- Atheists hate Christians and Christianity. No, we don’t. Personally, I do hate the atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion, the dishonesty of most religions, and the way that they encourage people not to think or question, and not to trust or use their minds. But I don’t dislike someone just because of their religion.
- Most atheists started out as Christians, and stopped believing because of some bad experience with other Christians. Or maybe we simply started to question, to wonder what happened when we applied the standards of logic, reason and burden of proof to religion, as we already did to everything in our lives. Or, perhaps, we were never believers at all. It happens, you know.
- Atheists have no sense of morality, since morality comes from God. Ah, the old “without fear of hell, there would be nothing to stop people from being bloodthirsty monsters” argument. It may come as a surprise to most Christians, but there are reasons for being “good” other than fear of punishment – which isn’t really a reason, anyway, and only shows Christians in a very bad light. Reasons like human empathy, genuine feelings for others, and, most importantly, rational principles. Behaving yourself just because daddy will spank you otherwise does not make you a nice child.
- Atheists are a unified group, like a church. Are we? I must have missed the memo, then. If anything, I’d say atheists are more diverse than Christians, because we’re less “sheep-like”, and don’t accept things on faith, or from authority.
- Atheists actually know, deep inside, that there’s a God, as that’s perfectly obvious; they are simply too proud and arrogant to admit the existence of something greater than themselves. Not exactly. You see, the existence of a god is only “obvious” if you’ve been brainwashed (either by others, or by your own irrationality) into believing it. We are truly convinced that there’s no god, and are not in denial. Really. I’m serious.
- Atheists don’t really know anything about Christianity. Again, it depends. Some certainly know more than others. However, religion is so ubiquitous that, like it or not, we’ve all had varying degrees of contact with it, with its teachings, and with believers. Besides, a lot of atheists are naturally curious. I, myself, have read the Christian Bible – more than once, in fact. Now, dear believer, ask yourself how many atheist books, magazines or essays you have read. Oh, I forgot, they’re all the work of Satan.
- Atheists’ lives are cold and empty, as they can’t feel the joy and love that comes only from God. Really? I’d never call my life “cold” or “empty” – I have the joys of friendship, love, family, and doing the things I love to do. And, what’s more, I’m self-sufficient, unlike anyone who says “I don’t know how anyone could live without God in their lives” – as many Christians do.
- Atheists are depressive and nihilistic, since they believe there’s nothing after death, and therefore there’s no point to anything. On the contrary, we, unlike you, know how precious life is, because we’re aware that it’s our only one. And, this may come as a shock to you, but we can love our lives, we can feel the joy of being alive, because we don’t believe that “this is the devil’s world”, or that “this is just a test before the real thing”. Life is precious, and it’s our own – not any god’s.
- Atheists are cold and uncaring. No, we are not. Having delusions doesn’t make anyone more “caring”. And, again, we treat life as precious, and do what we can to improve it, both ours and that of our loved ones. On the other hand, many Christians believe life is suffering, and that there’s nothing we can do about it.
- Atheists are arrogant. What, because we dare to use our minds instead of asking “who are we to know”? No, we’re not.
- Atheists want to forbid religious worship. Wrong. We just don’t want to be harmed by it. Want to believe in God, Jesus, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy? Be my guest. Want to teach your kids to do the same? I feel sorry for them, but it will still take many years until people realize how crippling one’s reason in childhood is like a bird crippling its offspring’s wings. (*) Want to give all your money to a guy with a Lexus and a bad haircut? Fine. But don’t try to “save” me, don’t harass me in the street or at my home, don’t get politicians to enact laws to give power to you, don’t try to teach your religion in science classes by dishonestly giving it a new name and disguising it as “science”, and don’t use my tax money to write your idiocies in public places. In short, do as you want, as long as you keep it to yourself – just like I don’t go to your place trying to un-convert you.
- Atheists are incapable of feeling awe at simple things, like a beautiful sunset, as they see everything in terms of cold science, instead of miracles. Ah, unweaving the rainbow – the idea that beauty and poetry only exist if we know little to nothing about how things work. But I ask you: does the fact that you know about astronomy, physics and light make the sunset any less beautiful? Was it beautiful only because it seemed “magical” – or “an act of god” – to you?
- Atheists live their lives in constant fear of death. Few people actually want to die – those that do are either depressed and suicidal, or are Christians who believe that the world is evil, “please, Lord Jesus, take me”, and all that. A reasonable fear of death is perfectly natural. Also, we may believe that this life “is it”, which makes us treat it as precious, but, at least, we don’t think that there’s a chance of going to a place where you burn and are tortured for eternity…
- Most criminals are atheists (or, alternatively, the percentage of atheists among criminals is higher than among the general populace). Oddly enough, the opposite is true.
- Atheists are stubborn and closed-minded. Not unless you define “closed-minded” like this. But, as Ebon said, Ask any believer what would convince him he was mistaken and persuade him to leave his religion and become an atheist, and if you get a response, it will almost invariably be, “Nothing – I have faith in my god.” Although such people may well exist, I personally have yet to meet a theist who would acknowledge even the possibility that his belief was in error. Many theists, by their own admission, structure their beliefs so that no evidence could possibly disprove them. Atheists, on the other hand, are easy to convince – all it requires is for God to show himself in some unfakeable way – say, for instance, by doing any of the many things he supposedly did in the Old Testament…
- Atheists make bad parents. Again, there are good and bad atheist parents, and good and bad Christian parents. Atheist parents, however, would never do what Abraham was about to do to his son Isaac (and Christians see Abraham’s behavior as laudable!), because, to most atheists, our lives are our own. In fact, even if there was a God, it would not follow that our lives are his.
Note: There’s already a list, The Top 10 Atheist Myths, by Dave Silverman, but mine isn’t inspired by that one. I agree with what Silverman writes, but I don’t think all of those are necessarily the top myths. Not to say my list is better, but these are what I think are the top myths… and a couple of them are actually in both lists. Besides, my list has more myths than his, which obviously makes it better.
(*) There used to be something harsher there, where I seemed to (but didn’t) compare teaching religion to children to sexual abuse. I just meant to say that it was crippling, and should be seen as we see parents who refuse their kids medical treatment because they’d rather put their faith in god: bad parents who aren’t capable of being parents. As it was misunderstood, I edited it. Any (pre-edit) comments about it are still below, though.
EDIT: Don’t believe that many Christians actually think some these things about atheists? Please read my new post, Are the myths about atheists real or not?
EDIT 2: Because there are so many comments, and because most of them (including some of my replies) were getting too far from the original subject, I’ve closed the comments for this post, and created a new one: Christian myths about Atheism: discussion. If you want to comment, or reply to this post’s comments, please go there.
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