Whenever I'm having arguments with theists, or when I'm looking up what people think the word ''Atheist'' actually means, I notice how misinformed people actually are about us. I'm not only talking about the religious fanatics, but also about the casual theists, and even many people who don't want to admit that they are technically Atheists. This article is meant to combat the stereotypes related to Atheism.
Let's start with the definition of Atheism. An Atheist is (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism#…
1. Negative Atheism: Someone who doesn't have believe in any kind of god (either he/she has never heard of God, doesn't take a stand regarding the existence of god, or simply believes that God's existence is unlikely, without believing that the statement ''There's at least one god'' must be false). In this case, Atheism is simply LACK of theism. This means that most agnostics are also Atheists, even though they don't like to admit it.
2. Positive Atheism: Someone who claims that God, or any god for that matter, does not, or can not exist.
Most Atheists belong to the first group. Most Atheists belonging to the second group are only saying that certain gods, usually the ones belonging to religions like Christianity, can't exist. Often, the reason they don't believe that these gods can exist is because these gods posses qualities which can't coexist with each other, or reality.
As you can see, the true definition of Atheism is very different from the ones used by many religious people. Here are some common misconceptions regarding Atheism:
1. Atheism is a religion.
Atheism is simply a lack of believe in God, or the believe that God doesn't exist. It doesn't come with any traditions, scripture, dogma or moral guidelines. It's simply a lack of believe in God. Therefor, it's NOT a religion. Although many Atheists agree with each other on matters like the afterlife, these shared opinions aren't part of their Atheism. If Atheism is a religion, than not playing soccer is a sport.
Many Theists who believe that Atheism is a religion support their claim by claiming that Atheism is a religion because there's an Atheist community. However, the reason Atheists often unite and hold events, is because many of us are being persecuted by Theists, or because we want to learn from other Atheists, so we can use their knowledge and arguments when arguing against Theism. We don't have a book which tells us to gather there, and not going there doesn't make someone less of an Atheist.
Many Theists also act like Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are ''Atheist prothets'', because of their popularity. What they don't realize is that some Atheists don't agree with these figures, or even openly despise their methods or opinions. If these popular Atheists can be considered the equivalent of prophets because of their popularity, than William Lane Craig should be considered the new prophet of Christianity.
There are even people who go as far as claiming that evolution is the Atheist's religion. Evolution is a scientific fact, and not a matter of faith. Evolution doesn't conclude that no god(s) exist or can't exist, and there are also many Christians who acept that evolution is true (including priests and bishops), which destroys the idea that evolution is anti-god. While the theory of Evolution explains the origin of things like emotions and morality, it doesn't say how we should live.
2. Atheists REJECT God.
There's a difference between not believing in something and rejecting something (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/reject)
. When you don't believe in something, it's simply because you see no reason to believe that it exists. When you reject something, it's because you refuse to accept it. If Atheists reject God, than most people reject fairy's, unicorns, leprechauns, smurfs and so on.
3. Atheists are arrogant.
Since Atheism is simply a lack of believe in God, there are many differences between Atheists. Therefor, I'm not speaking on the behalf of ALL Atheists, but I'm definitively talking about a lot of them. Being convinced that you're right isn't arrogant, otherwise a scientist could be considered arrogant for claiming that the earth isn't flat. Atheists have good reasons to believe that God's existence is very unlikely, and they aren't just making claims without supporting these with evidence.
4. Atheist try to force people to think like them.
If you're reading this article, you did it because you CHOSE to read it. Like most Atheists, I'm not forcing anyone to listen to me. Most of the discussions that I've had with Theists were started by these Theists. In other cases, I simply posted my opinion on a video whose topic is related to my opinion. I never post comments about things that have nothing to do with the video/article. The same goes for most Atheists. Also, as far as I know, Atheists don't raise their children to not believe in God, unlike most religious people who raise their children to be part of their religion.
5. Atheists are close minded.
The reason people think this is because virtually all theists fail to convince us that their god is real. The reason for this is not because we're close minded, but because the arguments presented by Theists are usually very bad, and have usually been debunked ages ago. Seriously, how many times do we still have to hear Pascal's Wager?
6. Atheist must allow people to believe what they believe.
The problem with this is that many religious people, especially Christians and Muslims, don't follow this rule at all. For example, there are countless schools where children are raised to be part of a certain religion, without being exposed to all the other religions and believe systems. There are many schools where they still teach creationism or intelligent design, and specifically the Biblical version of Creationism, without any evidence to support these teachings. We also know how religion is the biggest cause of homophobia, and has often supported sexism. If you're going to claim that these things aren't endorsed by religion, check your Bible/Koran again:
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13, New King James Version)
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:8-15, New King James Version)
And we all know what Islam thinks about homosexuality and the roles of women.
Not only that, people actually believe that God is required to be moral. Not only is this foolish, but it's also dangerous. If we managed to convince these people that there God doesn't exist, they would instantly lose all sense of morality. If they don't, it shows that God was never required to be moral to begin with. There's nothing bigoted about pointing this out.
The moment someone takes their believes into the open, and tries to convince other people that these believes are true, they have the right to be scrutinized. It's also not bigotry to point out how people ignore parts of the religion that they claim to follow.
7. Atheist are fundamentalists.
A fundamentalist is not someone who's very passionate about his believes. A fundamentalist is someone whose mind can't be changed, even if all the evidence in the world contradicts his claims. If someone actually proved to me that God existed, I would accept it. However, no one has ever accomplished this. This doesn't make me a fundamentalist.
8. Hitler and Stalin commited atrocities in the name of Atheism.
First of all, huge ammounts of evidence oppose the claim that Hitler was an Atheist. In Mein Kampf, Hitler constantly expressed his believe in a creator. Also, he outlawed the German Freethinkers League, an Atheistic organisation with 500.000 people (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_F…
. Also, the Cathlic Church didn't have much of a problem with Hitler either. Even if Hitler was opposed to Christianity, which Hitler's Table Talk (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%2…
suggests, this doesn't conclude that he didn't believe in any kind of higher power.
Some Christians claim that Hitler lied about being a Theist, but there isn't much to back this up. Also, the guy was a NAZI! There is way more to being a nazi than believing/not believing in God. And the reason he killed way more people than the ancient Christian warlords (like Moses) is more likely because he was in possesion of 20th century weapons, like bombs, machine guns and mustard gas.
I agree that Stalin was an Atheist, and communism forced anti-theistic views. However, most of the atrocities he commited had nothing to do with his Atheism, but instead with the other aspects of communism, like totaliarism and state worship (there's MORE to communism than just Atheism, you know). Also, unlike Christians with the ancient biblical warlords, NO Atheists (exept for the communists) try to justify the genocide commited by Stalin, and they agree that he was out of his mind.
Why I'M here:
Now that we're talking about Atheism, I'll also take the time to explain exactly why I'M an Atheist (You can skip this if you're not interested in my back story and motives).
Ever since I was born, both my parents have been Atheists (although my mother is also a Buddhist, which doesn't require believe in a god), but they never talked to me about religion or a lack thereof. As a kid, I went to a Protestant school, because my neighbor taught there, and convinced my parents that it was a good school. Christianity was definitely a part of my elementary school education: We had to pray every day, we sang religious songs, we went to church on Christmas and Easter, and the teacher read to us from an EDITED Bible (to avoid all the parts where God acts like a total sociopath).
While it likely wasn't as bad as most American schools, I remember that I've been somewhat traumatized by the teachings once or twice. For example, I started crying after hearing the story of Samson when I was still a kid (although I was to young to remember), because of how his girlfriend screwed him over. When I was 7/8 years old, we watched a cartoon about Noah's Ark, and it made me cry to watch CHILDREN being drowned by a supposed-to-be omnibenevolent God. Note however, that I'm not just saying that God doesn't exist because of childhood trauma.
Despite my education, I wasn't very religious, and the only time I actually prayed without being forced to was when my pet rabbit died (I still miss him). In High School, I started to become more religious, mostly because I was exited about the idea of Heaven, while frighted by the idea of Hell. However, I was (and still am) also a big fan of Family Guy. One day, I watched the newest episode: Not all dogs go to heaven, where it's revealed that Brian that is an Atheist. Although I had heard the term a few times before, this is the first time I actually learned about it. Until that moment, I had never even considered the idea that God might actually NOT exist, and I simply called myself a Christian because I thought it was the most simple religion to be part of. I began to do some research on Atheism, and thanks to people like GIIvideo and Darkmatter2525, I decided that God's existence was very unlikely. My opinions, ideas and views have changed somewhat since then, but I still remain an Atheist.
The reason I'm writing these articles, and having discussions with theists, is because I notice that there are many things seriously wrong with religion and the people who practice it, and I simply want to point that out so people learn about it and change what's wrong. Another reason I'm here is because I know that there are a lot of people out there who, like me originally, have never even considered the idea that God might not exist, and I'm trying to show them that they have a choice.