• ‘Atheists Must Believe X’

    Often times I will open up my e-mail in the morning and see some incoherent rant from some anonymous religious believer. One of the more common rants I get informs me that as a “materialistic atheist” I must believe X. The authors usually go on to show that X is immoral, ridiculous, or faith-based.

    These e-mails are always amusing because X is almost always a non-sequitur. For example, the latest theist claimed that as a “materialistic atheist” (as if that was some denomination of atheism or something), I must believe that I am a “quantum computer with quantum encryption.” I’m not even sure what that means or how me not believing religious bullshit relates at all to quantum computers or quantum encryptions.

    Here is the bottom line on these types of arguments. As an atheist, I don’t have to believe anything. I just have to be skeptical of religious bullshit. In other words, I just have to be able to say, “That whole God thing doesn’t seem to match up with reality; do you have any evidence?”

    Okay, I lied. I don’t even have to be that “in your face” to be an atheist. Some atheists might not have ever heard or considered the concept of God at all. They aren’t even asking for evidence because they might not have even heard the ridiculous story yet.

    As for me, I have heard the stories and I once even believed one of them. I certainly considered a few of them at various times in my life, but in the end every one of these religions are ridiculous and I am more than just a little skeptical. In fact, I’m reasonably certain they are all bullshit. Not all atheists have to believe that, but for me, I believe religions are all bullshit and no gods exist. I remain open to any evidence that might convince me otherwise, but I am not expecting any religious believer will provide any evidence at all.

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    Category: Religion

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    7 comments

    1. I thought materialism was a claim related to but more specific than naturalism and possibly synonymous with reductionism; something like “everything is made of matter and energy” or “everything is made of fundamental particles obeying relatively simple laws”. In which case the response to ‘quantum computer with quantum encryption’ is yes, your brain is a computer, but probably not as sophisticated as all that because neurons are pretty big compared to quantum effects.

      The non-sequiturs related to materialism are usually weird moral or philosophical claims, like “how can you justify saying murder is wrong without a god telling you” or “how can you tell your brain can reliably determine truth without a god telling you”.

    2. honestly i am just curious, did you (dangerous talk) ever believe in anything in the past, and have something change your mind?

        1. thanks! glad you took the time to write that all down. lol… well it is interesting to me and i can relate to your experiences in college… that was an odd time for me with religion. i dont want to loose your atten. so we’ll just leave it at that for now… i am a christian.. per say, i am a “Jesus-ian” lol christian is so vague. anywho, thanks again for sharing.

      1. I think it’s an error to assume that atheists “don’t believe in anything.” They don’t believe in GODS—-no more, no less. Plenty of atheists believe in democracy, justice, that the Cubs will go all the way this year, etc.

        Atheism tells you nothing about what a person might otherwise think or believe.

    3. Also, “Materialism” is a straw-man. it’s a complete and utter exageration of something that’s not even a theory and barely even an observation. It’s mostly a quirk of language, really.

      All living things and inanimate objects in the universe are made of some kind of element or combination of elements. Everything on the periodic table is classified as “material” in other words, we believe everything is made of “material” and “material” is basically anything.

      To us, “things are made of stuff” is basically meaningless. But Theists insist on assuming we get all of out philosophical and political ideas from “things are made of stuff”.

      Meanwhile, how often have you heard a Scientist talk about “materialism”? Not often. French people don’t call their bread “French bread”, chinese people don’t call everything they eat “chinese food”, Scientiststs don’t say the word “material” a billion times. The word is so broad in definition it’s basically meaningless unless you also believe in ghosts and elves etc.

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