Should Atheists Shut Up?

by phil on Wednesday Mar 24, 2004 11:53 PM
atheism, logical fallacies, religion_old

One of the most basic pro-religion arguments volleyed at atheists is the "what-if argument." What if, they argue, people need to believe in religion, even if it's wrong, since it helps make them happy? Then, the conclusion is, that us atheists should shut up and let others live how they want to live.

What-if problems are always flawed and reveal the biases of their users.

Because for every what-if positive argument, there is always a what-if negative. Therefore, someone using a what-if positive is just justifying their existing opinion.

There are plenty of what-if negative counter-arguments to religion. What if religion is just a memeplex that infects people's minds, pushing them into mindless servitude to some powerful, but untrue, concept? What if people are brutalized by practicing religion? Christianity, for example, has guilt as a major commodity. Would I be happier if my life was riddled with guilt? Would I appreciate and experience all the beautiful moments that I have on Earth if I was torn by a sense of hesitation?

While I agree that anybody proselytizing anything is irritating, if one wants accuracy, one should be(a)ware the "what-if" fallacy, and consider both the positive and the negative.

Oh yeah, and Thank you William Safire for supporting nixing the "under God" part from the Pledge. While I can live with "God" in the memespace, I "pray" that America might give me hope and stomach being accurate this time around.


tobo said on March 25, 2004 11:48 AM:

athiests may be as irrational as their opponents.

Brandon said on March 29, 2004 1:54 AM:

whether or not they are irrational, atheists should be as free as anyone else to profess their beliefs. i know that since I turned on my parents' faith, I have been much happier, and freer to wander about the assumptions of my values without worrying that I will be punished for it. we atheists may be wrong, and I am not about to say that i am definite in my opinion (I'm not even sure if such a thing as 'definite' exists), but that hardly means i should shut up about it.
By the way, I have never met two religious people who believed in the same god.

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