Blood runs through your veins, that’s where our similarity ends… Atheists still annoy me

I’m an atheist.

While I receive some prejudice from the extremely religious sorts, I receive a lot more prejudice from other atheists.  It could have something to do with the way I describe my atheism: ‘I’m an atheist, but I find Dawkins, Myers, and Hitchens insufferable morons when it comes to the philosophy of religion.’

There’s this aghast ‘How dare you?!’ type rant I receive which ends with the other atheist invariably questioning whether I really am an atheist.  While religious types are quite happy to accept that I don’t believe in God — though they might think I’m deluded or deceived for not doing so — it’s only ever been atheists who flatly refuse to believe my religious persuasion.

It seems such a minority of us atheists — the maligned amongst the maligned — look on the public discourse and feel a great deal of shame for what it’s become.  We don’t have the intellectual engagement that we used to have.  We don’t have the wit or the subtlety.  Instead, we have elderly white males acting like oafs, reciting the equivalent of ‘I don’t need to understand it in order to dismiss it out of hand.’  Indeed, they’re quick to criticise people dismissing science along similar lines.

But, of course, science is true (and not just an epistemic tool like we previously thought).

The result of this intellectual and cultural poverty is blogs like Proud Atheists.  Even though it seems a lot like bullying, here’s a response to this post about the advantages of being an atheist.

Be an atheist and don’t waste 10% of your income by donating to a church. Give directly to a charity of your choice. Many churches spend too much donated money on building funds, missionaries and anti-gay campaigns. There are also additional savings by not having to buy expensive clothes and vehicles to impress the other church members. Did Jesus wear Louis Vuitton or Gucci or drive an Escalade?

It’s intellectual credibility at its finest, isn’t it?  We shouldn’t mention — should we? — that religious charity groups vastly outnumber ‘secular’ groups?  No, no.  Religious folks are wasting their money by giving to their churches.  Similarly, the wealthy are wasting their money by giving a portion of their income to country clubs.

Also, how is it an atheist advantage to not purchase items for social status?  I have this mental image of the Proud Atheists blogger sitting in his tracksuit pants and chip-stained wife beater saying: ‘Hurrrr… hurrrr… I can dress like this because I’m not religious.  Atheism rocks.’

As an atheist you are no longer obligated to say “God bless you” to someone who sneezes or participate in superstitious rituals.

This is one of the weirder parts of atheists.  A significant majority of us are petrified of culture because it has the whiff of religion about it.  I certainly don’t feel obliged to say ‘Bless you’ when somebody sneezes.  I’m sure most religious people don’t feel similarly obliged.  I do say ‘Bless you’ because it’s culturally appropriate to do so.

As an atheist you can sleep in on Sunday mornings. No more dragging yourself to a big expensive building, wearing expensive clothing for some minister to tell you how to be more like the non materialistic, “helping the poor” Jesus.

Atheists sure do live life to the fullest.  I’m going for a massage this afternoon because I’m an atheist.  I won’t expect to see any of you ratbag Christians there because I suspect you live your life wandering the desert like St Anthony.  I sometimes wonder if most atheists have never met a Christian.

An atheist is not required to confess to, or kiss the ring of any Catholic clergymen.

Woot!  Rock on, atheism!  What a massive advantage we have over Christians.  Because we’re not required, we’re never going to contract the deadly Ringmouthitis.  Take that, God botherers.

An atheist can listen to any music, read any book, participate at activists functions and vote for their choice of president/politician without worrying about being excommunicated or shunned.

Except, you know, not.  Atheist spats are notorious.  Shunning is a social trait which atheists employ just as often as Christians.

An atheist can eat fish, shellfish, pork or anything he/she desires without sin or violation to dietary laws. Many Christians don’t give a shit about religious diets, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. Many in the Bible belt are overweight and only adhere to the “see food” diet plan.

Hurr… hurr… Atheists are peak physical condition.

Christopher Hitchens: Adonis and Athlete (not a rowdy drunk)
Dawkins and Myers: Shortly after running the 100m dash

Seriously?  ‘Some Christians are fat and here’s a pun’ is this guy’s attempt at listing the advantages of atheism?

An atheist can determine what is right or wrong for themselves within the limits of human law and their own conscience.

And this is where we fall of the sensible boat into the realm of atheist ignorance.  Christians can also ‘determine’ what is right or wrong for themselves.  Like the atheist, the Christian might get it incorrect.  The metaphysical question is whether there is judgement caused by the existence of God.  The Christian thinks that there is.  The atheist does not.  The ethical deliberation is also slightly different: the Christian thinks that they’ve been given a bit of a handy cheat sheet from the guy with the answers.  Otherwise, Christians and atheists are in the same ethical boat.  We use our reason and intellect to determine how we’re going to behave ethically.  Indeed, a not insignificant number of atheists disavow morality completely because it’s not ‘scientific’, thus showing they understand neither morality nor science.

More importantly, Proud Atheists states that moral reasoning needs to be ‘within the limits of human law’.  Why?  There are numerous instances of immoral legislation.  Are atheists unable to question the morality of legislation?  If so, I didn’t receive that memo and can now completely understand why some atheists think I’m a secret theist.

Sons and daughters of atheists will never have their genitals mutilated in the name of religion.

And neither will the sons and daughters of most religious people.  Some sons and daughters of atheists will have their genitals mutilated in the name of science though — genital hygiene isn’t a terribly ancient science.  Indeed, genital mutilation is more cultural and less religious but, hey, why let facts get in the way of a good prejudice?

An atheist does not need to pray or read books about atheism to retain their philosophy.

And atheists are all the poorer for this very fact.  It’s such a shame that very few atheists understand their atheism or explore their atheism in any great intellectual detail.  At least most religious people in the west need to be literate.  The same is certainly not true for atheists who can just rage at figments of their own imagination.

An atheist child does not usually get molested by Catholic priests, Protestant youth ministers or other religious leaders.

An atheist doesn’t need to worry about being tactful either.  Heaven forbid we should have some dignity about this.  No, no.  Religious children ‘usually get molested’.  Somebody should call the Prime Minister and let her know.

An atheist is not required to use stupid, child-like titles when addressing their fellow non-believers, such as “Brother Bob”, “Pastor Tim”, or “Sister Jill”.

It would be lovely to know in what way these titles are stupid or child-like (perhaps ‘childish’?) as they certainly don’t appear to be so.  I wonder if ‘Mister’ is similarly childish.  Is ‘Justice’ stupid?

Atheists are free to ask the question, “Why” and expect a real and substantial answer. We don’t answer questions with, “Because it says so in the Bible” or “God said it”. The Bible is not proof of anything except a belief in a god.

Yeah, St Augustine, St Anselm, St Josephus, Origen, St Dionysius the Great, St Thomas Aquinas…  Oh, wait.  None of your answers were ‘Because it says so in the Bible’ or ‘God said it’.  Gosh.  You must be atheists as well for being able to ask the question ‘Why?’ and expect a real and substantial answer.  Won’t the Catholic Church be shocked that it’s considered you atheists to be important theologians for centuries?!  The Pope’s face will be ever so red.

An atheist woman is free to use whatever manner of birth control she chooses.

As are most religious folk.  It’s not like abortion clinics refuse to treat Jews, after all.

Would it be against the laws of nature or man to resurrect Voltaire?  Modern atheism is a mudpile of mediocrity.

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Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based blogger and policy wonk who writes about conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

2 thoughts on “Blood runs through your veins, that’s where our similarity ends… Atheists still annoy me”

  1. I have this mental image of the Proud Atheists blogger sitting in his tracksuit pants and chip-stained wife beater saying: ‘Hurrrr… hurrrr… I can dress like this because I’m not religious. Atheism rocks.’

    Your mental image of me is completely inaccurate…and so are your replies.
    Tracksuit pants and wifebeater?? With an imagination like that, who needs theists? 😆

    Modern atheism is a mudpile of mediocrity.

    Okay,you can continue playing the atheist apologist role in your safe little world while others like Dawkins are coaxing others to “come out”.

    1. Your mental image of me is completely inaccurate…and so are your replies.

      While my mental image of you might be incorrect, it’s certainly not what your post suggested. I wonder if this is a problem with what you have written. I mean, you’ve suggested that religious kids ‘usually get molested’ should be some cause for celebration amongst atheists, after all.

      As for my responses to your claims, they appear to be spot on. In what way do you think they are inaccurate?

      Okay,you can continue playing the atheist apologist role in your safe little world while others like Dawkins are coaxing others to “come out”.

      Not amazingly, it’s people like Dawkins who make it more difficult to be open about my atheism. Indeed, I usually have to take quite a bit of flak from theists due to his outlandish characterisations. Hitchens, at least, is worse: Hitchens regularly confuses historical facts.

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