Christian Fear: ‘Atheism Becoming the National Religion of U.S.’

The author of an opinion piece on Coloradoan.com asserts that

By removing God little by little from the public square, the courts — note, not Congress — are in fact establishing the religion of atheism as our national religion.

I found both that snippet and the headline pretty funny:

Atheism Becoming National Religion of U.S.

Poor Neil Mccaffrey. It must be terrible, after hundreds of years of Christian privilege, to find yourself in a situation where an independent judiciary no longer automatically takes your side. It must be jarring to have a growing cadre of reasonably intelligent people suddenly talk back to you, unburdened, somehow daring to claim that they have just as much right to state their opinion.

What hasn’t changed, and what is probably unchangeable, is the cognitive dissonance experienced by believers like this man. Arguing two incompatible notions at the same time, Mccaffrey says that atheism is becoming “preeminent” and that just 1.6 percent of Americans self-identify as atheists.

Which is it?

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 and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • dandaman

    reason a religion?

    • Bob Becker

      Would that it were so!…. so to speak.

    • cyb pauli

      Cult of the Supreme Being, maybe? ^_^

  • Brian

    I hear that Jews are forming “Temples” and reject Christ! I guess Judaism is the new National Religion too.

  • Rain

    The very people who cry foul whenever God finds his way into public view are themselves establishing churches, even as they continue to assert preeminence in the religious freedom debate.

    Wow he was totally serious about it. This is like the high school debates where you’re stuck with the wrong side of the issue and you have to pull anything out of your arse that you can think of to defend it. Thiose were the days lol.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      This is like the high school debates where you’re stuck with the wrong
      side of the issue and you have to pull anything out of your arse that
      you can think of to defend it. Those were the days lol.

      Or, if you are William Lane Craig: “every day.”

      • Rain

        Or lawyers. Only kidding lol.

  • new_atheist

    That’s funny. I thought our national religion was a-toothfairy-ism. After all, none of our laws reference the tooth fairy. Tooth fairy dogma isn’t given recognition at any level of legislation or the judiciary. It’s like all of our politicians actively promote a-toothfairy-ism.

    Or, is it absolutely stupid to think that “not promoting something through law” = “a national religion dedicated to the nonexistence of that something.”

    • randomfactor

      The national religion is consumerism. Which is why that religion has taken over Christmas, Easter and other supposedly “religious” festivals.

  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/hugh-kramer Hugh Kramer

    Neutrality on religious matters is not equivalent to a
    government endorsement of atheism. It is simply the way a free people
    guarantees freedom of conscience for everyone. It is a pity that the Neil
    McCaffreys of the world have such a narrow and parochial vision of religious
    freedom that they cannot see this.

    • smrnda

      I find that many Christians in the US are so used to privilege that they can’t get the idea of neutrality. To them, if every single aspect of public life isn’t drenched in Christianity, they’re being subjected to State-enforced atheism. If a school doesn’t make kids pray, they see that as Mandatory Atheism.

      The best comparison might be some rude jackass who is used to leaving trash everywhere, making a mess and putting his feet up on stuff whose finally told to behave.

      • Bruce Campbell

        Its not very different to conservatives. Unless it is absolutely pro-conservative, it is biased against them. Take the ‘Liberal Media’ as a good example.

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      But I’d argue that neutrality is equivalent to a government position of atheism. Atheism is the most neutral religious position possible, and the one that law should be built upon. We believe in no gods, we base no law on any assumption of the existence of gods.

      Of course, that position doesn’t create any sort of “national religion”. Quite the opposite, it very effectively prevents one.

      • Rationalist1

        Atheism is the statement there is not God. I would be quite upset if a public official were promoting that in a public capacity. Leave religion to the home and religious place of worship, don’t require the government to promote or hinder it.

        • Steven

          No. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, not an assertion that there is no gods.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          But atheism isn’t the statement that there are no gods. It is simply the position of a lack of belief. And that is precisely the position that should define the laws of a secular nation.

          People can believe whatever they want, but law should be entirely neutral, which is what atheism is!

        • Bruce Campbell

          Atheism is the non-belief in god. Why would a public/government figure be bad if they professed that view as opposed to the great espousing of religious views by public figures?

      • smrnda

        No, government atheism would be if the government effectively stated that no gods existed. Government can simply ignore gods and religions and pass laws based on secular reasoning without having to explicitly state that no gods exist.

      • Itarion

        What you’re doing is confusing active and passive non-belief. When you don’t believe something for yourself, that’s passive. When you try to get others to not believe it, that’s active. The US government should be a nonreligious government in the sense that it does not impose any religion on anyone, or require religion of anyone. This is different than requiring everyone not have religion, rather than not requiring that everyone has religion.

        Semantics have meaning.

        • Steven

          You said it perfectly. The government needs to be completely apathetic and passive toward religion. That usually annoys me when people are like that, but its the best way for a government to act.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          I’m not confusing anything, you are simply reading more into my comment than is there. Nothing I said argues for a government position of requiring that everybody not have a religion. Indeed, very few countries with official religions require their citizens to subscribe to them or believe in them.

          I don’t believe that governments should exert any control over the beliefs of their citizens. And I don’t think religious beliefs should be singled out as exceptional in that regard. I don’t agree with the wording of the First Amendment because it seems to favor religious beliefs over others.

          In my view, when it comes to creating laws, when it comes to governance, atheism is the only possible neutral position. Law should be based on it, meaning no law should ever assume the existence of gods.

          • Itarion

            Yes, not presuming the existence of gods to justify the laws in question.

            No, pass laws that outlaw religion.

            A clarification that I’m not sure was clear, and I may have misread either your comment, or your intent.

      • Randay

        Right, but not the government nor the courts position. If I may modify the opening statement to bring it up to date:

        “By removing the people little by little from the public square, the courts — and Congress — are in fact establishing the religion of Corporate Capitalism as our national religion.”

        Be sure to look up the comedy team of John Bird and John Fortune explaining the financial crisis. Here is part 2 and be sure to see the other parts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSOeZliaCgU

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Hilarious videos.

          Thank you. I had not seen these before.

          .

  • http://batman-news.com Anton

    As a progressive Christian, I can’t help but wonder how deep someone’s well of delusion has to be if they see Christianity under siege in America.

    • The Starship Maxima

      I’m a conservative Christian and I strain greatly to see this siege we’re all allegedly under.

  • Stephen

    I may be getting confused, but I didn’t think Atheism was a religion. I thought the whole point was that, from a spiritual or religious point of view, you don’t believe in anything of the kind. And that your beliefs are made up of logic,science, evolution etc. So how can you religiously not believe in religion? How can these people worry that something that is not religious, could become a religion?

    • Terry Firma

      I sincerely believe they keep saying that atheism is its own religion as an act of schoolyard nya-nya-ism. It’s a juvenile jeer intended to both (a) “ridicule” us on no rational grounds whatsoever, and (b) to get a rise out of us. Feh.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        It seems also intended to provide an anchor for legal argument against secularism.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      From an anthropological perspective, you might look at Dale Cannon’s “Six Ways of Being Religious”, and then look at Christopher Silver’s recent research on taxonomic classification of contemporary Atheists (apparently done unaware of the former work). The Intellectual Atheist/Agnostic seems a mix of expression of Way of Intellectual Inquiry and (for the more technophile sort) Way of Shamanic Mediation; the Activist Atheists seem an expression of Way Of Right Action; the Seeker-Agnostics look to be expressing Way of Mystic Quest; the Anti-Theists perhaps falling under the Way of Devotion; and the (rare) Ritual Atheist/Agnostics partaking of the Way of Sacred Rite.

      One could argue that it’s not so much “a religion” as “a cluster of religious practices”, much like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are more families of religious practices than single, unified religions; however, that seems quibbling.

      While science, mathematics, and logic don’t require a lot of faith, the Münchhausen trilemma means that if you examine the premises that underlie, every concluding proposition unavoidably rests on (at least) one of the three horns — each of which looks something very like “faith”. For science, mathematics, and logic, circa a dozen axioms effectively suffice (though adding another half dozen more helps notation brevity); and ZF axioms like the Axiom Of Pairing seem to involve smaller steps than any of the bits of (say) the Nicene Creed.

  • Gary

    It’s interesting to look at all the phrases the author uses to describe where religion is being stricken (“public life”, “public view”, “public debate”, “public square”, “this and that”) and see that he fails to use the word “government” in this context. This is most likely because he wishes to purposely deceive the uninformed reader into believing that there is an effort to restrict citizens’ freedom to express religion in public.

  • $925105

    The fundies fear that the Atheists will be just as intolerant and oppressive as they are.

    • Keyra

      Well, New Atheists are. One is no better than the other. The only difference is one side is overly religious and imposing by-way of misrepresentation; the other side is godless with a superiority complex (also misrepresenting the nonbelievers who actually are rational and reasonable).

      • cyb pauli

        Name a “new” atheist who has authored a law in the US.
        In order to oppress, first the demographic must have power.

        • Keyra

          Separation of Church and State for starters, among other things

          • RegularJoe

            That’s not new. That’s a couple of centuries old. Non-starter, Keyra…do try again, this time with feeling – and facts.

          • Rationalist1

            Keyra – IN all seriousness I grew up Catholic in an area that was very anti-Catholic. I had the Protestant religion, Protestant preachers, and Protestant prayers at my public school and neither myself or my family liked it but couldn’t do anything about it. It’s for that reason, not because I am an atheist now, that I want a secular government that requires public facilities to not promote religion.

            • Keyra

              And I grew up in a family that was Jewish on one side, and atheist on the other. And chosing the atheist side, I didn’t like the idea of mandatory prayer at my school either, but I didn’t let it get to me, I just ignored it. I later came to the realization that this is not what believers in general are like, nor was it what Jesus was like. Acceptance is a matter of choice and realization, not a forced thing. Also, merely mentioning God does not promote religion. Does the first amendment not mean anything?

              • Rationalist1

                It’s not the mentioning of God, it’s school teachers telling Catholic students they are going to hell, it’s complaining about Chick Tracts being handed out in school and the principal laughing it off, it’s being shown the Cross and the Switchblade in a school assembly with Protestant ministers available afterwards to accept conversions. That’s not mentioning God, that’s promoting it.

                • Keyra

                  All that it’s promoting is misrepresentation and imposition under the label of God. Do I let what the communist dictators and tyrants did, and even how New Atheists are now, affect my outlook on nonbelievers in general? No

              • baal

                If you’re speaking as part of your job in the government, your words carry the weight of the government behind them.

                It’s like when a pastor or priest speaks – people assume he’s speaking for that church if not for god. When the pastor is at a family gathering, folks are much more likely to think the pastor is speaking as a person and not for the church. Do you recognize this distinction?

                So to avoid having the government entangle itself in religion, we hold that folks with governmental roles don’t get to talk about their religions. That’s a task the need to do as private persons and outside of their office (or classroom or whereever).

                • Keyra

                  But do you reeaaally care what the government does? They been fucking us over & over (and most governmental issues have nothing to do with God). Or are you pissed because God is talked about? If not God, it’d just be another reason or justification for screwing us over, wouldn’t you agree?

                • baal

                  No I don’t agree and I do reeeaaaallly care about all the taxes that churches don’t pay and how that screws up the property tax base (especially in smaller towns). I also reeeaaaallly care if kids learn science in schools or if evolution is lied about in science class. I also reeeaaaallly care if women can get abortions or not. I also reeeaaaallly {and Baal now shows some discretion by stopping at 3 examples}.

                • Keyra

                  Kids learn in school regardless. What is taught in schools doesn’t discredit their beliefs in any way (even though to alot of people, evolution entertains the idea of doing so). And why do you care about abortions (I’m presuming you support it)?

                • RowanVT

                  If a child is taught proper geology, but their religion says the planet is only 6,000 years old… that will discredit their beliefs.

                  If their belief says that God poofed all current species into existence how they are, then evolution does discredit that belief.

                  Religious reasons are the main reasons presented for restrictions to abortions. Religious people are the main ones contriving laws to make it impossible, or nearly impossible, to have an abortion.

                • Keyra

                  No but only the fundies and New Atheists assuming all believers think this, leads to that conslusion. The world is way older than 6000 years. And no, evolution does not discredit God for creating species. You assume too much from your past experience (assuming you used to be a believer, in which most New Atheists grew up in fundamentalist households). And why should we be pro-abortion? For example, what is a slutty teenager who got knocked-up’s rights, over an unborn baby who has yet to exist and amount to far much and live a great life? Who are we to play God (no pun intended)? Why should public opinion, hold rights over an unborn baby?

                • RowanVT

                  1- Sure, it’s only the fundies but they are controlling out text books and trying to change the laws.

                  2- Evolution discredits the idea that all species now are the same as when animals first appeared, which is what I said, which is what you failed to comprehend.

                  3- Your sexism is evidenced. A ‘slutty’ teenager?

                  4- You want to condemn a kid who made a mistake to an increased risk of poverty, and condemn that potential-child she is carrying to a live of poverty as well. Very few people born into poverty escape it. That potential-child might also grow up to be a serial killer.

                  5- No one has the right to leech resources from my body without my express permission. I will only accept that constraint if you are okay with forced organ donation. I have a relative who needs a kidney. Give me yours.

                • Keyra

                  1- Controlling textbooks? Wouldn’t you think we’d see less & less of BCE and CE over BC and AD (for example) if that were true?
                  2- When did the Bible ever say all species are the same as they’ve ever been and ever will be?
                  3- How am I sexist against girls if I am one? And I was making an example. You know of any nicer word than “slutty”?
                  4- I weren’t condemning anyone. I just made an example. If one has unprotected sex and/or sleeps around leading up to it, why should she not live with the consequence of her choice and why should a baby miss out on life because of that selfish choice?
                  5- This is preventing life we’re talking about. And giving my kidney to someone I don’t know has nothing to do with what we’re discussing

                • RowanVT

                  1- The same people who are trying to remove evolution from those textbooks. And plenty still use BC and AD.

                  2- God created the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish in the sea. He made them, full formed. The bible does not say “And then God created the first simple cell and watched it for the next few billion years.” It also says God created man, without parents and for quite a while without woman. And this man could talk. It does not say that God caused mammals to evolve, then diversify into a lineage of primates and then diversify into a lineage of apes, and then diversify into hominins and then into the various *species* of humans. It very much doesn’t mention multiple species of human beings.

                  3- You honestly think you can’t be sexist if you’re female? There are african-americans who are racist against african-americans, so a woman with unconscious sexism towards other women is more than possible. It’s downright common.

                  How about “adventurous” or “in love” or “curious” or, how about… a teenager who became pregnant on accident. No modifiers, no judgement. So no need for calling her a slutty slutty slut slut.

                  4- How “pro-life” you are, saying that a kid who made a mistake should have to have a terrible life because of choosing to sleep around… or sleep with one person… or have a failure of a birth control method… What if that girl would have gone on to find a cure for a common, but deadly, cancer? What is she could have become a pediatric surgeon? What if she decided her calling in life was to be a teacher? What if she simply decided to volunteer at a soup kitchen every weekend?

                  The moment a girl gets pregnant, you treat her like shit.

                  5- You are preventing the further life of my relative. And it relates because a fetus would steal the use of my kidneys, stomach, liver, heart and lungs. It would release chemicals to depress my immune system so it wouldn’t be attacked as a foreign invader. If that fetus has the right to use to my kidneys without my permission, then you need to give up your kidney to my relative so that he may live.

                • randomfactor

                  “The moment a girl gets pregnant, you treat her like shit.”

                  I suspect that starts earlier.

                • randomfactor

                  Why should a baby miss out on life by deciding not to have sex with a partner, however unwilling she may be? That is preventing life too. /extreme snark tag/

                • DavidMHart

                  For example, what is a slutty teenager who got knocked-up’s rights, over
                  an unborn baby who has yet to exist and amount to far much and live a
                  great life?

                  Leaving aside the brazen slut-shaming for a moment, note that you have already answered your own question. The potential baby does not yet exist (a foetus is not a baby*) and cannot therefore have rights independent of the teenager who got pregnant accidentally and decides that she isn’t in a good position right now to actually look after a baby.

                  *And if you think that a foetus, which is either non-sentient or has less sentience than many animals whose lives we don’t dignify with legal rights, should be given the same legal status as a sentient baby thatis capable of living independently of the woman from whom it is now physically separated, you will need to provide good reasons. Until you can, there is no more reason to castigate a woman who has an abortion than there would be to castigate a fertile heterosexual couple who choose not have unprotected sex – both are denying a potential baby its future existence, but neither are causing harm to an actual person.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  And this shows why outside of a select few, rational people, abortion debates are utterly pointless.

                • baal

                  Let’s not get into the abortion debate. There was one here last week.

                • Keyra

                  K…

                • Itarion

                  And then we’d go after that justification. Eventually, they’ll run out of excuses.

                  And really, religion is one of only a few topics that will consistently get people whipped into a frenzy, and the government is abusing it.

                • Keyra

                  Well yeah, because it’s religion, dude lol the world’s most sensitive topic

                • Itarion

                  Exactly my point?

                  We don’t want the government fucking us, so we object to one of the ways that they justify fucking us. You object to them fucking us, and also our objection to one of the ways in which they justify fucking us.

                  They fuck the people less if there’s no justification [read: religious justification], you know.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Keyra,

                  It does matter what government does.

                  Maybe we should have a state religion, as England does.

                  It isn’t that it would make religion more ridiculous, but it would make people more aware of how ridiculous superstition is.

                  .

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Keyra,

                If there were a First Amendment that affected Jesus, it would have been opposed to his crucifixion.

                Jesus was in the minority and his death was an example of the excesses of a tyranny of the majority.

                Today, Christians depend on a tyranny of the majority to impose their laws on others.

                .

          • Derp

            Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being repressed by the Constitution!

          • RowanVT

            That’s not a name. That’s something that has been around for 200 years, so hardly “new”.

          • $925105

            You mean Roger Williams was a New Atheist? Or was John Locke? Perhaps Thomas Jefferson? New Atheists are centuries old apparently. Do you have any idea what you are blabbering about?

          • Bruce Campbell

            1) That was done at the beginning of the nation. Rather than a ‘new atheists’ work, it was a wise founding father.
            2) Can you articulate how that oppresses anyone?

        • The Starship Maxima

          Lack of opportunity is not the same as lack of motivation.

      • Rationalist1

        Are believers rational and reasonable when they allow 7 states constitutions from baring non believers from holding public office?

        • Keyra

          Are you asking this because you think believers in general condone imposition such as this? That’s the whole point of what I just wrote. Misrepresentation. Do not let it cloud personal judgement

          • Rationalist1

            No because believers, who are in power don’t give a damn to change it. It shows how inclusive they are..

            • Keyra

              And you think this because we’re not loud enough? Even when God was at the temple in Jerusalem, in human form, after causing all that ruckus against the Pharisees, delivered his speeches, revealed the truth, things still didn’t truly change (the only thing that did change was the access to eternal life and the choice to accept it or not). People are people. We’re not perfect and far from righteous. Things got worse over time (the Dark Ages), just be glad we’re not in those times

              • Rationalist1

                I’m sure glad I’m not in the Dark Ages or even up to the 1600′s when churches had full power. If I spoke my about ,my atheism, I would have been killed.

                • Keyra

                  And if you speak in Muslim countries (which we’re doing now; at least we have the courage to preserve truth over there), you’d be killed now…but you’ll only attack Christians, right? We’re not liable to kill you, stone you, burn you on the spit, or anything of the sort. Why not travel to North Africa and the Middle East, see how Christians are treated there, then complain about being oppressed & persecuted. History has shown time and time again that atheist have (and do) suffer far less than Christians have (and do).

                • baal

                  “far less” I’m not so sure. The islamists in Egypt have been pretty happy to kill or jail atheists recently and an Indian secularist was recently assassinated. Christians usually have an ok time in India (though not in Egypt).

                • Keyra

                  Add up the numbers and you’ll see. Christians being constantly slaughtered in Egypt in the name of Islam is the buzz lately. And yeah, but India is partially a Hindu country (perhaps the only one left), not just Islamic. People are generally tolerant over there regardless. And just about everybody of every faith and belief have a sanctuary in Istanbul (as religious and cultural tolerance is law).

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Keyra,

                  Add up the numbers and you’ll see. Christians being constantly slaughtered in Egypt in the name of Islam is the buzz lately.

                  Please provide evidence to support your buzz.

                  Don’t exclude reports from around the world of people being martyred by Christians, so that we can look at the full picture and not just the buzz.

                  .

                • Terry Firma

                  “…but you’ll only attack Christians.”

                  I wish you’d be a little more careful with the truth.

                  Prepare to take a few days off to read everything we’ve written about Muslims and Islam on this blog. Use the search box on the right to find posts containing “Muslim” or “Islam.” When you’re done, come back here and tell us again how we’re only interested in criticizing Christianity.

                • Keyra

                  I hardly see any. And I never got an update on Islam (Idk why), just attacks on Christianity

                • RowanVT

                  Then clearly your confirmation bias is causing you to skip over those posts.

                • Keyra

                  Is it really “confirmation bias” if all I get from this site’s updates is Christian-bashing?

                • RowanVT

                  Your brain expects to see those, and causes your eyes to skip over the posts that don’t relate to what you expect.

                • Keyra

                  In other words, you think you know how my brain works? At least I’m not that arrogant as to assume what people I disagree with, think

                • RowanVT

                  I was explaining how confirmation bias works. Everyone has confirmation biases. I do. You do. The author of this post does. Baal does. Every. Single. Person.

                  It is a fact that there are a fair numbers of posts about islam. Not as many as christianity, it’s true. But most of us are in the US and so christian stories are more numerous. But if you are seeing *no* posts about islam, when there factually are posts, that is a sign of something causing you to not see them.

                • Terry Firma

                  Yes.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  If all you look for is evidence of articles about Christians misbehaving (that translates as Christian-bashing after you filter it through your prejudices), then it is confirmation bias.

                  Confirmation bias appears to be a prerequisite for any superstition, not just Christianity.

                  .

                • Terry Firma

                  Are you nuts, or just trolling? “I hardly see any?” Search for the word Muslim on this site and you get 216 pages worth of posts, most not exactly brimming with enthusiasm for the atrocities that Muslim fundies commit daily.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I’ve actually toyed with the idea of surveying and classifying all the posts on this blog over some time period, as to which religion was being ‘attacked’. But frankly, it’s a daunting task, and Hemant doesn’t have data on it. Ten years ago I would have written a script to at least mine the URLs, but I’m not sure I have that in me any more.

                  Bottom line, my gut feeling after reading nearly every post over the last three or four years is that compared to their representation in the US, Islam is probably the ‘victim’ on this blog, and as we both know, even Hinduism doesn’t get a free pass.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
                • RedGreenInBlue

                  “at least we have the courage to preserve truth over there”

                  I don’t understand your point here. Are you referring to military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq?

                • Keyra

                  I meant evangelicalism, not militaristic. I mean “we” as in Christians, not Americans in general. Sorry for the confusion

          • smrnda

            The problem is too many ‘moderate believers’ won’t offer much opposition to this, so a great many quiet people are really sending a message that it’s okay from their silence.

            Religious people who are secularists are fine with me, but ‘NALT’ types who do nothing are enablers.

            • Keyra

              It’s called, live and let live. Who are we to impose on others? We just try to help without being imposing, love and pray for them, plant the seed. And most people should have the common sense to know the difference (but New Atheists would just pull-out “no true scotsman fallacy” every time a believer does mention the difference).

              • baal

                “Who are we to impose on others?”
                Again, we new atheists would be just a few cranky old white men arguing theory in a tower but for the endless impositions of christianity on us get in the way of ‘live and let live’. The aggressive christian fundamentalists seem to have ~ 27 Senators where we hardly have anyone who will publicly affirm that atheists are normal people.

                • Itarion

                  Hey. I’m not old.

                • baal

                  Now that I’m on the wrong side of 37, I feel the same way.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  Keep working on it.

                  You are getting older every moment – until you stop.

                  .

                • Itarion

                  Which doesn’t mean I’ll actually ever hit “old.”

                  [See? I can be a downer too.]

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  I am old.

                  I would prefer that you not hit this old person.

                  ;-)

                • Keyra

                  Show them you’re different. And try not to stoop under the “angry, intolerant, and superiority-complexional atheist” stereotype as many do. Those fundie senators do not truly represent us or God, as much as they think they do

                • baal

                  The point is that they have huge amounts of political power that atheists don’t. Also, you own them since they are on your ‘pro-religion’ side. You don’t get to play the “no true scotsman’ as you like to do and I know its been explained to you multiple times.

                • Keyra

                  I’m not pro-religion, I’m pro-Jesus. And “no true scotsman fallacy” accusation is only used by those who don’t know the difference and/or don’t care to

                • Itarion

                  Jesus is a religious figure. By being pro Jesus, you are pro religious.

                  These senators claim justification by Jesus. Show undeniably how they are not, in fact, justified by Jesus, and therefor different.

                  You claim the difference, you show the difference.

                • Keyra

                  Jesus was against organized religion (but man has made him a religious figure). Using someone’s name to justify their actions, doesn’t make it justifiable; especially when it comes to Jesus. Common sense should show the difference.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Says you. It also speaks to weakling God who, in 2000 years, has not been able to eliminate the human desire to make him a religious figure. I suppose there is a Biblical reference for “Thou shalt not make a religion in my name?”

                • Keyra

                  That’s where wisdom comes in (or is supposed to). And just because there’s no need to intervene (since Jesus died for us and all will be judged in the end), does not make God “weakling”. That’s awfully weak of you to make such a statement, you really think you sound cool when you say stuff like that?

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Wisdom. Yeah.

                • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                  God conspired to have Jesus murdered as an excuse for him to be nice to people who are not bad.

                  Makes perfect sense, except that it does not appear to have made any difference.

                  .

                • Itarion

                  So, naturally, you’re against any organized push to put any religion into the government? Just like us atheists?

          • Richard Thomas

            Yours is the side complaining about an “atheist state religion.” Don’t play the superiority complex card when it’s only self-applicable.

      • pRinzler

        I”m impressed that you go for the classics:

        http://xkcd.com/774/

      • Jack7

        Just because someone is confident due to their well reasoned rational arguments does not mean they have a superiority complex and certainly not that they are unreasonable or irrational.

        • Keyra

          “Rational and well reasoned” to an extent. New Atheists to us, are what religious fundies are to you (and us, actually, since they give us a bad name)

      • $925105

        New Atheist? I have a book from the 60s complaining about New Atheists. Still have no idea what a New Atheist is. Probably just something fundies wet their pants about.

        • Itarion

          New Atheist: Not an old atheist. Also, someone who has recently become atheist.

          Why people who are longtime atheists get accused of this, I’ll never know.

          • Keyra

            Look up the concept

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              New atheist is just another way for superstitious people to call atheists names and suggest that atheists should not criticize the superstitious.

              This ad hominem is an old trick.

              .

        • Keyra

          Look up the concept.

      • Bruce Campbell

        ‘Their side does it too’ arguments aren’t very compelling. It is a justification of a race to the bottom rather than rising up.
        Besides, they also need a bit of backing up. Can you give some examples?

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Countries can’t have religion. Countries can’t “believe” in anything. So it’s actually not unreasonable to suggest that all countries are atheist.

    Of course, the people who make up countries have beliefs, and the governments of countries can take actions that either promote those beliefs, suppress them, or ignore them. The U.S. has been promoting Christianity since the beginning, despite that being contrary to the letter and spirit of our founding documents.

    Our social and legal policy is finally catching up with the original intent of the founders: that our government should be functionally “none”. To conflate that with atheism as the national religion demonstrates ignorance and fear.

    • baal

      Next I expect you’ll tell me that corporations aren’t people with independent liberties!

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Countries can’t have religion…

      Just you wait. Corporations are people, my friend. On a day not far in the future, countries will also be granted personhood. They will vote for themselves, and their votes will count more than yours.
      Be afraid.

    • cyb pauli

      The definition of country includes the usage “the people of a nation.”

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Not promoting flagrant theocracy = atheism.

  • SeekerLancer

    This really highlights the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality. If it’s not a Christian privilege government that works only for Christians, then it’s an atheist government. We can’t go having a secular government that works for everyone. Theocracy or bust.

  • momtarkle

    The rise and prominence of the Atheist Church was inevitable, and predictable, after Not Watching Soccer became our national spectator sport.

    • Itarion

      Or as the rest of the world knows it, Not Watching Football.

  • Goape

    I adamantly don’t believe that Mccaffrey gets cupcake enimas (with sprinkles) fired into his ass through uranium-lined pipes forged by gnomes and powered by the pelvic thrusts of pegasus—which makes that a contender for the new US religion.

  • Cuttlefish

    Saw this. Posted a comment that didn’t show up, so I put it here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2013/12/08/rants-and-comments/

  • Bobbie Jo Justice

    let’s see, christians place a bible in every hotel room, they stand on street corners holding signs, they have a church on nearly every corner, they insist their imaginary god be on money and in the pledge of allegiance. and they knock on the doors of strangers to spread the “good word”.

    yet they go ballistic about the so-called “gay agenda”.

    save the planet, ban religion.

    • Terry Firma

      I’d be passionately in the opposite camp if a “ban” on religion were seriously proposed. In other words, I’d be fighting you tooth and nail. No need to elaborate, I trust.

  • pete084

    The poor deluded guy is confusing atheism with secularism!

  • busterggi

    Ever since the president signed that bill from congress declaring ‘No Prayer Allowed’ day….

  • Keyra

    Being LOUDER doesn’t make it the official “religion” (but wait, isn’t atheism supposed to be anti-religious…nah, just anti-God). “delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards”, any different than the delusional claim by people who don’t believe (or rather, disbelieve) that not believing in God equips them with moral standards? Superiority complex does not mean actual intellectual-moral superiority, just the delusion of it.

    • Iothisk

      Just what exactly is the delusion of disbelievers when it comes to morality?

      • Keyra

        I was making a point to the earlier claim

        • Iothisk

          Your point is moot if your analogy fails, which it does unless you can illustrate equivalent delusion.

    • Rationalist1

      Secular moral standards come from experience, shared empathy, reason, evidence, science, philosophy, law and discussion and debate. I would take that any day to the often arbitrary pronouncements of some ancient book.

      • Keyra

        All beliefs are accustomed to that as well (it’s highly irrational to assume only atheism is), but depends on the person. And it’s actually a compilation of 66-73-81 books which have developed in various millenias. But fine, just try not to be so imposing about it

        • Rationalist1

          But you have a-priori statements you need to reconcile or ignore to base your modern morality. You have the old testament prohibition against ban mixed fabric clothing to ignore, the old Testament commandment to not covert to sort of ignore and the new testament pronouncement on how to treat slaves to follow.

          • Keyra

            So you’re under the delusion that Christians are supposed to follow the OT?

            • Keyra

              That would defeat the purpose of Jesus dying for our sins so that we may be redeemed, let alone the NT as a whole. Also, we’re not ancient Jews

            • Rationalist1

              If not then why do Christian keep wanting to put up the 10 Commandments everywhere. In fact Christians follow the part of the OT they want to follow.

            • The Other Weirdo

              Yet so many quote from it. The 10 Commandments. The anti-gay bigotry. The lineage of Jesus. The Garden of Eden and the Fall. Noah’s Flood. Sodom and Gomorrah. Exodus. The Psalms.

            • Richard Thomas

              You need to read Matthew 5. Although, I will warn you, actually READING the bible might make you want to be a christian less.

    • Derp

      We are anti-God in the same way that you are anti-Santa, anti-Tooth-Fairy, anti-Easter-Bunny, anti-Superman, or anti-unicorns.

      We aren’t against God. We think he does not exist, like Santa…

    • Terry Firma

      Oh, that canard again. Here, read a little: http://moralcompassblog.com/about/

    • skinnercitycyclist

      It does not make atheists any more moral, and I have never heard an atheist make that claim. But we can claim that we do not have a book that insists we behave in ways that are immoral, against our innate human feeling. I suggest you (re)read chapter 31 from “Huckleberry Finn” in which Huck is on the verge of turning Jim in to the slave catchers, because he knows it is the godly thing to do, then cannot bring himself to do it and says: “All
      right then, I’ll go to hell.” THAT is the only superiority, and every human being is capable of it.

  • Keyra

    Not so much “Christian fear”, as atheistic wishful thinking

    • Richard Thomas

      Putting aside your red herring of an “atheist religion”, it’s more Constitutionalist wishful thinking than anything else. Sophistry is not suffered gladly in this comment section.

  • RegularJoe

    Sure, atheism is a religion. Not playing tennis is a sport. Silence is a musical genre.

    • Keyra

      That argument is longer valid. Just look at the atheist churches. A religion doesn’t require belief in God, just as belief in God doesn’t require religion. Both go very different directions in many ways.

      • Rationalist1

        There have been atheist “churches” for years. They’re called libraries, research institutes, museums, art galleries, etc. We celebrate the world and the humans in it. No need to make up things to celebrate.

        • Keyra

          Not at all. For being a “rationalist”, you’re making pretty irrational claims. A library is a place to get books, a research institution is where scientists research, a museum is a place to hold historical artifacts, an art gallery is where art is held for display; none of which reject God in any conceivable way. Atheist churches are recent (look it up)

          • Rationalist1

            But those are the things we celebrate and they are open to all, believer or not.

            Non believers have gathered for years to discuss, debate, argue, etc. That some are choosing to call it a “church” is amusing but of little consequence. And atheists will still celebrate learning and other people, rather than belief and an inscrutable God, as their highest ideal.

            • Keyra

              Exactly, so why are you implying they’re atheist churches?
              Celebrating learning and other people are applied to all people of various beliefs, but depends on the person. I’m getting the impression that you’re implying that atheists are the only good and progressive people

          • skinnercitycyclist

            In which case, government not explicitly or implicitly mentioning god is also not an establishment of a church. A city council chamber is a place to conduct city business, a school is a place to learn about the world, etc. Which I think is all anyone here is saying.

      • smrnda

        So, if I belong to a puppet making guild who has regular meetings in a building, does that make puppet making a religion? Would it magically become one if I used the word ‘church’ ?

        If we use those words, then about any activity is a religion, and the word ‘religion’ becomes so watered down that stamp collecting, football, hockey, the opera and juggling and riding a unicycle all become religion.

      • Derp

        Ah ha! I knew that my book club was actually a religion… or at least it is under your definition…

      • RegularJoe

        No longer valid? So, having a church automatically makes it a religion?

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        It’s a meaningless argument either way. It’s a label. Apply the ‘religion’ label to ‘atheism’ if you wish. It does not change what atheism is. Arguing about whether a wall is mauve or purple doesn’t change the wall. It’s just a way for people to score rhetorical points. Score away.

      • cyb pauli

        It’s true that they’re are religions that are arguably atheistic (meaning they don’t have an explicit belief in a Creator god… long conversation there), however, atheism (disbelief in gods) is not a religion. And looking for atheist “churches” like the Sunday Assembly to try to redefine religion is an exercise in futility. If atheists opened a restaurant, atheism would not suddenly become a cuisine. Atheism is disbelief (nonbelief, rejection of) god claims. That’s it.

        • baal

          I think Keyra is pointing to the ‘Sunday Assemblies’ (aka secular church).

      • LaneLizardFL

        Keyra, just because a group meets on Sunday and calls themselves a Church for tax purposes does not make them followers of a religion. No deity, no religion. the deity part is kind of a deal breaker.

        • stop2wonder

          Deity isn’t the deal beaker as there is a few religions without a deity, although you are close. The deal breaker is the faith component.

          • LaneLizardFL

            Every definition I read listed “belief in a deity” as the #1 element. I have faith in many things but none of them are religions. This is one reason I’ve never considered Buddhism a religion, but rather a philosophy as Buddha wasn’t a god.

    • Itarion

      Watch that last one. At the very least, silence is a song.

  • Dave The Sandman

    You suffer fools at your own peril my American chums. Perhaps a little more fire directed at fools like simple old folksy Neil would deter them from airing their pig ignorant opinions in public. There is a time and a place to be nice and play reasonable. When dealing with idiots like Neil its neither the time nor the place.
    A little more stridency and a few more brass knuckle duster punch lines, less Palin/Gohmert/Barton stupidity.
    Give it a spin.

  • Zach Wilson

    As a proponent of state atheism, I feel that I can safely say that my opinion is constitutional, because atheism is not a religion. That’s the least I can say on my opinion that we should transmute our democracy, into a technocracy.

  • Carpinions

    Well that was my daily dose of every rote, obvious, tired anti-atheist rhetorical screed. It’s clear these people just take whatever they’ve been fed on atheists and try to make it sound poignant and instructive by throwing in the pennies of anyone that agrees with their position. G. K. Chesterton thought that anyone that believes in atheism will believe anything? Nevermind the problems with vaunted Christian “objective” moral standards, that’s a pretty incoherent statement on his part because then, who’s to say most Christians weren’t atheists that came to believe in the closest superstition someone told them?

    This guy’s column is so banal and lacking in substance that it is worth little more than derision, and collective “seriously, dude?” It’s like they write these things just to say “Hah! See? I pissed them off by calling them Christianity-approved propaganda names!”

    • Itarion

      “Hah! See? I pissed them off by calling them Christianity-approved propaganda names!”

      Funnily enough, it’s apparent that he did.

  • http://www.processdiary.com Paul Caggegi

    Waiting for the Onion to write a piece: “Not playing football becoming America’s most popular sport.”

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Our use of the word atheist church has only added fuel to the fire for these people. It is one of the things I hear most often now, even though they are wrong and nobody can point me to a church for atheist in Maine it has not helped, at all.

  • Fred

    “Arguing two incompatible notions at the same time, Mccaffrey says that atheism is becoming “preeminent” and that just 1.6 percent of Americans self-identify as atheists.”

    It just the typical conflation of two ideas that Christians do all the time.

    There’s the renewed push in treating all religions with no particular deference. And there’s the Atheists going, “Hey we approve of that.”

    Bam! now society is following the “atheist agenda”.

  • Ann Onymous

    Guys. Secularism =/= atheism.
    The Pledge of Allegiance with “under God”? That’s religious. We know this.
    The Pledge without “under God”, going straight from “one nation” to “indivisible”? That’s secular, people. It doesn’t care, it doesn’t show favoritism, it stays out of it. Secularism is passive when it comes to religion.
    The Pledge with “under no God”? That’s atheistic. That isn’t staying out of religion. That’s not separation of church and state. That’s government taking on a religious opinion.
    Secularism is passive when it comes to religion; it takes no sides. Atheism and religion/Christianity take active sides, and that’s not government’s job. Secularism is not atheism. Secularism protects us all. That’s what is meant by the separation of church and state, and that’s why we need secular government.

  • A3Kr0n

    No religion is now the “national religion”? Hasn’t it been that way since the Constitution was ratified?

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Arguing two incompatible notions at the same time, Mccaffrey says that atheism is becoming “preeminent” and that just 1.6 percent of Americans self-identify as atheists.

    Obviously, he means that atheists are the best 1.6% of Americans.
    ;-)

    • Gehennah

      Does this mean we are the one percenters that are in charge of the nation now?

      • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

        No such luck.

        :-(

  • Lee Picton

    Poor wittle christians! You are 3/4 of the population of this country, and you are being persecuted by us 2% atheists? Or is it the 20% who admit at least to being non-religious? And of young people who are 1/3 non religious? Do you think removal of your privilege as being persecuted? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. The playing field is starting to be leveled, and you can’t stand it. Scream all you want, your days in the sun are over.


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