Atheist Peanut Gallery

Two weeks back ABC Nightline aired a special segment on Atheist organizations in America. The Friendly Atheist had a wonderful live-blogging post on how ABC choose to go for controversial shock value instead of doing honest reporting. A must read (no seriously it provides context needed for the rest of the post).

Not surprisingly, Fox News ran with the "atheist cult" narrative. As their audience mainly consists of conservative Christians, the sheer ignorance or hatred of atheists in most of the comments is not surprising either. Instead of my standard type of post, I decided to lift a random sampling of these comments and respond to them. I admit that I get more aggressive with some of these than I usually prefer to, but sometimes the best response to bigotry is ridicule.

Grammar and spelling are left as I found them, a few have been pruned down for length, and there were a couple from the pages that I sampled that were so nonsensical I didn't want to waste your time on them. Other than that, this is an authentic taste of what atheists see every day for the offense of not shutting up and hiding out of sight.

Athiesm IS a religion all it's own. When you spend your time denying God or Jesus Christ, it's a religion.

Starting off with an oldie but a goody.  It's been said a thousand times in a thousand different ways but I'll say it again: if that's a religion then refusing to play dodge ball is exercise.

I've got to admit that at some level they have a point. I am religious and believe in baptism. I also believe in choice, or "agency." I believe that baptism is wrong and meaningless if the person being baptised is not given the opportunity to choose it for himself or herself. If someone had baptised me when I was too young to know what it was or agree to it, I would be upset too.

Exactly. The de-baptisms are about having fun with a community of like-minded people in a silly way. But it also has symbolic value, protesting the practice of defining a child by a religion before they are old enough to understand it. I was baptized before I was a year old, I couldn't possibly understand Christianity, so in what way was I a "Christian child?" I was a child of Christian parents, and as I grew up, I was also a child indoctrinated to believe the Christian religion before my capacity for skepticism and critical thinking could develop.

Richard Dawkins has (correctly, in my opinion) made the dangerous proposal that this [Edit: labeling and indoctrinating] is a form of child abuse. By being de-baptized atheists are acknowledging their atheism as a right of passage (an important part of any culture or community) and showing their objection to the practice of defining a child's identity before they can choose for themselves.

If one truly believes that everything we see and experience in this world today started from nothing with a big bang then that is the height of arrogance. To paraphrase the words of Charlie Daniels, if that was true then you could put a pile of scrap metal in a field and it would turn into a 747. So stand toe-to-toe with any Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or whatever in the presence of God and explain how you refuse to humble yourself like the rest of the believers on this earth. Good luck with that!! .

I am at a loss how following evidence in the natural world to likely conclusions (scientists don't claim absolute certainty, and by the way atheism and scientific thought do not always go hand in hand) is arrogant. You claim to know with absolute certainty that a god, your god who you get to speak to on a daily basis and cares about you and your single insignificant life out of billions, created everything in the entire universe.

That 747 analogy is idiotic, I won't waste my readers time debunking that zombie-argument again. If you haven't seen why it's a failed argument, Google "blind watchmaker" or visit the Talk Origins link on the sidebar.

Your last bit is also nonsense: Buddhists worship no gods, they are atheists; and Hindus are polytheists and fail the 1st Commandment (and many point out with pride how close their creation myth comes to matching scientific ideas of our origins). You fail to realize that not all religious people are on your side when it comes to your ideas of origins, gods, and the afterlife. If I find myself in that unlikely situation, I will simply shrug my shoulders and say "You're the omniscient one, you would have know what it would have taken to convince me."

If it is not true why are they bothering to be debaptised,could it be that god is real and they, the atheists are spawns of the devil. Sure looks like they do believe and are evil.

Or could it be they are having fun and mocking ridiculous religious beliefs? I've met several of the people from that segment, they are very nice and not evil at all. In fact I'm not sure how you can extrapolate "evil" from any of the activities that were shown, unless your definition of evil is "doesn't believe in my god."

Just one other proof that atheism/naturalism is more like a religion...naturalism is a presumptuous dogma held by faith, the other unanswerable questions they HOPE to find...Dawkins and Hitchens can be high priests and the main doctrine is molecules to man-evolution. I have even come across creeds that have been formulated.

Well at least you got it right that atheism and naturalism are different things and not dependent on one another. Naturalism isn't a "presumptuous dogma," it's the position that everything we can objectively detect is part of the natural world, and we have no good reason to assume there is anything beyond that.

Wow. Just a whole lotta stupid going on there. Wow. Godless hippies.

Lawyers, businessmen, truck drivers, doctors, fathers, mothers, teachers, accountants... Hippies? I don't know how many people from the Cincinnati Atheist group went to the convention, but I saw a lot of faces I recognized, and my guess is that groups from other parts of the country are equally diverse.

I thought they'd baptize with kool-aid.

No, that would be cults of theists that believe in an afterlife. You have more in common with the kool-aid than we do.

No one thinks about God more than atheists. They are fascinated by Him!

And Glenn Beck is fascinated by Hitler, your point?

Try your philosophy on Islamic religious members and see what happens :-)

We do, fortunately we live in a free society where that is allowed. Atheists in theocratic countries get killed for apostasy, that's why atheists support secular government.

I wonder if they would like to mock Muslims in a similar manner?

All the time, all theists hold irrational beliefs, and theists of all religions try to force those irrational beliefs onto others. American atheists generally spend more time on Christianity only because that's where many of us came from and that is what we are confronted with everyday.

Blaming your parents for your position or beliefs is just weak. I respect a person's right to believe what they wish but that also means they have a responsibility to question and reason on their own. Blaming parents for your religious upbringing is the same as blaming them for your birth. You are here now. You are an adult. Don't blame others for your thoughts and actions today. Weak.

So by taking responsibility for their beliefs, questioning them, and finding them baseless and unreasonable these people are weak? Because that's what they've done, stood up to the indoctrination of belief, and Christian identity that was imposed on them before they ever had a chance to decide for themselves. Many have done this at great risk to their relationships with family and friends. Strength.

(....continued) Kagin is obviously misleading these people, but I'll break this down for those who might not see it: Baptizing a child who has not yet personally accepted Christ as their personal Savior- who has no understanding of what that decision entails and signifies-does nothing. Nada. Don't believe me? Look it up. We are "saved" through faith, not by works- that is repeated numerously throughout the NT...

...Now, for our Atheist friend: if he is so self-indulgent to state that there not only is no God who adores us, His children, so much that He sent a Way out of the hole we've dug ourselves into-but to go beyond simple unbelief and faithlessness-which is his own choice, no disrespect here-but this dude is saying that he can "undo" something that never really DID anything in the first place....proves that even those who claim Christians are "sheep"...are Sheep themselves.

Ah I get it: you think that we think that the hair dryer has magic powers! Nope, it's just symbolic, a rite of passage ceremony that strengthens community bonds and group identity. There is nothing religious about that. As social creatures, all humans have need for such ceremony and group reinforcement.

Proper De-Baptification Procedure as per Brother Maynard - Place the Non Believer in thy bathtub and covereth him in Holy Water. Plug in thine Dryer of Hair. Turn on thine Dryer of Hair. Toss in thine Dryer of Hair while it is stilst on. The Non Believr has now completed the Debatification ritual and can now commence a long discussion with Old Man Time.

Hateful crap, doesn't need any response.

Why are so many people so negative? So you don't believe in God. You can believe what you want but stop making fun of others beliefs.

It's our right to be negative about religion, just as it is the right of churches that I have attended to mock people who don't have faith, have the "wrong faith," or practice their faith in the "wrong way."

The hot air from the blow dryer is just a taste of the heat to come for you if you keep up these ways. I guess they want to get used to it now

And the baptismal water is just a representation of you drowning in the willful ignorance of blind faith

Human reason does not always lead to truth, Mr. Kagin. We know where arrogance and pride lead. We'll keep you in our prayers.

No, but reason is the best (and proven) pathway to finding truth. Believing what you want to belief without needing evidence or logic will never lead you to truth or justify your belief. It is also the height of arrogance to believe that you know absolute truths about the universe because your personal feelings and experiences are more important the logic and evidence.

I also find it insulting that atheists would need to be prayed for. According to your theology your god knows how to convince us, will he only take the time to make sure we get convinced if enough of his followers prostrate themselves and beg for a loved on to be saved?

Sorry for the half wits, this country was founded by the word of GOD. If you dont like it we are not changing for you go to russia, so how you like freedom in a godless society. You want to burn so burn you shall.

Founded by the word of god? And see I thought it was founded on the consent of the governed. But of course your right, I obviously forgot the part of the Constitution that says Americans shall honor no god or gods before Yahweh-Elohim-Jehovah/Jesus Christ-The Son-The Lamb-The King of Kings/The Holy Ghost-The Holy Spirit and their pantheon of Mary, saints, angels, cherubim, and other heavenly hosts.

Atheisum is a conflect of terms. The fact that they don't believe in God, shows that there must be a God, or they wouldn't have anything to not believe in. Like the pracher said to the atheist in the coffin, shaking his head " to bad, all dressed up and nowhere to go"

This is my favorite of the bunch for its combination of illiteracy, ignorance, sense of superiority and complete abuse of logic. Obviously every god ever conceived (Thor, Zeus, Ra, Vishnu) must exist or this commenter "wouldn't have anything to not believe in." And of course we cannot forget Santa, the Tooth Fairy, unicorns, Cyclops, giants (oh wait the bible mentions giants! Never mind) and every other creature that we don't believe in. Does that mean if I try really hard to disbelieve in X-Wings one might show up on my doorstep? Or maybe I can pray for it...

I hope you enjoyed the change of pace as much as I did. Until next time.

In search of reason,


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