I haven’t written a dissection in a while and then I read So You Want to Be an Atheist Apologist? by Stephen J. Bedard. I don’t typically think these types of posts need any kind of intro so I’ll just get to it.
Somehow you have found yourself believing that there is no God. Perhaps you never had faith, perhaps you lost faith along the way. At first it was just nice to sleep in on Sundays and to not worry about any religious rules stopping you from having fun. But passive atheism has become boring and now you want to do more than just not believe, you want to encourage other people to stop believing as well. That is what this post is all about, training you to be an atheist apologist.
Yes. Somehow I found myself not believing in god; as if belief in a deity is the default and non-belief is mind-bogglingly weird. As if disbelief is totally irrational. Also, the only rules that stop anyone from having any fun are religious rules? Religious rules like Deuteronomy 13:13-19, Deuteronomy 20:10-14, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Deuteronomy 22:28-2, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, 2 Samuel 12:11-14, Judges 5:30, Exodus 21:7-11, Matthew 10:14-15, Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10: 32-37, Mark 7:9-10, Romans 1: 31-32, Romans 5:12, etc. just to name a sample. Has anyone read the book? Lest someone respond with “Well, that’s the OLD Testament. Jesus fixed all that!” I’m sure you are already aware of Matthew 5:17 and Hebrews 10: 28-29. People that think Jesus was all rainbows and kittens are deluded.
It takes gall and ignorance to think that morality comes from the Bible and can only be achieved via religion.
For the record Rev. Bedard, “passive atheism” didn’t get “boring.” It became a liability. I don’t know you and will not make assumptions about your beliefs, but there are many religious folk that would love to force their belief and “morality” on everyone else. There maybe even be religious people you disagree with and you wouldn’t want their beliefs and “morality” forced upon you. The aggressive atheists or atheist apologists are a reaction to growing fundamentalism and infringement on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. It is not the other way around.
The first thing that you have to work on is attitude. Some of your atheist friends will tell you to ignore religious people and let everyone believe what they want. Do not listen to them. It is not enough for you to not believe, other people must join you in unbelief. In some ways your atheism is unfulfilled when there is even one person still believing. Look for any opportunity to tear down someone else’s faith.
Pretty rich coming from someone whose job and “passion is to present the truth of the Bible…” Do you not get paid to spread the Word?
People are free to believe what they want. You have that right and whether you accept the next point is irrelevant: I want you to have that right. I defend it. However, my disbelief and “atheist apologetics” is not an attempt to take the right of that belief away. I have every right to try and show what I think of faith and religion just as you have a right to preach. Your point is a double standard.
One of the atheists greatest weapons is that of offence. One of the reasons religion must be destroyed is that it is offensive. It is not just stands on moral issues or specific ethical rules that are offensive. Anything religious should be seen as offensive. If you are driving down a road and you see a cross that has been placed where someone has been killed in an accident, you should be filled with anger. They might claim that they placed it there to remember a lost loved one but their real reason was to shove religion down your throat. Do not let them get away with that. As an atheist apologist, it is your job to seek the removal of any public display of religion. You have the right to never encounter anything religious and you should fight for that right.
No. Again you are equating a lack of belief with a lack of morals. This is pathetic and false. More to the point of this paragraph; I do not care about public displays of religion as long they are not intertwined with the government. That’s it. Individuals and groups of individual’s have the right to public displays of religion. They do not have the right to use the state, state agencies or agents of the state, in any capacity, to further a religious agenda.
One of the things that atheism has going for itself is that it is the only intellectual worldview on the market. All religion is based on faith, atheism is based on fact. Sure, we don’t know how the universe started or how life began, but those are still facts, just facts that we don’t know yet. Every once in a while religious people will put forward a religious scientist or other academically recognized person. There is an easy way to respond. The fact that they are religious removes any clout they might have based on their intelligence, education or credentials. Religious people are uneducated, no matter how much education they have.
Yes, all religion is based on faith. You may be surprised to learn that atheism is not based on fact. I know! Crazy, right? An atheist…a scary antitheist...just said atheism is not factual! Well, that is because atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. One can neither prove nor disprove god’s existence. Facts are sadly lacking in that regard. However, the lack of facts obviously doesn’t make it impossible to have position on the matter. The premise of atheism is that there is no reason to believe in god so I don’t. Simple. The lack of facts also leads me to not believe in Vishnu, Odin and Xenu. You can see how this works if you try.
The other advantage of atheism is that atheism is the only ethical worldview. All religion is evil and history proves it. Century after century, religion has always been responsible for millions of deaths. Now every once in a while, a religious person will try and pin you down on this. Do not get caught up in the details of how many people died or what the actual role of religion was. Focus on on the big picture that religion kills.
Atheism is neither ethical, nor unethical. It just means that one doesn’t believe in a deity (I know I said this already, but I think I need to drive the point home). Individuals, and dare I say cultures, are ethical or unethical, regardless of religion. I won’t pretend to know the exact reason why, but morality is internal. You ignore plenty of Biblical laws and teachings. Why?
I think you are confusing the criticism from atheists that the religious have a tendency to be high and mighty when they have plenty of skeletons in their closet just like the rest of us.
What about examples of religious people who do good things and atheists who do bad things? Fellow atheist apologists have taken care of this. When we see religious people doing good things, they are either secret atheists who are afraid to admit their atheism or they are religious people who are acting like atheists and are acting in spite of their religion. What about bad atheists? That is easy as well. Those so-called “atheists” are either people who have made another worldview (such as communism) into a religion or have made atheism itself into a religion. Once they make that move into religious thinking and doing, they are setting themselves up for being as dangerous as religious people. So we see, even in this case it is religion that is bad and atheism that is good.
I have no idea where you got this. I have been around the block on the whole atheism vs. religion debate and have never heard the “secret atheist” conspiracy theory. Actually it’s a “No True Scotsman” fallacy and I have never seen it used in that regard. Plenty of Christians pull the “Oh well he’s not a real Christian…” shtick.
The second half of your paragraph here seems to be alluding to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Well, yes, they used "atheism" as a means to subdue religion since religion, as a powerful political force, would have inevitably gotten in the way of their totalitarian political agenda. It was about power. Not about disbelief. Attributing this to “atheism” isn’t intellectually honest. It’s just lazy.
Here are just a few more hints on how you can be a good atheist apologist. Reject the Bible as a historical source. Once it was acknowledged as a religious text, it lost all historical value. Whenever you get confused, just bring up crusades, inquisition and Jihad. Those words answer just about anything. Do not listen to the actual arguments of religious people. This is not a conversation about seeking out the truth. You know the truth. Your job is to argue, ridicule, mock and whatever else you need to do to show that religion is bad. Do not get caught up in arguments about freedom of religion. Freedom of religion should be freedom from religion and therefore supports your position. Do not be tolerant of moderate religious people who mind their own business and feed poor people. As long as they are religious, they are as guilty as a Jihadist who blows up a plane.
C’mon, the Bible is an awful historical document. It’s not devoid of history. It’s just not a good a historical document. There is plenty of it that is provably false. C’mon…
By the way, I do listen to the arguments of religious people. I have for all 35 years of my life, but as of yet not heard a single argument that convinces me that religion, any religion, is valid. I find no truth in religious claims. Do I not have that right? Do you have some superior argument or evidence to the contrary that makes my disbelief invalid? Are you not arguing for the validity of your position while rejecting my ability to do so? Furthermore, is your post not mocking atheism? I don’t care that it does. I’m fine with that. Go right ahead. Obviously I am taking an opposing stance right now and to a degree mocking your position. So what? I find nothing sacred in religion. Rejecting and mocking religion is freedom of and from religion. Do I not have the right to ignore religion? That never happens since it is foisted upon me, but in theory should that not be the case?
Your straw man notwithstanding, tolerance of “moderate religious believers” is on a spectrum and I have yet to understand what “moderate religion” is. Can someone only believe “moderately”? Too often that is an excuse to not take a stand when their religion is used to condemn, discriminate and persecute “others.” Yeah…I’m not apologizing for that judgment.
There is so much more that could be said but this should give you a start. There is a big job to be done. While church attendance is down, belief in God is stubbornly solid. Do what you can to bring this world to atheism.
Good times, Stephen.