October 20, 2018

Why Atheists Sometimes Talk About Gods and Religion

dinosaurs
Hey Christians, I've got a fun hypothetical for you to consider. Suppose you were to wake up tomorrow morning to discover that you were living in a country where roughly 90% of the population was absolutely convinced that the dinosaurs were back and living among us. Despite a thorough investigation, you find no evidence to support this conviction whatsoever. "You gotta have faith," they tell you, but you cannot make yourself believe something that clearly isn't true.

You seem to be in a tiny minority on that point though. Your neighbors attend weekly meetings during which they sing songs and make symbolic sacrifices to honor these dinosaurs. When you express your puzzlement, they quickly accuse you of bigotry and condemn you for not going along with their dinosaur belief. Some even insist that you are morally inferior merely because you do not believe what they believe. To your horror, one of the books they praise suggests that the dinosaurs might want them to murder you. And worst of all, the dinosaur-believing majority routinely uses their positions in your government to promote their beliefs and restrict your rights on the basis of these beliefs.

Just as you are beginning to feel alone and vulnerable, you discover that you are not the only one living as a stranger in this strange land. There are a small minority of others just like you who recognize this delusion for what it is and are no more thrilled by the prospect of embracing it than you are. Isn't it reasonable to think that you might want to communicate with some of them, talk about your shared experiences, see if you can make sense out of this strange reality together, and support one another? Please try to keep this in mind the next time you find yourself tempted to ask why atheists talk about gods, religions, and/or religious believers.

For some additional thoughts on the subject, see "Why Atheists Think About Gods."