This Stand-Up Comedian Gets Just About Everything Wrong When It Comes to Atheists

As a comedian, Neville Shah seems to be doing it right. He has the delivery and timing of a good stand-up.

As someone who wants to mock atheists, Shah is just God-awful.

His new special “What Are You Laughing At?” is now out on Amazon and it include a bit about the problem with atheists.

See if you can spot all the flaws.

NevilleAtheists

I’ll lay off on the jokes themselves. I have no problem with him mocking atheists. But when the premises of his jokes are wrong, the set becomes more frustrating than funny.

Here are my concerns:

He claims that atheists are certain about their disbelief. He thinks we said things like “There is no God” with absolute certainty. We don’t. Even Richard Dawkins doesn’t go that far.

He says atheism has become a religion. That’s the sort of insult you only hear from religious people. We’re not a religion. We don’t have a shared belief in anything. We don’t all gather regularly. We don’t knock on your door. Your salvation doesn’t depend on you agreeing with us. As the saying goes, atheism is a religion like “off” is a TV channel.

He thinks atheists proselytize — sometimes violently so. Like everyone else, we believe we’re right. But unlike religious people, most atheists would fight for church/state separation and refrain from pushing our beliefs on everyone else. Meanwhile, in India, a man was just hacked to death for posting pro-atheism messages on WhatsApp. We’re not the ones who kill people who disagree with us.

I’ll give him credit for one thing, though, even if it is unintentional. His final joke in that clip is all about pretending to be God when an atheist is on his deathbed. When Shah whispers in the atheist’s ear, “Hi, I am God,” the atheist in the story reacts as if God is real.

Which is exactly what we would do if we ever came across proof of God’s existence. It shows that we’re open to evidence. Shah probably wasn’t thinking about it, but that joke contradicts what he said seconds earlier about how atheists have this dogmatic belief in our non-belief.

That concludes this edition of “Let’s dissect a comedy routine by taking every line far more seriously than intended.”

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.