Herb Silverman on Atheists and Arrogance

Herb Silverman of the Secular Coalition for America writes an always-entertaining weekly column for the On Faith section of the Washington Post. Today’s piece focuses on whether atheists, as a group, are as arrogant as many believers like to say we are. His argument isn’t new, but it’s very effectively stated:

Which of the following sounds more arrogant?

Worldview 1. I know God created the entire universe just for the benefit of humans. He watches me constantly and cares about everything I say and do. I know how He wants me and everyone else to behave and believe. He is perfect and just, which is why we face an eternity of either bliss or torture, depending on whether or not we believe in Him.

Worldview 2. We’re the product of millions of years of evolution. Most species are extinct, as humans will eventually be. I hope to make a positive difference because it’s the right thing to do, not because of future rewards or punishments in an afterlife. When I don’t know something, which is often, I say, “I don’t know.”

To be fair, the “I don’t know” faction is better described as agnostic rather than atheist, but that’s a minor quibble.

Anyway, the next time somebody goes on about the arrogance of atheists, give ‘em Silverman’s little test, and enjoy watching them trying to stutter their way out of it.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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