Atheism and religion on the radio

August 13, 2008

There was a discussion (of sorts) on religion on Ray D’Arcy’s show on the radio playing in work this morning, and lots of the usual stupid myths about atheism were repeated. Here’s a list:

1. Nobody’s an atheist on their deathbed.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote that “anyone who claims there are no atheists in foxholes has obviously never been to the front”. Kurt fought in World War II, so he should know about this kind of thing.

2. Atheists have no moral framework

Have you ever actually met an atheist? Some of the nicest people I know are atheists.

H.L. Mencken said “When people say ‘We need religion’ what they really mean is ‘We need police'”.

3. Albert Einstein believed in God

I’ve two responses to this. First – WRONG! Albert Einstein didn’t actually believe in “God” in the religious sense at all. If you don’t believe me, go and buy a biography of the man and read it, rather than repeating out-of-context quotes at me. And second – even if he did, what difference would that make? Clever people aren’t always right.

4. Atheists aren’t really non-believers at all, everyone believes in some kind of “Power” greater than human understanding and control

Bah. This is a restatement of Thomas Aquinas’s stupid “Argument from degree”. Just because people aren’t God doesn’t mean that someone else has to be.

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2 Responses to “Atheism and religion on the radio”

  1. stoatmusic Says:

    And another thing!

    Points 1 and 4 here really amount to one thing, really – religious people often don’t really believe in atheists’ rejection of faith, and are sure that, deep deep down, we’re all secret believers.

    It’s not true, boys and girls – in fact I myself have the opposite trouble, and find it hard to imagine how anyone could actually believe in God. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that when people say “faith” they really mean “hope”.

  2. Aspentroll Says:

    I cannot believe that atheism or lack of religious belief is not more prominent. There must be thousands or maybe even millions of people who are not willing to make a statement about their beliefs for many good reasons. Some people work in areas where christian beliefs are so strong that it is in their best interests to remain quiet if they are non religious. In other countries you could lose your head if you speak against the commonly known religion. Islam comes to mind here. If the truth were known many so-called Muslim people who have had some education or live in
    enlightened areas of the world might want to free themselves from their religious bondage. Fear of reprisal is enough to keep them silent.

    Atheism, Agnosticism or even simple indifference to any
    religion is basically the same thing, they do not believe.


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