The Atheist Panelist Shows Them Up Every Week

The Ottawa Citizen runs a feature each weekend called “Ask the Religion Experts” where they invite representatives from different faith — and no faith — backgrounds to comment on a general religion-related question. (So, in other words, there’s one expert…)

The online version isn’t formatted well, but it’s a good use of a religion section. Let the theists dig their own graves by spouting their nonsense in the public domain. They say mostly-similar things — and the readers can figure out why one is right and the others wrong. Then they can have one rational person talk some sense into all of them :)

Here’s a suggestion for the atheist panelist (and Centre For Inquiry board member) Kevin Smith: Just submit the same response every week:

Did you READ what the others wrote? You’ve got to be kidding me… Here’s some honesty for you: They don’t know the answers any more than I do. The difference is that I tell you the truth while they make stuff up and pass along the nonsense. Just skip down to my post each week. I got your back.

I think that’d go over pretty well.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Ndonnan

    Well he does give a good answer in that he dosent know the truth,so why bother  is right ,hes got nothing to say about somthing he knows nothing about

    • Coyotenose

       So your complaint is the proposed response would make him the only honest one of the bunch*, and therefore he should shut up? Unsurprising.

      *which he already is, but hey.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’d love to know if you think any of the others have anything useful to say.  And much more importantly, how do you know?

      • Ndonnan

        Yes Rich,i,like Becky feel he is like a teen with attitude,on the defencive which  is as you would expect from someone as he says is talking about something he knows nothing about.No wonder he comes across as a little insecure.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Note to self: stop bothering to ask Ndonnan any questions.  He just ignores them and makes up his own questions anyway.

        • Coyotenose

           Wow, that was bizarrely unrelated. Are you that bad at reading, or is the Red herring deliberate?

          • Anonymous

             Coyotenose, I don’t think she reads very well or she wouldn’t be making nonsensical comments.  She can type, not well, but she does type.

  • Becky Shattuck

    I’m not very pleased with the responses of his that I read.  Each time, he acts like he’s being personally attacked first, before he answers the question.  It seems like the religious people who are answering the questions answer them in regards to their faith, and the the atheist responds by exclaiming how there are readers who probably find his posts “deeply disturbing, as if they are embracing the devil,” telling readers they’ve “been deceived,” and “have been fed a big dose of propaganda.”

    It’s fine for us atheists to think those things, but it’s not going to win us any popularity prizes to just attack everyone else.  

    In the responses to the questions in that column, none of the religious respondents attack the other religious respondents.  They simply answer the question in terms of their faith.  In my opinion, the atheist looks like a complete ass by being the one to jump down the throats of the others and then spews nonsense about being the one in the defensive position.

    He’d break down more boundaries if he was just calm, reasonable, and accepting.  He could simply explain why the separation of church and state is important to safe guard the freedom of all people–theists and atheists alike–instead of starting off by telling everyone they’ve been brainwashed.  He sounds like a child full of angst.  

    • Coyotenose

       If you read closely in the latest column, you’ll see that among the religious respondents, several dodge the question, but more importantly, several of them take potshots at atheists. The Buddhist and Hindu stand out the most for that, oddly. I haven’t had time to read older responses yet.

    • Anonymous

      When religious leaders make nonsensical comments about secularism, it is most definitely a requirement to be critical. If we were all nice children in the playground as Betty dreams of, this would not be necessary. Read between the religious lines Betty, read the headlines. The religious have never played nice towards those of different faiths and especially atheists. Your post is nonsense.

    • Dolittleduo

      This comment is either written by a troll(if I use the term correctly) or someone who hasn’t read many of Kevin’s contributions(or a complete ass;P). He can’t just reiterated the church state issue every week. He is, essentially, the opposition. He has to answer each question specifically, which I think he does an excellent job of. I don’t think he’s ever used the word brainwashed, but if he has, so what? The religious geniuses don’t pull any punches with their nonsense. Why should Kevin?

      • Becky Shattuck

        I have not read all of them, but I’m not trolling.  I read three of the articles with his responses, but in all of them, he seemed to be a bit crazed.  Each of the religious leaders answered while explaining their respective religions (for example, by saying, “The Bible says…”).  When it was Kevin’s turn to answer, he seemed to immediately jump in by saying things like how many people just skip over his because they think it’s evil or whatever.  He immediately takes the role of the victim and just seems pathetic.  

        In my last post, I used direct quotes from him.  Yes, he did say that the religious readers were brainwashed.  

        To me, it really did read like something a high schooler would write–just very angry, full of angst, and not very considerate.  

        I understand that you disagree, but that’s just how it felt to me.

      • Becky Shattuck

        I decided to come back and give a better example in support of my opinion.  

        Here’s an article that asks the religious experts what role should government play in religion?  Here are the first few sentences of some of the responses:

        Sikh:  The role of government should be to create a neutral space for people to practise their faiths freely. Government should not favour any religious group or ideology over another. 

        Muslim:    In secular democracies, government does not play any role in regards to religion. However, it is also true that governmental functions are discharged by human beings.

        Catholic:     The government has an important role in guaranteeing the universal right to freedom of religion.

        And, now, the introduction of the atheist response:

        Secularism. If this word just made the hairs on the back of your neck quiver, I suggest you read on as I am going to explain its real meaning. Many of you who follow a religion have been fed a big dose of propaganda about secularism and it’s time you realized it is not a four-letter word.
        I’m used to religion using the emotional arguments.  Here, each of the religions responded to the question directly.  Look at the atheist response.  He uses emotion, seems critical, and a little crazy.  I’m an atheist, and I think his answer is BS.  Imagine what the religious readers must think.

        • Anonymous

           Assume you are not a fan of the new atheists. Peace and love and acceptance of the nonsense religious leaders spew. Boring.


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