The Atheist Preacher – A Curious Phenomenon

There are a variety of different faiths in this world that share the opinion that there is only that faith that can save you from condemnation. Of these faiths, a proportion actively try to convert people to their own belief in order to save them from suffering. This tends to be for one of two reasons:

  1. They believe they are commanded by the laws of their religion to spread the word and change people’s way of thinking.
  2. They feel genuine empathy for the people around them and wish to save them out of pity for their damnation.

I don’t know about you, but I personally have no qualms about these reasons; they seem perfectly acceptable and respectable reasons to share a belief. In fact, in any other context it would be considered immoral and downright evil not to share the knowledge of something that could save one’s life. Try to remember this next time you feel like someone is “shoving a belief down your throat” – they are doing it to save you.

What is far more difficult to understand is the need for some atheists to convince people with faith that their belief is unfounded and incorrect. Deducing their reasoning is far more difficult, although I shall attempt to devise some possibilities:

  1. They, rather sadistically, enjoy destroying people’s hope and their faith in something that they have often invested much of their life in.
  2. They believe that people’s faith are holding them back from their full potential in the world and they would be far better off, more of a credit to humanity, if they were without faith.
  3. They are jealous of people with faith, people with hope and purpose. They instinctively try and bring those people down to their level.
  4. They are jealous of people with faith and desperately want someone to provide an intelligent argument for faith so that they may believe alongside them and share in their hope and purpose.

Now, with the exception of option 2, these are all pretty gruesome reasons to preach atheism upon any individual. So let’s briefly explore option 2. In my opinion, the quality of life of a person is far more important than what they are providing for the world. From an atheist point of view, I believe this is also a rational conclusion. I also believe that it is reasonable to conclude that destroying a person’s faith is likely to negatively affect their quality of life, it seems like a very depressing concept to me. So unless someone’s faith causes them to act in a way that radically conflicts with an atheists morals, it seems unfair to me to try and pull apart everything they believe in.

If you’re jealous of someone’s faith, that’s understandable. They have a hope that you don’t, something to trust in when life is hard. But, in that case, you’d do better and feel better to engage in polite conversation about their beliefs and are also far more likely to get an intelligent response. Otherwise, just leave them be. They’re happy how they are, even if they do happen to be deluded. And, in any case, there’s no way of proving if they’re wrong.

19 thoughts on “The Atheist Preacher – A Curious Phenomenon

  1. I replied on my post here:

    Oh well Moralessence…I understand why it is a mystery to you…But for myself…coming out of religion/magical thinking was beneficial to my sanity. And it brought me peace. I believe some others have experienced the same. On the flip side, some of us have witnessed how religion has indeed caused harm to people. (not all religion or believers mind you) but anyone driven by “faith” alone without reason can be dangerous…
    Some are willing to step up and speak out because not only have they been hurt, but they have witnessed others being so hurt….

    For me it was like Plato’s cave. realizing that i had been looking at only the shadows, and missing the real world…
    So naturally If i saw someone else struggling…I would want to share what i had discovered…(does this make sense?)
    For the record, I have empathy and understanding for those (including my family and some dear friends) who believe that i am going to burn and suffer for all eternity, and feel the need to let me know….and warn, and pray, and hope for me..
    I get that. (for i was once there with a bleeding heart for the world…it was a rather overwhelming place to be in)

  2. They believe they are commanded by the laws of their religion to spread the word and change people’s way of thinking…

    I don’t care if you worship a giant space-faring turtle; just don’t try and impose your beliefs on others. Is that so hard to understand?

    • Hi John, I don’t understand the problem with helping people form their own views and opinions by presenting them with your own viewpoint. I agree that this shouldn’t be done at all in violence, but if someone wishes to discuss my views with me I’m always happy to share opinions. To me that’s the point of debate, to hear and understand other people’s ideas to better formulate my own.

      • What life after death? What are you talking about? Where did you get this idea there is life after death? On what do you base this idea?

      • The very existence of this universe is a mystery, but the only thing we know of that can truly interpret it is a human being. To me that is fascinating and should be explored in greater depth. It makes me wonder why I’m not just a fleshy machine, coded for by scripting. I can feel, I can taste, I can smell and I genuinely feel it. These reactions aren’t just observable, I’m living them. It makes me wonder if we are more than just our bodies on Earth. Does that make any sense?

      • We have absolutely no idea regarding other life in the universe. Given the sheer number of stars and planets we’ve discovered in the last ten years, and the discovery of complex amino acids in space, it’s beyond probable the universe is teaming with life.

        You having a “feeling” means nothing. Sorry, but it doesn’t. You haven’t explained where you get this notion of a life after death.

  3. You can surely recognise that mathematical probability could easily be overridden by an entity that was all-powerful. There’s no need to apologise, I fully recognise that my feeling means nothing. It doesn’t, however, make the concept untrue. The idea for me comes from the “feeling,” as you call it, that we as humans are more than just a body, and therefore, logically the soul can live on after the death of the body. If you disagree then I can fully understand your atheistic position, but the foundations of your belief are as ill-founded as my own. I urge you to have a look at my post on philosophy. I genuinely believe you’ll find it of interest. Here’s the link again:

  4. Try to remember this next time you feel like someone is “shoving a belief down your throat” – they are doing it to save you.” But save me, from what?

    Religions invent terrible threats and then save you from them. No religion = no threat = no need for salvation. No? Who needs any religion—and there’s a truly awesome amount to choose from (religion pays well).

    And then the thousands of religions can’t get their act together, so which one is right? If we are limited to just one? Obviously yours is right, the One, the True, the all-singing all-dancing sole unique pathway to god/God (Gods/ goddesses?) (Heaven/Paradise?) whatever. If it weren’t, you’d exchange it for the Real One-true-sole etc etc to God, no?

    I say again: the religion you hold is mostly (if not entirely) the product of your circumstances. Born in Mecca of Islamics you’d be a true-blue card-carrying Islamic. Born in Jerusalem of fundamentalist Jews you’d be a true-blue etc etc Jew. No?

  5. Let’s look at your numbered points. Bear in mind that I speak only for myself, but as an atheist (had two fried babies for breakfast, I did) I am qualified to speak—

    Point 1: I take no joy in “destroying peoples’ hope etc”. What they do to themselves is honestly no concern of mind, but if only … if only … if only they’d keep it to themselves . They don’t, though. So you are saying that they are justified in spreading their word, but I’m a vicious life-destroying baby-eater for doing likewise—(on a very much lesser scale, I might add)?

    Point 2: No. An unreasonable distortion—for myself I really don’t give a damn what folks believe in, honestly; so long as they don’t negatively impinge on me or mine. If someone believes in wolfing wine in the full belief it’s God’s own blood (the thought gives me the creeps) then good lick to him. If someone wants to start a modern Crusade against the unbelievers, that’s different, he must be stopped. Whatever consenting adults get up to in privacy is no concern of mine—so long as it doesn’t cause grief to the innocent.

    Point 3: a rather pathetic wishful generalisation. Whatever turns you on, and good luck to you …

    Point 4: a rather pathetic wishful generalisation. Does it apply likewise to your own good self?—it’s obvious you are desperately wishing for a conclusive ‘atheist revelation’ moment of Truth, and trying to draw it out?

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