Tony, Tony, Tony, what on earth were you thinking…?
Tony Jones, a progressive Christian blogger on Patheos, just wrote a post explaining why he’s a Christian. And instead of offering your standard run-of-the-mill, easily-refutable apologetics, he made what may be the worst argument ever for believing in God: Everyone else does it.
And he threw in some awfully ignorant remarks about atheists, too. Emphasis is his:
… I have several answers to the question — many of which relate specifically to Jesus of Nazareth — but here’s the one reason that’s most significant to me these days:
The vast, vast majority of my fellow human beings are theists. Globally, well over 95% of the human race professes belief in God. As others have noted recently, atheism is a position of privilege. Atheism is almost exclusively the purview of educated, white elites. The old saying goes that there are no atheists in foxholes, but it should be updated to say that their are no atheists in the slums of Bangladesh, in the townships of South Africa, in the trash heaps of India.
At this point, I simply cannot abide severing myself from the rest of the world’s population, from 7 billion of my fellow human beings. I have enough respect for the collective wisdom of humanity to stand in solidarity with them in proclaiming that there is, indeed, a God.
Where do you even begin with such a bad argument…?
Let’s see… if you really cared about the collective wisdom of humanity, you sure as hell wouldn’t be a Christian, since they’re not in the majority. And while most of the world believes in God, their visions of “God” are vastly different. (Jones says 95% of the world believes in God. The Christian Post reported the number at a little more than half. They also include a citation, unlike Jones’ number, which came directly out of his ass.)
Is atheism “almost exclusively the purview of educated, white elites”? Absolutely not. A few decades ago, perhaps, but you have to be living in a bubble to not realize the changing demographics of the religiously-unaffiliated at least in America. There are black, Hispanic, and Asian atheists who aren’t just footnotes in the research and their numbers are constantly on the rise. As for “educated,” it’s true that the more formal education you have, the more likely you are to not believe in God. But I don’t get how that’s a bad thing. It’s like Jones is complaining, “The people who know things are atheists! That can’t be right!” (Turns out the more educated among are also more likely to accept evolution. Should we all become Creationists since that’s what the majority believes?)
Then we get to the most slanderous part. Let me repeat it for everyone:
The old saying goes that there are no atheists in foxholes, but it should be updated to say that their are no atheists in the slums of Bangladesh, in the townships of South Africa, in the trash heaps of India.
I can’t believe he said any of that…
There are atheists in foxholes. That’s obvious to anyone who does the slightest bit of research, which Jones didn’t do.
No atheists in Bangladesh? Sure, except for Asif Mohiuddin, the atheist blogger from Bangladesh who was almost-fatally attacked for writing about religion online. And except for his friends who were also arrested for writing about atheism. I wonder why more of them don’t make themselves known…
No atheists in South Africa? Let’s just click here…
No atheists in the “trash heaps” of India? Besides that just being plain offensive, that’s also completely untrue. If you’re only looking at numbers, it might have something to do with the fact that India’s census doesn’t even include a category for those who are not religious, and outspoken atheists in India have been assassinated or driven away. But to assume that means everyone in India is automatically religious takes a lot of willful ignorance on his part. I’ll say it straight out: Yes, there are atheists in India, including those who live in poverty.
So to summarize: Jones believes in God because a bunch of statistics that he made up without doing any research show that a lot of people believe in some form of a higher power. Even though a lot of those people are polytheists, Muslim, and think Jones’ beliefs are completely ridiculous.
By the way, want to know why I’m an atheist? Because I’ve considered the evidence and concluded that none of it points to a higher power. I didn’t just look to what everyone else was doing and assume they’re right.
It turns out the majority can be wrong about a lot of things.
(Image via Shutterstock)