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Some Facts About Atheism

M. T. Dremer has been an atheist for more than 20 years and has been debating theology openly for almost 7 years.


In my time as an atheist, I’ve run into a number of misconceptions that have persisted no matter how many times I have attempted to correct them. I’ve written a few hubs in the past about it (one concerning my life as an atheist and another about literature atheism and god) but I still feel that more clarification is needed. So, if you’ve ever had questions about atheism, let this serve as a foundation from which you can understand us.

Atheism is not a unified religion.

I’ve seen atheism referred to as a ‘godless religion’ or something akin to the antithesis of religion. If this were true, the phrase ‘atheist religion’ would be an oxymoron. However, atheist religions exist; one is called Buddhism. Contrary to popular belief, Buddha is not a deity, nor do Buddhists pray to him. The actual antithesis of atheism is theism, which is the belief in god (one cannot be an atheist theist). You could belong to a religion and still be an atheist, just like you can belong to no religion and still be a theist. Here is a handy chart for some of the different deity-based beliefs:

  • Theism – The belief that one or more deities created the universe and continue to govern it.
  • Deism – The belief that one or more deities created the universe but are no longer around to govern it.
  • Pantheism – The belief that god, or some other deity, is part of (or inside of) everything. We are all god.
  • Atheism – The belief that no deities exist, or ever have existed.
  • Agnosticism – The belief that there is an equal chance of a deity existing versus not existing.
  • Anti-theism – The belief that no deities exist and that theism is detrimental to society.

Atheists have morals.

Another question I often see is; where do atheists get their sense of morals from, if not religion. In this, they’re referring to things like ‘thou shalt not kill’ or ‘thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife’. These are rules or morals passed down through religion that most people would agree are beneficial. Disregarding some of the bibles more questionable lessons, let’s think about the other places morals come from. The first, and most influential, is our parents. Don’t push your brother onto the ground because then you’ll have to spend ten minutes in the corner. Before we learn anything about religion or science, we learn these simple lessons of consequence. These lessons are then reinforced in adulthood by an active system of laws and police. But, you might be asking where the original morals came from; who learned them first in order to pass them down? For me, this boils down to pure survival instincts. Primitive humans in a pack were far more likely to survive threats than primitive humans on their own. But, as soon as a pack is established, you are then confronted with clashing ideals. Something must then be put in place to ensure the survival of the pack. Something as simple as ‘don’t hit Frank with a rock because it will weaken the pack’ is one of the most basic forms of morality, ingrained in our evolved minds. And, it is completely disconnected from association with any deity.

The last point to be made about morality is actually a question for the religious. It was posed by Richard Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” though I can’t remember if he was quoting someone else. The gist of it is this “If you suddenly discovered there was no god, would you still be a moral person?” It’s a trick question because if you say yes, then you prove one doesn’t need god to be moral. If you say no then you admit you are not a moral person, you’re just doing it for the heavenly reward.

Funny, but wrong.

Funny, but wrong.

The Grapes of Wrath by Evolved Monkey

The Grapes of Wrath by Evolved Monkey

Evolution is not random.

There is a meme floating around the internet somewhere that likens atheism to a whole bunch of random nothing building up to dinosaurs (I’ll post it on the right). It’s funny, but it also grossly misinterprets evolution. The idea of evolution being random has been compared to a bunch of apes on typewriters trying to write a famous novel. I can’t remember which novel, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s the Grapes of Wrath. No matter how many days, weeks or years you give those monkeys, the likelihood of them producing the Grapes of Wrath, in its entirety, is so miniscule that you might as well say that it’s impossible. However, evolution doesn’t function that way. When evolution gets something right; that thing sticks and is passed down because it’s useful. If the monkey essays got a few words right from the Grapes of Wrath, and those words were remembered and passed down to the next manuscript, the monkeys will eventually produce the Grapes of Wrath, one word at a time. It will still take a long time, but the probability isn’t as mind boggling as the one that is entirely random. The point is that evolution is all about building blocks. Nothing appeared fully formed on the earth. It’s also important to remember that nothing is perfect. We’re still evolving.

Why are atheists so mean?

This is a common misconception that is quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine. It’s one of those scenarios where someone punches you and, when you retaliate, they point the finger at you, saying you’re the violent one. That might be a bit of an extreme comparison, but that’s definitely the feeling I get when someone asks why atheists are so mean. We have to keep in mind that the theists are in the majority, to the point that many atheists don’t feel comfortable stating their beliefs, even to friends and family, because of the negative reaction. Similar questions ask atheists why they hate christians or why they reject god, as if we’re villains eager to tear down the innocent believers. In my experience, atheists don’t hate anyone as a group. What atheists do hate is when religion over steps its bounds. For example, the United States government states that religion and politics are to remain separate, and yet we have god on our money and in our pledge of allegiance. Similarly, an atheist politician has virtually no chance of winning public office because of a lack of funding and because people seem to think atheists are inherently untrustworthy (more on that below). So, when religion is a prerequisite for politics, then there is something very wrong with our country. And that is why atheists, for the most part, would prefer that theists back off. Religion is only a problem when it starts imposing itself on others.

This poll makes me incredibly sad.

This poll makes me incredibly sad.

Atheists can be trusted.

Branching off of the above topic, another pet peeve I have is the idea that atheists are untrustworthy. This was highlighted when a poll was taken of various groups in the United States. It found that atheists were the least trusted group out there. This ties in very closely with the argument about morality. People tend to assume that atheists have no morals because they don’t believe in god. And, if they have no morals, surely they couldn’t hold public office, or be trusted to babysit my children. This belief is particularly painful for me because of how hard I’ve tried to be a good person throughout my life. I tend to recall one story in particular from when I was in elementary school. Various school projects were taped up in the hallways with all kinds of nick nacks glued to them. One in particular had a tiny wooden milk carton attached to it. I always loved miniature toys as a child, so I mentioned to a friend of mine that I wanted the carton. My friend, being more impulsive than me, reached over and plucked the toy off of the project, then handed it to me. I pocketed the toy in fear we would be caught. Realistically, no one would have ever known. Stuff fell off of those projects all the time and this particular project was already looking pretty bad. So, I was free to keep my ill-gotten prize. However, that tiny little milk jug proved to be my tell-tale heart; picking away at my conscience that night until I couldn’t take it anymore. The next day I got to school early and taped the carton back on the project and walked away. I have no idea if someone else stole it after that; I just knew that I couldn’t live with myself if I kept it. This moment of morality, for something so simple and unimportant, came from a child who was raised with no formal religion and who became an atheist later in life. So, the idea that I could be labeled untrustworthy, just because I’m an atheist, is not only inaccurate, it’s downright insulting.

After all of this; I know that I don’t speak for all atheists. As I said in the beginning; we’re not unified in anything other than our lack of belief in deities. We do tend to have things in common, like a respect for, and appreciation of, science, but as a whole, atheists are very hard to nail down. For this reason, I like to take as many opportunities as possible to spread knowledge about atheism; through my personal example. This is why you’ll see me hanging around the religious Q & A section of HubPages. But my biggest fear is that atheists will soon be used as a scapegoat for certain religious institutions, and the only way I can think to combat that is by spreading knowledge and understanding. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now have a better understanding of atheists as well.

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M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on July 29, 2014:

MizBejabbers - It can definitely become a heated topic. It gets especially interesting when two people on the same side start going back and forth. Some of my most memorable debates were with other atheists.

Your family's beliefs very much reflect a similar situation my brother is in right now. They are raising their children catholic, but he is an atheist. I hope that it plays out as well as yours did and I think the best environment for children is one where they are exposed to multiple belief systems, rather than just one or another.

I do hope that one day an openly atheist politician will get elected (as opposed to one coming out while in office). It might be a ways down the road, but I think the more we talk about it, the less scary atheism will be to theists. Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 29, 2014:

M.T., anytime you write a hub either for or against religion, everybody on both sides come out of the woodwork, don’t they? I enjoy the discussions, though, until the name calling starts. I’m not an atheist, but I do know a little about it. My dad was an atheist.

My dad didn’t hate Christians; he just didn’t share their beliefs. He didn’t spout his atheism to the world, but kept it to himself. My mother was Christian and we were raised Christian (I did a hub on them.) He celebrated Christmas at our home with enthusiasm because it made us happy and he wanted us to be happy. He was a moral person, and his word was his bond.

You are 100% correct about politicians. A person can’t just be a member of a church to be elected to office. He or she must be active in some church, preferably a big-name one. Right now in our state an incumbent senator is fighting an upstart representative trying to win the senator’s seat in Congress. This senator has actually come out with a commercial spouting his religion (Christianity) because the upstart smeared him as being un-Christian. Only in the U.S. would this happen.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 15, 2014:

I suppose being polite is sometimes not responding in kind.

Righteous Atheist on January 15, 2014:

M.T - A laudable goal, but - as you say - you get met with hostility even when you are being polite. I have also found that, and when they are being honest with themselves, I have found that ridicule actually can be a positive thing. When they suddenly realize just how funny their beliefs are and start laughing at them themselves. Then the cognitive dissonance kicks in to protect the belief. It is rather entertaining to watch. Eric is a classic example. He will claim to love that I made him think about his beliefs and then 12 hours later be aggressively vocal about how right he is. lol

Righteous Atheist on January 15, 2014:

Gratuitous? Not so. Your self righteous judgmental attitude oozes from every word you write. Just being honest and saying it like it is. Odd - you said you loved that I did that. Now you think it is an "attack"? Weird - make your mind up. Or did the Invisible Super Being forget to tell you what to say today? ;)

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 14, 2014:

And I follow you and your hubs and enjoy learning much from you. Thank you for your efforts.

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on January 14, 2014:

Ericdierker - I consider my own arguments to be civil. I don't speak for Righteous Atheist.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 14, 2014:

Thank you RA for the gratuitous attack. And that is what you two call polite?

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on January 14, 2014:

Righteous Atheist - I believe I'm often perceived as mean as well. It's hard to avoid such labels when subjects like religion are viewed with rose tinted glasses. Jesus and the bible are seen as pure symbols. So any opposition, even polite opposition, is met with hostility. My goal, in regards to atheism, is to become a point of reference. So, if a religious person gets into a discussion about atheists they can say "I know an atheist and he's a pretty good guy." It's kind of a modest goal, but I would be content with that.

Righteous Atheist on January 14, 2014:

Well - I am an atheist and I am mean, but I tend to only be mean to self righteous people like Eric who claim to love me and then attack me because I call them on their bullshit. :D

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on December 15, 2013:

Wietze - You're definitely not alone. With the rise of the internet, it has allowed atheists to connect across the world (I also live in a predominantly Christian city.) In fact, I'm of the belief that there are more atheists out there than we realize but that most of them are afraid to come out of the closet. There is still a lot of animosity out there against atheists, so I can understand why one would want to avoid it. But I also think it's important for to us be proud of our stance and to embrace it. The best way to change the stereotypes is to embody what we want them to see. For example, if people think atheists are mean, do good deeds in the name of atheism to dispel the myth. Thank you for the comment!

Wietze on December 13, 2013:

Finally i know im not alone in my ideas and beliefs. Thank you so much for this :)

I know full well that atheists have to 'fight' for their right to exist (im from a christian family, who mostly dont accept me)

Im touched to know im not alone

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on August 06, 2013:

Ericdierker - It was the 'n' word. You weren't using it in a derogatory manner; I deleted it because the programs used by HubPages and Google to flag inappropriate content do not factor in context. It's basically a brainless program that goes in search of bad words. I had something similar happen when I wrote an article about America's fear of sex and nudity. There was nothing inappropriate about the article, but because I used a lot of buzz words, I can't display advertisements on it. It's not personal.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 05, 2013:

M. T. Again I ask what comment was wrong? I am sure being responsible and respectful you saved it. Instead of making such a libelous allegation without proof. You say my language was bad? What did I use?

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on August 05, 2013:

M.T. Dreamer: You are very welcome :) Have a great week

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on August 05, 2013:

Carrie Lee Night - Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Ericdierker - I'm letting you know that I had to delete one of your comments on this hub due to the language used in it. I try to preserve both sides of any debate, but I would rather not have Google and HubPages flagging this hub, of which the point was to spread awareness.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 05, 2013:

Wow and you accuse me of leaps of faith. I do not think saying that someone does not have faith and therefor should not judge another's faith is calling them ignorant.

Unless you are saying that belief and knowledge are the same? Because that would mean that belief alone could make something true.

I also hope you noticed I wrote that like an illiterate would trying to make light of the point.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 05, 2013:

Oh you didn't?

Ericdierker: As far as being like Christ. That fo sure ain't fo yu to know cuz U don't believe in him.

One thing that an atheist should avoid.

Ignorance: Not knowing something, or willfully refusing to learn.

That is exactly what you said.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

Whoasey poasey there Jacko ---- Ease up on the reins before these stallions bite you in your wagon. I have never ever called JMcfarland ignorant. Retract such an audacious bodacious and ridiculous statement now. I respect you much and learn from you much. I have never called you ignorant. Never. Stand up and retract.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 04, 2013:

I beg to differ. I know a lot about what it means to be like Christ. As I have now told you multiple times, I grew up in the church. I was a missionary in Africa for several years. I went to theological biblical college. I still read the bible regularly. I know that judgement and condemnation by men is not Christ-like behavior, since he (the claimed son of god) forgave the men who crucified him, rather than sending them all to hell. He reached out to society's outcasts - not mocking or ridiculing or judging them.

Why on earth do you have the false idea that just because someone is an atheist, they are ignorant as to your religion and what it teaches? If more Christians were more like Christ, they would have a much different outlook on life - and they wouldn't garner nearly as much opposition.

Christin Sander from Midwest on August 04, 2013:

Eric, I find you funny actually. What you think of me in no way "stings" me - in fact my husband and I had a good hearty laugh about looking in the bible for the place where Jesus told people to "pound sand" or the general equivalent. ;) lol. I don't "attack" or "degrade" my Christian friends because they don't see it in their heart to decide I am somehow less than they are for simply not believing as they do. They don't care that we disagree - I listen to them, they listen to me and we all get along just fine. It's called mutual respect, you should try it sometime it's good for ya.

You are the one painting people with a broad brush - people who you know nothing about. This is typical of ego - so is saying you don't have ego issues by the way. It's also the ego making you address others in a condescending manner to make yourself feel superior. I am well aware of my ego, I don't deny its existence or try to place myself on some self-righteous pedestal.

I would also point out that age doesn't equate to wisdom. Plenty of younger people are wise and plenty of not young people are incredibly ignorant, despite their assertion of their intellect. No one was backing you into a corner or "attacking" you by simply stating the fact that your generalizations are a fallacy. I'm 40 years old, not a child, so you don't need to address me like I'm beneath you.

Your overwhelmingly ignorant statements about Atheists was mean-spirited and inaccurate so I replied. Non-religious people don't have to back down from so-called Christians either. And with that, I am absolutely 100% done wasting any more of my breath on this silliness. The fact is I couldn't give a rats posterior region what you think of me personally, even the veiled "bitch" comment ;) I see where you're roundabout going with that one ;).

I do get real tired of so-called loving, righteous people who demonize those they don't know or bother to get to know. It isn't loving, it isn't what your Christ taught and it certainly isn't free from ego.

JMcFarland, I love that Gandhi quote - one of my favorites for obvious reasons.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 04, 2013:

no one's changing the definition of the word marriage, Eric. Get a grip. If you want to go back to "traditional" marriage, then sell your daughter for a couple of goats and she can be the 8th wife of a man four times her age. That's the biblical model, isn't it?

Incidentally, I don't come from the midwest. I come from the West. I simply understand the origins of phrases, something that it seems you could take a lesson in. Even referencing the word "bitch" in a civil discussion is dubious at best.

A lot of my close friends are Christians. Fortunately, they're a lot more respectful than you choose to present yourself, and we're able to agree or disagree without ever resorting to misguided insults, retorts or inane commentary. If you're trying to be a model for Christ, I dare say you're falling far short of the mark.

"I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians. They're nothing like your Christ" Gandhi.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

Pound sand to you comes from where you are. Sounds like I am Western and you old school back midwestern. I heard your take before I think from my pappy. But wasting time pouring sand down a hole is what I hoped to get across. Come to think of it I think you are more accurate than i on that one -- My momma being from Naperville Illinois.

I reckon we would have different understanding of the word bitch also. As I was country raised and we used it by traditional standard like I used the word whelp. Now they say Beee-otch and it means something strange to my thoughts. I think it is good???

Oh man I hope they did not change the meaning of the word whelp along with marriage!!!!

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 04, 2013:

There is no sting, Eric. Only a bemused humor.

Also, you have your phrase wrong. Pound sand means get lost. As in "let your shoes pound sand as you get away from me"..

If you're going to say something, you might want too make sure you use it correctly. Just a thought.

"The origin of the expression go pound sand is from a longer expression, not to know (have enough sense to) pound sand down a rathole. Filling rat holes with sand is menial work, and telling someone to pound sand down a hole is like telling them to go fly a kite. The expression dates to at least 1912 and is common in the midwestern United States." 

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

ChristinS I do not need to back down from or to you. Pound sand is a phrase which means not to waste your breath on me, tell it to the sand. It is not mean or evil or even nasty or spiteful.

If you knock down someone's belief love will triumph over you. My ego is parked in a garage I sold 10 years ago while you were still a whelp.

Do not label Christians based on me. Or me based on Christians.

Yes your Christians back off when attacked. And most are good people. And most try to do some converting.

No one drew a circle around me and said this is how you must act. I act in love for the people you try to degrade.

I am not blessed with the stature of right. I get things wrong a lot. But not about you attacking people because they have faith and love.

Yes you are feeling a sting from me. I mean it to be so.

Christin Sander from Midwest on August 04, 2013:

Who would Jesus to tell to pound sand with that dogma of love there Eric? Yes, this is an open website where people are allowed to comment and I have commented on this hub before. You are the one who is so afraid that you have to come here and tell people to "pound sand" - that is not based on love, it's based on your ego and it's need to feel right at the expense of everyone else. You are what is wrong with so-called Christianity and the reason so many reasonable people push back. The kind Christians I know and have had in my family are not like you - thankfully.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 04, 2013:

You don't get to tell me what to do, Eric. Pound sand? That certainly sounds like a dogma of "love" alright.

I don't have to believe in a supernatural deity to love. I have a very happy and successful marriage based on love and trust.

And yes. I was a Christian for over twenty years and got my college education in theology. I now reject christianity. So what?

I am an atheist. As an atheist, I can say with certainty that I am not afraid that I am wrong. If I am wrong and a god wants me to be tortured forever because there was no evidence for him/her, so be it. It is not a god I would ever willingly worship. therefore, your assertion is wrong.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

Was I talkng to you? I get beat up for bible thumpers. And bull on no nasty comments. When you say that something someone believes in is fake and fairy tale that is nasty. ChristinS get wired for argument. Atheists are ruled by the fear that they are wrong. Christians by the fear that they are right.

Did the dogma of love ever cause you grief. I do not think so. Read what I write. My dogma is that God is Love. You do not believe in Love. pound sand.

Christin Sander from Midwest on August 04, 2013:

Ericdierker you obviously don't know much about atheists. Many atheists, myself included, have a love for life and humanity - we simply don't believe a sky daddy created us or pulls the puppet strings. Your comments about atheists are truly offensive and you really don't have any idea what you are talking about. Many an atheist would be the first one to your aid though should something happen to you. Shameful. Atheists are ruled by fear? Whose belief system teaches that people can go to hell for an eternity if they don't spend their lives trying to appease God? I was raised in a religious home and school full of the whole hellfire and brimstone business and I didn't buy it. My lack of fear is what got me away from that mind/spirit crippling dogma. I think you have it backwards about who lives in fear.

My husband is proud to have me as a spouse and I support him in all he does - he doesn't have to worry about my faith - I put my faith where it belongs in him and in our family and in our love for other people. My grandfather was an atheist with a deeply religious wife - they had a wonderful life together.

You say all atheists have is nasty comments - yet, I have not seen nasty comments on this hub before now. I wonder why that is?

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

Let me get this straight. You understand and embrace faith? And chose to embrace atheism?

I know a ton of atheists and believers.

What we talking about here is your inability to believe in something more than your own personal intellect.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on August 04, 2013:

Atheists, unlike theists, have nothing to be afraid of. The only fear we have is violence and hatred from Christians, Muslims and other fundamental religionists. If you're thinking this way about atheists, then it doesn't really seem like you know many.

Why do you assume that atheists know nothing about religion - yours or anyone else's? Because we don't believe in it? When I was a Christian, I got to go to bible college and study first-hand the teachings of religion. I later rejected them. That automatically means that I don't understand anything about Christianity? I got my memory wiped clean when I rejected my beliefs? That doesn't make any sense.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 04, 2013:

The biggest truth about atheism is the inability of atheists to think outside the box. Give me a faith filled computer engineer programmer any day. Those atheists are ruled by a fear. But the faith based ones expand horizons and find solutions. I do not care what the believe in.

Save me from an atheist doctor. He if she does not have faith in my ability to get well --- shoot me right now.

And the worst would be an atheist spouse. No faith in nothing???? No thanks, who would hold my hand when I fail?

Nope: the truth about atheists is that they are insufferable bores with nothing to add but intellect. Well most of us have that so what else they got? Nothing but nasty comments about what they do not understand.

Do not get me wrong. I love em. But I am not going to a ball game with one.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on August 04, 2013:

M.T Dreamer: Thank you for writing a very thoughtful complex hub on your beliefs :) I think it is very easy for a person to judge anyone for anything and I feel communication is the key. We are all different and have layers of personalities about us. I am a Christian relying on faith rather than rhyme and reason, it is difficult but worth it. I believe we are human first because we are all sinners. I am friends with people of all beliefs and do not pressure anyone. Have a wonderful day :)

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on July 29, 2013:

nichellewebster - The moral argument frequently reminds me of a quote floating around somewhere that says if people pick and choose which parts of the bible to follow, then they had morals before they ever read it. And you're definitely right that there are atheists out there who can be just as abrasive as religious fundamentals. Yelling at each other isn't going to accomplish anything. I try very hard to make my responses to theists as calm as possible, while at the same time spreading a greater awareness of what atheism actually is. They need not fear us and we need not fear them. I think there is a co-existence that can be found, and hopefully this article shined some light on otherwise uncertain areas. Thank you for the comment!

Nichelle Webster from Silicon Valley on July 27, 2013:

I loved your tell tale heart story--and I love the Poe reference. That just summed it all up. LOL. I think morals are inherent. Perhaps religion helps some people stick to what they know to be right when they are tempted. But self discipline, personal honor, the law, self interest, and just common decency can serve the same function.

I dislike it when certain atheists try to talk people out of their religious beliefs. I think of them as proselytizing atheist fundamentalists and they're about as irritating as religious people trying to convert you, although the religious ones are at least are trying to give you something, not unmake you. The hateful comments here from the atheists and the theists are two sides of the same coin.

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on June 13, 2013:

krisaclark - I think the most important thing to stress to others is that we all carry the same capacity for goodness. Whether or not we use it is based on our personalities and personal experiences, not necessarily our religious affiliations. The sooner people understand that, the sooner they will understand that atheism isn't inherently evil. Thanks for the comment!

Kris from California on June 12, 2013:

I like how you felt the need to explain that it is possible for atheists to be nice and trustworthy and decent human beings. Sure shows how hateful religions can be towards outsiders.

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on March 05, 2013:

getitrite - I do worry about scientific explanations, and differing viewpoints, being regarded as evil. I don't mind if someone has a different opinion, but I think it's counter-productive to think that someone else's opinion isn't just wrong, but evil at the core. Hence, why I think it's so important to spread knowledge of atheism. The more people know about something, the less likely they are to be afraid of it. Thanks for the comment!

getitrite on March 04, 2013:

Well explained. Of course everything is rejected by believers, as evil, unless you say "Goddunit!

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on February 28, 2013:

SilentReed - Not all definitions of religion rely on a deity. Four out of the five offered definitions of religion on make no mention of a deity. I consider a religion to be a community of beliefs and rituals which is why I (and many others) also consider Buddhism to be a religion. Therefore, the belief that there is no god could be a part of a religious system.

In terms of morality, I'm discussing it in the loosest sense. For example, you and I can both probably agree that murder, rape and stealing are wrong. People do tend to have their own set of morals that may be in direct opposition to others, but there does seem to be universal rules that many sensible people can agree upon without much argument. My point was that these universal rules are not reliant upon a deity to be discovered or followed.

Perhaps my wording of Pantheism wasn't perfect, but the gist of it is there; god isn't one supernatural being, but is instead the entire universe. However I don't think Pantheism and Atheism are as far apart as one might think. When one breaks away from the notion of a sentient god with the power to smite evil, they are closer to atheism than theism. We may look at science and call it god, but it's the same as science without a god. It's the same result as atheism, but just giving it a different label.

And the monkey analogy was me trying to simplify an extremely complex process. Intelligent design isn't as plausible as evolution because evolution is a theory based on evidence we can measure. Intelligent design is a theory based on gaps in our understanding. When ever science can't explain something, many like to insert god as the answer, but if history has taught us anything; god is never the answer. The Earth isn't flat, it's not the center of the universe, the sun doesn't revolve around it and it's much older than the bible would have us believe.

SilentReed from Philippines on February 28, 2013:

If religion is define as a belief in a supernatural power or an institution that express belief in a divine being, then I am a bit confuse with your statement "You could belong to a religion and still be an atheist." Since you define atheism as "The belief that no deities (supernatural being) exist, or ever have existed." Could you please elaborate?

An atheist may or may not be "moral" nor should a religious person make undue claims to being "moral." Morality is an assumption base just like religion or atheism on one's belief. A soldier may believe that it is morally right to kill for his country just as his opponent believe he is justified for defending his.

BTW, Buddha is not consider a deity because Buddhism in the strict sense is not a religion, but a way of life.

Some believe that Pantheism is Atheism's extreme opposite; because Pantheism declares that there is nothing but God, while Atheism is the denial of the being of God. However, your definition of Pantheism,"The belief that god, or some other deity, is part of (or inside of) everything. We are all god." is not entirely correct. Pantheism doesn't declare that everything is God, any more than a physiology teacher lecturing his students about the unity of the human body structure, would insist that every finger or toe is the man. The man may be the "oneness" of all the organs and faculties, but it does not follow that any of these organs or faculties, or even an assortment of them, is the man.

To liken evolution to a bunch of monkeys eventually learning to type out "the grapes of wrath" and concluding that there is no need for a "God" in the creation of the universe is just as plausible as belief in an intelligent being who created it in a week's time. However, one might ask, "why did it take that long?" Maybe God didn't get it right the first time and had to edit? :)

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on February 04, 2013:

Patriot Quest - If the majority of American's believe in god, how could atheists have dismantled him? If one's faith is strong, it shouldn't matter that the government has no religious associations. Blaming any of America's problems on a lack of prayer, or god, is an excuse to avoid solving the real problems.

Borsia - It's always tough when we become targets for the religious. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

ChristinS - Very true. To not demonize us would be to admit that atheism as a belief has weight. And theists can't afford to take that chance. Thank you for your comment.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 04, 2013:

I think there is a large dose of truth to your comments. Thank you.

M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on February 04, 2013:

A K Turner - Thank you for the comment.

Ericdierker - I believe that anger is the 'perceived' face of atheism because the religious view any question of their deities as an attack. And, if they were to accept us on a level playing field, that would be lending credibility to the idea that there is no god. I'm not saying that there aren't some atheists who are jerks, but the implication from the religious is that most atheists are jerks and I just don't see any evidence of it.

JMcFarland - Thank you for the comment.

ilscherzo - Thank you; I couldn't remember which one the monkeys were supposed to be writing. :)

Christin Sander from Midwest on February 04, 2013:

Excellent hub explained very well. Unfortunately, there will always be the "willfully ignorant" among some people, because it might challenge their faith to not demonize atheists. Getting to know an atheist is outside of their comfort zone and it's easier to just label them as mean and untrustworthy rather than seeking them out as friends. It's unfortunate, and I don't see it ever going away completely, but we have made a lot of progress I think.

ilscherzo from Singapore on February 04, 2013:

I wouldn't presume to place any correlation between crime and faith (or lack thereof). But I can only say that just because atheists don't derive their morals from God, that doesn't mean they are incapable of deriving them by themselves. Not everybody relies on God.

Borsia from Currently, Philippines on February 04, 2013:

I'm curious Ericd; are you saying that atheists just walk up and say mean things to you out of the blue?

I've been an atheist all of my life and I have never started a conversation about religion in my life. I end up in such conversations frequently because people, especially strangers, bring up the subject and, for reasons I'll probably never understand, start asking me what faith I belong to. When I say that I'm atheist they start some rant about their beliefs which almost always include me going to hell. I suppose they don't grasp that there is no hell, or heaven, in my world,,, a rather empty threat.

M.T. great hub I agree with everything you said. I would add that the most honest and honorable people I have known in my life have almost all been atheist. Like you I have never stolen anything but over the years I have had many things stolen, virtually all by "believers" who I mistakenly called friends.

I would add that something like 98% of gang members come from religious families, most have a cross among their tattoos. The vast majority are some form of Christian. The smallest group in prisons are atheists.

So much for the 10 Commandments and religion as a base for morals.

ilscherzo from Singapore on February 04, 2013:

Patriot Quest, your leap of logic is astounding. Correlating faith with morality, without presenting any evidence. Please explain yourself.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 04, 2013:

It takes lack of writing a social skills to be a jerk --- sad but not intentional. It takes an intent and words to push that to be mean. I think it is a good fact about atheism that should be addressed --- not simply discounted. Anger is the public face of atheism -- It would be awesome if you could explain it.

Wayne Joel Bushong from America on February 04, 2013:

I don't care if your an atheists, but I would appreciate you staying out of my life and my beliefs.......that also happen to be the majority of Americas beliefs.........bring prayer back to schools, allow those who wish to worship in public schools, say atheist have morals yet the fact contradicts your statement........look at America since your group has dismantled God?

ilscherzo from Singapore on February 04, 2013:

Ericdierker, many religious people are serious jerks too. Sometimes the reason is because they ARE religious, and hold a holier-than-thou attitude over others.

By the way, the manuscript is supposed to be Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Elizabeth from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions on February 03, 2013:

excellent hub.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 03, 2013:

Ok, "most atheists are not mean". Then why do they act mean. I have never shoved or hit an atheist, but they say mean things to me all the time. I think you need to rethink this portion of your hub.

Joseph A K Turner from West Yorkshire on February 03, 2013:

I admire your faith.

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