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Response: ‘5 Lies Atheist Tell’

Disney recently published an article title, “5 Lies Atheist Tell.” Not to be picky, but grammatically speaking the article should be either titled, “5 Lies Atheists Tell” or “5 Lies an Atheist Tells.” Grammar aside, there are plenty of other problems with this article that need correcting.

Before I go through each “lie” and refute it, I want to point out a few things. For starters, it should be pointed out that not all atheists actually hold the views and make the claims that the author is presenting. A modifier is needed in this title. Maybe it should have been, “5 Lies Many Atheists Tell” or even “5 Lie Most Atheists Tell” – not that the modifier would make the article any truer, but it would at least be slightly more generous.

That brings me to my next point. The word, “lie” is a strong accusation. A lie is a deliberately incorrect statement. In other words, someone knows the truth and is purposefully saying the opposite. So when the author of this article claims that atheists are lying, he or she is claiming that atheists aren’t actually atheists. The author is claiming that atheists know that there is a God and that we are just lying about it.

Personally, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. If someone claims that they believe in God, I might say that I think they have been indoctrinated to believe that or that they are mistaken, or that their belief is not supported by the facts, but I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they must be lying and that they really are atheists. That seems childish and silly. Anyway, let’s get on with these “lies:”

1. The Biggest One- THERE IS NO GOD. They would have no problem telling a dying child there is NO God. Clearly they have no idea if there is or there isn't. They assume their conclusion is the only right one.

For starters, very few atheists would seriously make such a dogmatic statement as this one. Richard Dawkins is considered to be the most famous and most strident atheist and even he has made it clear that on a scale of one to seven, he wouldn't quite be at seven. Atheists are just not that dogmatic. We generally say that we don’t believe there is a god, but I don’t know many atheists who would state that there is no God with absolute certainty in the same way that religious believers are so quick to declare with absolute certainty that God exists and it is their God.

The author is slightly correct when he or she stated that we have “no idea if there is or there isn't” a god. For the record, neither do Christians. In this sense we are all agnostic. But it is because we have no knowledge (and no valid evidence) concerning any deities that most atheists lack belief in any deities. In fact, because there is such an obvious lack of evidence and a lack of scientifically verifiable divine intervention that I can say that I have maybe some idea that God probably doesn’t exist. If God did exist, then he would have a lot of explaining to do (i.e. the Problem of Evil).

2. They say they have “Open Minds”. We know that is not the case. When presented with spiritual issues they always dismiss it as fictitious, invalid or unsupported stories.

Most atheists I have met (myself included) do have open minds. We are open to changing our minds when presented with valid evidence. In fact, many atheists have done just that. Many atheists were born with religious parents and raised in religious households. Many atheists were once religious believers at one point in their lives. Then they began to evaluate the evidence for religious claims, found those claims lacking, and opened their minds to a lack of belief.

Most atheists would change their mind in a second if presented with some valid evidence for God’s existence. All God has to do is come down here in the present and say hello. Instead, we are forced to rely on ridiculous, extremely unreliable and contradictory accounts from a time when people still thought the Earth was flat.

Now, how open minded are religious believers? Many religious believers have told me flat out that nothing I say to them could ever convince them that their beliefs are mistaken or false. Often times, religious believers will dogmatically hold to their conclusion in the face of evidence to the contrary. Creationism, denial of the Big Bang, and the belief in prayer are just a few examples of this.

3. Christianity teaches you to not think. Atheist assume that the Bible soemhow teaches Christians to not use your brain. This is clearly not the case.

The author then goes on to list three Bible verses to support his point. The problem here is that the Bible is so contradictory that it is pretty easy for me to pick it up and find three verses to support my point that Christianity does teach people not to think. Here we go:

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.” – John 20: 29
“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” - 1 Corinthians 1:27
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 2:5

More than that, we can just look at Christians themselves and what they actually preach. In the United States, the most religious states are also the states with the lowest ranking in education while, the vast majority of modern scientists are not Christian and don’t believe in a personal deity. Christianity preaches faith over knowledge. I could of course go on and on about this because the evidence clearly is against the author. I bet the author isn’t open minded enough to accept it.

4. Science exists despite religion. Truth: Science exists specifically because of religion. The scientific method comes from studying philosophy and Newtonian physics comes from studying astronomy. Religion caused people to study both philosophy and astronomy.

Ridiculous! Science exists because people are curious about the world around them. This has nothing to do with being religious or non-religious. On the other hand, religious explanations often got and continue to get in the way of scientific progress. Sure, we don’t stone scientists for heresy anymore (the way we did when Christianity ruled the world), but many Christians continue to stand in the way of scientific progress and education today. It is true that scientists like Newton were religious, but so were most people back in those days because if you weren’t they murdered you!!!

While there were many religious scientists, that doesn’t mean that science exists specifically because of religion. Far from it; in most cases, religion held back science. After all, it wasn’t until relatively recently that the Catholic Church finally forgave Galileo. Religious scientists often had to fight both an internal battle and a battle with the religious authorities of their day for every scientific advance and discovery they made. Charles Darwin was a theologian before he observed evolution via natural selection.

5. They Don’t Care If There Is Or Isn't A God. Deep down inside of everyone’s heart there is a missing element that is always questioning, searching and longing to find God. They may try to ignore it but it still remains there.

I don’t know any atheist who says that they don’t care if there is a god or not. I’m an atheist. I don’t believe there is a god. I am reasonably certain that God is imaginary, but if I am wrong, I certainly would like to know. I would change my view in a second if presented with some valid evidence in support of any deity.

I am always questioning and searching for knowledge, but I have no “longing” to find any deity. Far from living a life devoid from meaning as many Christians imagine atheists to live, I live a pretty meaningful life. I think most atheists do. We have hopes and dreams just like everyone else. We feel love and compassion for others not because we expect some divine reward or out of fear of some eternal torture, but because we feel empathy for our fellow human beings.

Most atheists wonder about the world around us and this motivates us to learn about nature, our world, the universe, and everything else. But we don’t want some hollow assertions or empty platitudes; we want to really understand these things through the scientific method, which factors out personal bias and error and gives us a testable way of accurately understanding the world around us.

I hope this clears up some misconceptions about atheists. If you want to learn more about atheism, I encourage readers to check out the Atheism 101 section. There I try to give more in-depth responses to some of the most frequently asked questions and assertions by religious believers concerning atheism.

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