Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why do atheists have such a bad image?

A poll in America showed atheists to be one of the most mistrusted groups. It is quite shocking to see that when you look at the statistical evidence.

If you are an atheist, you are more likely to have a college degree. Thats a good thing. If you are an atheist, you are more likely to be on a higher salary. Thats a good thing. If you are an atheist, you are less likely to go to jail. Atheists make up .2% of the prison population, when the make up 10-20% of the population. Thats a good thing. If you are an atheist, you are less likely to get divorced. Thats a good thing.

This data was collected from America and used a very large sample space. This data is inconsistent which our image. So why is that? One reason why atheists have such a bad image is that there is no one large organisation representing us, only a few small ones. So the organized religion can just crush a bunch of small ones instead of having to stand up to a united front. As a result, atheist funding is miniscule compared to the funding of organized religion, who take collections and don't pay tax. Money talks.

Publicly, very few high profile people are reluctant to say what they believe. We have got a load of celebrities preaching religion, Pamela Anderson, Tom Cruise, News Anchors, musicians, politicians and sport stars. The constant bombardment of jesus freaks in the media does wonders for religion. For simple people, it makes them feel good about it and the fact that there are more theists than atheists seals the deal for them that they are right. They don't accept the fact that most of these people are not even educated enough and are not qualified to have an opinion on the oirgin of the universe or how we came about. Could you imagine a debate with Pamela Anderson and Bill O'Reilly vs Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. They would be destroyed, but their audience and media power are vastly greater than Dawkins/Hitchens. Politicians and musicians wave the religion banner because most of their voters/consumer are theists. And they don't want to isolate that base. Science, technology and innovation is the engine for the human race, constantly pushing us forward, improving our lives. But scientists, and intelligent people aren't in the media because thats not what they do. There is a growing movement with the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Stephen Fry and Bill Maher etc coming out and speaking against religion. More books are being published and films are being produced. Atheists are the largest fastest growing group.

Another reason atheists have a bad image is because of the misinformed public view. Before I came to reason, I thought atheists were Satan worshippers, and were into weird stuff. Obviuosly that is totally wrong but I was young and atheists were portrayed as killers and social parasites. Theists claim that atheists have no morals. In response to that I ask;

1. Name a moral action that a religious person can do that an atheist can't do.
2. Name a wicked action that person can do, only because of their religious beliefs.

There is no good answers to the first, but plenty of answers to the second. Largely because religious people are irrational. Another point I like to point out is that the biggest philantropists and charities in the world are secular and atheist/agnostic. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ikea Foundation. Where do they get their morals? I also like to quote Albert Einstein- "If we are good only because we fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed". I ask the theist, that if he gets his morals from the bible, slavery, genocide, human sacrifice and condeming people to torture for eternity are all OK. I say that my moral standards are greater. Then I say if he were to stop believing tomorrow, would he go out and murder, rape and steal. If he says maybe, you should inform a mental hospital. We witness morals in the animal kingdom. You get your morals from experience growing up. You learn if you do a good action, a good action will be return, if you do a bad action to hurt someone, there will be consquences. People say that Hitler was an atheist. This is totally untrue. He was a roman catholic and the vatican was saying prayers for him on the pulpit. If Adolf Hitler was an atheist, why did he keep saying that he believed in God, had faith in God, and was convinced that he was doing God's work? Adolf Hitler was not just certain that his attacks on Jews were divinely mandated, but also his efforts to clamp down on society by restoring traditional morality. Christian apologists only seem to claim that Hitler was an atheist because they cannot handle the idea that a Christian theist would cause so much evil in the name of their God. Doesn't sound like an atheist to me! They also say that Mao and Stalin were atheists. This is true. But in Russia, the tsar was seen to be a divine being. So Stalin had all these peasants and soldiers worshipping him, and you shouldn't be in the dictator business if you don't take advantage of that. The same with Mao. The religious dogma's in these countries were the reason that the leaders could get away with so much. Plus, were all the soldiers atheists? No.

Another reason is that people don't know what atheists stand for. Or they had a totally wrong view like I did. The basic atheist message as I interpret it is, to cherish life, live a good one as you only have one. Some people don't like it, but if you think more deeply, it is much better than, worship a space daddy who loves you, you filthy scumbag sinner, and you can live in heaven for all eternity worshipping some more, or if your father (who loves you) judges you to be not worthy, he will send you to hell to suffer. I like the factual based message as I will be rewarded for what I do, not what I believe. Atheists try to better the world, they are not content in say "Well, you had a crappy life on earth, but you will be rewarded when you die". Atheists try to improve civilisation and humanity, while theists pray for the destruction and only when you are dead does the fun begin.

Another reason why theism is more popular is because of the fear they strike into you. They preach freewil, but what are the consquences of excercising that right? The brutality that organized religion has inflicting over the centuries show what money, power and fear mongering can achieve.

So to sum up, atheism has a better moral standard than that of the most popular religions. Atheism gives you no false hope, and doesn't threaten you if you disagree.

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