It is time once again to put on our neoprene and gas mask waders and step in, looking for the dumbest arguments Christians embarrass themselves in.
The list starts here. We have far exceeded the initial target of 25 and are continuing.
Stupid Argument # 42: Why do atheists worry about someone they don’t think exists?
A Christian source put it this way:
How can you hate someone you don’t believe in? Why the hostility? If God does not exist, shouldn’t atheists just relax and have a good time before they become plant food? Why is it important if people believe in God?
We don’t care about the gods; we care about their followers. The gods do not cause problems in society, but people who think they are doing the will of the gods to do.
This argument seems to assume that Christianity is nothing more than good works, community, mutual support, and other worthy aspects that no one would object to. This assumes that nothing bad comes from believing the wrong things. They imagine that Christianity has no more destructive impact on society than knitting, but Christianity in America does more than just good works. Christians (not all, of course, but many) like to get involved. They:
- push for creationism in public schools,
- require prayers at government meetings,
- obstruct same-sex marriage and find other ways to make life miserable for gay people,
- block the use of fetal stem cells used for research,
- vote for politicians they admit to being terrible people just because they are against abortion,
- make further attacks on the separation of Church and State,
and more. And these are just their attacks on society – within their own communities, people can be ostracized for thinking about bad things or traumatized as children by talking about hell and demons.
Looking back, we see a bigger problem in the fact that religion encourages people to accept things as true without sufficient evidence. They convince themselves that Jesus walks with them in adversity and that God advises them when they are at a crossroads, but this is only a heartwarming inner talk.
When the drawbridge of spirit skepticism is abandoned for Jesus, other ideas can emerge with close scrutiny like QAnon and other conspiracy theories, evolution and climate change denial, phobia of vaccines, etc. Christianity is more than a nice old lady walking the block to church on a hot Sunday in June or people donating for good works. It can be the gateway drug to sloppy thinking that is much more dangerous.
Atheism makes sense as an organized movement
A variant of this argument asks why we do not see a parallel with atheism (an organized movement versus something) with, say, stamp collecting. If it makes sense for atheists to come together under the common belief in the absence of gods, why aren’t there organizations, blogs, and conferences for non-stamp collectors?
Sounds like a good question until you think about it. The comparison doesn’t work, so let’s fix it.
- Make stamp collecting in the United States an industry with revenues of $ 100 billion a year, all of which are tax deductible, but keep those revenues secret. That is, requiring all nonprofits in the country to open their financial records to show that they deserve nonprofit status except stamp collecting organizations (more here) .
- Get the leaders of the stamp collecting industry into public affairs (or go to bed with the politicians who will) and ask them to complain when the benefits of stamp collectors are under attack.
- Ask politicians allied with industry to play Chicken Little, pointing to Gayz or abortion or vaccines and insisting the sky is falling. It is only by electing them that society can be turned around.
- Ask the leaders of stamp collecting to declare that their organization is supernaturally moral despite being riddled with financial and sex scandals.
- Amend Article VI of the United States Constitution to prohibit any public stamp collecting test of political candidates, but make it a de facto test anyway.
Now it’s an organization that could easily have organized the opposition. Maybe now it’s clear why atheism exists as a movement.
This relates to Stupid Argument # 24: You Really Believe In God, where we find out that atheists have to believe in God because we talk so much about him.
Protect me from your subscribers.
– seen on a bumper sticker
(This is an update to an article that originally appeared on 4/12/2017.)
Image by h gruber (CC BY 2.0 license)