value these experiences and seek them regularly. What atheists don’t tend to do is make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about the nature of reality on the basis of such experiences. There is no question that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this prove? It proves that certain disciplines of attention and codes of conduct can have a profound effect upon the human mind. Do the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity? Not even remotely — because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists regularly have similar experiences.

There is, in fact, not a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a beard, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are just not the sort of claims that spiritual experience can authenticate.

8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.

Atheists are free to admit the limits of human understanding in a way that religious people are not. It is obvious that we do not fully understand the universe; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best understanding of it. We do not know whether there is complex life elsewhere in the cosmos, but there might be. If there is, such beings could have developed an understanding of nature’s laws that vastly exceeds our own. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They also can admit that if brilliant extraterrestrials exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.

From the atheist point of view, the world’s religions utterly trivialize the real beauty and immensity of the universe. One doesn’t have to accept anything on insufficient evidence to make such an observation.

9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.

Those who emphasize the good effects of religion never seem to realize that such effects fail to demonstrate the truth of any religious doctrine. This is why we have terms such as “wishful thinking” and “self-deception.” There is a profound distinction between a consoling delusion and the truth.

In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?

10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.

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.



May 28, 2013



Reasonable – Anthony Jeselnik

May 13, 2013

reasonable - Anthony Jeselnik

Anthony Jeselnik