Addressing A Stereotype About Christians
Christians get so worked up because a lot of atheists think themselves smarter than Christians. Or they go further and claim that Christians are just plain dumb. Well, if you take such issue with the stereotype, act like you’re intelligent. Where can you start? Start by not asking “if god doesn’t exist, why does belief in god make atheists so angry?” Anyone who isn’t looking to annoy, frustrate, or anger atheists knows better than to ask such a stupid question.
Atheists actually aren’t angry that you believe in god. What makes us angry is what results from belief in god. Belief in god can lead to belief in faith healing, for example. Belief in faith healing results in the deaths of children. Parents literally refuse to take their children to the hospital or even give them medicine because they truly believe god will heal their child of a flu. Belief in exorcism has also led to the deaths of children. Belief in god can lead people to thinking that flagellation is a valid form of worship. Children will then whip themselves and be crucified as a form of worship.
Sure (!), the Christian will then claim that these aren’t representative of real Christians. They’ll employ a No True Scotsman fallacy. Or they’ll go with the “at least all Christians don’t believe such things.” But we can be more general! How many anti-intellectual, anti-science, pro-Trump Christians are there? How many misogynistic, anti-homosexual, xenophobic Christians are there? Would I be wrong to be angry at “innocent” belief in god knowing that a given believer definitely sees homosexuality as a sin, as an aberration from god’s original design? Would I be wrong to assume that some of these believers would go on to mistreat people who are homosexual? Even if it’s something as simple as refusing to provide them goods or services? Of course I won’t be wrong.
So we’re not angry about belief in god because god exists. We’re angry about belief in god because of where belief often leads. There are any number of routes you can go as a Christian, but adopting some detestable view is a guarantee. Every wannabe apologist in the blogosphere is haughty, pompous, and believes they’re far more knowledgeable than they actually are. They may not support Trump or bash gays, but they have Dunning-Kruger syndrome and, as years of having debates with such people has proven, they lack respect for atheists. They ignore their bias because only the atheist’s bias matters. They ignore the atheist’s evidence because either, they shift the definition of evidence so that it can be whatever they deem evidence or they ignore evidence contrary to their beliefs.
That’s your start. Now where do you go? Try being honest with yourself. Doubt isn’t “of the devil” or some such nonsense. If a belief is dubious, doubt is inevitable. Perhaps doubt happens to every Christian because Christianity isn’t true? Why isn’t that an option? Think of it this way and I’ll keep it very simple. Do you doubt that your parents are actually your parents? Do you doubt the location of your school, workplace, or the nearest grocery store? Why isn’t doubt inherent to these facts? To save Christianity from this contrast, the wannabe apologist will most certainly go down the “brain in the vat” avenue. “How can you trust that you exist?” Descartes gave us a simple process to arrive at “I think, therefore I am.” If that’s the route you want to take, start by refuting the work of one of your own brethren. But it should be clear that if you have to go that outside the box to push away doubt, something is off about what you believe to be true. When something is true, there’s simply no room for doubt. Who my parents are, where I am, the various places I frequently go to, etc. are beyond doubt. That is to say that I know the truth about my parents, my current location, and the various locations I frequent. Should the truth change, my claim would change.
Say there’s a fire at the local grocery store. The fire debilitates the business and it never recovers. Now I would say that the supermarket used to be there. Or I’d say that this burned down space was a supermarket. I wouldn’t continue to speak as though it’s currently there though it’s not. So-called religious facts simply don’t work this way. That’s because there aren’t any religious facts. There are no facts about god. The facts per Christianity aren’t actually facts either. Truth and doubt simply don’t work in tandem. If one is present, the other isn’t. Truth and doubt never occupy the same space in the same respect. In other words, with respect to my parents, there’s truth and absolutely no doubt. Even as a Christian, the supposed existence of god wasn’t such a truth; the claim that Christianity is the one, true religion didn’t stand as such either. There was always some doubt and it was a doubt I entertained.
I reasoned as follows: if god truly exists and Christianity is true, all roads would lead me to that fact. I can ask around. I can get genetic tests. I can get legal documents. I can get medical records. All roads will lead me to the fact that my parents are, in fact, my parents. No matter what I do–even a denial in a fit of anger–would not change that. You can read about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or even the occult; you can consider science and its multifarious theories, philosophy, history, and other disciplines, and no matter what you find, what you read, what you come across, one fact will persist: god exists and Christianity is true. In my Christian days, I believed that that would be the result. Set sail with that same belief and see what ensues; indulge your doubt and see what comes of it.
The truth is tested in futility because doubt will never enter its space. If someone has sold you a truth that can be doubted, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to make any suggestions as to what’s going on. If the stereotype bothers you so much, conduct yourself as intelligent people do. Be skeptical wherever warranted; indulge your doubts because the mere fact that a doubt exists is hinting at a clearer understanding; ask questions and honestly seek the answers; don’t accuse someone of bias simply to shield your own bias; be as objective as possible, showing absolutely no favor to a given conclusion–even if that particular conclusion is the one that you find most preferable; this last one is hard in a time of so-called alternative facts and post-truth, but honor the facts, whatever they may be. This is how intelligent people proceed. Want to rid yourselves of the stereotype? Change your behavior because honestly, as it stands, the majority of Christians I speak to act as though they lack intelligence. That being the case, it can’t be no wonder and neither is it the atheist’s fault that they think as they do about Christians.