Atheists are Untrustworthy

Polls over the past several years have shown that most people don’t trust Atheists.  Atheists have been likened to rapists in terms of their trustworthiness, and they are consistently ranked less trustworthy than people of any theistic religion.  After all, if a person is God-less, how on Earth could they be trustworthy?  Whereas priests who molest little children are often looked at as pillars of morality.

Why is it that Atheists are not trusted by Theists?  I find the question interesting because many of the people who are Atheists once were Theists, and therefore, would have once been trustworthy to those non-trusting Theists.  Here are my thoughts on why I think this is:

1.  Since most Atheists were once theists, this implies they came to the exact opposite conclusion that theists come to.  The views aren’t at all compatible…either there is a God or there isn’t, or more specifically, you either believe in a God or you don’t.  Therefore, Atheists are different.  It’s a common theme in human behavior that people fear things that are different.

2.  Religion and the religious teach that Atheists are bad.  The bible says things like “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.”  Evidently, atheists are incapable of philanthropy.  But moreover, there seems to be a fierce anti-intellectual theme in many Christian sects, and the reason for that is that the God argument is not sound logic.  If religious people were to invite atheists to make a case for their (dis) belief, it would put their own faith at risk.

3.  The inescapable outcome, according to Christians, is that Atheists will burn in hell for their thought crimes.  Because they believe this, they believe they are protecting themselves, their family, and their community by shunning Atheists.

I find people’s fear of atheism to be telling of their intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.  Consider physics and string theory.  Some physicists find string theory stupid, or at least not-at-all useful.  Therefore, either a physicist believes that string theory is likely to lead to profound discoveries, or it will likely not.  Yet, a string-theory rejectionist can listen to a string-theory advocate without making claims to the other’s trustworthiness.  If the string-theory advocate put forward compelling arguments, it may even help to bolster the other’s opinion of them, even if the string-theory advocate failed to convince his audience.

I find that people of faith often don’t want to consider arguments for atheism.  That, by itself, is understandable.  If I really, truly believe something, lack of investigation would probably lead me to reject claims that are conflicting to my belief.  I don’t think it’s immoral to ignore claims that are inconsistent with your beliefs, but I do think it’s dishonest and unethical.

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Eternal Punishment

The teachings given in Christianity is that if I don’t believe or if I don’t surrender all of my love to a supernatural being whom I’ve never seen, and for whom there is no reliably conclusive evidence, then I will suffer the human equivalent of being doused in gasoline and burned alive. But unlike in the natural world, where my excruciating, fire-induced suffering would end in death, this supernaturally imposed punishment, as a result of my disbelief or failure to love enough, would never ever end. I would burn forever.

My children also supposedly live within this framework, and would suffer this fate if they dared commit the same thought crime I did.

This God, who seemed to have no qualms about revelation in the pre-video era, and who at any moment could reveal himself in a reliably observable, modern way, thus putting away the question forever as to their existence, would burn my children and me for our thought crimes, and for using the deductive and inductive logic that he supposedly gave us. Not only that, but any child or adult who dared question the existence of this invisible deity, now or at any time in history, would also be subject to the same torture. The answer, according to Christianity, is to give unending and unearned love to this abusive, jealous, rageful, torturous, human-burning God.

An apologist of this hell-fire wielding supernatural entity might say something like “God is love”, or “God is the authority on morality”, or “you have the option to believe”, or that “God gives you the opportunity to apologize”, or that “God is forgiving”, or that “God show’s mercy”…all you have to do is quick say a little prayer that you believe and that you are sorry for having the audacity to use your brain in a way that is proven to be the most reliable way to distinguish fact from fiction.

Personally, I’ve never claimed to be a God, but it would never occur to me to douse a loved one in gasoline and burn them if they didn’t love me, or if they didn’t believe in me. If I loved somebody, and if I had a hand in creating them, and a vested interest in their well-being, the thought of burning that person because of what they think is repulsive to me. To take that one step further, if burning my children wasn’t repulsive to me, what would that say about me? It would would make me a monster, clearly worse than my unbelieving, sinful victim.

With about as much certainty as I’ve ever had in anything, I assert that the inclination to burn your children for eternity because of their thoughts is neither loving, merciful, nor moral.  The god Abrahamic practitioners imagine is quite wicked, indeed.