Hopefully my readers immediately see the paradox of the first two adjectives in this blog entry's title. However, it seems that a not insignificant segment of America would read that headline and accept it outright as obvious. To a powerful, vocal percentage of U.S. citizens, atheists worship Satan, likely pal around with Islamic people (who they automatically label as sketchy malcontents), and are just evil in general (or, at the very least, amoral).
For those who may not be on board quite yet, understand that an atheist doesn't believe in God, and that extends to the books and religious tenets that this non-existent God didn't write. So, to say that an atheist is satanic is idiotic at best. Sorry, but no, we don't worship something we don't think exists.
I experienced this one first hand. It was a few years back when a small group of friends and I were discussing something with no religious connections at all. I don't remember the exact conversation topic, but it was something entirely mundane. At one point, a devout Christian friend of mine in the group made an offhand remark about me being a satanist, so he understood why I would hold whatever opinion I had expressed. Mind you, he wasn't cracking a joke -- he said it matter of factly, and he wasn't looking for a laugh, nor was he looking to offend. It just sort of slipped out as a natural association he had between atheists and satanists. I was quick to correct him, and we moved on, but that was the first time I had experienced such a weird mislabeling, and I didn't fully understand the implications.
|Photo of Man Who Doesn't Understand|
What Atheist Means (Credit: Gage Skidmore)
But to say that we're Islamic is beyond ridiculous. I'm not just pulling this one out of my ass, and it's not a personal anecdote. This Sunday, GOP doomsayer Newt Gingrich paradoxically declared that becoming "a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists" could be America's future. Erm ... sorry Newt, but that's not just unlikely, it's actually fundamentally impossible. We're either a secular atheist (non-theist) country or we're an Islamic (theist) country. You can't be a secular atheist country dominated by Islamists -- that'd be an Islamic country, buddy.
His blunder likely wasn't a blunder at all. He probably knows exactly how fundamentally flawed his statement was, but he also knows that for the people whom he's trying bring to arms, there's nothing at all wrong with what he said. Islam = evil, and atheism = evil. Therefore, Islam = atheism. Plus, if you believe in the wrong version of God, it's as good as not believing it God at all.
|Captain Pollution, Captain Planet's evil|
counterpart. Nope, not making this up.
All of this presupposes that atheists are obviously evil or amoral (we do whatever we want, regardless of the moral implications). This is easily disprovable by any of innumerable means, but here are just a select few:
- Research indicates that there's less crime and divorce, and more altruism in secular societies than religious societies. (Not to mention secular societies rate higher in terms of general happiness.)
- Despite not being an organized community, secular/atheist groups have sprung up to encourage charitable actions and donations -- without the ulterior motive of converting people to a religion. Here are just some of the non-theistic charities: