The Truth About Atheists

Linda Staten has a piece in the The Kansas City Star where she sheds some light on atheism.

The piece is unintentionally funny… mostly because the “truths” she shares with Kansas readers are so painstakingly obvious to all of us. You wonder about the implication that Christians in the reading area may not actually be aware of any of this.

That is simply frightening.

Nonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and aren’t.

What are some of the “truths”?

  • Atheists are well-behaved.
  • Atheists don’t take up much space.
  • Atheists make good neighbors.
  • Atheists will not infringe upon your life uninvited.
  • Atheists are lousy fundraisers.
  • Atheists are the quiet type. (Though the author points out this is changing.)

Also news to the reading audience?

The Jews don’t actually have all the money.

Not all Muslims are terrorists.

Non-Christians are not trying to tempt you in all possible ways because we are living incarnations of Satan.

The list could go on.

I appreciate that Staten points all this out. It would be nice if some peoples’ stereotypes about atheists were corrected as a result. The article is actually very honest about where atheists are as a whole (even though there really is no “whole” to us… we’re all over the place. She forgot to mention we’re relatively bad organizers when compared to religious groups.)

She wraps the piece up with this positive thought:

Right-wing Christianity shook the atheist community out of its complacency with its relentless rhetorical badgering and attempts to co-opt the country. A missing piece of the real picture of America is finally being restored. Amen to that.

(via Oz Atheist’s Weblog and Possummomma)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • I like tea

    * Atheists are well-behaved.
    * Atheists don’t take up much space.
    * Atheists make good neighbors.
    * Atheists will not infringe upon your life uninvited.
    * Atheists are lousy fundraisers.
    * Atheists are the quiet type. (Though the author points out this is changing.)

    That doesn’t describe me at all. :P

  • http://www.subvertingmediocrity.com Jason Allen

    I should point out that the KC Star services Kansas City. Most of Kansas City lies on the MO side of the state line. So the article really isn’t written to the “Kansas readers” – most of us aren’t in Kansas.

    I would have thought a well educated atheist such as yourself would know this. If you’re repulsed by religion you would be even more disappointed with being associated with a Kansan. :)

    I won’t hold it against you though.

    -a Missouri reader

  • http://backstab.net Sam

    * Well behaved people are well-behaved.
    * skinny people don’t take up much space.
    * good neighbors make good neighbors.
    * non-rude people will not infringe upon your life uninvited.
    * lousy fundraisers are lousy fundraisers.
    * shy people are the quiet type.?

  • Sarah

    Oh I don’t think those “truths” are true!

    I mean, I DO know plenty of athiets who are well-behaved. And many who are good neighbors (or even great neighbors). And many who are the “quiet types” and who definitely won’t infringe on other’s lives uninvited.

    But it’s just not true to say that athiests ARE well-behaved, or ARE (categorically) good neighbors, or ARE the quiet types! How could it be true? Athiests are real live people, with substance, variety and different personalities and traits!

    And I’ve known athiests who are very savvy fundraisers and business people. And who are passionate and well-spoken (not quiet types at all)!

    Those “truths” that were listed in that article are soooooo not “true”! They may be applicable to SOME atheists. But certainly not all. I think I could buy into them as “true” if each one started out with the word “some”. (IE: “Some athiests are lousy fundraisers.” and “Some athiests are well-behaved.”)

  • K

    “She forgot to mention we’re relatively bad organizers when compared to religious groups.”
    Bullocks. I organized secular homeschools groups for field trips and history fairs for years.

  • http://informationparadox.blogspot.com/ JCE

    Forgive me for intruding, but I think some folks are taking her list a little too seriously. I got the impression it was intended to be sarcastically funny – not literal. As the author of the blog states, it would be nice if people would shed some of their stereotypes. My neighbors are the sweetest people I know. They are also christians. They pray for me; I think for them. It works!

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    Sarah said,

    Oh I don’t think those “truths” are true!

    Those “truths” that were listed in that article are soooooo not “true”! They may be applicable to SOME atheists. But certainly not all. I think I could buy into them as “true” if each one started out with the word “some”. (IE: “Some athiests are lousy fundraisers.” and “Some athiests are well-behaved.”)

    I prefer that the article did not say “some”. A lot of religious people think that atheists are by definition bad people. Look at some of the comments on the site. I will accept all general and positive statements about atheism.

  • Sarah

    Secular Dignity,

    With all due respect, how can we – as logical thinking people – be willing to accept fairytale untrue statements about athiesm (or anything else in our world)?

    False statements and fairytales aren’t “positive”. They’re negative and damaging. Even though we might “wish” in our fantasies that the false statements were true. Or imagine that their untruth would “even out” other untruths.

    If some people DO think that athiests are bad people, it’s not going to help matters by making false statements. wouldn’t that make athiests look WORSE overall?

    (Besides, being “the quiet type” or “a lousy fundraiser” who “doesn’t take up much space”… those aren’t really very postive statements anyway.)

  • http://www.xanga.com/drew85 Drew

    I like tea said
    “That doesn’t describe me at all. :P”

    How about this:

    -Atheists like tea.

  • Wilson

    Her article contains factual errors.

    Atheists have waged war; on believers when the atheists had the power.

    Lenin and Trotsky, et al. were not JUST communists…they were committed atheists and they hated believers because of their religous beliefs.

    If wasn’t just a question of power. Why exteminate massess of peasant believers unless motivated by hatred of them?

    Atheistic hatred.

    Solzheniztsyn proved this in the Gulag Archipelago back in the 70′s and received a Nobel Prize.

    You can’t pretend it didn’t happen.

  • Godamn

    You guys ought to read the full article. She expands on all those points, saying things like ‘most atheists are good neighbours/ non intrusive etc.


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