These Atheist Activists Are Picking the Wrong Battles

These Atheist Activists Are Picking the Wrong Battles

These Atheist Activists Are Picking the Wrong Battles

Hemant Mehta (http://www.friendlyatheist.com, http://www.patreon.com/Hemant , https://www.facebook.com/friendlyatheist)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/12/21/oregon-atheist-may-sue-over-religious-street-banner-spoiler-hell-lose/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/12/26/kenyan-atheists-want-to-reward-kids-who-failed-their-religious-studies-exams/

I’ve seen a couple examples recently of atheist activists who think they’re fighting the good fight and defending church/state separation, but they’re really getting it completely wrong.

The first one took place in Oregon over the holidays. In the city of Eugene, an atheist noticed a banner hanging over a street that said in large print “Christmas” and “Jesus,” and underneath those words, it said, “Attend a Church of Your Choice” and “Celebrate His Birth.” The atheist told a reporter that he felt like he was “being assaulted” by the banner.

He assumed this was government promotion of religion and threatened to file a lawsuit over it. But here’s why he’s wrong.

The city allows people to put up those street signs as long as they follow some basic guidelines and pay for the permit. There are three places, in fact, where they can have a sign. Some Christian put up this banner with a religious message, and that’s fine, as long an atheist or Muslim or Satanist has the same opportunity. And guess what? They do.

The city doesn’t even seem to care what anyone’s banner says. One city councilor even said they would permit banners from the KKK, which seems like a horrible idea, but the point is this is an open forum.

If the atheist really wanted to complain about discrimination by the government, what he should’ve done was try buying his own banner with a pro-atheism message. If it got rejected, then he’d have a case. He didn’t do that, and that’s why he just came across as a whiner.

The other instance of atheists getting activism wrong took place in Kenya. If you’re in high school, there are standardized exams you can take in a variety of classes. If you do well, it’ll help you get into a good college. Well, some of those exams in Kenya are optional and they test you on your understanding of Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism. Do you really know what those religions teach?

A group called Atheists in Kenya recently offered a reward for students who performed poorly on those tests. Essentially, if you could show proof that you flunked your religious education exams, they were going to reward a couple of those students with a cash prize worth approximately $100 U.S. dollars.

Here’s why that’s misguided.

If I were religious, my beliefs would not be threatened by the atheist who fails an exam asking questions about my faith. I would be far more afraid of an atheist who gets a high score on that exam and still proudly proclaims that she believes none of it.

Atheists in Kenya shouldn’t reward the kids who did poorly on those tests. They should reward the kids who scored the highest and who are also willing to publicly proclaim that the entire subject matter is absurd.

We’re atheists not because we’re ignorant about religious beliefs but because we’ve examined them closely.

I don’t enjoy picking on atheists who I typically agree with, but in these cases, these people are just handing an easy talking point to religious people who think they’re being persecuted.

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Comments

Heathen Goddess says:

I dont think you need any religious text to be a better atheist or something of the sort. To better understand a particular religion, yes you do. The god claim is separate from understand religions.
But I do agree with you that, in the age of being offended, a lot of us can lose focus on the real issues.

Tom Hahnl says:

Couldn't agree with you more! 100% Agree!!!!!

viralshark says:

In some aspect, I almost welcome the bad atheist activists. In large social interest groups, you are bound to have some bad eggs. The larger the group, the more likely you are to see some bad eggs. Atheism is growing, and this is sort of a signal to that.

Besides, it is not as if there aren't thousands of bad eggs and bad activists in religion today.

MangoTangoFox says:

I don't agree with having to deeply research religious texts to earn the right to denounce it, for multiple reasons.

The vast majority of believers have only experienced their specific religion, they do not explore any other avenues, and most of these religions actively discourage that, in order to be a follower many state that you MUST deny the 10,000 other religions that aren't the one you were indoctrinated into. I shouldn't have to prove my non-belief by being all knowing, if they just get to believe for free while simultaneously denying countless other alternatives that have millions of people that have the same stubborn stance as them. It's far simpler to use scientific fact, that which can be tested and proven the same millions of times over, to find a handful of logic breaks. The stance is usually that the holy text is the whole truth, and if you can provide half a dozen falsehoods, it really doesn't matter if some truth exists, the text is presented as wholly truthful and that can be proven false very quickly. As far as I'm concerned, doing a book report on the fictional characters and the insistence that you must do so in order to have a say, is an intentional barrier restrict the flow of science as much as possible. Find me a school curriculum where you're required to do a memorized public speech and athletic trial before you can ever step foot in the math classroom.

Damien Thorn says:

An animal shelter was being sued for letting a priest in to bless the animals. Another example of needless activism. Unless secularism is threatened, why bother? Good video.

Nume Moon says:

Don't think I ever disagreed with anything on this channel before, but kids shouldn't be rewarded for their beliefs or lack thereof.

MAGIKARP! says:

You can’t prove god doesn’t exist. Evolution is a lie

B Michael Fenley says:

Very good and tasteful presentation.

Brain Residue says:

On the flip that atheist seemed to feel pretty persecuted. You are also incorrect about a Christian being more afraid of an atheist who claims to understand Christianity on it's highest intellectual level and still be an unbeliever, as opposed to one who is ignorant of academic its legitimacy. It would not make a difference to me if a firm atheist knew our doctrine like the back of his hand, if he really claimed to understand it as well as any true believer, he would be much closer to finding Christ than the one who does not know. Come to Christ brothers, I am open to conversation.

sleazybtd says:

Let's burn those witches at the stake!

mflynn2009 says:

Stating the obvious. You don’t have to be religious to be ignorant

Kid Cree says:

What should I call myself? I believe something created reality at some point. A god? a creature? a robot? Who knows. But I'm not religious and definitely d not believe the Christian story, or any religious accounts of how it happened.

In all honesty, if people figured out "Hey, unless he's being an asshole or complete evil, I should mind my own fucking business and let this outsider be.." I feel like shit would be a lot easier. Instead beliefs clash, then you add government laws and benefits that clash with these beliefs, division occurs, and then shit gets real. All because some asshole decided he could force laws from his holy book on someone he doesn't even know.

Amaranth says:

Didn't you do a video a year or so ago telling people to stop telling other atheists they were atheisting wrong?

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