15 More Things Christians Should Never Say to Atheists

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses 15 more things Christians should never say to atheists:

In case you missed the initial list, you can check that out right here:

If you have additional items to add to the list, please leave them in the comments!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I truly laughed out loud when this flashed up on the screen..

  • Nate Frein

    I kind of see the “you’re an atheist because you just want to sin” as a perversion of the reasoning that does lead, or help lead, some people to becoming atheists. I know for me, I found the Catholic Church’s doctrine on homosexuality to be psychologically damaging, so in a sense someone could say that I left so that I could commit one particular “sin” without feeling guilty.

    But then, I disagree with the whole idea of sin on a fundamental level, since it basically amounts to thought crime.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    And I would say you left because you wanted to be happy. If being happy is a sin, then call me a sinner.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I wish for a bullet list. I’m sorry, but I just can’t take the time to watch the video.

  • Shiny

    The best response I’ve ever heard to the ‘but evolution is just a theory’ crowd was ‘yeah, well so is gravity. Go disagree with that

  • Charles Minus

    When someone says something like, “Why are there mountains?” I don’t think they are interested in an answer. If they really were curious that would do what Hemant or any curious person would do, they would go look for answers. No, these are rhetorical questions, which the asker thinks have no answers and which will leave you gasping and defeated. And, of course, they will pay absolutely no attention to your answer if you attempt one. I don’t even waste my breath anymore.

  • Timmah

    Matt from the Athiest Experiece pulled that out on a caller once only to get an exasperated sigh followed up by “Gravity is NOT a theory!” Needless to say him and his co-host began laughing uncontrolably.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor
  • SansDeus

    By babies you mean baby carrots, right? ;)

  • allein

    Ditto. Youtube is blocked at work and I may or may not get back to it later. I don’t expect full transcripts of every video but for something like this, a simple list of the 15 things would be nice.

  • allein

    “It’s good that they say that…maybe they’ll feel the same way about gravity and they’ll just float the fuck away..” (Tim Michin, probably not an exact quote)

  • Katie Lawrence

    Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Therefore by definition atheism IS a religion as defined by Webster. I have not watched the second video yet, but I find the first one very contradictory. If you have a genuine question, please come to us, but don’t ask us this or this or this or this. Sounds like those are questions that you find uncomfortable to answer, just like some Christians find questions uncomfortable to answer. I’m a spiritual person, and NEVER push my religion on others, however, I have questions and I ask them. Any atheist who is strong in their belief that God doesn’t exist can talk and debate with me any time. I do not try to convert, I listen and gather all the information I can.

  • David Kopp

    No, atheism is just saying “I think you’re wrong” to people who claim there is a god. There is no “collection of beliefs” or “cultural system” that accompanies atheism. Atheism as a thing shouldn’t even exist, except that the preponderance of people believe in magic, so people who don’t end up needing an identifier of some kind when we’re asked what kind of magic we believe in.

    The video is just stating common misconceptions that come across as horribly insensitive and ignorant from religious people. Like claiming atheism is a religion.

  • allein

    “Atheism,” by itself, is a viewpoint on one particular question: Do you believe in God? How is that an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and/or world views?

  • allein

    Ha, you posted while I was writing. I like yours better. :)

  • Mottfolly

    I agree, my computer and I agree, we don’t like video. I don’t have time for them. With text I can usually tell very quickly if I want to read the whole thing and I can skim the thing if I want.
    Just write it out.

  • Nate Frein

    I agree. My point was that, in a twisted sense, it’s true that I left the Church so that I could “sin”. I would love to see a more nuanced response from Hemant than what was in the video.

  • RobMcCune

    Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.

    And atheism isn’t organized, and has no cultural systems. It’s collection of beliefs consists of one item: there are no deities. Finally atheist world views are so radically different and incompatible with one another that its more coherent to consider atheism as part of a worldview than a worldview as a part of atheism.

    Therefore by definition atheism IS a religion as defined by Webster

    Even if the dictionary were the sole judge of truth, no it isn’t.

    I have not watched the second video yet, but I find the first one very contradictory.

    Translation: “Other people won’t subscribe to my beliefs, that’s a contradiction!”

  • Nate Frein

    Baby back ribs!
    Baby corn!
    Baby lima beans

  • Nate Frein

    Translation: “Other people won’t subscribe to my beliefs, that’s a contradiction!”

    Or possibly: “I don’t do everything that Hemant lists here, therefore he’s strawmanning me and not making a video targeted at the christian population in general.”

  • SansDeus

    All very delicious babies.
    I think Hemant said he’s vegetarian though, so the ribs are probably out.

  • allein

    I have a whole list of video posts that I’m going to get around to watching “later”…most of them will eventally get deleted, I’m sure. A few I still want to see but they’ve been sitting there for weeks or even months. Even the Tim Minchin post from a few days ago…I came across the video somewhere else and had it sitting open in a tab in my browser for several days before I finally watched it, and I love Tim Minchin. I just didn’t have the attention span to watch an 18 minute video.

  • Nate Frein

    Ohhh, missed that. Good point!

  • Meghan

    #3 is the one that gets me every time. I watched my husband suffer through 9 months of chemotherapy and hospital stays, watched him become weaker and spend weeks at a time in a hospital away from his family, before he finally passed away at the age of 31. Not once did I ever call out to god or even think of it. One of my mom’s friends (who is very religious) even asked me, “Doesn’t all of this (my husband’s cancer) make you change your mind or think you are wrong?” And I told her that no, if anything it makes me that much more sure of my lack of belief. What kind of god would take a father away from his 4 young daughters? What kind of god makes his people, that he supposedly loves so much, suffer through such a terrible disease, or why would he even create that disease in the first place? Why would I want to believe in a god that does that? So yeah, sorry believers, you are wrong on that one.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Tides go in, tides go out. Nobody can explain that.

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    I’m pretty sure you didn’t watch the first video either because the atheism as a religion was addressed there. Which is exactly why none of us will respond to your infantile challenge: because no matter how much we debate your position wouldn’t change.

  • Helanna

    “Have you heard about Jesus?”
    “NO. NEVER.”

    The sheer sarcasm present in that response just brightened my day. I will never, ever understand the apparent deep-held belief that the only reason non-Christians exist is because they’ve never heard of Jesus. There’s a church group that used to leave little pamphlets around my workplace explaining about Jesus, and I always wondered who they thought was going to radically re-think their beliefs and change their lives because they found a paper in Walmart saying “Jesus Loves You!”.

  • Artor

    The point Hemant was making was this; Don’t ask these questions, because they’re stupid questions. If you have something intelligent to ask us, then please do. It’s not that we’re avoiding debate, but we’d really like to have a debate with someone smarter than a particularly dull 3rd grader.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    And we understand Evolution orders of magnitude better than we do Gravity. It’s a far more supportable theory. Suck it, Creationists! AMERICA!!!

  • Timmah

    I usualy ask if they are talking about Jesus Guzman who is a utility IF/OF for the San Diego Padres. Really agitates people. =D

  • allein

    It’s not that we find them uncomfortable, it’s that we’re tired of hearing them. (Granted, I haven’t watched this most recent video yet, but I did see his first one.)

    Also, speaking only for myself, I’m generally not all that interested in debating the issue.

  • Ogre Magi

    How about not saying anything to us at all?

  • allein

    I was on vacation last week and came back to work this morning to find a booklet on my desk: What Must I Do to Be SAVED? The Plan of Salvation Made Plain to Sinners from the Word of God by John R. Rice; from Sword of the Lord Publishers of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Paperclipped inside is a little pamphlet called The Most IMPORTANT Thing YOU Must Consider…. “Important” and “You” in red, with “Important” in bigger letters going diagonally across the middle of the page, all superimposed over a grayscale rendition of Rodin’s The Thinker. (That thing, of course, is “Where Will You Spend All Eternity?”) On the back of the smaller pamphlet it says “For more help from God’s Word, contact Garden State Baptist Church” and then handwritten below the address is “Gus” (including the quotation marks around his name).

    My coworker, who is also an atheist, left it, because he gets fun stuff like that in his door and he likes to share them with me, as I don’t seem to get religious nuts around my neighborhood. I used to work in bookstores where we would often find pamphlets and cards lying around. They went in the recycling bin. As will my fine literature from this morning.

  • Jasper

    “Where will you go when you die?”

    What do you mean where will go? I’m dead. I’m not going anywhere. What would possess you into thinking that, upon death, you “go somewhere”?

    Where does a computer program go when the computer is turned off?

  • JT Rager

    The line of thought is absolutely sickening, the way that people wait until you or your loved one is the most vulnerable position. They know you’re desperate for a way out, so you’re more likely to find an option in something completely implausible. It’s taking advantage of you in a shitty situation.

  • JT Rager

    Eh. I find the concept of volcanoes and plate tectonics fairly easy to understand. I understand that it’s rhetorical, but I’d end up being that asshole that started on a long explanation so it’s perfectly clear where mountains come from. Not like it would convince them, of course, but I’d find it fun.

  • Cake

    “Where will you go when you die?”

    I’m dead, not on vacation.

  • DoctorDJ

    Where does your lap go when you stand up?

  • Diane

    IME, they’re thinking that sure, you’ve heard of someone named Jesus, but not THEIR Jesus, and not in the “right” way (the “right” way being whatever gets you to convert).

  • Mitch

    6:16 Wait, you guys and gals don’t do this? Oops….

  • Robin

    They aren’t uncomfortable to answer they are stupid questions!! Ask REAL questions and you will get honest answers! But just like the eating babies question, if they are stupid questions expect stupid answers!!!

  • viaten

    “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”
    Translation: “I don’t have enough daring to be an atheist.” At least that’s the way I think it seems to be in the minds of those who say that. And when they say that they don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, what exactly do they think atheists would have faith in?

  • http://thecriticalatheist.com/ David Joseph Post

    It’s impossible to make a video which covers Christianity in general. I’ve had many talks with friends on Facebook threads, or Google+, and even Christopher Hitchens related to this fact in one of his interviews. We have to make some assumptions based on our experience with others, books we have read, and history. I’ve tried to tell Christians what they believe and it always comes out to them not believing it the way I explained it, or I’m missing something, or the New Testament took care of it. You can’t address every individual belief generically. This, I find, makes sense when you discover that god did not make man, but man made god, thus so many different personal beliefs.

  • Kiwi_Dave

    A small nit-pick. Atheism has another possible item – if gods do exist, they don’t deserve our worship.

    It’s a very long time ago, but I recollect being much more of a non-worshiper than an unbeliever at first.

  • vreejack

    With regard to the first one…even if I wanted to sin despite the threat of hellfire, you cannot just decide not to believe in hellfire. You might come to the understanding that there is no hellfire, but to just stop believing? I wish it were that easy. It’s the flip side of the silly argument of Pascal’s wager: that it’s safer to believe in God than to not believe. But you cannot just decide to believe; God can easily see through such shallow faith.

  • mandas

    Evolution is NOT a theory. Evolution is an observation. It is the different mechanisms which attempt to explain evolution (such as natural selection) which are the theories.

  • mandas

    No Katie – atheism is not an organised collection of beliefs. It is neither organised, nor is it based on belief.
    Atheism is nothing more and nothing less than a rejection of belief in a deity.

  • RowanVT

    I’ve always seen that in a similar way. That is a christian who is admitting that they are too timid to face the word on their own two feet. That is a christian who is admitting that they can’t survive without a security blanket to hide from the boogeyman.

  • Anat

    But if there is no computer heaven, where do all the calculators go?

  • Anna

    Wouldn’t that be misotheism?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    LOL. Webster? Really? For some legal purposes atheist groups are treated as religions since the right to believe is considered the same as the right not to believe. But no, atheism is not a religion. The questions are annoying because they are stupid and stupidity is annoying.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Only someone who doesn’t actually know any atheists could think it’s organized. Beyond the not believing in any gods part, we don’t agree in much else, and there’s no reason that we should.

  • lmartin0219

    Wow! You have to be the best spokesperson for Atheism I have ever heard! I am an Atheist (used to be a Christian) and am married to a Christian. My husband’s parents are both ordained ministers of a Pentecostal church. Can you even imagine what it was like the first time I went to their house???!!! I do have to give them some credit…they adore me but they don’t tell the rest of their huge family that their son married an Atheist! But, they truly do love me and I love them both just as much. Yep…I hear “I’ll pray for you” “I’m worried that you will burn in hell when you die.”, etc.. I am always respectful of their beliefs especially when I am in their home. That’s how I was raised (by Christian parents!). I will not disrespect them but they don’t realize that they disrespect me. I have the same problem with my mother. But, I look at it like this…it is not in me to “beat up” a 78 year old woman…so I don’t engage in religious discussions so that I don’t say something that will upset them. I’m sure that some people here would think that I’m taking the “wimpy way out” of the situation. But, I just don’t see the purpose in upsetting my mother (especially after my dad dying a few years ago) or getting my in-laws so tore up and upset. THAT is a moral thing for me. As much as I would like for them to show me the same compassion and respect, I know it won’t happen. I have to pick my battles and this is not one I will win….I’m not going to convert them and they won’t be converting me so it’s best to leave it alone (in my case). I am an extremely curious person and I question and analyze everything….learned it from my dad who was a psychologist. I ask my husband questions about the Bible because I really do want to understand why he thinks/believes the way he does (I do this on practically every subject you can imagine!!). The replies are usually “Because it’s in the Bible.” “It’s called faith.”….the usual!! The one that kills me is “It’s God’s will.” Oh good grief. So, when I was having a breast biopsy because the doctors were pretty sure it was cancer, my husband told me that he prays that it isn’t but if it is, it’s God’s will. Okay. Let’s think that one thru. IF it’s “Gods will” then WHY are you praying because you’re not going to change ‘his will”!!! I am almost 50 years old and having a CT scan tomorrow to see if the mass in my lung has grown and if it might be cancer. Most of my friends are Christians (but love me anyway!) and I do not want to hear “I’ll pray for you.” DON’T pray for me. Take that time and help someone who is less fortunate or maybe raise some money to cover the cost because I don’t have health insurance. Do something that actually helps. I do appreciate that whoever says that they will pray for me is taking their time to think of me and that is nice and I do appreciate it. I’m just wanting them to change what they do with that time they spend praying for me. So…guess that’s about it. Love your videos and I look forward to following your site!

  • ShoeUnited

    But what if it’s Weekend at Bernie’s II?

  • ShoeUnited

    Lapland with Santa?

  • Ann Onymous

    I think it comes from this religious idea that atheism is the product of emotion and denial. In their world, you really know God exists but just denied him, but now you need support and/or a miracle, so they think you’ll turn to him.
    On another note, how the heck is “a loved one is dying” evidence for Christianity?! (Or whatever religion this lady subscribes to.) I just want to know your mom’s religious friend’s thought process.

  • Meghan

    I’m not sure what her line of thinking is, and she is a Catholic to answer your question. The odd thing (to me anyway) is that she also watched her husband die of cancer and go through a lot of the same crap my husband did. I think that maybe her line of thinking was not so much that it’s evidence of a deity at work, but maybe for hope of an afterlife so we’ll be together again someday. If I had to guess I’d say that’s probably more what she meant, because I know after he died a lot of people tried to be comforting by saying stuff like “You’ll be together again in heaven someday” or “He’s watching over you now”.
    Man, it’s not easy to be an atheist in my small town.

  • mothy

    This isn’t true. Evolution is a theory; “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.” A critical requirement of scientific theories is that they can produce hypotheses,”a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.”, which are designed to test the theory. Under the scientific meaning of these words, both evolution and natural selection are theories, as natural selection is our theory on the mechanic that drives evolution, which is our theory for how the inherited characteristics of a population change over time. Natural selection falls under the umbrella of evolutionary theory, along with other mechanics such as genetic drift, bottlenecking and mutation bias.

  • Ann Onymous

    Alrighty then.

  • Matt Bowyer

    “What Must I Do to Be SAVED? The Plan of Salvation Made Plain to Sinners from the Word of God”

    That title’s a mouthful.

  • vizbones

    I disagree. Oh wait….

  • allein

    Heh, yeah. My favorite part (what I saw just flipping through briefly, anyway) is where it addresses the reader directly, as “Sinner.” As if that’s my name.

  • Itarion

    Time mark 4:50

    I can personally attest that you have made a positive difference in the life of at least one person you don’t know.

  • Itarion

    plate tectonics, therefore mountains.

  • wlad

    Here’s a question I’d like to ask you, “Do you believe in moral absolutes?”
    I have never met an atheist that says he does.

    OK, consider the following moral absolute.

    Rape is always wrong, for all people, no exceptions, whether they believe it or not.
    Binding on all. No wrong for me, but not necessarily for you. Absolute.

    I think that you probably hold this position. If NOT always wrong for everybody, please show me a situation where this absolute moral position would not apply. Example–college fraternity guy.

  • wlad

    BTW, atheists usually refuse to answer this question when I have asked them in the past.

  • wlad

    I think they usually do not reply because they could not come up with any exceptions, and realize that they are holding an absolute moral position on rape–how can they possibly hold it.

  • gmaelaine

    Meghan, I’m so very sorry for your pain in losing your husband the way you did. God did not kill your husband, and I think it’s very wrong of people and totally incorrect to say that God “does” these things to make them believe in Him.

    Jesus healed people everywhere He went when He lived on earth; that is His heart, and it’s mine, too. Believers need to be doing the works of Jesus as He did: He raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, and made people free from demons that tormented them.

    The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy; Jesus has come that we may have life and have it to the full. Jesus satisfied God’s judgment on sin by taking our place of punishment for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in HIm shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    God gets blamed for all the bad stuff that happens because people forget there’s a devil at work in the earth. He is the one, working through people, that causes such havoc everywhere. I am praying that we believers will come to understand our purpose on earth and be about our heavenly Father’s business as Jesus commanded us, and do the same works He did — healing the sick, etc. I want to do that.

    I pray God will heal your heart and make Himself known to you. He can bring good out any bad situation as we have faith in His goodness, but He does not cause the bad. May you experience God’s kindness and goodness. Here’s a warm hug for you. ( )

  • Dorfl

    All right, I’ll play.

    I’m a consequentialist, meaning I consider the morality of any action to be a function of what consequences it has. This means that for any possible action, there exists some imaginable situation in which that action would be the correct one to take.

    In principle, that is. In practise, many actions would only be justified in scenarios so ridiculously implausible that there isn’t much point in worrying about them. If you really want to imagine a situation where some particular awful course of action would be the correct thing to do, you could always make up a scenario on the lines of “Yog Sothoth will eat the world unless you appease him by [insert atrocity here]“. I don’t really see the point of spending a lot of time doing that though. It doesn’t really tell us anything useful about how to act in the real world, and it’s upsetting to victims of real, non-gedanken rape.

    ps. It’s Hemant, not Hermant.

  • Paul

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Actually I do. It is a lack of knowledge concerning our own scriptures. We remember some parts and forget others.
    Yes, Jesus said to spread the gospel throughout the whole World, but he also said the gate is narrow and FEW are those who want to enter it. He also said if your message is not received, then shake the dust off your sandals (read Birkenstocks) and move on. If you are happy, content and successful, having, convinced yourself that reason is your guide in any and all circumstances, then I say good for you. Me, I’m weak. I don’t see reason as a satisfactory answer in all circumstances. I need God. I will not bludgeon you with the Bible or even pray for you. If everything appears in your mind to be lacking a deity then so be it. The only thing I owe you, and this is my belief, is to love you. If speaking to you about God hurts you then I will not do it.

  • jdens

    That may be for some. I’d like to offer an alternative, however, based on a friend of mine. He’s an Anglican chaplain now, and I’ve heard him say before, “I used to be an atheist, but I kept having doubts.” He doesn’t mean this as a snide jab at atheism. It is, in part, a way to open up space for doubt. This is not a timid man (nor an obnoxious one). He openly and sometimes even bravely advocates for the marginalised and preaches against injustice in a Church that still bickers over whether it’s wrong for two people of the same sex to love each other. And I think what fuels him to keep going is the faith which grew from hope in what he calls “the buoyancy of God”. (Though that phrase likely originated elsewhere.) It is the hope, the faith, that love and justice will eventually win out which seems to motivate him. I just can’t imagine anyone witnessing his life and calling his faith a choice of cowardice. Foolishness, maybe, but not cowardice.

  • wlad

    “I’m a consequentialist, meaning I consider the morality of any action to be a function of what consequences it has. This means that for any
    possible action, there exists some imaginable situation in which that
    action would be the correct one to take.”

    Since you and I live in the real world, not in some esoteric theoretical world, you hold the exact the exact same absolute position on very important moral values–slavery, rape, racial discrimination–and would be perfectly happy if these consequentiontialist views were imposed on all people by law. You would fight for your view on slavery to be imposed on slave-owners–if you lived before the thirteenth amendment was passed, for instance. Right?

    So, unlike moral relativists, you would NOT be morally opposed to people imposing their moral view on people by law. Correct?

    You wouldn’t say to a pro-lifer, “Don’t impose your morality on me.”

  • wlad

    Hemant, please forgive me for misspelling your name. You are a very visible atheist, and twice posted blog about what NOT to ask an atheist. IS it OK to ask you the question I did on moral absolutes (with rape as an example) very early in this blog? I am very interested in your answer.

  • Dorfl

    You would fight for your view on slavery to be imposed on slave-owners–if you lived before the thirteenth amendment was passed, for instance. Right?

    Pretty much. I don’t live in America, but I would have supported abolition of slavery here in Sweden.

    So, unlike moral relativists, you would NOT be morally opposed to people imposing their moral view on people by law. Correct?

    I will be if I think their moral views are incorrect, or if I think the law is going to do more harm than whatever it is that it’s meant to combat.

    You wouldn’t say to a pro-lifer, “Don’t impose your morality on me.” Right?

    I’d disagree with them, but I wouldn’t use that particular argument.

  • wlad

    Me “So, unlike moral relativists, you would NOT be morally opposed to people imposing their moral view on people by law. Correct?”

    Dorfl “I will be if I think their moral views are incorrect”

    I don’t understand. Are you saying you would be in favor of imposing your morality if you think their moral views are incorrect? As in slavery?

    That’s the position of a moral absolutist.

  • Dorfl

    If I’m very sure that I’m right, and that imposing the morals I believe are right isn’t in itself going to be harmful, then yes. For example, I support locking up people who have an habit of murdering others, forbidding people to drive who have an habit of doing so while drunk and stopping people from storing high explosives in their basement.

  • RowanVT

    You are not replying to what was said. My response was directly about those christians who say they do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

    Being an atheist with doubts and then going to religion is nowhere near the same thing. Nor is it even possible to really take that as a snide, or a jab.

    However, saying that you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist is admitting that the very reason they *aren’t* an atheist is because they can’t stand on their own. Plenty of christians CAN stand on their own, but then they don’t say stupid shit like the former category.

  • Meghan

    Wow, I’m really having a hard time with the words right now. You need to understand that this is the opposite of helpful. I understand that what you just wrote might be helpful to someone like yourself in a time of tragedy, but I, as an atheist, would NEVER do what you just did if the situation were reversed. If one of my Christian friends had lost somebody, I would never tell them that their beliefs were wrong and that their loved one is not waiting for them in the afterlife. That is not my place, as it is not yours to tell me otherwise. Why are you even posting on an atheist blog anyway?

  • jdens

    I thought I was replying to what was said. To me, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between “I don’t have enough faith” and “I have too many doubts”. They are roughly equivalent, at least in popular understanding.