a Letter to Atheists

Mailbox USA.JPGThe internet has opened a whole slew of avenues to obtain information, meet new people, and read up on different ideas. Until recently though (roughly about the time I started this blog) I had never had constant contact with individuals from the atheist community. Wow have things changed. Today I read (daily) atheist commentaries and I even contribute on a very popular atheist blog (as the Christian Contributor of course).

Well, after reading countless posts about why Christians are futile in their beliefs, I feel the need to do a post on my own blog for the select amount of people (that’s you) that happen to find it. Some of you may cry “foul” at some of my thoughts, claiming that I am unfairly lumping all atheists into one category, when in reality, atheists are diverse in beliefs and convictions. Note that I do not do this out of ignorance, but out of simplicity… similar to the way atheists tend to write negatively about “all” Christian viewpoints, but then only attack the fundamentalist viewpoint of Christianity. Funny thing is, most atheists were former fundamentalists (no wonder they lost their faith).

So like I said, this post is my attempt to express a displeasure I have with atheists. Time and time again, I read atheist posts that attempt to chip away at Christianity using empirical methodology and other inappropriate (scientific) methods for examining religion. And no matter how “open-minded” the atheist is, there is always an air of superiority… as if they have reached a higher intelligence, and us believers are simpletons willing to believe anything we are told by mom and pop. An atheist generally states that they fell away from religion because they “couldn’t reconcile the inconsistencies, no matter how hard they tried”, or they “logically couldn’t continue to believe in something so contradictory”, etc, etc.

Notice how statements such as those imply that believers must be illogical or just plain stupid for believing in “inconsistencies”. Sure, the intent may not be to belittle us simpletons called believers, but it is so blatantly obvious that it makes me gag.

*sigh* it is quite frustrating.

Some of the greatest minds in the history of the world recognized God, the Godliness of Jesus, and/or the likelihood of a Divine Creator. (Augustine, Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Kant, Einstein… to name a few). Many people who become believers have done so after immense thought and consideration. In fact, there are many atheists who *gasp* convert to religion and see the validity of it in their lives!

If you are a believer and plan on reading atheist commentary, make sure you have a thick skin because you will be hit with insult after insult (sometimes directly, other times indirectly).

My note to atheists:
your theist counterparts aren’t stupid, many are very intelligent (possibly more intelligent than yourself). Don’t fool yourself into believing you contain superior intellect, cognitive, or rational abilities.

Some of you may be surprised at the tone of this message (especially coming from a Christian). However, there is no rule that Christians must always be ‘nice’ (Jesus was hardly nice at times). Sometimes the truth cannot be seen when it is wrapped in pink wrapping paper – sometimes it just needs to be raw, and in your face.

God Bless,
Justin

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9 Responses

  1. An atheist can be as foolish as any theist, but in not believing in the supernatural he is slightly less foolish in a most fundamental way.

  2. I would agree with you that many atheists act superior, but then an atheist is the fundamentalist of non-believers, in fact they ‘believe’ there is no god. That is the word in question ‘belief’. Belief requires no proof, therefore is not scientific in any way. A Scientist or philosopher should not ‘believe’ in a theory or fact. The knowledge they posses comes from observation and experimentation, it does not require belief.

    An objective person would be an agnostic. Since there is no proof one way or the other it is the only logical standpoint until either conjecture can be proven. Agnostics are the equivalent of moderate christians in the world, and I don’t think one would talk down to you. They may not believe your opinion on the existence or not of god, but they would respect your right to that opinion.

  3. it’s “air of superiority”, not “heir of superiority”.
    and humility is lacking on all fronts.

  4. Hi Justin,

    I’m an atheist blogger and it looks like you have been communicating with the wrong atheists. It is unfortunate that you have had so many negative experiences. For the sake of fairness I have to say as an atheist I have seen moral and intellectual superiority complexes from Christians and other theists as well.

    You might want to check out http://friendlyatheist.com (not my blog) for a more positive atheist interaction.

    Thanks, Joe

  5. Justin,

    I am one of those atheists you decribe who used to belong to a fundamentalist version of Christianity. I would like to ask you why you think that using emprical methodology is somehow “inappropriate” when dealing with specific claims about the universe?

    If I assert that the Earth is the center of the universe, I do not get to complain if scientists use empirical methodology to demonstrate that my claim is false. Likewise, if I claim the universe is only 6,000 years old and that all species were individually and seperately created, it’s tough luck for me when the science overwhelmingly says I’m wrong.

    Here’s the problem. You believe that a Jewish carpenter rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, and there are millions who share that belief. A Muslim believes that Muhammad was visited by an angel, and millions share that belief. A Mormon believes that Joseph Smith was visited by a different angel, and millions share that belief. A Scientologist believes the wackiest, most insane things imaginable about an intergalactic overlord named Xenu, and thousands share that belief. Scientology is living proof that you can make up ANYTHING and you will find people to believe it.

    It’s not that atheists are arrogant (though certainly some of us are). It’s that there are such a vast number of different and contradictory belief systems out there all screaming that they are The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth. And they can’t all be true at the same time. Aha, says the Christian, that’s because Christianity is true, and all other religions are false! Except that’s exactly what Muslims say, or Hindus, or Jews, or Mormons, or every other religion ever invented. And none of them can give any sort of empirical evidence of their claims. They all just say “well, you have to have faith!” But faith is nothing more than believing something when you have no evidence to back up your beliefs.

    And if you look at the demographics, you discover that if you’re a Christian, it’s probably because you were raised as a Christian. If you had been raised as a Muslim or a Hindu, that is the belief system you would espouse. I’m not saying it’s completely rigid – many people do convert from one faith to another, or from religion to atheism or vice-versa. But demographically speaking, the single biggest reason people cling to a religion is because that’s what they were raised as.

    Please, stop treating this issue as if it were Christianity on one side and atheism on the other. You don’t believe that Muhammad was a prophet, do you? You don’t believe in the Hindu pantheon, do you? Do you believe in Thor and Odin and Zeus and Apollo and Elegua and Quetzalcoatl and Morrigan and Guan-Yu and Vainamoinen and Amaterasu and Wendego? No? Why not? Every single one of those gods was 100% believed in by the people in the specific culture who believed in a particular god. You are an atheist, my friend, because you reject hundreds of the gods humanity has created over the millenia. We just disbelieve in one more god than you do.

  6. Interesting post. I would suggest that the smug superiority of atheists comes from the same human tendency that fuels Christian Proselytism. Both types feel they have found the superior understanding of the universe and are frustrated that the other argues against it. The frustration might be a side effect of cognitive dissonance. When faced with an philosophy contradicting your own, you might have to evaluate your own beliefs then justify them both internally, and publicly. All this requires great mental effort to do with some humility and thoroughness. To lower the mental frustration it is often easier to assume your own superior intelligence and infallibility. We’re all just trying to make the best sense of the universe each in our own way. I hope you do like wise and don’t get too frustrated and don’t limit yourself in what you consider.

  7. Hi nbdy,
    thanks I changed it.

    Hi Joe,
    not all my experiences have been negative ones, and I totally know what you are saying about Christians having a superiority complex (expecially the whole, “I’m saved, you’re going to hell” outlook on life…which is sickening in itself, and pretty anti-Christ in nature). I’ll take a look at the website you suggested.

    Hi Anonymous,
    you say, “An objective person would be an agnostic. Since there is no proof one way or the other it is the only logical standpoint until either conjecture can be proven.”

    that depends what you define as proof. From a scientific mindset, the proof people know to be true in regards to their religion is “invalid”, yet it still holds as proof. I contend that empirical observation is not the end all in human understanding.

    Hi Former Fundie turned Atheist,

    As far as understanding our natural world around us, yes, sciences is a great tool (I studied psychology extensively in undergrad and really appreciate the scientific method). However, I do hold that religion is the domain of theology and not the scientific method. My post titled, “Science’s Overlooked Problem” addresses this issue to some extent.

    You say, Aha, says the Christian, that’s because Christianity is true, and all other religions are false! Except that’s exatly what Muslims say, or Hindus, or Jews, or Mormans

    Yeah true, but these religions aren’t the only ones asserting the truth, I think I’ll go ahead and lump Atheist in there as well since many presume to know the truth (via evolution or what have you).

    I’m not sure what bringing up of demographics really has to do with my original post, it’s a bit of a tangent.

    As for being an “atheist” as you asserted…yes in the boiled down sense I am (as you have noted)…my usage of “atheist” addresses the dominant cultural notion of “atheist” in today’s society – I am confident people understood that, so there was no need to clarify. If they don’t for some reason, then they’ll find clarification in your reply.

  8. Atheists are only now simply mirroring the behaviors of theists in hopes that some type of empathy can be established between both and we can all live in peace, but that can only be achieved once both lose their egos and realize that there is no known truth. Theists and atheists are deluding themselves if they think there is.

  9. Pamela: Are you asserting that there are no known truths? Or are you specifically referring only to the issue of god?

    Thanks.

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