When Religious People Accuse Us of Being Religious, As An Insult

Don’t you hate it when anti-atheist pro-faith religionists ridiculously claim, as a put down, that atheism (or evolution) is a dogma or a faith or a religion or that it treats something as holy and as its “god”, etc.? Hank amusingly sums up the absurdity of such attempts to defend dogmatic faith-based religions from atheists and scientists:

you’re basically saying “The stuff you believe is just as stupid as the stuff I believe. You’re making the same mistake I make.”

It’s like yelling over the fence at your neighbor, “Hey, dog owner! Your dog SHITS IN THE YARD!! Just like mine does!”

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Daniel Schealler

    This is something my friends do to me all the time, but only because they know it winds me up.

    They also go out of their way to misuse the word ‘irony’ for similar reasons.

    My friends are assholes.

  • http://mildlyamusing.thecomicseries.com/ AaronJ

    I GUESS what they’re trying to say is that we’re hypocrites for berating their blind faith while we supposedly have blind faith ourselves? Or something?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

      Right, that’s part of it but they also imply that our merely having dogma or faith or a god or whatever itself proves us wrong, and that’s what’s so stupefying about it to me.

    • Daniel Schealler

      Because only their religion is the right one, you big silly.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers


      now I feel foolish.

  • http://cafeeine.wordpress.com Cafeeine

    I’ve long considered that this is an attempt to fit atheism in a category they already have means to deal with, i.e ‘other religions’. Any successful religion will have rhetorical and dogmatic tools in its toolset to deal with the existence of other religions. The idea promoted by the Gnu atheists, that of critical evaluation of religious claim cannot be addressed by these means. Take faith, for example. The religious have means to account for faith in a wrong religion (demons, deception, ignorance). They can’t account for a mindset that eschews faith for evidence. If they convince themselves that atheists hold faith of some sort, they can give themselves license to disregard anything the atheist has to say against it. The exercise is a means to take faith off the debating table, and once faith is allowed, the theists can’t lose, in their mind.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    They do that, because they are trying to convince themselves that their religion is not the BS that they suspect it might be.

  • Rob

    In multiple comboxes I have pointed out this hilarious trope. It is quite obvious that the believer is using the accusation as an insult. They tell me that I have faith, or a religion, or adhere to dogma.

    So they are using things they supposedly value as insults! It’s delicious irony.

    Do you ever see skeptics attempting to insult believers by saying they have good critical thinking skills? A skeptic would never use something he values as an insult.

    Deep down, the believer knows that faith is something to be ashamed of. He’s right.