Misconceptions About Atheists

There are a lot of misconceptions about atheists.  Some of them are amusing, some are bewildering and some are scary.  I’d like to clear a few of these up.  Disclaimer: As I’ve said before, atheists only agree on the lack of gods, nothing else, so I can only speak for myself and the other atheists I know. 

Atheists hate God.

Nope, you can’t hate something you don’t believe in.  It would be like hating unicorns, the man in the moon or the monster under the bed. 

Atheists worship Satan.

Nope, you can’t worship something you don’t believe in.  We don’t believe in supernatural beings, good or evil.

Atheists have no hope.

No hope for what?  I think we have as much hope as anyone else.  We hope our families will be healthy and happy, just like anyone.  We hope good things will happen to us, we just don’t expect miracles. 

Atheists think religious people are stupid or inferior.

I don’t think that.  I think they are deluding themselves for various reasons, but I have known religious people who are very intelligent.  I’ve also known some who were wonderful human beings, compassionate and loving.  I’ll admit I have to remind myself of this when I see Michele Bachmann, Pat Robertson, the Taliban or the Westboro Baptist Church members, but I do understand those people are extremists and not like most religious people.

Atheists want to make religion illegal.

Really?  I swear I read this.  Could have been a troll, of course.  I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to pass laws because of it.  I’m strongly in favor of freedom of religion, which I think also includes freedom from religion.  By that I mean that I shouldn’t be forced to listen to religious dogma or participate in religious activities.  We haven’t quite reached that point, yet.  We still swear with “so help me God” in court, we still have prayer at public events and all taxpayers subsidize tax-exempt religious institutions.

Atheists hate Christmas.

Just listen to the song “White Wine in the Sun” by Tim Minchin.  That pretty much says it all about Christmas. 

We’re also quite aware that most of the Christmas traditions have their roots in paganism or commercialism.  Many of us just pick and choose what we want to do and are happy for those who are enjoying the holiday. 

Atheists get mad if you say “God Bless,” “Happy Easter,” or “Merry Christmas.”

Some may, but I don’t.  I have more important things to worry about.  If I think about it at all, I might think it’s odd for someone to assume everyone they meet is Christian, but I don’t really care.  I don’t care about “In God We Trust” on our currency, either, though I would rather it wasn’t there. 

Atheists don’t know anything about the Bible (or other religious text of your choice.)

I think I know more about the Bible than most Christians.  I’ve read the whole New Testament and most of the Old.  I’ve read parts of the Koran.  I have studied Christianity and other religions.  I went to church three times a week during my childhood.  I’ve talked to religious people about their beliefs and tried to understand their point of view.  Isaac Asimov said, “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

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