atheistsI don’t normally reproduce articles in full from other sources but I came across this on the Guardian website and agreed with it entirely. Obviously it must have something to do with the author being another ‘C Allen’ (Charlotte rather than Chris). To read it in its original location, click here. If not, just read on:

Atheists: No God, just whining

Charlotte Allen, Friday 29th May 2009

I can’t stand atheists – but it’s not because they don’t believe in God. It’s because they’re crashing bores.

Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book, Faith, Reason and Revolution, take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and political journalist Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can’t prove something, it doesn’t exist.

My problem with atheists is their tiresome – and way old – insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What – did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?

Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris (The End of Faith) and Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell), or visit an atheist website or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as God Is for Suckers, God Is Imaginary and God Is Pretend), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse – again and again – the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.

First off, there’s atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us ‘cuz we don’t believe in God. Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16% of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6% call themselves atheists, with another 2.4% weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists’ failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall.

In his online Atheist Manifesto, Harris writes that “no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that … God exists.” The evidence? Antique clauses in the constitutions of six – count ’em – states barring atheists from office.

The US supreme court ruled such provisions unenforceable nearly 50 years ago, but that doesn’t stop atheists from bewailing that they have to hide their Godlessness from friends, relatives, employers and potential dates. One representative of the pity-poor-me school of atheism, Kathleen Goodman, writing in January for the Chronicle of Higher Education, went so far as to promote affirmative action for atheists on college campuses: specially designated, college-subsidised “safe spaces” for them to express their views.

Maybe atheists wouldn’t be so unpopular if they stopped beating the drum until the hide splits on their second-favourite topic: How stupid people are who believe in God. This is a favourite Dawkins theme. In a recent interview with Trina Hoaks, the atheist blogger for the website, Dawkins described religious believers as follows: “They feel uneducated, which they are; often rather stupid, which they are; inferior, which they are; and paranoid about pointy-headed intellectuals from the East Coast looking down on them, which, with some justification, they do.” Thanks, Richard!

Dennett likes to call atheists “the brights”, in contrast to everybody else, who obviously aren’t so bright. In a 2006 essay describing his brush with death after a heart operation, Dennett wrote these thoughts about his religious friends who told him they were praying for his recovery: “Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?” With friends like Daniel Dennett, you don’t need enemies.

Then there’s PZ Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota’s Morris campus, whose blog, Pharyngula, is supposedly about Myers’s field, evolutionary biology, but is actually about his fanatical propensity to label religious believers as “idiots”, “morons”, “loony” or “imbecilic” in nearly every post. The university deactivated its link to Myers’ blog in July after he posted a photo of a consecrated host from a Mass that he had pierced with a rusty nail and thrown into the garbage (“I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date”) in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk – or something.

Myers’s blog exemplifies atheists’ frenzied fascination with Christianity and the Bible. Atheist website after atheist website insists that Jesus either didn’t exist or “was a jerk” (in the words of one blogger) because he didn’t eliminate smallpox or world poverty. At the American Atheists website, a writer complains that God “set up” Adam and Eve, knowing in advance that they would eat the forbidden fruit. A blogger on A Is for Atheist has been going through the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse in order to prove its “insanity” (he or she had gotten up to the Book of Joshua when I last looked).

Another topic that atheists beat like the hammer on the anvil in the old Anacin commercials is Darwinism versus creationism. Maybe Darwin-o-mania stems from the fact that this year marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809, but haven’t atheists heard that many religious people (including the late Pope John Paul II) don’t have a problem with evolution but, rather, regard it as God’s way of letting his living creation unfold? Furthermore, even if human nature as we know it is a matter of lucky adaptations, how exactly does that disprove the existence of God?

And then there’s the question of why atheists are so intent on trying to prove that God not only doesn’t exist but is evil to boot. Dawkins, writing in The God Delusion, accuses the deity of being a “petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak” as well as a “misogynistic, homophobic, racist … bully.” If there is no God – and you’d be way beyond stupid to think differently – why does it matter whether he’s good or evil?

The problem with atheists – and what makes them such excruciating snoozes – is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God’s existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God’s omniscience with free will or God’s goodness with human suffering. Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the “flying spaghetti monster” of atheists’ typically lame jokes. They think that lobbing a few Gaza-style rockets accusing God of failing to create a world more to their liking (“If there’s a God, why aren’t I rich?” “If there’s a God, why didn’t he give me two heads so I could sleep with one head while I get some work done with the other?”) will suffice to knock down the entire edifice of belief.

What primarily seems to motivate atheists isn’t rationalism but anger – anger that the world isn’t perfect, that someone forced them to go to church as children, that the Bible contains apparent contradictions, that human beings can be hypocrites and commit crimes in the name of faith. The vitriol is extraordinary. Hitchens thinks that “religion spoils everything”. Dawkins contends that raising one’s offspring in one’s religion constitutes child abuse. Harris argues that it “may be ethical to kill people” on the basis of their beliefs. The perennial atheist litigant Michael Newdow sued (unsuccessfully) to bar President Obama from uttering the words “so help me God” when he took his oath of office.

What atheists don’t seem to realise is that even for believers, faith is never easy in this world of injustice, pain and delusion. Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses. So, atheists, how about losing the tired sarcasm and boring self-pity and engaging believers seriously?


10 thoughts on “Atheists: No God, just whining

  1. Well, I´m atheist who is not obsessed with God or Bible, although I think it has lot of sadistic and filthy stuff, evil ancient laws and evil deity (mainly OT). Yes, it has beautiful and pure stuff, too. And the fact is that religion can be used for both good and evil, just like atheist anti-religion. But tell that to fundie or career atheist…

  2. You’re complaining about atheists whining, when all you’ve done through out this entire piece, is criticize them because of their skepticism? That seems kind of absurd. Most Atheists aren’t angry, disgruntled ruffians who seek to destroy religion and convert it’s believers; it’s simply a disbelief in the existence of deities. The main difference between atheism and religion is that atheism involves the use of logical deduction to come to a certain conclusion, while Religion relies on faith and Belief to assert their claims.

    “Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the “flying spaghetti monster” of atheists’ typically lame jokes.”
    That’s because it is an absurdity. It seems highly improbable to have a loving, all-knowing, omnipotent god in the world. If such a thing really existed, then the world would be in a much better place. Either God doesn’t exist at all, or he/she is unimaginably apathetic to the entire human condition. I see nothing wrong about coming to that conclusion. It’s simply a matter of being realistic.

    “Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses.”
    If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God exists, then nobody can refute that, because it’s your opinion and your belief; you rely on faith to come to that conclusion.
    I have never seen nor heard anything that could convince me of the existence of a just and loving God, therefore the existence of a God, like the one that’s mentioned in the Bible, fails to captivate me. If a god really does exist, it would have to be an impersonal god that is completely separate from all human thought and action. And if that is the case, then the God of the Bible is pretty much man-made. Again, I’m not a dogmatic atheist, so I’m willing to say that it could work either way. I could believe that ancient mythological creatures exist. I could have faith in the existence of Norse deities, but based upon the evidence that has been presented over decades of research, I’m willing to say that the probability of those things existing is really low.

    1. Ok, so you’re not like one of those awful evangelical religous-y types but you’ve just done exactly the same thing about your atheist beliefs that those who have religious beliefs do, i.e. feel the need to explain to all and sundry why you’re right and all the others are wrong.

      Case closed on the atheists (and all other evangelicals) !!!

      Oh, and the article wasn’t written by me so a point by point exegesis would be better directed at the author (sorry).


      1. I never said that my opinions were right, I said there’s a difference between faith and logic. One relies on faith, the other relies on logic to come a conclusion.
        If I said, “Yes, there is no God at all and that’s final”, then it would mean that the burden of proof is on me to prove that it’s true.
        I’m not saying there is no God at all; that would be just as bad as preaching from the pulpit about fire and brimstone.
        I said if a God truly does exist, then this God would be one that’s divorced from humanity. It would be a God that doesn’t reward, doesn’t punish and doesn’t produce miracles at whim; a God who stays out of the affairs of human beings. I’m talking about the deistic version of God, not the one that the Bible has to offer.

  3. I can understand you both. If the writer doesn’t write this, he/she thinks nobody will notice. But it is kind of hypocritical. Hypocritial, but sometimes true:
    I saw a bumper stick saying ‘if you don’t pray in MY school I won’t think in YOUR church.’
    MY school, you say. Well, it’s MY school too. And you can think as much as you want, but it’s rather annoying to have someone call you unthinkingly stupid for believing what you believe.

    Maybe I am hypocritical…

    And here everyone is, preaching tolerance and understanding. Yipee.

  4. Hello. Its good to be somewhere that isn’t all believe this even though it is so stupid and we hate gays and blah blah blah. Most people believe in god becuase they were brough up with that. Kids believe anything they are told except for a few smart kids who figure it out on their own! If you tell a kid to believe in god or you are going to hell what do you think the kid will believe in??!! If anything religion was a scam from the get go. Making people believe in something. Is it to give purpose to this crappy life?? Is it so we think we are here for a reason. If anything we are here because our stupid parents had some sex! I myself want to think for myself instead of having some stupid bible fuckers tell me what to do and think for what reason. The fear of going to hell which doesn’t even exist by the way! I actually have proof there is no god. I told HIM to kill me. And since I am still alive there is no GOD! Your Welcome!

    1. wow if you really didnt believe in hell or god you wouldnt be so terrified of him! And i personally believe that most kid tend to rebel against their parents unless they truly believe…

  5. This article here seems to use a few iconic “angry militiant atheists” as it’s only example of the behaviour it describes, yet there are millions of atheists in the world…

    Major generalisation.

  6. You’ve obviously gone through a lot. You say you know God does not exist because He didn’t do what you told Him to. Who is the god in this matter, if that’s how you relate to God? I know God exists because He didn’t do what I asked Him…it was the same request that you had. I’m not a stupid bible fucker who is going to preach to you. I’m just a man that has been through hell and back. But my belief in God has given me compassion toward those who don’t know Him, who have also experienced hurts and losses. Instead of growing bitter, faith in Christ made me grow in love.

    I’ve lost my mind three times, succumbing to type one bipolar disorder. I went through a darkness that words cannot express, every time. With every joy of mania comes the darkest hell of depression imaginable. I don’t know why I’ve been through what I’ve been through, but this I do know: God was there. God is there, and you have the choice to deny His reality, or come to know the God who is very personal, very real, very human even. He came to the hurting and to the broken, not to the religious or the self-righteous. Please consider these words as one who cares, and not someone just trying to prove a point. Take care.

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