Do atheists misunderstand religion? Or do believers still misunderstand atheists?
I read the recent piece in Tikkun by Be Scofield, “5 Myths Atheists Believe about Religion” (reprinted in AlterNet as “5 Things Atheists Have Wrong About Religion”), with a fair degree of both trepidation and curiosity. Trepidation… because my experience has been that, when believers write about atheists, they usually get it laughably and even insultingly wrong. Curiosity… because there are things that the atheist community sometimes gets wrong, about religion and other topics, and I thought I might get some insight into stuff I might not have seen. I don’t think atheists are perfect — believe me, I am well aware of how imperfect we are — and I’m willing and even eager to look at things we might be missing.
But when I looked at these “myths” that atheists supposedly hold about religion, I was more than a bit baffled. Because none of these “myths” looked anything like myths to me. Instead, they looked like… well, like differences of opinion. At best, they were simply areas of disagreement: controversial topics, matters of subjective opinion, semantic squabbles. And at worst, they were red herrings, bafflegab, even complete misrepresentations of atheists’ actual positions.
So let’s look at these supposedly “ill-informed beliefs about religion.” And then let’s look at the assumption of religious privilege that underlies them… and at how religious believers defend this privilege by taking on the mantle of oppression and victimhood.
Thus begins my latest piece for AlterNet, 5 Faulty Arguments Religious People Use Against Atheists (Debunked). To find out the five things about religion that atheists supposedly misunderstand — and why this accusation is not only horsepucky, but privileged horsepucky masquerading as martyrdom — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!