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Why Do Atheists Care So Much About Disbelief?

September 29, 2011

One thing that atheists get attacked about is the fact that we focus so much of our energy on something we don’t believe in. Why do we spend so much time talking about a god we don’t believe in? Greta Christina, who recently moved to Freethought Blogs (you should check them out), has been posting some of her old archive posts and recently pulled one up that answers this question far better than I could.

Here are some quotes from the blog:

My belief system is not, in fact, based on “what isn’t.” And neither is that of any atheist I know. My conclusions about “what isn’t” are only part of my belief system, and not necessarily all that big a part. I have a positive worldview, a set of priorities and values that shape how I live.


The negative part of that process? It’s absolutely crucial. We can’t say, “Yes, the earth orbits the sun,” without saying, “No, the sun does not orbit the earth.” We can’t say, “Yes, the universe is expanding and will continue to expand,” without saying, “No, the universe is not in a steady state.”

And this one, especially, sums up my views:

It was being open to the universe that convinced me there was no God, and no supernatural world.

So go on over and read the full blog post!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2011 5:10 pm

    a natural universe means no supernatural agency at work

    we care about what people beleive because they keep trying to validate it in the public square

    were it doesn’t belong

    • November 2, 2011 3:05 pm

      There is that, and it is an important reason. Especially when they try to use their beliefs in the supernatural to validate their anti-science stance or to infringe on the rights of others. But for me, there is another reason that I feel we must oppose religion: I was brought up in a religious home, I was taught these things as a child before I had the ability to reason them out. There are millions, if not billions, of children being brought up in the same way. Yes, people have a right to raise their children as they see fit–to a point. If it harms the child then it goes beyond that right. You don’t have the right to cut off your child’s fingers, even if you firmly believe it is the best way to discipline them. You shouldn’t have a right to force beliefs on your child before they are able to rationally examine them. (Yes, the two examples are very different, raising your child as a Christian isn’t nearly as extreme as cutting off their fingers as long as you aren’t raising them as fundamentalists or something, in which case it might be.)

      This comment is probably the thing that I will have said in my whole time blogging that will offend those friends of mine who are readers and who are Christians. However, I firmly believe this and will stand by it, I am sorry if anyone takes offense at it and I mean it as nothing personal against how any of you live your lives or treat your family (I know you love them very much and would never do anything you thought would harm them).

      • November 2, 2011 4:06 pm

        I agree, teaching children religion amounts to child abuse

        it’s not preparing them to be in a diverse world

        • July 23, 2012 2:43 am

          We teach children all sorts of irrational things that damage them, because we all hold irrational, destructive beliefs. Most of what comes under the heading of “romantic love” is damaging and irrational. (Arguably, more people have killed for “love” than for religion.) The idea that “responsible” people must grit their teeth through 40 years of work they hate is damaging and irrational. (People die from that every day.) What’s the difference?

        • September 5, 2012 10:42 pm

          I would never teach a child things about love like “you have to find that one special someone” or anything, either. I’d tell them that love is a psychological response to certain biological, emotional, and social cues.

          Also would tell a child that they shouldn’t spend every drop of energy they have on work, that they should have other things in life they enjoy and work is only a means to an end.

          Why should we continue teaching children irrational things that conflict with reality just because there are other irrational things we may believe? In what way would that make any sense?

          The harm a religious upbringing can do is great, from giving people justification for hating others based on race, sexuality, gender, or religious views to encouraging a disbelief in science (even liberal religious thought undermines science in that it encourages magical thinking), and so many other things in between.

        • September 5, 2012 11:17 pm


          sounds reasonable to me

  2. Mike permalink
    November 10, 2011 1:02 pm

    Happy to have stumbled into your blog.

    A little late to the post, but in my POV in 10 points…

    We have a (former) President (George Sr) that said Atheists can’t be good Americans which implies that there is something dishonest and unpatriotic about my beliefs when this is supposed to be a society that keeps religion separate from government.

    We are CONSTANTLY bombarded by all manner of subliminal (and not so subliminal) demands for adherence

    There is a typically, but not always, unspoken rule that demands that I must accept the religious belief of divine power that “allows” for the greatness of my country and community.

    It belittles the real efforts of real people

    It justifies immoral action of the religious in the name of their deity

    It muddies (regresses) real science and education

    It complicates political needs

    It complicates diplomatic needs

    It is used as a marker of social acceptability

    It wastes limited money and resources that could very well be used in other constructive manner – and even where it is used in constructive manner it does so in perpetration of a fraud

    All the arguments come down to one simple statement. I do not believe in magic.

    Keep up the good fight. I have been looking for inspiration to start posting on this as well.

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