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Misrepresenting the atheist perspective

It seems to be all the rage, as atheists make their way to the forefront of society, for those who work to hold atheist down to misrepresent them. High-profile religious individuals start it, and, just as I would expect of people who obviously do not make it a habit of demanding proof upon which they build their "belief" systems, their minions believe the misrepresentations and cause them to proliferate.

It's obvious to anyone paying attention that these high-profile religious folk will stop at nothing to sell their myths... even if it means they have to misrepresent atheists to do it.

Repeatedly certain religious people apply their brand of "logic" to what they believe to be true of atheists. And it is obvious that certain high-profile Christians, for example, are excellent at misleading their minions. This is evidenced in the regurgitation of nonsense that fills every nook and cranny of human communication. On the internet, TV, and newspapers, we are shown just how far-reaching this ignorant regurgitation is.

Letters to editors from the "common man," blogs, forum posts, article comment sections, and religiously slanted news outlets all give us a glimpse at how effectively religious "icons" brainwash the limited-thinking masses. It is apparent that these followers either don't have the capacity or the propensity to critically consider the things they are told.

As I have pointed out in previous articles, one high-profile Christian in particular, who has many followers, contends that "atheists believe that nothing created everything." Yet, when Ray Comfort is challenged to provide support for this contention, he fails to deliver. Of course. He cannot provide proof for this contenetion. Why? Because atheists do not "believe" that. He makes a feeble attempt to offer up proof to support his allegations. And what he provides turns out to not be proof at all.

We have religious columnists who are asked to write about atheism. One in particular, Kylie Graham, wrote an article, Faith gives believers something to live for, on The Daily Evergreen. It seems to me that very few religious writers can write about atheists or atheism objectively. They bring with them to their writings certain misconceptions passed down to them that they then pass on. And their readers read it and believe it and pass it on, and so it goes...

Graham said:

From an atheist perspective, if there is no god and no belief system, we are left with nothing. It can then be argued that an individual can have the freedom to live life as he deems fit, free from moral codes and a god who loves you.

First, let us get one thing straight... what she said is "from the atheist perspective" is not, in fact, from the atheist perspective. It is her from her religious perspective. She is standing outside of atheism looking in through religious-colored glasses. By doing so, she is misrepresenting atheists in general.

Second, atheists do not think that they are "left with nothing" because they do not believe in deities. Quite the contrary. They (I am speaking generally here) tend to look at the world around in all its wonder and realize that there is so much more than nothing... there is everything! They understand that they have so much they have yet to discover and explore. That, my friends, is something!

Third, as is typical of misinformed or misguided religious people, Graham presumes that for an atheist to "live life as he deems fit" necessarily means that he is living a life "free from moral code." That is utter rubbish. Atheists do have "morals." They just don't happen to derive them from scripture. Scripture derives morality from humanity... not the other way around. It can be, and has been, argued that atheists tend to be more moralistic than religious people. More on that at a later date.

Graham is the epitome of the typical regurgitation machine. But, really, what more could I expect of a person who obviously doesn't get it. Her simplistic regurgitation of what and who atheists are is made even more clear in the fact that she goes on in her article to bring up her version of Pascal's Wager. And, if I had to guess, I'd "wager" that she has never heard of Pascal and therefore has never explored all the problems with his contention. Another article for another day.

Comments

  • James 5 years ago

    Hello Trina,

    Been following your posts for some time now, and I rather enjoy them. Wanted to give some feedback regarding this issue.

    I don't understand why people are allowing Ray Comfort to drag them into this combination red herring/non sequitur argument. It is simply an attempt to distract from the original question—Does a God Exist—and over complicate the argument in order to discredit the atheist argument.

    Basically, his argument is that: Premise 1: Energy can not be created or destroyed. Premise 2: Before the big bang there was nothing, now there is something. Premise 3: An outside agent must be involved to create matter. Conclusion: That agent is God.

    First off, while Premises 1 and 2 are scientific utterances, there is no guarantee that the universe could not have existed before the big bang, potentially under different rules. Therefore, they are not statements of fact in this scenario. Premise 3 is spurious at best and certainly not scientific. And the conclusion simply doesn't follow anyway, and is actually dependent upon the results of the argument we should be having—does God exist.

    When asked about the origins of the universe or events prior to the big bang, the argument should be stopped and put back on track. The fact is none of us knows, yet, exactly how our universe came to be. So until we have more data, there is no need to argue the point.

  • Mike 5 years ago

    Funny, one of the things I find disturbing about Christianity is its lack of morality.

    Doing something because you want a reward (paradise) or fear punishment (hell) or because it's the law isn't morality, it's cold calculation. Furthermore, a religion that preaches that anybody who doesn't follow it is damned in the next life believes that it has wide latitude in harming people in this life, which Christianity has done frequently throughout its history.

    Many Christians are good people, but they are so despite their religion. Christianity itself is intrinsically immoral.

  • Travis Morgan 5 years ago

    "if there is no god and no belief system, we are left with nothing. It can then be argued that an individual can have the freedom to live life as he deems fit, free from moral codes and a god who loves you."

    The quote above is a believers classic Red herring fallacy, particularly an "appeal to consequence," in which the believer claims that one should believe because they think it leads to desirable consequences such as an enforement of moral values. It does not even address the verity (or lack of) of their claim that "a god exist."

    This argument they make is flawed in more ways then one. As you mentioned, to begin with moral values come from humanity, and religion just attempts to "resell" these values as their own and goes so far as to say these values come from a "higher authority." They do this in a attempt to make these moral values "seem" objective instead of man-made subjective values.

    Apparently, they do not see the flaw in their attempts to deceive us. For one, secular societies, atheists, etc... are moral and "good" for goodness sake. Moral values are outside of religion, and can be had by all. Where the believers are practically admitting to only being good because they think god is watching and judging them, otherwise they would not be good! So they are only good because they think big brother is watching. Where athiests justify being good for goodness sake, they think it is the right thing to do.

    Now, believers not only claim god exist, but also claim to know the mind of god, so do they honestly think that such a god would reward them or find value in their goodness if they are only being good because they think god is watching, but would punish atheist for not believing god exist even though they are good on own accord? Curious.

    And again on moral values, they pick and choose what to believe is right and good in the bible according to modern times and moral values. The moral compass they use to pick and choose what to adhere to in the bible and what not to obviously did not come from the source they are pondering.

    As far as atheists being "free from a god who loves you" yea, I translate that into free from an adults imaginary friend. Something wrong with that?

    And on "being left with nothing" on the contrary, we are left with everything! Because we don't believe there is an afterlife or god, we know this is the only life and chance we have to live and therefore are motivated by this to live it to its fullest. Where as the believer may not live their life the to the fullest because they think it is just the beginning, they are only doing good deeds because they think somebody is looking over their shoulder, their intire life is dictated to an invisible friend. They have lost everything, they have lost their life to a lie.

  • zack 5 years ago

    what a terrible post! You wrote a dozen paragraphs without saying anything worthwhile!

    BTW...Ray Comfort gave MULTIPLE references from Atheists who believe that everything came from nothing....what intellectual suicide. Atheists have painted themselves into a corner and hate the logical implications and outcomes of their beliefs, or should I say, religion.

    Also, the summary says that you were a former christian. There's no such thing. If you are not a christian today, you were never one to begin with.

  • Travis Morgan 5 years ago

    Zack, so let me get this straight, you found that is wasn't a worthwhile read, but you found it worthwile enough to comment on how it wasn't worthwhile? Interesting.

    Also, you say it is intellectual suicide to say that something came from nothing, but believers are stuck with that very dilemna themselves, If one believe that a god exist AND that something cannot come from nothing then to what do you attribute gods existence? The common believer answer is that god has always been. But they fail to be able to justify it.

  • Raven 5 years ago

    @zack: Uh, no. Mr. Comfort is a quintessential example of how there's a certain kind of Christian that just can't handle the idea of someone not sharing their beliefs. While there are some atheists that could stand to take up a more balanced view of religion, they should do it by reading Karen Armstrong, not the insulting nonsense that Ray always seems to be spewing. He seems content to make up anything, anything at all, to paint atheism as unacceptable. He's probably done more to drive atheists further from Christianity than anyone else by making it look more irrational and bigoted that it in fact is (especially outside of the sphere of fundamentalism). Christianity has far, far better representatives in the world.

  • staches-don't-exist 5 years ago

    Hey Zack-

    True to form, none of the 'references' provided by Banannaman were relevent to the subject. Read the responses to that blog posting that set the record straight.

    Also, how very 'christian' of you to attack Trina.

  • what zack really means 5 years ago

    Fixed it for you:

    "what a terrible post! Ray wrote a dozen paragraphs without saying anything worthwhile!

    BTW...Ray Comfort ....what intellectual suicide. Ray painted himself into a corner and hates the logical implications and outcomes of reality."

    You're welcome :)

  • staches-don't-exist 5 years ago

    Oh, lookie, Raytard has changed his blog title from Anti-Athiest to Creationism.

    Any bets on what it'll be next?

  • J 5 years ago

    "BTW...Ray Comfort gave MULTIPLE references from Atheists who believe that everything came from nothing"

    And there are many references documenting that Christian, even clergy, have condoned and perpetrated murder, torture, rape, and child abuse. Seems to me that by your reasoning--judging a religion/philosophy based on what its adherents say or do--anybody with any decency and morality should immediately disassociate himself from Christianity.

  • Amy2 5 years ago

    "It's obvious to anyone paying attention that these high-profile ATHEIST folk will stop at nothing to sell their myths... even if it means they have to misrepresent CHRISTIANS to do it."

    It's all semantics.

  • BathTub 5 years ago

    You really only have to look at any 'review' of an Atheist Book. Very often they talk about what they think was said, not what was actually said.

    I guess another example I see quite often is 'Dawkins thinks life came from outer space', when all he did was suggest it as a example of Intelligent Design.

  • Dick Hardagan 5 years ago

    You need to forgive God for giving you that face you have to hide behind your hair.

  • KYM 5 years ago

    Dick: Not nice.

  • BathTub 5 years ago

    KYM, Dick is just keeping it real, representing for the Theists! Sharing around all that Christian Love he has to share.

  • Paul Fidalgo 5 years ago

    I really do wonder at the no-morals-without-God idea. Is this an admission from Christians/theists that they are just waiting to hear that God doesn't exist/isn't watching so they can go on murderous rampages?

  • KYM 5 years ago

    BathTub: Dick doesn't represent a true Christian who follows the word of Christ. He is the type who gives true Christians a bad name. And there are true Christians, I even know a few, not many but a few. Dick seems very unhappy and unkind and of moderate to low intelligence (why else would he comment on someone's looks.)

  • kym 5 years ago

    Paul, Probably for some but then they aren't true Christians are they.

  • Aggie 5 years ago

    I am a Christian, but I don't have any proof of God. What I believe is that God reveals himself to us as individuals, and not trying to be funny but maybe its kinda like the ink blot test where two people can look at the same thing and see something completely different. One man can look at a mountain and say "Oh, how great my God is!" and another man looking at the same mountain will immediately start thinking about techtonic plates. Anyway, my message is to my fellow Christians. Don't forget that Thomas, who walked and talked with Jesus every day, REFUSED to believe that Jesus rose from the dead unless he had absolute proof. Thomas was absolutely no different than an atheist or an agnostic. And also, Jesus did not condemn him for not believing, instead he offered him proof.He did not call Thomas evil, he didn't say harsh words to him. He only said "blessed is he who has not seen and yet believes". As far as I can tell, I assume that if God offered proof of his being to an atheist, then that atheist would believe, but that's not to suggest that they are sitting around waiting for a sign anyway. And don't feel like you have to throw sticks and stones to defend your faith in God, no one can take it away from you. It seems to me that Christians are forgetting what it means to be Christ-like.

  • Devon 5 years ago

    Trina,
    Might I inquire how you came across Graham's article? I'd think it somewhat esoteric given it's my school's newspaper, but that's just me.

    Anyway...I've forwarded this to their opinion office. I agree completely, and wasn't about to try to condense why her logic's faulty in 250 words or less.

  • Peter 5 years ago

    Aggie, as an atheist I like your points about doubting Thomas, i.e. that [per the story/scripture] Jesus did not condemn Thomas for doubting, but that instead Jesus showed him some proof. I consider most atheists to be open-minded, but just have not been shown any convincing proof. "Extraordinary claims" (virgins births, life after death, etc) "require extraordinary proof." If there's a god and he leaves the 'proof' of his existence to hearsay/scribblings from ancient desert tribes in the bronze age, then such a god is not doing much to convince any skeptics. If god is so powerful, he should be able to VERY easily show mind-blowing, irrefutable proof. If religious folks want to get upset about there being nonbelievers, they should focus their anger on their god for creating such a set up. Meanwhile, I appreciate the non-judgmental tone of Aggie's post. It is VERY nice to hear a Christian who is not bursting with glee with their belief that some other humans (with a differing opinion) are going to an eternity of hell.

  • Ray Comfort 5 years ago

    Trina...just a note to say hello and to thank you for kindly linking to my web site, and for mentioning my new book. Best wishes, Ray

  • Travis Morgan 5 years ago

    Kym said, "Dick doesn't represent a true Christian who follows the word of Christ. He is the type who gives true Christians a bad name. And there are true Christians, I even know a few, not many but a few. Dick seems very unhappy and unkind and of moderate to low intelligence (why else would he comment on someone's looks"

    I find it interesting how when somebody misbehaves suddenly according to other so called "true christians" those christians misbehaving are not "true christians."

    If christians never misbehaved or sinned what need would there be to ask jesus or god for forgiveness? Obviously christians can and will be naughty, and at the end of the day all they need to do is ask to be forgiven.

  • John 5 years ago

    I like the point about doubting thomas as well, and I will definitely use that in the future.

    My feeling is that if there were a god or supreme being of some kind, then he really isn't concerned whether we believe in him or not. If an omniscient, omnipotent being really wanted us to believe in them, he would know exactly what evidence would convince us on an individual basis, and would have the ability to instantly produce that evidence. Since this hasn't happened, either he/she/it is not there, or they don't care.

  • BathTub 5 years ago

    Funny you would comment on this one Ray, you certainly know all about misrepresenting the Atheist perspective.

  • andy 5 years ago

    I thank God for Ray Comfort! He has compassion and concern for people (including those who don't believe in God) enough to lovingly, respectfully yet boldly speak the truth in a unique way. I know many of you appear to be indifferent, you may not understand, and are perhaps even offended, but someday you’ll see his motive is to help you and to tell you how to escape the wrath to come. Ray--you're an inspiration!

  • BathTub 5 years ago

    Andy, posting that repeatedly doesn't make it anymore true than the first time you posted it. Ray doesn't respect people who aren't True Christians. And he certainly doesn't speak the truth whenever he manufactures false versions of Evolution to knock down.

  • Nohm 5 years ago

    Great article, Trina.

    I call the "atheists" that these people are talking about "imaginary atheists".

    When I was training to be an evangelist long ago, I was taught all about these "imaginary atheists". This became a problem when I then went out an tried to witness to actual atheists... they didn't match any of the descriptions of "imaginary atheists" that I had been taught and practiced evangelizing to.

  • Michael 3 months ago

    Something did come from nothing. It's called quantum mechanics. Things at the quantum level don't act according to the same rules we do. Particles pop in and out of existence. Electrons shift energy levels without existing between them. It's a strange world, a world where something very likely did come from nothing, and lead to such a world where people are both smart and stupid enough to deny against all evidence where they came from.

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