I recently had an argument with a Christian who tried to refute my blog post “Let’s get secular”, which is my second blog post about the ongoing campaign on Twitter to normalize atheism. It's also about how a secular nation is the only kind of nation with a chance to achieve a true democracy, with religious freedom. He wrote that some secular nations have been terrible and that Christian nations like the United States have done good, and this must mean Christianity is better than atheism. Let’s take a closer look.
I have already refuted that atheism is responsible for anything, including good and bad; I did this in my blog post “Killed because of atheism?” To recap, I basically argue that atheism is not a belief system or ideology, but rather the rejection of theistic belief systems. This means that atheism has no dogma or doctrine and is thus not responsible for anything. However, atheism can be part of a doctrine that causes bad behavior; in this case, it is the doctrine that is bad, not the atheism. I will add here that the one thing atheism is responsible for is to say no to mass delusion.
Even if the argument I put forth in that blog post isn’t sound, the fact remains that only a secular nation can have true freedom: a Christian nation will always favor Christianity; an Islamic nation will always favor Islam; a secular nation will favor humanity. This does not mean a secular nation is assured to have freedom; it is just that it is the only type of nation with the possibility of true freedom, which includes freedom of and from religion.
My argument was that only a secular democracy can be a true democracy; I said nothing about secular non-democracies, which are not free at all, for they are not democracies. Nations that are secular, but non-democratic often have the same kind of dogmatic worship of a leader as religion has of a god. This is a very important distinction, as that borders on religion. But if only one thing can be remembered, let it be this: Atheism is just the rejection of god beliefs; it's neither a belief nor an ideology and is thus responsible for neither good nor bad.
Also, this Christian completely ignored most of the argument I put forth in “Let’s get secular” and instead got hung up on comparing the accomplishments of Christianity and atheism, even though I stated in “Killed because of atheism?” that atheism is not a belief system or ideology and is thus NOT responsible for either good or bad.
He also listed things that make America and thus Christianity great, saying how much money America donates and how they care about children and the needy, like Christ did. All in all, he put forth a one-sided version of America, which consisted not entirely of facts and left out all the bad. I asked him how the wealth gap and the coldhearted healthcare system embody the love and charity of Christ; he did not answer, but rather deflected and asked what good atheism has done for humanity. I had already answered that atheism is not an ideology or belief system, but I told him now that, as I stated above, the good atheism has done is to reject the delusion of religion: religion versus atheism is not about morality; it is about reality.
It is true that America has done great things. It’s also true that Christianity has done great things. But some things should be said about this. The great things they have done do not negate all the bad things. The great things America has done are not necessarily caused by Christianity; likewise, the bad things are not always caused by Christianity, but the inequality for women, LGBT, and atheists has direct ties to religion, as does the suppression of science and education.
He also compared pushing your beliefs on people, such as with religious symbols on what should be neutral ground, mandatory praying, and getting God shoved in your face in every venue of life, with my writing blog posts, as if a blog post on my website on the Internet is the same as schools teaching children creationism instead of real science or forcing said children to swear allegiance to a god they don't believe in.
It didn’t matter that I had linked to my blog posts and explained them in short; this Christian did not want to understand what atheism is, how one-sided his view of Christianity and America was, and that what I wrote had nothing to do with morality or an ideology's supposed achievements. All in all, I learned a lesson I’ve been taught a thousand times; the truth is more easily sold to a rock than to a person who is chauvinistic in their defense of country and faith.
Here are the comments, which were left on my Facebook page under a link to my blog post "Let's get secular" on November 16 and 17, 2014. It is from these comments that I wrote this blog post.
Update, December 2, 2014
The conversation with Mike continued, with an interruption from Phillip (this is the same thread as the meme above). I think it's worth reading.
Mike also commented on a new thread, in response to "The push of atheism", another follow-up blog post to "Let's get secular". I think I answered most of it pretty well (see meme below), but there are two things I'd like to add.
First, Mike criticizes atheism by bringing up North Korea as an "atheist-run nation", but it has nothing to do with atheism at all; it is only about the greed of an individual and an ideology. Totalitarianism is not found in atheism, which is only the rejection of god claims, not an ideology or worldview (as I've explained to Mike, over and over), but it is found in religions, and also some secular ideologies (but then it's the ideology that is bad, not the atheism, which has no doctrine, dogma, or ideology).
Second, he wrote that the further we get from our roots (the "Christian values" America was supposedly founded on), the worse off we'll be. This kind of conservative thinking is very destructive. We must move away from old values to progress; otherwise we'd still have slaves, like the founding fathers. And the fundamental Christian values the west has moved away from are pretty horrible, homophobia being among the lesser sins, and even that is completely unacceptable.