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Common myths atheists believe about theists?

What are some misconceptions atheists hold regarding theists, faith, and religion?

Posted: July 12th 2011

bitbutter www

One common misconception which seems to be held by many atheists is that faith (which I’ll define here as belief that is not backed by empirical evidence or deductive reasoning) is an illegitimate way to ground knowledge.

While these atheists are correct, in my view, that the articles of faith that characterise religion are unwarranted, what they fail to appreciate is that all human knowledge is ultimately built on foundational assumptions which are not supported by reason.

For instance, one very important belief is that the 'laws’ which seem to describe the way the universe works on a basic level will not become redundant tomorrow.

It might be tempting to object that our past experience of the universe behaving in a particular way justifies our belief that it will continue to do so, but as Hume showed us, induction itself cannot be justified without appealing to inductive inference, which would be circular and invalid.

So both theists and atheists hold beliefs that are fairly described as articles of faith (even though atheists prefer not to use that word).

The assumptions of religion are often self-contradictory, and seem far more arbitrary and ad hoc than assumptions we rely on about the behaviour of matter—that’s my justification for rejecting them.

Posted: July 23rd 2011

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anthonygraham

Interesting question. If we know they are misconceptions then why would we have the belief to begin with? If you would have asked what do atheists believe about those who believe in theism, faith, and religion I could have written an entire book on my beliefs towards yours and why I reject it.

Common myths about atheism:

Atheists worship Satan
Atheists are cold and uncaring
Atheists hate Christians and Christianity
Atheists make bad parents

Posted: July 20th 2011

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brian thomson www

I would say you’re asking the wrong people. I mean – I have opinions, but if I’m wrong about them, I want to fix them. I would not deliberately or willingly hold a misconception about anyone or anything – that goes against the whole idea of rationality and basing opinions on evidence. We’re the ones who really make an effort to see things as they are, not as we might wish they were. Atheism is just one aspect of that, and holding misconceptions would work against that principle. The question is mildly insulting, now I think about it!

If my opinion that religions are myths is itself a misconception, go ahead and show me that I’m wrong. I will happily change my opinion if there is evidence to show that things actually are as you say they are. Just remember that there are standards for what “evidence” is, as in a court of law: your opinion is not evidence by itself, and neither are scriptures or other writings. They are a record of what people said and believed, not evidence that those beliefs are true in reality.

Posted: July 20th 2011

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