A Response to the ‘Top 10 Awkward Facts About the Atheist Monument’

Tom Hoopes, former editor of the National Catholic Register, has an embarrassingly ignorant piece up at the Catholic Voice in which he “rebuts” the atheist monument now up in front of the Bradford County Courthouse:

(via Gamma Atheist)

Let’s go through Hoopes’ “10 awkward facts about the atheist monument”:

1. A quote on it says: “An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church.” Which is awkward, because we really haven’t seen all those hospitals the atheists were going to build…

Well, you give us the money the Catholic Church has, and let’s see what happens. Not to mention that Catholic hospitals are not exactly known for their medical superiority.

2. The hospital quote is also awkward because it clearly should have said: “An atheist believes that $22,000 monuments to atheism should be built in all 50 states instead of a hospital.”

Actually, it’s the Christian Ten Commandments monument that cost $22,000.

The atheist bench cost $6,000.

Either way, I find it hard to take financial advice from someone whose religious leaders sit on property estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars (and that was in 1965).

I’ll just leave this here:

But, to your point, the atheist monuments are only being put up in response to Christian ones. If their side stops, our side stops. (I’m sure if the groups putting up these monuments decide to donate money that would’ve been used to make another Ten Commandments monument to charity, atheist donors would follow suit.)

3. A quote on the monument says atheists “Want war eliminated.” Which is awkward because warriors like Stalin and Lenin and Mao and Hoxha and Ceaușescu — were all atheists.

Oh, Christ, this again…

Look, some of them were atheists. But they didn’t kill in order to “spread their atheism.” They were politically-motivated tyrants with actual weapons of mass destruction at their disposal. Incidentally, Hitler, who wasn’t mentioned in Hoopes’ list, was a proud Christian.

4. The monument also mocks the punishments threatened in the Old Testament. Awkward: Far worse brutality was actually committed by the atheist warriors listed above — in our lifetime.

I repeat what I said above.

5. The “We want war eliminated” quote is also awkward because all of the other quotes on the monument are from Founding Fathers known for starting a war with England.

We’re against the Revolution now? Great. Anyone who quotes the Founding Fathers must be pro-war. (Someone tell David Barton!)

The point is not that war is always bad, but that most atheists would like to see a world without it — as would most Christians.

6. It’s awkward that at the dedication, a preacher used the monument to preach Christ, and the free thinkers got mad at his free thinking.

Who got mad? Annoyed, maybe, that a Christian was trying to steal the spotlight. Upset, maybe, that Eric Hovind was standing on the monument before it was properly settled into its foundation. That’s about the extent of it. When loudmouth Christian preachers try to make their case in public, it only helps the atheist cause.

7. It’s awkward that the monument has what looks like a biohazard symbol on it.

… says the person whose religious symbol represents an ancient torture device.

Anyway, here is the biohazard symbol and AA logo side-by-side. See if you can tell the difference:

I can. Not awkward.

8. But the symbol actually shows an atom. J.J. Thomson won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the electron. He was a churchgoer who read the Bible every night. Which is awkward for atheists.

Niels Bohr discovered the structure of an atom and he was an atheist. Checkmate!

Why would Thomson’s Christianity be awkward, anyway? Science works despite religious beliefs. Isaac Newton was a religious man, but that doesn’t mean atheists find it awkward to do math.

Maybe someone should remind Hoopes that the structure of DNA was discovered by atheists… and he has DNA inside of him… OHMYGOD, SO AWKWARD!

9. A quote on the monument says “An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.” Awkward: atheists Jack Kevorkian (Dr. Death) and Derek Humphry (founder of the Hemlock Society) would disagree.

Atheists (in general) support living a satisfying life before death since there’s no afterlife. When it comes time to die, we support giving people the choice to die a dignified death on our own terms (if possible). There’s nothing awkward about this.

10. A New Jersey-based group went to Florida to build an atheist monument. That sounds kind of… missionary and proselytizing. Which is awkward for people who are against that kind of thing…

This wasn’t a “mission.” The monument isn’t there as a tool for proselytization. It’s there to counter the Ten Commandments monument, pure and simple. Atheists have conferences in a lot of states, too. That’s not awkward, either.

Just about all the arguments one can make against the atheist bench can also be made against the Ten Commandments monument. As I’ve said before, I’d rather not have any monuments in front of the courthouse, but if city officials are going to allow it, we can’t let Christians be the only ones there.

I think there’s only one thing left to say to Tom Hoopes:

What you’ve just said… is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

(Thanks to Steven for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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