Ten Misconceptions About Atheism

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Atheism is a belief that suffers from many misconceptions and false rumors. Atheists, by definition, tend to not be organized in groups like those of traditional religions. Therefore, atheism tends to be less visible than organized religion. A number of misconceptions about atheism have arisen because of this situation. However, increasingly, atheism is receiving more publicity. After endless conversations and debates with a group of atheists for a project I did back in college, here are ten common misconceptions about atheism, but from an atheist’s point of view in many cases.

10. Atheists don’t want to fear God

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Some believe that most atheists deep down actually believe in God, (even though everyone who makes such claims often tends to also think that they believe in their particular God), but have just rejected God out of rebellion, spite, fear, or because of some childhood religious incident. In fact, there might be some hidden truth to this theory, but not with every atheist of course.

There have been some reported cases, such as with Voltaire and Freud, where the very strict and severe Christian childhood social and family environment forced them to the side of atheism. But on the other hand there are many atheists who didn’t have a bad experience at all. Conversely, they have nothing but good memories, from their grandmother taking them to church, to the sunny Sunday mornings in the park after church and so on. Maybe they simply started to question and to wonder what happened when they applied the standards of logic, reason and burden of proof of religion, as they already did with everything in their lives. And let’s not forget all the people who were never believers even from the beginning and who just never cared to believe in something sacred and superior. It can happen too.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. ” Atheism is a belief “

    That is the first misconception.

    ” 3. Most great minds are atheists “

    Wellllllll, not to sure that could be termed a misconception as it takes some kind of mind to be an atheist. Might as well call it great, or at least good!

  2. fear of death:
    Find somebody who will likely die within a month. If they are atheist, it is highly unlikely they will be afraid of death. They may be afraid of Christians forcing them to stay alive and suffer.. They just want to get it over with. Christians create needless terror for themselves with their imaginary monster god.

    You have already experienced non-existence — before you were born. You are like a little flick of a firework, existing for just a few decades then disappearing again.

    • In reply to #2 by Roedy:

      fear of death:
      Find somebody who will likely die within a month. If they are atheist, it is highly unlikely they will be afraid of death. They may be afraid of Christians forcing them to stay alive and suffer.. They just want to get it over with. Christians create needless terror for themselves w…

      As I’m about to draw my last breath, I want a priest(A cardinal would be better) summoned. With my last breath I say “Tag, you’re it!” as I touch his(Her?) hand and die.

  3. Some religious people just cannot simply accept the fact that science or philosophy can band together with religion.

    Some scientists try, but they pretty well have to compartmentalise their craziness for Sunday. They can’t let it interfere with their work.

    If you are a creationist, there is no way you will be able to find any oil or minerals. The problem is religion makes thousands of false assertions about science. Scientists have to find some way of ignoring them to function.

  4. How do creationists reconcile science with their beliefs? Here are some possible ways:

    1. ignorance. They carefully avoid learning anything about science.
    2. presume scientists are of the devil and are lying to destroy the truth of Jesus.
    3. presume scientists are simply mistaken. They are a bunch of incompetents.
    4. presume scientists are deliberately twisting the evidence. They search always for some alternative to the truth of Jesus.
    5. where absolutely necessary, presume the bible does not mean what it appears to (e.g. the flat earth).

    The key is ignorance of how science works. Perhaps that is why they fight so hard to block teaching science in schools.

  5. The amount of times i’ve been told”you’re just mad at God” or “anything goes” if you;re an atheist is unbelievable,I;ve even spoken to someone who really believes that atheists are ok with peadophile’s ,bestiality, and infanticide.Seriously she said infanticide.I dont know where they get these ideas from.I am not afraid of ceasing to exist,I am afraid of being made to suffer through a long illness because we don’t have the right to die,but the thing that really worries me is the grief that my children and the rest of my family will have to go through.

  6. Most of the negativity, is in the false dichotomy and reverse projection of theism. It stems from the “TRRrrroo belivers’” inability to envision the diversity of other viewpoints beyond “their own and THE wrong ONE”!

    @link – 5. Atheists are devil worshippers

    .. Is perhaps the clearest illustration of this clueless reverse projection!

    Those, who since childhood, have been totally dependent on being spoon fed a simplistic, dogmatic, philosophy of life, simply do not have the capability to reason out big questions for themselves.

    Indeed, they are actively discouraged from developing such skills, and are taught to disparage those who demonstrate those capabilities.

    @OP- 6. Atheists have no fear of [supernatural] repercussions

    This is one of the most insidious assertions of some religions, whose moral inadequacy is demonstrated by a creed which offers (bought?) forgiveness by priests, without the recognition that reparations to, and forgiveness by, the offended human party, are the key issues in “The Golden Rule”!

    Add to this the “faith-thinking” (make it up according to how you can feel superior – without objective evidence or reasoning) of preachers, it is no surprise that this made-up nonsense, has been widely propagated and distributed in sermons!

    (“You should all be ‘goody-goodies’ following our cult dogmas, and not be those nasty free-THINKING individuals in ‘out-groups’ !”)

    Classic sectarianism!

  7. This is just bait from judgmental believers …surely they know the answers by now……and are just trying to ruffle some feathers…they need to learn to ask the right questions instead of these recycled simplistic unfunny insulting deliberate misunderstandings….

    1. Atheists don’t want to fear God

    No, we don’t. We couldn’t even if we wanted to! People who believe in God are kind of scary though, a bit like zombies, but you get sort of used to them.

    1. Atheists think that life is meaningless

    Only theists lives. Our lives are full of the meaning we create.

    1. Atheists make bad parents

    No, but many of us suspect we will and put off breeding until both we and the planet are ready for it.

    1. Atheists want to forbid religious worship

    We would like to, but are willing to tolerate it as long as you don’t infringe on our Sunday sleep-in.

    1. Atheists have no fear of repercussions

    Because we generally don’t do anything worth repercussing.

    1. Atheists are devil worshippers

    Only in the same way we like other rebellious fictional characters.

    1. Atheism is a religion

    No, but science ought to be.

    1. Most great minds are atheists

    Can’t argue with that one!

    1. Atheists are not scared of death

    No, we’re scared of dying.

    1. Atheists lack morals

    You theists don’t even know what morals are!

    • In reply to #8 by Peter Grant:

      Atheists don’t want to fear God

      No, we don’t. We couldn’t even if we wanted to! People who believe in God are kind of scary though, a bit like zombies, but you get sort of used to them.

      Atheists think that life is meaningless

      Only theists lives. Our lives are full of the meaning we create….

      If nearly two years’ membership of this site has taught me one thing, it’s that I’m not a typical atheist. I would like to say though that I don’t think theists necessariy lead meaningless lives, as you assert in response to point #1.

      Nor, re your rejoinder to number 1, would I want to forbid religious worship, and my tolerance isn’t contingent on having a weekend lie-in. Religion legitimizes homophobia; is responsible for child abuse, both psychological and physical; has been the cause of innumerable wars. Its list of crimes is endless. But you’re okay with it as long as you get your extra hour’s kip of a Sunday morning?

      As to point 1, I have done plenty of things worthy of disapprobation during my time on this mortal coil. I can’t claim to be purer than pure just because I don’t happen to believe in your man with the white beard.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say (point #one) that science ought to be a religion. Doesn’t religion require one to have faith and believe in things without proof? Surely science and faith are the complete antithesis of one another. Non-overlapping Wisteria or something, as someone called them. When religion and science are mixed, what you end up with is creationism, homeopathy, alchemy…

      Who gets to be Pope anyway? Stephen Hawkins, one imagines.

      P.S. I’m terrified of death.

      • In reply to #9 by Katy Cordeth:

        If nearly two years’ membership of this site has taught me one thing, it’s that I’m not a typical atheist. I would like to say though that I don’t think theists necessariy lead meaningless lives, as you assert in response to point #1.

        According to the system they are all point 1, but I digress. A life lived in servitude is meaningless.

        Nor, re your rejoinder to number 1, would I want to forbid religious worship, and my tolerance isn’t contingent on having a weekend lie-in. Religion legitimizes homophobia; is responsible for child abuse, both psychological and physical; has been the cause of innumerable wars. Its list of crimes is endless. But you’re okay with it as long as you get your extra hour’s kip of a Sunday morning?

        My weekend lie-ins are representative, as well as therapeutic.

        I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say (point #one) that science ought to be a religion. Doesn’t religion require one to have faith and believe in things without proof? Surely science and faith are the complete antithesis of one another. Non-overlapping Wisteria or something, as someone called them. When religion and science are mixed, what you end up with is creationism, homeopathy, alchemy…

        I have already stated that I wish to rehabilitate faith based on evidence.

        Who gets to be Pope anyway? Stephen Hawkins, one imagines.

        Stephen Hawkins is a git!

        P.S. I’m terrified of death.

        Death would be a welcome release, it’s dying that’s scary.

    1. Atheists have no emotion and are robotic.
    2. Atheists are only old men.
    3. Atheists had bad parenting.
    4. Atheists only live in big cities.
    5. Atheists hate God because of something bad that happened in their life.
    6. All Atheists do not believe in ghosts.
    7. Atheists never attend church. (Some are even on the altar.)

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