Why does Richard Dawkins hate religion

Ten common rumors about atheists

This question has been asked for thousands of years, but now quantum physics offers atheists such as Lawrence Krauss a basis for the assumption that the universe did indeed emerge from “nothing”. But Krauss does not speak on behalf of all atheists, and he speaks of a completely different kind of “nothing”, a way in which virtual particles arise from borrowed vacuum energy. This has nothing to do with what theists understand by the term "nothing".

When atheists are asked about the universe, they roughly end up saying that "the evidence suggests that the universe began to expand approximately 13.77 billion years ago." For questions beyond that, submit to me "I dont know". I don’t need to know. I do not believe that the universe arose from the kind of "nothing" that theists speak of, nor from the "nothing" that Krauss speaks of. I don't think there is enough evidence to draw any conclusions right now, and that's fine with me. I have never met an atheist who, like theists, believes that everything arose out of “nothing”, and in my experience only a few atheists are supporters of the theory that Krauss developed. Theists may believe that the universe arose out of nothing, but then the burden of proof that there ever was "nothing" and that "something" needs the cooperation of gods rests with them.

2. Atheists have no morals

Humans are community beings, and as such we have morals. Some theists say that atheists have no reason to be moral because we don't believe in any God who can instruct or punish us. This claim seems insincere to me, considering that most theists who claim this would not turn themselves into immoral devils overnight if they suddenly lost their belief in God.
Studies have shown that our morals are a product of multiple factors. The Milgram experiment shows that authority plays a big role. The Stanford Prison Experiment showed the same thing and also revealed the role of social hierarchy. The "good-doll / bad-doll" test in babies (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/born-good-babies-help-unlock-the-origins-of-morality-50135408/) suggests that we are all born with a basic sense of fairness, justice and, unfortunately, bigotry. Human morality cannot be explained in terms of religion or the absence of religion; it is too complex for that.

All over the world, millions of atheists are living their lives morally each. And some don't. As do some believers. There are atheist charities and there are atheist criminals. There are religious charities and religious hate groups. Both religious people and atheists can behave morally and immorally, either because of their religious attitudes or entirely independently of them. One does not necessarily lead to the other. Studies have shown us that the foundations of human morality are in place even before we are confronted with religion.

3. Atheists have no "meaning in life"

Even if humanity were to survive on this planet for the next 5 billion years, the sun will puff into a red giant and boil and probably devour the earth before it explodes and spreads throughout the cosmos. The universe will continue to expand at an increasing rate, and ultimately gravity will be too weak and the formation of new stars or planets will be impossible. The universe will fade away and die.

When thinking about this, some theists feel that without a belief in the afterlife, nothing in this life would really matter. Belief in the afterlife can have an impact on the meaning of a person's life, but the meaning of life does not necessarily require a belief in the afterlife. Some theists speak of Nietzsche's nihilism as if Nietzsche were the measure of all things in existentialist philosophy. But people generally describe their own meaning through the moments we enjoy and the goals we set for ourselves. This is probably best expressed by Albert Camus in "The Myth of Sisyphus".

I enjoy every moment that I spend with my daughter and one of my goals is to be a good father. I value art and one of my goals is to read, hear, and see more about it. I like to have a big cup of hot coffee while watching the faint glow of the morning just before sunrise. I love a leisurely canoe trip on a sunny day and the soft crunch of freshly fallen snow under my feet. I enjoy my friends and my family. Atheism gives meaning to life because as an atheist I understand that this is the only life I have.

4. "There are no atheists in the trenches"

Yes, there are. They even have their own website (http://militaryatheists.org/atheists-in-foxholes/). Even so, some persist in the belief that atheism is generally insincere and that everyone cries out to God in an emergency. This claim shows the contradictions in epistemology between the theist, whose beliefs are based in part on fear and desire, and those of us whose beliefs are based on fact and evidence.

Theists also imply that the call "Oh, God" shows that one is literally trying to talk to "God". I have heard a number of friends and family members say, “Oh, God” in all sorts of situations, and rarely do they try to have a conversation with the Almighty. Even if a theist says, "Oh, God" in a trench, they are most likely not expecting divine intervention. The phrase is generally used in the same way as "Oh, shit," although this is generally not an allusion to actual shit. Despite all this, there are millions of people who have not called out to God, feces or anything else in life-threatening situations.

5. Atheists just hate God

About as much as we hate unicorns. Theists often make this claim when atheists give their moral opinion on alleged acts of their deity. “How can you have an opinion about something you don't believe in?” In the same way that we have an opinion about Darth Vader, Willy Wonka or the Wicked Witch of the West - according to their roles in each story. It doesn't matter whether the story is about a Sith who kills all Jedi children or a god who kills all the firstborn in a country.

To make your point of view understandable, it is usually enough to simply turn the question around. "Hate" Christan Allah? Do Muslims “hate” Jesus? Do Jews "hate" the Flying Spaghetti Monster? A lack of belief in a particular religion is not based on a negative opinion of the deity or messiah of that religion. Rather, it simply arises from not being convinced because there is insufficient evidence. Personally, I think the Buddha and Lao-tse said great things, but I am neither a Buddhist nor a Taoist.

6. Atheists just don't want to submit to God

Well, first of all there needs to be a reason to believe that there is anything at all to submit to. A lack of belief in a deity does not mean that one does not want to submit to what one does not believe in at all. As already happened under point 5, you can make your own point of view quite simply understandable by asking the theist the question in return. Does the Christian lack faith in Allah simply because she does not want to wear a hijab? Do non-Catholics lack faith in Catholicism simply because they do not want to submit to the Pope? Do Muslims lack faith that Jesus was the "embodiment" of God simply because they continue to justify child weddings by the actions of their so-called prophet?

7. Atheists are angry

There was a time when it was taboo to question religion. Some would like to hang on to it to save their religion from scrutinizing their religion. Those days are over, but that doesn't mean that the skepticism one has of religion infuriates the skeptic.

Being confrontational doesn't mean being angry. If someone told you that Elvis was seen buying T-shirts in the supermarket, that claim would be analyzed, verified, debunked as false and, in most cases, ridiculed entirely. I see no reason why it should be any different with religious claims.

8. Atheists are responsible for the worst atrocities in history

Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao were atheists, so atheism must be responsible for the mass executions under their rule - or so it is often claimed. This statement is usually the backbone when blaming Christianity for the Crusades or Islam for terrorism. It is clear that throughout history there have been Christians, atheists, Muslims, and adherents of many other faiths who have committed all kinds of atrocities. However, the most benevolent deeds in human history have also been performed by all sorts of believers and unbelievers.

Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao did not execute people in the name of atheism, but simply because they did not submit to them as if they were gods themselves. There is a long list of atheist politicians who have never committed atrocities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_politics_and_law). The claim that atheism leads to catastrophic atrocities, such as those in the early days of the Soviet Union, is a hasty generalization that ignores all of the good deeds of decent atheist politicians throughout history.

9. Atheists are "believers in science"

It must be difficult to hold on to a belief that cannot be justified by evidence. This is why some theists come to the conclusion that all atheists are “science believers”. The designation is intended to be used as an insult to skeptics who dare to ask for evidence when faced with extraordinary allegations.

Belief in science is a philosophy that believes that science is the ultimate truth, and that only science leads to the truth. But choosing science over superstition does not mean that science is always right. Scientists are human and like anyone else, they can make mistakes. However, the methodology of science actually works. That is not to say that science is the only way to get to the truth. It just means that it is an effective way to gain knowledge of natural truths.
Many atheists are equally skeptical of science and religion. My first assignment in my statistics class in college was to find three examples of misused data in the media. For more than a decade this has been the task in every course, and never have two students submitted the same three examples. I've also studied philosophy, including philosophy of science, so I know that science can be wrong. I have never met an atheist who believes that scientists are infallible.

10. All atheists think rationally and logically

This is something I mostly hear from atheists. Some atheists see themselves as more rational than theists and ask why we call ourselves atheists at all - and not as rationalists or the like.

But not all atheists are rational. Atheism only describes a lack of belief in deities. There are atheists who believe in homeopathy, extraterrestrials, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and so much more utterly irrational things for which there is not the slightest logical justification. Having arrived at the rational non-belief in deities does not mean that everything else is also seen rationally.

Lee Myers, blogger at www.atheistrepublic.com
Translation by: Daniela Bartl, Joseph Wolsing

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