Time for Atheists to Stop It

We’ve Been Bad

I hear the cries and the calls of the religious moderate, and they are, as usual, correct. We have been too uppity, and I apologize on behalf of all of us. We should have known better, of course but in our exuberance at the publication of books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and others, we forgot to realize that even though our numbers seem to be growing, we are really riding the crest of a fad. It was something we should have recognized, and we should have told all those who heard that there are other atheists just to go home and pretend that they are religious, just like Mom and Dad.

It would be better for all of us to just sit back and let our rights come to us, because if we ask for them, we are being ungrateful. We really should learn to ignore all the creches and crosses and banners of churches being promoted by and paid for by cities. They aren’t aimed towards us, so they really shouldn’t be important to us. We can just look away, because we aren’t supposed to be offended. We have been wrong, egregiously wrong to think that our opinions matter, and now I surrender.

So I will go back into the closet and start telling everyone who asks me what church I go to “I grew up Catholic.” It won’t be lying, but if I tell them the truth, it might offend them and I shouldn’t be so bold as to allow that to happen. We need to just celebrate Christmas and sing along merrily to the songs we love, and we shouldn’t point out that many other cultures have long standing celebrations at that time of year, too. It’s not fair to spoil it for the majority who want to add a little churching to the crass commercialism and the credit card binges, because, after all a baby born in April must have his birthday and his birthday only celebrated at the solstice. We need to remember it.

We need to just start going along to get along and to stand up for the pledge, because good Christian soldiers fought for the right for the rest of us to be free, and to exercise the freedoms that they fought for would be to spit on their graves. We need to start saying the pledge, every word that has been part of it since 1954 and not to skip over the “Under God” part, because if we don’t believe the whole thing, then we don’t believe any of it. But we shouldn’t let anyone know, lest they think we are troublemakers.

We shouldn’t be setting up information tables at college campuses, even though people might be curious about why we are atheists. We have been wrong to do that, because anyone who is an atheist or agnostic on campus should think they are the only one. It’s only fair, because the nonatheists really have a right not to be offended. We need to stop having events like the “Superstition Bash,” where we have fun with some of the old superstitions like throwing salt over our shoulders or avoiding black cats. Some people might take that the wrong way, and we don’t want them to think that we are “bastard atheists.”

We need to muzzle the scientists who are atheists, or at least those who are publicly atheist. They should stick to the labs and not poke their heads out. If they let people know that they are atheists, no one will want to learn about science. We need to leave the driving to someone else, someone who knows about both science and religion and who is properly embarrassed by atheists even though he claims to be one himself.

We need to let science communicators repeat the meme that atheism is bad for science, and we need to just relax when they put out a book that only tells a tiny part of a story so they can make PZ Myers look like a nasty little son of a bitch, and then we are right to ignore that the incident that led Myers to do what he did led to death threats against a college student. We really should be ashamed of ourselves for thinking that any sort of mockery has its place in a civil society in which good Christian people threaten harm to anyone who attacks the ideas of their religion. It should just not be done, because that wouldn’t be civil.

No, we really need to be quiet about the situation in a country in which bishops threaten politicians with refusal of the host for refusing to back down on principle. Religion teaches us morals and ethics, and speaking truth to power, but there is only one power that shouldn’t be spoken truth to, and that is religion. Religion has our best interests at heart, and is there to prevent us from going to the hell it invented to scare us into following its teachings. We need to not let anybody know that this is all made up, because if we do, then we are indoctrinating them.

We need to stop talking about Christianity and really hone in on the evils of Islam and the planned Muslim takeover of the world through terrorism. If we do this, the Christians will love us again and maybe take up the slack that we will be letting out on issues of liberty (which we don’t deserve anyway, but they will be nice enough to grant to us if we are good). We really need to return atheism to the intellectual stores, and we need to remind ourselves that we really aren’t good atheists unless we can rebut all of the great historical theologians, however much they contradicted each other.

We are not worthy of our country. We are only riding the coattails of the enlightened Christians who fought against the Christian Monarchy (twice) so that we could have the right to be a Christian Nation. We are not worthy of our country, so that when the American Legion wants to lead our kids in prayer in public schools, we should just let it be, even if that is a violation of the Incorporation of the 14th Amendment. Violations of the Constitution are to be permitted when our youth need saving.

We are not worthy of our cities, so when councils want to open the meetings about zoning variances, curb heights, renewing sewage franchises and authorizing the funding for a new speaker podiums, then we really need to let the council members pray about it. We don’t want any of our residents who are religious to get the impression that atheists walk among them.

It is time for Atheists to Stop It. Things were so good for us, and we didn’t know it. We had to start putting up billboards that say such offensive things as “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” Or the really, really mean one that says “Millions of People Are Good Without God.”

It is time for atheists to leave well enough alone. We’ve had our say, we’ve had our moment in the sun and now it is time to go back to being nice and quiet and let the Christians guard over us, so that we can all live and let live and no one will ever talk about the ways that religion rules our lives unfairly again.

To all Christians: I apologize for being so uppity. I promise to be good. My hat is in my hand, and excuse me while I go to the back of the bus and get off at my stop and hope that none of you are dishonored again by having to look at me.

(This is a re-post from Tangled Up in Blue Guy.–MH)

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16 Responses to “Time for Atheists to Stop It”

  1. February 5th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    noel says:

    Am I to understand that after all that humility you’re going to continue being an atheist? Unacceptable. You will not be forgiven for that offense.

  2. February 7th, 2010 at 12:52 am

    CanadaGoose says:

    I’ve been living in Canada for six years and no one has ever asked me what church I go to.
    One of the many reasons I love living here.

  3. February 7th, 2010 at 3:52 am

    SQB says:

    While the reference to the back of the bus may be a bit more in order than most of them, to me it ruined an otherwise perfectly good piece.
    Don’t get me wrong, I fully agree with you that we should stop it. It’s just that I think there can be only one Rosa Parks.

  4. February 7th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    a daughter's mother says:

    But, if we all stop it, who will the right-wingnuts like Bill O’Rielly have to rail against when they invent those seasonal so-called attacks on Christmas? I mean, they really need us in order to feel like martyrs so they can build up their supporters and keep them interested and motivated. Don’t we have an obligation to give them dragons to slay? Without us, they might have to look at the motes in their own eyes, and surely that’s no fun.

  5. February 7th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    If we let the moderates speak for us, O’Reilly can rail at them. He already hates them anyway, doesn’t he?

  6. February 8th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    peter says:

    You are so right, of course, and we should tell Dawkins, Dennet, Hitch, Stenger, etc.. to shut up, get back into their academic ivory closets and let the moderate religious or “moderate atheists” speak. I don’t know about what, because I don’t know what they are actual saying – always a problem with moderates trying to please everybody by speaking out of both sides of their mouth.

    Why is it so hard for moderates? as long as your religion does not make demands for special privileges, or interferes with the duties you have to perform, or leads to prejudicial treatment – like in “Cherie the ex PM’s wife cum judge” case, nobody gives a hoot about your beliefs.

    But if they do, and lead to actions that clearly violate the principle of secular governance, secular education in public schools or interfere with your job that is paid by the public purse, or interfere with the science you do and bias it – then it is our right to roast your feet on the fire of secular scrutiny, and we do not have to be nice about the abuse that is committed by those trying to let religion interfere with their public duties.

  7. February 8th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    I am so glad to see that someone gets my piece! Thanks, Peter.

    Oh, and I am not so happy that Chris Mooney will be doing the CFI podcasts.

  8. February 8th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Paul W. says:

    Besides, if atheists don’t stop being so uppity, and criticizing all religion, including things that sound specifically anti-Jewish out of context, an objective observer might conclude that they’re antisemitic.

    Not that they are. Just sayin’.

  9. February 9th, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Jesus Christ, Paul you have a thin skin.

    You don’t get at all that Greg is saying that perceptions are skewed about “blastula” by outsiders because there atheists have let their hair down and forget that other people read the blog as outsiders.

    To some people, perception is reality.

  10. February 9th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    windy says:

    Of course. I apologise on behalf of all of us. We should have known better than to let our hair down.


  11. February 9th, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Paul W. says:

    Mike, I don’t think I’m being thin skinned. See my comments over at Pharyngula.

  12. February 9th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    It’s not letting your hair down, it is recognition of the perceptions by other people of the things that we write or say. It isn’t what we intend all the time, yet they will take it as a direct affront whether we intend it or not.
    Again, thanks for adding the link to this post, Windy.

  13. February 10th, 2010 at 3:59 am

    'Tis Himself says:


    Greg accused SC of anti-semitism in a particularly weaselly way.

    Now I’m not saying that you beat your wife, bruises can happen for other reasons and no formal complaints have been made to the police, so I won’t say anything more about domestic abuse in the Haubrich household.

    See how that works?

  14. February 10th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    ‘Tis, indulge me in a little thought experiment, if you would, please. Assume you thought Greg was perfectly sincere in what he said but that the way he said it left him open to misinterpretation by those prepared to see an insult in his words. How would you go about telling him so?

  15. February 10th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Mike Haubrich, FCD says:

    Suppose Greg had made a point that something that SC had written could be construed as an anti-semitic remark. Would that be calling him an anti-semite? I have made racist comments myself, but unaware that what I was saying was racist. Once I understood that sort of comment as being a racist comment I stopped making that sort of comment. Does that make me still a racist?

    Also, there is a definition that Greg as an thropoligist uses, of racism that is different than the colloquial term; so SC, I think is proud of being picked on and supported by the wagon-circlers of Pharyngula.

    And ‘Tis, when did you stop?

  16. March 15th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Cody says:

    God created atheists to babysit the rest of his children.

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