Anthony DeStefano is the author of an absolutely terrible new book called Inside the Atheist Mind.
I’m not just saying that. I read an advance copy of the book, and it’s just plain awful. It’s the mindless rant of a guy desperate to blame atheists for everything wrong with society but too lazy to do any actual research.
No wonder Fox News’ website published an excerpt from it today. But you know what? That’s good. It makes it much easier to point out how flawed his thinking is.
So let’s go through the piece.
There’s no polite way to say it. Atheists today are the most arrogant, ignorant and dangerous people on earth.
That’s… quite a claim for someone to make on Fox News of all places. But surely he can back this up, right?
We’ve all seen how these pompous prigs get offended by the slightest bit of religious imagery in public and mortified if even a whisper of “Merry Christmas” escapes the lips of some well-meaning but naïve department store clerk during the “holiday season.”
It’s not about getting offended by religious imagery. It’s a matter of stopping the government from promoting Christianity. Imagine how conservatives would feel if they visited City Hall and saw verses from the Qur’an painted on the wall. That’s how church/state separation advocates — many of whom are religious — feel when the same thing happens with Bible passages.
And literally no one freaks out when a store clerk says “Merry Christmas.” Atheists often say it right back. Because who cares. Much like President Obama taking away your guns, this is one of those conservative conspiracy theories that generates plenty of anger from the Right, while the rest of us have no clue what they’re talking about since it doesn’t happen.
DeStefano then gives examples of how horrible atheists are.
Last December, the group “American Atheists” launched its annual billboard campaign with the slogan: “Stay Away from Church — it’s All Fake News.”
Yep. It was funny. So what? There are Christians who put up billboards saying everyone else is going to burn in Hell for all of eternity. And they’re dead serious about it.
In February, the “American Humanist Association” became furious when President Trump had the gall to mention Christianity and Jesus Christ without also mentioning atheists — at the National Prayer Breakfast! (How dare he!)
The AHA wasn’t “furious” that Trump mentioned Christianity and Jesus.
It’s that Trump only mentioned Christianity and Jesus. He only referenced non-Christians in passing, and he ignored non-religious Americans entirely. Obama, on the other hand, was far more inclusive in his Prayer Breakfast speeches.
And just this month, the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” raised holy hell because the Reverend Billy Graham was laid out in state in the Capitol Rotunda before his burial.
Why are all these groups’ names in quotation marks…?
Anyway, yes, FFRF rightly criticized the honor bestowed upon Graham because, as a citizen, he wasn’t on the same level as someone like Rosa Parks. He made anti-Semitic remarks, wasn’t a strong supporter of the civil rights movement, and he’s primarily known for promoting one group’s religion. Christians had good reason to give him a wonderful funeral, but Graham didn’t deserve a taxpayer-funded ceremony in the Capitol.
Yes, these atheists are loud, nasty, unapologetic and in-your-face.
No. No. Hell yes. And no.
Atheists aren’t knocking on your door or yelling at you in the streets trying to get you to denounce God. We’re not walking around with hair dryers trying to de-baptize you. We mostly argue with religious people online, not in person.
Meanwhile, practically everyone who’s not a Christian could tell you a story about someone who attempted to convert them.
What’s DeStefano’s argument for atheist ignorance? It’s that a lot of people are religious and we have the audacity to say they’re wrong.
But while their arrogance is annoying, it’s nothing compared to their ignorance. Atheists believe that the vast majority of human beings from all periods of time and all places on the Earth have been wrong about the thing most important to them. They basically dismiss this vast majority as being either moronic or profoundly naïve.
For what it’s worth, “the vast majority of human beings from all periods of time and all places on the Earth” would also laugh at the claims of modern Christianity.
DeStefano is lumping every religious person in history into the same pot, as if those who believe in Greek myths and multiple gods share a bond with modern monotheists. They don’t. Every devout religious person thinks all those other religious people who believe different things are wrong. That’s how the delusion works.
Atheists are simply pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. We have the added benefit of being right.
What they don’t seem to know — or won’t admit — is that the greatest contributions to civilization have been made, not by atheists, but by believers.
Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Isaac Newton all believed in God. Nobel-prize winner Wilhelm Rontgen, the discoverer of X-rays; Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry; William Keen, the pioneer of brain surgery; rocket scientist Wernher von Braun; and Ernest Walton, the first person to artificially split the atom — all believed in God.
“Won’t admit”? Who’s refusing to admit that religious scientists were religious? Sure they were. There were so many unanswered questions over the past few centuries that believing “God did it” made as much sense as any other explanation.
It wasn’t until the mid-1850s that Charles Darwin wrote his book about evolution.
It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that we learned about how DNA works.
As Richard Dawkins famously wrote, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” He’s right. We know more about our existence and origins today than ever before. The need for God disappears a little more with each new discovery. So sure, Isaac Newton was religious, but what other options did he have? It’s not arrogant at all to suggest we know more about science today than he did in his time.
And DeStefano is playing a dangerous game if he wants to name-check religious scientists. I promise you any list of atheists who have contributed to our scientific understanding of the world is far longer than anything he could come up with.
Then DeStefano gets to the part about how atheists are dangerous. How’s he going to do it? Pull out the old canard about how Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot were atheists — even though that’s been debunked many times over? Maybe throw in the false claim about Hitler being an atheist?
You know it.
… The truth is, the atheist position is incapable of supporting any coherent system of morality other than ruthless social Darwinism. That’s why it has caused more deaths, murders and bloodshed than any other belief system in the history of the world.
Yes, there is a profound and frightening connection between atheism and death. Atheist leaders like Stalin, Mao Zedong, Hideki To ̄jo ̄, Pol Pot and many others bear the blame for the overwhelming majority of deaths caused by war and mass murder in history. And while many atheists make the preposterous claim that Adolf Hitler was a Christian, his private diaries, first published in 1953 by Farrar, Straus and Young, reveal clearly that the Fuhrer was a rabid atheist: “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity,” Hitler stated, “was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew… Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.”
It’s easy to blame atheists for mass murders when you just ignore the Crusades, every other religious war, and all the facts.
No “New Atheist” is calling for forced atheism. It’s also important to note atheism wasn’t the driving force in Stalin’s rule. Saying he killed people because of atheism makes as much sense as blaming his mustache. That was incidental.
But putting extremes aside, are atheists incapable of morality? Not at all. As sociologist Phil Zuckerman has shown, “highly secularized countries… tend to fare the best in terms of crime rates, prosperity, equality, freedom, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, educational attainment and life expectancy.” Religious countries rarely do as well.
DeStefano closes the piece with his central thesis:
… that’s exactly what modern-day atheists are — bullies; bullies who are doing their best to intimidate the rest of us into silence.
Who knew Christians were unable to talk? I thought churches and bookstores and podcasts and websites and damn near everyone in Congress were enough to get their message to a wider audience.
Good thing we have the guy who wrote a book and published an excerpt from it on FoxNews.com telling us how no one lets him speak.
His whole book is like this. It’s a lot of whining with no substance. It’s a lot of conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality. It’s a lot of name-calling and dog whistles.
It’s the sort of thing you read because a Dr. Seuss book would’ve required too much brainpower.
In other words, it’s perfect for the Fox News crowd.
(Screenshot via Vimeo)