False Assumptions About Atheism
There is a lot of false information and social beliefs out there about atheists. This is the cause of the majority of the hate and prejudice felt towards atheists. Below are answers to the most common false assumptions about atheists.
A fair site for Christians by Christians about Atheists
Is Atheism a Religion?
"Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color."
Unlike a religion, atheism is not organized under a common doctrine (belief system). The only shared opinion among atheists is the nonexistence of a deity. There are a few common beliefs
among atheists such as views regarding morality, religion and spirituality, but these beliefs vary greatly and are outside the definition of atheism and thus are not required to be an atheist.
Largely, atheism remains unorganized and as some would say, "organizing atheists is like trying to heard cats".
Are Atheists immoral?
For the most part, immorality and morality are subjective. Every culture, civilization, belief system, family and individual has their own definition of what being moral means. There are however a few common ideas derived from natural laws that are considered immoral such as deceit, theft, murder any any other kind of caused suffering. (see Humanism
Statistically speaking; atheists make up a smaller percentage of the prison population than the general population and have a lower divorce rate than the major religions.+
There is no evidence that atheists are any less moral according to their society’s cultural beliefs than those of the society who subscribe to a religious doctrine. Most atheists consider themselves moral. Many atheists call themselves Secular Humanists; they adhere to a set of beliefs that promotes human values without specific allusion to religious doctrines.
From: CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY:
"Can Atheists be ethical?
The answer to this question is a definite, 'Yes.' ...They are subject to the same laws of our country (and other countries). They have a sense of right and wrong. They must work with people and being unethical in society would not serve them very well. It is practical and logical for an atheist to be ethical and work within the norms of social behavior. Atheists, generally, are honest, hardworking people."
+ U.S. population, see statistics page for further information.
Are atheists Satanists?
As stated above (Is Atheism a religion?), atheists do not subscribe to a common doctrine (belief system). Beyond that, Satan is part of the Christian belief system. If an atheist were to believe in the Christian doctrine, he would also most likely have to believe in God and therefor would not be an atheist.
A few atheists do side with Satanists because they believe in the Humanistic and anti-Christian parts of the Satanic doctrine. This however is not common and most Satanists are theists.
Atheists are also commonly accused by Christians and other theists as being the workers of Satan (evil) or of being guided by Satan (evil). As far as I know we are all acting of our own free will.
Atheists don't believe in anything!
This, like much of the information out there about non-believers is pure propaganda intended to make the atheist out to look like he lacks direction and purpose in life without faith (see picture). This is simply not true. Atheists believe in all the same things believers do except for god and religion. Non-believers tend to focus more on what can be observed. See Associated Philosophies below.
Atheists are angry or depressed!
Atheism as a whole is not derived from psychological conditions such as depression. Certainly there are some who act out and turn their back on the church due to depression and some join the church due to depression but those cases are not typical. In general, most non-believers live healthy lives and reject faith based on reason rather than emotional problems.
If believers are in general, happier than non-believers, that says just as much about the psychological effects of religion in numbing the mind. See 'God and the Brain'.
"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." - George Bernard Shaw
Are atheists communists?
Atheism has nothing to do with political beliefs. Atheism is part of the Communist and Socialist doctrines, but atheists are not necessarily Communists or Socialists. Many point to the actions of Communist Russia, China and North Korea as examples of what atheists in political power would do. Communism uses an enforced stance of atheism to squash religious decent and instill it's own supreme dictatorship. Most atheists would not replace God with an all powerful government, that would be hypocritical. There is a strong belief in the values of freedom brought by a secular government.
There are no atheists in fox holes!
An argument that only those who believe they are protected by God are true patriots and are brave enough to fight for their country. Simply not true. Sure atheists are smart enough to realize their mortality, but will and do defend their country and their beliefs.
Is there Prejudice against Atheists?
Just ask any atheist, chances are they will answer, "absolutely!" Many try to disguise discrimination against non-believers as a moral issue. Much of that is discussed in False Assumptions. That rhetoric gravely mirrors that which is used against homosexuals today and was used only decades ago against African-Americans. As acceptance for other minority groups and religions grows, Atheists will probably be the last to gain the protection under the 'PC' umbrella.
It has never been advantageous for religions to be accepting or even tolerant of Atheism and doubters. Their smear campaigns, criticism, censorship and punishment of dissenting opinions throughout history still echos today. It was seen strongest in the anti-communist era with Mccarthyism and is now seen in areas dominated by radical Islam.
The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press and George H. W. Bush, on August 27 1987.
"What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"
"I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me."
"Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
"Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?"
"Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."