Do atheists have to blaspheme?

I am asking why atheists blaspheme or use foul language on God and theists?

If you don’t believe in God, then go in peace and live happily; but why do you have use foul language on God and theists?

That is why I think you atheists really know that God exists, and you want to hit Him and people who believe in Him; otherwise, as you like to point out God is no different from the Easter Bunny, and as people who don’t believe in the Easter Bunny just go about life happily without believing in the Easter Bunny, so also if you don’t believe in God, then go about life happily without God.

No need to blaspheme and use foul language on God and people who believe in God.

Posted: April 17th 2009

Reed Braden www

We don’t have to blaspheme, and many of us don’t. Carl Sagan is a prime example of that. But many of us do to make a point: That blasphemy hurts no one. You can’t hurt a god’s feelings if that god doesn’t exist.

But to pin blasphemy on Atheists seems a bit dishonest. Throughout religious history and embedded in so many religious texts, religious people have blasphemed other religions. They don’t consider it blasphemy though.

Example: The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, mocks Ba’al as impotent. Today’s Jews and Christians, however, don’t see that as blasphemy because they don’t believe Ba’al is or was a real god. Believers mostly see blasphemy as insults directed at their god or religion and not those directed at other gods and religions. Atheists are much the same in that, since we don’t believe in a religion or any gods, we don’t consider insults toward them as blasphemy.

On an interesting and slightly-unrelated note, the OT is worded in such a way that it suggests that the Jews who wrote it believed that Ba’al and the other gods of the time were real but were impotent compared to Yahweh/Elohim. Karen Armstrong’s A History of God covers this well. If you’re interested in the history of religions blaspheming other religions, I would suggest reading her book.

Posted: April 28th 2009

See all questions answered by Reed Braden

Dave Hitt www

Blasphemy requires a real god. Therefore, atheists cannot blaspheme.

We can, do, and will continue to point out the silliness and inconsistencies of religions and their gods, their religious leaders, and the believers who follow such nonsense. The targets of our tactics will scream and cry and whine and moan that we are blaspheming and from their ignorant point of view, we are. But here in the real world, blasphemy isn’t possible.

Posted: April 20th 2009

See all questions answered by Dave Hitt


Well, for the most part, because we want to.

I think certain sequences of words are convenient ways to express frustration and relieve stress. I do think they can be overdone, however.

The real question is “why do you think I should change what I say just because it’s against your rules to say such a thing?” What I’m saying doesn’t libel or defame anyone, nor does it label anybody. It’s your problem that it bothers you.

There may be people who believe in god and choose to “blaspheme” for the reasons you indicate, but – by definition – those people would not be atheists.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

George Ricker www

If what you mean by “blasphemy’ is using foul language to refer to gods or those who believe in them, then I doubt you’ll find most atheists doing that. That’s not to say it never happens, but it’s not the preferred mode of discourse.

If by “blasphemy,” you mean failing to show the proper reverence (whatever that may mean) to gods or things associated with the worship of those gods, then most of us are probably guilty to some degree or another. Some people regard it as blasphemous not to believe in their version of god. Others regard non-belief as blasphemous by its very nature.

Since I believe in no gods, I don’t regard blasphemy as any sort of crime or offense. For example, many Christians regard Monty Python’s Life of Brian as blasphemous. I just think it’s funny.

As to the rest of your post, I have no desire to “hit” anything or anyone, especially not a figment of someone else’s imagination.

It’s true enough that your “God” is no more real to me than the Easter Bunny. But I’m am not constantly beset by followers of the Easter Bunny attempting to convert me or subvert the secular nature of the society in which I live.

Folks who believe in the Easter Bunny do not ask for special tax breaks for their organizations, and they do not try to make belief in the Easter Bunny the basis for all law and all morality in our society. They also do not try to force belief in the Easter Bunny on anyone or criticize people who do not believe in the Easter Bunny as being unprincipled or immoral. They do not attempt to demand that government pay homage to the Easter Bunny or give special consideration to those who believe in it. The Easter Bunny is never invoked as the creator of everything that exists.

Those who don’t worship the Easter Bunny are never harassed at home, at school or at work, and they are not constantly pestered about why they do not believe in the Easter Bunny by those who do.

If the various gods worshipped by various theists were as innocuous as the Easter Bunny, then I, and the other atheists I know, would have no need to think about them at all.

I already live quite happily without gods and religions. I’m only bothered by them when religionists bother me with them.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by George Ricker


As the popular saying goes, blasphemy is a victim-less crime.

I, personally, have no problem with foul language. It does not offend me at all. Sometimes it even makes me laugh (per the comedian, George Carlin or the cognitive scientist, Steven Pinker). I hate to tell you the obvious, but critical/foul language in itself does not deal body blows. Theists are welcome to criticize atheism; atheists thrive on criticism of their ideas.

The days that religion will be given undeserved respect are over. Please stop whining. Defend your position via responding to the content of the answerers, not their style. How superficial can you be? You got some serious and solid content? Please give it to us!

Your pathetic switching (from proper focus on content to style and delivery) and baiting (you atheists are really theists!) will not get any tugs here.

I also hate to point out another obvious aspect, that criticism does not mean that theists can’t practice their non-evidential beliefs in peace. You are welcome to your non-evidential beliefs and the practice of them, as consenting adults. Many atheists would fight for that right of yours.

I also would like to point out, that I live in a secular community, where atheism/theism are not discussed much. Why? Because we – both theists and atheists – do live and let live. If theism is properly kept private, most atheists would no longer be 'foul’ and 'blasphemous.’

Keep in mind, at present, followers of the Easter bunny do not start wars, mutilate children, oppress women and gays, interfere with science, and cause psychological damage to untold numbers of people because of guilt and disgust at being human. God and the Easter bunny are truly the same in the mind of an atheist, but the followers of god and the Easter bunny are not.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by logicel

Eshu www

If it is blasphemy to say that a particular god or gods do not exist (or probably do not exist), then it’s impossible to be an atheist without blaspheming. Indeed most “holy” books would be considered to be blaspheming against other religions.

I guess what you’re getting at is atheists being rude or offensive when talking about your God. In this case, the short answer is no, there’s no need to use foul language, but being “offensive” is almost impossible to avoid.

Offence is in the mind of the offended. Some believers consider the mere existence of atheist (especially normal, happy atheists) to be offensive. It seems when an atheist says, “I don’t believe in God.” they hear, “I hate God and think you believers are stupid”.

Most atheists do go around happily not believing in God. Most of us would like to live and let live. Unfortunately most religions try to invade public life and tell everyone – believer or not – how to live their lives. I’m sure you’d be pretty angry by being told to you couldn’t marry the person you love because of someone else’s religion or that some of your tax money was going to be used to promote someone else’s religion or that you were an evil person because you didn’t belong to someone else’s religion.

These kinds of things don’t happen to people because they don’t believe in the Easter Bunny.

When atheists experience religious prejudice, it’s liable to make them feel aggrieved and annoyed. This may result in them saying things which you find offensive.

All the atheist writers I’ve read seem to agree that everyone should be free to believe whatever makes sense to them, without any sanctions or discrimination. (Saying “I disagree” or even being rude/offensive is not discrimination). Most of us would much prefer to just get on with our lives and let others do the same.

For a long time religion has been “in our faces” and given an unwarranted privileged position, where criticism is not allowed. Blasphemy makes the point that religion should be as open to criticism as any other idea. It’s unfortunate if that upsets you, but try to imagine it from the point of view of dealing with someone else’s religion.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by Eshu

bitbutter www

I don’t know what you consider to be blasphemy. I’ve seen it defined very broadly so that even simple statements of non-belief are blasphemous.

I hope I’m right that you have a more limited sense of the word in mind. I’ll use blasphemy here to mean making fun of ideas that are sacred to religious people. I’ll use PZ Myers’ host desecration as an example.

Judging by the death threats to Myers and his family, he certainly must have hurt people’s feelings. Those who feel hurt probably have difficulty seeing past their own distress and so miss the broader purpose of blasphemy. The aim of this kind of blasphemous display isn’t to hurt people, it’s to demonstrate, in a very direct way, that a certain idea is worthy of ridicule. In this case the idea is that a wafer has turned into a person, but no regular person. This person is physically indistinguishable from a wafer. Monty Python couldn’t have done better.

Blasphemy is important because people take courage from knowing that there are others like them who reject silly superstition. The Blasphemy Challenge is an excellent example. While an agreement that religious ideas shouldn’t be criticised is still in general effect, blasphemy is an especially important tool.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by bitbutter

brian thomson www

If you are in the USA, you might be aware that some states used to have blasphemy laws on their books, but they had to be voided as unconstitutional, since they violated the 1st Amendment to the Constitution (the Bill Of Rights).

According to various dictionaries, “blasphemy” has a specific meaning: insult to gods or other religious beliefs. It does not cover insults to people. I am generally respectful towards other people, and there are words to describe what would happen if I was not, such as slander or insult. However, since I do not accept or respect your beliefs as having any basis in reality, that also renders “blasphemy” an abstract conceit.

It’s not possible to slander something that, in all probability, does not exist. If your god feels insulted by anything I have said (or will say) she can come and tell me herself. Until then, I will treat the idea of gods with as much respect as I treat other baseless fantasies i.e. none. If you are now personally insulted by my attitude towards your beliefs, you have no right to be, since I did not insult you, and I sincerely hope that you have a personal identity separate from your beliefs.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by brian thomson

flagellant www

For myself, I never use what would, in any context – especially when writing considered replies here – be considered foul language; the worst I might say is that your belief is unjustified and that it is 'silly’. If you want to call that 'blaspheming’, it is indicative of your double standards: like most of the religiosi, you want special treatment for your dubious beliefs.

Belief in god has had a fair crack of the whip and been found wanting. For example, believers used to think that storms, earthquakes, and disease were punishments from god; now we know differently. Religious belief, mostly a product of superstitious times more than 1500 years ago, has been a retrogressive influence and a barrier to progress. I am amazed that you want special treatment for your beliefs, yet you are prepared to accuse us (me) of blaspheming and using foul language. Where’s your respect for my position?

For example, you say that I really know that God exists and [I] want to hit him. No I don’t! I know no such thing! And why would I want to hit something imaginary?

How do you know that god exists? Is it that you feel it, you are comfortable with the idea, or do you just like the thought? Well, none of those reasons justifies your belief; simply because you feel something deeply, or you like the idea of god doesn’t make it true. On the balance of real evidence, it’s at least 99% certain there’s no god. Find me some serious evidence and I’ll reconsider. However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Show us the extraordinary evidence! Belief alone isn’t evidence.

I deprecate believers’ attempts to arrogate a special position for their belief systems: you cry 'Foul!’ if we criticise your beliefs and you want special treatment. Yet you assume things about atheist beliefs that are simply untrue. Why is it that you call criticism of belief in god 'blaspheming’? Isn’t it about time you started to examine your beliefs more critically? Your hurt comes across as hypocritical, your accusations – accusing atheists of things of which they aren’t guilty – are hollow, and your special pleading reveals nothing so much as religion’s double standards.

Posted: April 18th 2009

See all questions answered by flagellant


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