“Atheists ‘Prove’ Existence of God With Worship of Nothing “

“Atheists ‘Prove’ Existence of God With Worship of Nothing “

This was the title of an essay that I was going to write a post about (thanks Kathy!).  Yeah, just by the title, you can probably tell this was neither well-written nor well-thought out. In fact, it would just confirm your suspicions about some Christians. And I don’t want to waste my time or yours on pointless,  inflammatory,  juvenile,  attention-seeking drivel.  (Whew. I feel a little better now, at least!)  You must surely be tired of me addressing these asinine antics from believers who just want to provoke us.

Instead, I’m going to list the things that are worthy of  our time and attention, and I hope you’ll add to this list , too, so we can move forward instead of just spinning our wheels arguing with half-wits (sorry, I cringe to use that word, but some folks just are).

1.  Work to keep god and religion out of public school classrooms and books, unless it’s for educational purposes (see #2).

2. Teach comparative religion courses in high schools so that our kids understand where all religions came from and why.  This will help improve tolerance for kids of all beliefs.

3.  Stop religious agendas from seeping into policy making.

4.  Help vote into office more atheists, agnostics, naturalists and secular humanists.

5 .  Get old laws off the books that discriminate against nonbelievers, such as this one here in the state of Texas: “”No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

6.  Expect churches to be held to the same taxation standards as other businesses.

7. Enlighten people (as gently as possible) who believe we  1. have no hope;  2. have no morals or  3. can’t be meaning-seeking creatures without a mythological god(s).

8.  Strive to be a great example for our kids by not pushing our views on others while also expecting appropriate boundaries. (No, it’s not okay to insist that Intelligent Design be part of our biology texts. And, it’s not okay to recruit our kids when our backs are turned. That sort of stuff….)

What else have I forgotten or overlooked?

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54 responses to ““Atheists ‘Prove’ Existence of God With Worship of Nothing “

  1. I don’t often comment (if I ever even have), but I read all of your posts. I’m not always good at putting my thoughts into words, but you do that so well for me. This list is SPOT ON. Thank you. I will keep this list to reference often for inspiration. (P.S. I live in the Dallas area as well; you are not alone!)

  2. Sometimes I think believers (especially Christians) need to believe that All Religions are Equal. Just because one person is a Muslim and another is a Mormon that doesn’t make him any different from the Catholic. They just follow different rules, but they all believe in a higher power. Much like Greek Mythology. This might help adults be more tolerant over other adults.

    Of course, then they’d all gang up on the non-believers, so maybe not. haha

  3. #5 hurts my head. Doesn’t the last part of the text completely negate the first part, being that it is, in and of itself, a “test” to see if the person can be excluded from holding office?

    • @Shanan Yes, well, I do live in Texas. And as you are aware, this state does not always do things that make sense. Actually, this is kind of what the Boy Scouts do as well….You can believe in ANY religion, just as long as you believe in a god!

  4. You had me going with #5. I was thinking, “hey, Texas isn’t so bad after all,” until I got to “provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.” Oh well …

    My personal list also includes elimination of prayer at public secular events, and the removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance (it wasn’t there when I learned the pledge and I refuse to say it) and to our currency.

  5. Wow, #5 just blew my mind. Unbelievable that in 2013 we still have to deal with this kind of stuff. Great list, Debbie. And as far as calling some of these people half-wits, well, if the shoe fits…

  6. “Atheists ‘Prove’ Existence of God With Worship of Nothing”

    Obviously not true … yet in doing so, the Christians who believe this demonstrate a very real and dangerous intellectual laziness that is almost certainly applied to other aspects of their lives. It’s no surprise that those very things are the issues we fight for as atheists.

    I really wouldn’t worry about calling them half-wits or anything else, by the way. I’ve given these people far worse names over the years, every one of them appropriate in my opinion.

    • @Senator Jason I try to remember my friends and family who still believe. Of course, they would never write this kind of sh*t. They’re more of the mindset, “to each his own.” And that’s good with me.

  7. Something or somebody is obviously clouding your mind, Debbie…

    “Now, who could it be? Could it be … Satan?”

    xD

  8. I admit, I am behind all those goals and have long pursued them, tho’ I am not, strictly speaking, an absolute atheist. (Some Fundies consider me something worse, oy! LOL!) I often think the best way to maintain the wall ‘twixt Church and State is to wall UP the rabid god-bothered sorts ala Katherine Bathory.

    • @syrbal-labrys I remember some other comments from you about the nature of your beliefs. Sometimes you must feel as if you’re really on the fringe…

      • Oh, trust me, I am on the fringe, lol! Even other pagans sometimes referred to me, half jesting and half sarcastic, as “liminal girl”…a play on Madonna’s “Material Girl” because I manage to make just about everyone uncomfortable or irritated on SOME point of dogma. I’m no fan of dogma to be honest, I am a fan of experience and rationality in tandem.

  9. I probably already mentioned this, but after reading two historical novels by Edward Rutherfurd (“Paris” and “London”) I believe every American shoud 1) be forced to read these novels and/or 2) attend mandatory history classes when they reach 30. History in school is diluted so as to not be offensive (so I’ve been told) and besides, when you’re 17, you’ve not a clue how to put that history in perspective. When people are reminded how much killing and bloodshed have been done in the name of God — when being Protestant meant death and when being Catholic meant death or being Jew meant all your wealth could be confiscated — OH it’s all just so sickening. If Christians were forced to revisit the history of their religions, it might accomplish a lot of the items on your list in one fell swoop.

    • Christianity can never fail…it can only be failed.

      Adherents claim it’s not the fault of their perfect religion, rather the imperfections of the pious.

    • @Trishia Jacobs Thanks for the reminder about the books.
      The history of history is interesting, too. We have come a long ways in terms of religious, though, and our nation (I think) continues to move further away from god.

  10. All of the points in your list are spot on and commendable. All I would add is “To show them half-wits that being good just for goodness’ sake is pretty much what being human is all about.”

  11. Per number 4, this story has me wishing I lived in Denton County.

  12. @MichaelB Thank you for sharing that link! That young man is brave. Sadly, though, he won’t even register on the scale in terms of votes.

  13. Several years ago, the libertarians / lowercase objectivists were trying to convince people to move to NH so they could get enough like-minded people in a single place to start being able to win elections. They didn’t get enough people, but you’ve got to admire the attempt to achieve critical mass.

    Yes, I definitely think churches should pay taxes. That would have quite the impact on the revenue shortages, I think! Although, whenever someone brings it up, I always remember the movie Foul Play. Very funny movie!

    • @Diana Maybe the nation’s nonbelievers should do the same–move to the same state…
      Thanks for the link. I like what Barney Frank said here: “Frank went on to express his disappointment that he wasn’t appointed to the open Senate seat in Massachusetts, because he “was looking forward to having my husband, Jim, hold the Constitution, not the Bible, and affirm, not swear, that I was going to be a wonderful senator.””

  14. Debbie, I am good with the list except for item # 6.

    A friend who is both a fellow atheist and lawyer is adamantly opposed to taxing churches and religions, and his reasoning is quite canny. Over the course of several conversations, I find I fully agree with him.

    First, taxing religion would be a violation of the separation of church and state. Some religions would argue that taxation is a form of usury (some go so far as to say it is simony), and thus violates their First Amendment rights in regard to how they practice their religion.

    Second, and this is the big one, taxing religions give them a complete open avenue to start making both legal and political demands without reprisal. So long as they are not required to pay into the system, they cannot become a full legal or political agents within the system. This is really, really important.

    Taxation acts as foundation for the wall between church and state. Take that away, and the wall will definitely fall. Think very carefully about the rights becoming a tax payer confers on the payee and the obligations it requires of the government. With money comes a voice. This is partially why corporations are now considered “people.” Do we really want religions to run around saying “We’re people too!”

    I vote to strike item # 6 from this otherwise fine list.

    • Big churches are already big business, and should be taxed as such. Besides, by injecting themselves into politics, they’ve give up their right to exemption as purely religious organizations.

      I would also contend that their tax exemptions are a special privilege accorded by the government, and amount to endorsement and support of religion by the government, and therefore violate the separation doctrine.
      Furthermore, if churches really want to be socially responsible in their communities, they should pay their fair share of taxes. What they don’t pay, the rest of us have to make up for.

      /rant

      • Responding to both PiedType above and Debbie below…

        Yes, there are lots of reasons to get angry about the amount money so-called religious leaders make, how they don’t really add anything to the society and people off whom they sponge, and how we – the non-religious or those not affiliated with them – have to absorb their costs.

        However, and I contend, it is a price well worth paying. So long as government doesn’t play an “overt” role with religions, it is allowed to hold them at bay… regardless of how much it looks like they’ve infiltrated the government (and doesn’t that sound like a Red scare). In the end, the political systems gets to tell them to back off since the political end really doesn’t tell them what to do (at least in theory). Thus, they have no absolute grounds for imposing the totality of their theocracy on the rest of us. Most respectable religious leaders (and I admit those are hard to find) decry any intermingling of church and state. A strange two-way street is then opened. Consider what life was like under the Anglican church when the monarchy actually had power in England. That is the basis for wanting to keep church and state apart.

        Once religions are forced to participate in the system by paying taxes, then the get to try and call the shots with even more effectiveness. Furthermore, our political system could quickly devolve into a hindu/buddhist/jewish/christian/mohammedan fracas with each trying to impose its laws on society. Civil strife between competing theocracies would follow. Each would try to shape civil law according to their religions dictates. Even though protestant christians currently have the upper hand in influencing law, they would become completely unbearable if given the judicial and legal framework with which to operate. Now, imagine what will happen in the next 25 years when the Hispanic (read: catholic) population becomes the majority and they own the political system. Hello, President Pope Urban IX!

        Seriously think about the entire scope of unintended consequences forcing religions to pay taxes would have in the long run. It is entirely too dangerous a proposition.

        /2nd rant

        • @Derrick You make a good case, but I don’t think that changing the tax status will result in religions have that kind of power. We still have a democracy and a constitution that would prevent this from happening. Look at all the different companies currently here in the US that have different value systems (Hobby Lobby), but that still have to abide by US laws. They just pay into the system for services rendered when they start making profits. (Well, a lot of them do, anyway.)

          Besides, our laws are already being influenced by religion indirectly. (Hello, Rick Perry.)

  15. @Derrick Hmmmm. I’ll have to think about this more. There are some other things to consider. First, churches could always file for not-for-profit status like other secular organizations. But the profits from megachurches like Joel Osteen’s that are raking in the big bucks should be taxed the same as everyone else. Have you seen how some of these humble church folks live?

    Second, churches are already making “political and legal demands.” They already have a voice. Just look at the huge brouhaha over health care and the churches. The churches aren’t supposed to be involved, but they are–and they tell their citizens how to vote, too. Since they’re already here, maybe we should expect them to pay, too.

    Another point to consider is that churches ARE benefitting from government goods and services anyway, but they are not paying for them (utilities, roads, police and fire, etc).

  16. Don’t know if you’ve seen this before, I had reblogged it from someone else’s blog on my blog.

    The lady in the pink cardigan is awesome. I don’t know how many women I’ve known like her over the years.

    “A wiener without a bun is just…wrong!”

  17. Thanks for the morning chuckle… Your this post was spot-on.

    One more for your list. Take GOD out of the Pledge of Alligence and other oaths.

    Recently I served as chair of a grand jury for a month. The Multnomah County Oregon DA gave me a choice of swearing in witnesses with two oaths, one with God, one without. Of course I used the one without.

    Swore in over 700 witnesses and only had one challenge, that was from a police officer who questioned if it was an authentic oath, so I showed it to him.

    His responds still rings in my ears. “Finally there is an oath that meets my beliefs. Can I get a copy of it for future use?” He got a copy.

    • @David That’s so cool! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m surprised the DA actually gave you the option! A few months ago, I had to be sworn in as a witness, and I had to put my hand on the bible and use the traditional oath. I figured that, if I made a big deal of it where I live, they’d see me as dishonest. Oaths are meaningless to me. We should always try to be our word.

    • @David

      It’s promising to know that a cop said that.

  18. *** THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC! ***

    @Debbie Since this is obstensibly a blog about raising kids, I found something to make us all feel just a tad bit inadequate at parents, caregivers, relatives, interested parties or what have you.

    Nina Levy is an artist and a mom who does something wonderful for her son each school day. Go check this out and prepare to be amazed:

    http://ninaslevy.blogspot.com/

  19. I thought there was a federal law passed that said all people of no or any faith could hold office and it supersedes old state laws saying you had to believe in god to hold a political office

  20. I liked your article until I got to number 6 that you should expect churches to be held to the same taxation standards as other businesses. They are not businesses. I understand that there are some churches that give extraordinary amounts of money for lavish lifestyles of the top few in the church, but you can solve that by taxing any “salary or remuneration” from a non-profit above a certain threshold at an extraordinary tax rate. Keep in mind that the “services” that most churches provide are not related to the people who support them. For example, in the church I belong to, I pay tithing and fast offerings to support others, most of whom could not afford the benefits they receive otherwise.

    I do think you also need to recognize that number 3 is never going to happen. If I have strong beliefs, I am going to act on those in all aspects of my life. For example, I believe that any form of sex outside of marriage is wrong. I will never vote for anything that promotes that behavior. that said, I do believe also in tolerance and will not vote to criminalize that behavior either. I do think you have a right to push for number 3, but I think it is just unrealistic.

    Jeff

    • Hi Jeff, Good to hear from you again. Thank you for your feedback.

      I have no doubt that churches do provide benefits to those who don’t contribute (like the homeless). And I think your idea of taxing salaries about a certain amount is a good idea. But I also consider churches to be businesses that provide spiritual services (hope, guidance, community, forgiveness, etc) to its members. They’re similar to other businesses that provide services: massage therapists, life coaches, doctors, lawyers, country clubs, etc. These businesses also make community donations, which are tax-deductible.

      I realize #3 will be hard to reach, but we can hope to limit it as much as possible, the idea being that, (just as an example) if you don’t believe in sex outside of marriage, then you don’t have to. However, others are free to do as they wish as long as they aren’t harming others.

      You and I and most of the others will always believe that we (as individuals) have a right to do as we wish as long as we’re not harming anyone.

  21. I doubt the sanity of anyone who can believe in a ‘Supreme Being’ (as undefined as the term may be). That Americans can write such into law makes me doubt the sanity of …

    But we do much the same. In Great Britain we cannot have a monarch (the Head of State) without sanction by the church. Which makes me doubt the sanity of …

    Or in both cases was it pure ceremonial, that lesser minds have taken seriously and custom has made sacred?

    Isn’t it beyond time when church and state should be very firmly separated—or if that is impossible, then all the churches (religions) on offer—vying for the very juicy plum—should be competitively challenged to ‘put up, or shut up!’ … no?

    A prime tenet of law: “He who alleges must prove” — so how about anyone alleging the existence of God/gods/deities/etc be required by law to either prove it or go out of business? (If that’s too unpalatable a concept, then all churches/mosques/similar should at the very least be compelled to display a health warning much like a packet of cigarettes does nowadays.)

    • @Argus I would say yes to this question, “Or in both cases was it pure ceremonial, that lesser minds have taken seriously and custom has made sacred?”

      I say yes to this, “Isn’t it beyond time when church and state should be very firmly separated—or if that is impossible, then all the churches (religions) on offer—vying for the very juicy plum—should be competitively challenged to ‘put up, or shut up!’ … no?”

      And I say agreed to this: ““He who alleges must prove””

      However, I don’t want the religious to give up their faith, if it brings them comfort, but I would like for them, if possible and for as much as possible, to just keep it in the church….

      • Hallelujah~!

        But even if they did, the next generation would be slithering out of church/mosque and into government office, and getting laws changed for at first tax breaks, then perks for ‘the boys’ and eventually bigger and better crusades.

        The precedents are well and truly set—we are (or course) different today?

        I wouldn’t take a teddy bear from the kid it was comforting either—but if that kid grows up without outgrowing his/her bear … brrrrr.

  22. I am a Christian and i think everyone is equal and yes, you’re morals are clearly wrong if you think that these kind of insults to others views are even the slightest bit acceptable

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