Friday, April 4, 2014

10 Mistakes New Atheists Make

Freshly minted atheists come in all shapes and sizes. Some come from very religious backgrounds, and have survived a lifetime of indoctrination. Others atheists come from a casual, a la carte religious background where church focused on Gentle Jesus only and not his angry dad.

Regardless, there are some basic fallacies that new atheists tend to make. Here are a few.

10. Assuming That Facts Matter.

Not really. Not when you're talking to indoctrinated people. Religion is an emotional relationship between a believer (as the name implies, belief is first, thinking somewhere after that), and their belief system. That's why children are indoctrinated into faith. Very few adults would take the leap of faith if Mom and Dad had waited until they were 18 to tell them about Jesus or Mohamed. Religion is like racism -- the best way to fight such beliefs is for those inflicted to come into personal contact with atheists, in the former case, and people of other races in the latter.

Biblical debunking care of Skeptic Magazine.
9. People Want To Know Stuff.

This is NOT the same as #10. People who are indoctrinated typically don't want to know more about the thing they are supposedly interested in. How many American Catholics actually know that that the holy wafer actually becomes the body of Christ during communion according to Church doctrine? People have been killed over this issue in centuries past. And this tendency applies to the nonreligious, too. Many second generation atheists (atheists born to godless parents) don't want to read about atheism, biblical scholarship, or confront the faith-based industrial complex.

8. We're All In This Together, Right?

Thought the first: I'm an atheist! I'm part of a marginalized group, and that means all the godless act as if we're all on the same team.

Luckily this fallacy will be revealed after being on the internet for five minutes.

7. Nana Still Loves Me.

So, you're a new atheist, and just told your Nana?

Good luck.

Nana is old and thinking about death -- her death. She wants to live with Gentle Jesus forever on Magic Candy Mountain.

You don't want that?

Tough cookies for you.

6. I'm Funny. I'm Going To Be Funny About Atheism On The Internets.

Big mistake. You're not as funny as you think. It's a common fallacy. What you'll do is alienate friends and prospective employers.

Excuse me, I have to go to my McJob right now.

This one is too sad for a meme...

5. Other Minority Groups Will Help Me Out!

Atheists are a minority group. While other people are obviously minorities, we are like Jews -- it isn't until we open our mouths that we identify ourselves as different.

Regardless of the fact, other minorities who have been discriminated against will more than likely NOT assist you in your fight if someone picks on you for being an atheist.

4. Liberals Are My Friends!

The best thing you can say about the typical liberal believer is that they are less likely to be aggressively against atheists as the typical conservative believer. A casual read around the comments section of the Huffington Post reveals that many liberals treat atheists with a "You're just like religious fundamentalists. Why can't you just let people believe what ever gobbledygook they want? Let them believe in Bigfoot, Jesus or the Loch Ness Monster, and when the government cuts all science funding we will still have reality shows searching for Sasquatch." 

3. No One Really Believes That...?

A lot of new atheists are gobsmacked at what different religious groups believe in and fall into shock.

- Mormons believe God has a wife.
- Muslims think Mohammed marrying a kid was a nifty idea.
- Pat Robertson was considered at one time a serious presidential candidate.

2. Everyone Wants The Same Thing!

New atheists have a tendency to think Sure, we may believe (or not believe) in different things, but we all want the same things: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and all that rubbish. And that is conditionally true. People want those things for themselves. For atheists? Not so much.

1. People Will Thank Me For Pointing Out The Obvious.

Kill the messenger is more the rule than the exception for our species. I'm sure we all remember the fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes? It's a cautionary tale about the idiocy that political power and mobs create. The aforementioned Emperor is fooled into thinking that his new clothes are AWESOME, except that there are no clothes on the Chief Fool. The entire populace follows along with the delusion until one child points out the obvious: The Royal Person is walking around naked. In the story the child is heralded for his honesty.

Do you know what makes that story a fairy tale?

The mob didn't burn the kid at the stake for heresy.

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  1. #10 is crucial. The antipathy of religious believers to facts that they don't want to believe never fails to inspire, well, let's just say that "awe" is not the correct word...

    Good list. Thanks!

  2. Never a truer phrase has been uttered "Luckily this fallacy will be revealed after being on the internet for five minutes."

  3. #3 - Yeah, Mormons believe their god has a wife, but ask them what her name is, whydontcha? They'll tell you she's 'too special' to talk about.

    FYI, 'too special' is male code for 'keep them in the background until we want sex or kids'.

  4. I think #9 and #1 are the most important points to understand here. They are universal and they explain a lot of human behavior, from the individual to the societal.


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