Why is atheism so misunderstood?

As an example, this is how one Christian thinks about atheism.

“There is no purpose, destiny, meaning or morality.’’

Let’s analyse this statement.

Purpose – ‘the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.‘

Does lacking belief in a God leave us without a purpose, or does it mean we are worthless?

Destiny – ‘the hidden power believed to control future events; fate.‘

Fate is a ridiculous notion, as nothing is predetermined. One simple action can change the course of history. The butterfly effect completely destroys the idea of fate.

Meaning – ‘important or worthwhile quality; purpose.

If an atheist has no meaning, it once again implies that they are worthless, and unimportant.

Morality – ‘principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

This subject has been covered so many times. You don’t need God to understand the difference between good and bad, wrong or right. You need compassion, empathy and understanding. The aim of morality is to minimise suffering and maximise happiness wherever possible.

Using the Bible as a guideline may be helpful to some, but it misses some key points towards an ethical life:

• Non discrimination towards LBGT

• Misogyny

• Racism

• Child abuse

• Animal welfare

• Intolerance towards other religions

• Bestiality (not illegal in 10 U.S. states)

Atheism is perhaps one of the only minority ‘groups’ that it’s acceptable to be bigoted towards. Most atheists I know lead respectable lives, have careers, pay their taxes, follow the laws and understand what it is to be a decent, compassionate human being. I’ve noticed that the majority of hatred comes from American Christianity. Why is their mindset so different to Christians of other nations that are more accepting of atheists? In my daily life, religion simply isn’t something that’s considered, whereas in some parts of America everything is about God and Jesus. Will there ever be a time when an openly gay, atheist presidential candidate has a chance to get into office?

So why all of the hatred?

• Jealousy – Is it because we aren’t trapped within religious constraints? We are free to go about our lives without fear of upsetting God, or being judged and not being allowed into heaven.

• Fear – Do they genuinely think that if we aren’t standing with God, then we are standing with Satan?

• Incomprehension – Do they hate what they can’t understand, as in how can anyone not believe in God? Has their faith blinded them to the possibility that God might not exist?

• Superiority – Does the hate stem from delusions of grandeur? Many Christians declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society. They actually think atheists are subhuman and need to be stamped out. If they could remove us without any retribution, would they?

• Secularism – Could it be because atheists as a majority know that religion shouldn’t be involved in state affairs, and theists think it’s a personal attack against them, when in fact it’s making everyone equal with no bias towards one particular group.

“And The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

I don’t think the above quote from Psalm 14 has helped atheists much. If God condemned atheism, then his flock are going to mindlessly mimic him. One of the reasons I turned to Humanism was to study its philosophy, and why a life without God is the only logical way to live. It teaches you to respect humanity as a whole regardless of a person’s beliefs. I think Christianity can learn a lot from Humanism. Theists claim that a life without God is empty. If it’s empty then it’s our job to fill it with knowledge and truth, as opposed to faith and wilful ignorance.

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