Atheists are a misunderstood bunch, at least in the US.

Most readily accept Christians are a varied group, from Westboro Baptists to Popes we like to Billy Graham to Timothy McVeigh, but atheists are seemingly treated as homogeneous, amoral denizens.

The reality is far more varied.

Some are militant, some are evangelistic, some are egotists. Most are simply people, with children and jobs and bills and morals.

They reject God or Allah or Vishnu the same way others reject Zeus or Athena or Ares.

Part of the problem is they are just regular people. Like regular people they seek to fill their ego needs the same way all people do. They may take inappropriate pride in having no faith as if they makes them smarter than everyone else – in the same way some people of faith do. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean someone is smarter than someone who has faith.

They may use their lack of belief to act like an asshole, the same way a person of faith may use their faith to act like an asshole.

But atheists are just people who might reject some of the things you believe. They can still love you, accept you and be your friend or even your family. They are no less human, no more evil, no less moral than anyone you know. As a group. Again, anyone of any persuasion can be a dick.

If we are all human, we have a responsibility to care about one another. That transcends belief or non-belief.


17 Comments on “Atheists”

  1. Christians are indeed a varied group, but that is not the result of Christianity, which is a very coherent, well defined religion.

    Christians are a varied group because humanity is a varied group.

    If one wants to see nearly monolithic, faith-based conformity, one only needs to talk to a few atheists, all of whom will appear as if their minds were all processed by the same cookie cutter.

    It is precisely that result of atheism (almost mindless conformity) which makes it anti-human, and thus, inhumane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fictionalkevin says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Non-belief is hard for most Christians to comprehend. I use this analogy: I have no faith in Santa Clause. I used to have faith in him. I used to believe he was able to miraculously see me when I was sleeping and awake. I used to believe he knew if I were bad or good and would reward me for being good.

      If you look at people who used to believe in Santa and now don’t, you will realize they are a monolithic community, but in one way only: They just don’t believe Santa exists.

      Otherwise, they are widely varied. As varied as Christians.

      I am curious why you call non-belief “faith based”? What does the atheist exactly believe (in the Hebrews 11 sense)?

      Why do you say atheism is inhumane?


      • Kevin,

        Atheism is a belief, just as non-belief is still a belief.

        Non-belief in God is only hard for reasonable people to comprehend because it means that everything just happened all by itself.

        And comparing the belief in God to the belief in Santa Claus is a logical fallacy often referred to as comparing apples and oranges.

        All atheist arguments are based on logical fallacies, in fact.

        I am always glad to support that claim with proof – upon request, of course.


  2. fictionalkevin says:

    If you believe in a god and you believe in proof, what is your evidence for that belief? For example, if I told you I have an invisible friend, what proof would you accept?


    • Kevin,

      In the Western Tradition, proofs are presented through both reason and the scientific method.

      Inference is a tool of reason used in science when direct observation is not possible.

      Inference is therefore a staple of such sciences as astronomy, cosmology, molecular biology and biotechnology.

      Proofs of the existence of God based on pure reasoning are over 2500 years old.

      The existence of God can be scientifically inferred based on modern scientific discoveries in various areas of science.

      I can present one or two for you if you are interested.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fictionalkevin says:

        I would be happy to read your inferred proofs of the existence of a god. Also, if you could address why that god, if he exists, is Yahweh and not some other god.


  3. enlighten01 says:

    I think Kevin brings up a interesting point. However I disagree that people view all atheists the same. I think many people who aren’t really interested in engaging in an opposing view might try and lump all christians, athiests, or just fill in the ____ into a homogeneous collective.
    You see this on just about any theist vs, athiest forum. Once somebody has truly engaged with another as a human being they can view them as and individual rather than a collective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fictionalkevin says:

      Thanks for making a thoughtful comment. I appreciate you taking the time.

      I agree that in many cases people are often lumped by “the opposition” into a single, homogeneous evil horde. We see that with racism, religions, etc.

      But my experience (the US South) has been different. In several instances I was asked to not participate in an activity I was previously a part of once it was disclosed I was an atheist. You’ll have to take my word for it (because I am not going to take time to write it up here) that it wasn’t because I was suddenly trying to convert or being an ass.

      In my experience, even once someone shares some “human” time with another, they can still have their prejudices cloud their reason and compassion.

      But I didn’t want to take my anecdotal experience as fact, so I did a tiny bit of research.

      According to a study by professors at the University of British Columbia, a dishonest person is likely to be either a rapist or an atheist, not a Christian or a Muslim. The interesting thing about the study is rapists and atheists were rated the same on level of trustworthiness.

      Pew Research also found an overall negative attitude toward atheists.

      I agree with you that some (maybe many) people who actually have a friend who they eventually find is atheist may have a different opinion of that person, but in many cases they see that person as an aberration. Just like the racist who says, “yeah, he’s black, but he’s one of the GOOD ones.”

      My writing, however, was more to let people remember people are people. Some are assholes, some are compassionate. Regardless of their faith or lack of. I think by your comment you would agree.


  4. Ellen Hawley says:

    I have a hunch that many American think all atheists are militant, campaigning, and in-your-face about it because in the US it’s a big production to say you’re an atheist. It scares or shocks enough people that I always had to ask myself if it was worth the bother–assuming it came up, which it generally didn’t. Sometimes I just didn’t have the emotional energy for it. Since I moved to Britain, though, no one much seems to care. Which is fine with me. It’s not the center of my life. I’m happy not to argue about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fictionalkevin says:

      Thanks for commenting Ellen.

      For many reasons, I am not an evangelistic atheist. It doesn’t come up often, though after my divorce several years ago I did make sure I told each woman I dated early on so they would know. None of them seemed to have a problem with it, though none of them were religious.


      • Ellen Hawley says:

        Not a bad way to weed out people who in the long run you wouldn’t be likely to get on with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • fictionalkevin says:

        Being an atheist, especially in the US, means much more than it does in other countries. I felt it was important for someone to know I wasn’t a person of any faith – nor that I had any supernatural beliefs. I felt getting intimate with someone and then later finding they couldn’t deal with my lack of faith could be a problem.


  5. drshellking says:

    Well done.
    A wise person once said about atheists that it’s like “herding cats”; I think that there’s some truth to that. Religion has more practice.

    Liked by 1 person

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