In my blog post "Hate God, love to sin", I write about a myth that exists about atheists: that we are atheists because we hate God, love to sin, and just don't want to follow God's rules. I argued that this isn't true, as we are atheists because it is irrational to believe in God; there is absolutely no substantiation for the existence of gods, after all, and if you believe in one unsubstantiated claim, you ought to believe in all.
A Christian then commented on my Facebook page. She first wrote that she doesn't think atheists just want to be bad people, which I respect. And to be fair, I never claimed all or even close to all theists believe in the atheists-just-want-to-be-bad myth; I just said that the myth exists and is faulty.
She then wrote that because she doesn't think atheists are atheists just because they want to be bad, I shouldn't think she's a Christian because she's "unrationable" or "just to believe in something." She continued to say, "Do you know how many prophecies came to pass in the Bible? You can't just make that stuff up. There's too many for me to even list. Okay, I'll respect you, but it goes both ways, okay?"
I never said I don't respect theists as people, but their theistic beliefs are definitely irrational. This does NOT mean theists are wholly irrational about everything; it doesn't mean they are stupid or became theists because they are irrational. It just means theists have been indoctrinated into believing something irrational, such as a magic man in the sky who cares about what we do while naked.
I stand by my saying in "Hate God, love to sin" that atheists are atheists because that's what's rational. This has nothing to do with respect, as the Christian seems to have suggested. By criticizing beliefs, I don't disrespect people. The best defense an idea can have, except being true, is the feelings of its subscribers; if those feelings are hurt, plenty of people will try to censor criticisms of the idea to spare them. That is NOT how a free and progressive society should work.
In "Hate God, love to sin", I debunk a myth about atheists that's been debunked MANY times before, a myth that isn't rational but still remains, not unlike religious beliefs. The myth that atheists are evil sinners who love to sin is demonstrably untrue and not even logical in any sense (I know most theists probably don't think atheists are sin lovers). The irrationality of religion, however, is demonstrably true, as with the argument of how the Bible makes predictions.
Saying [insert holy book here] has ever predicted something is illogical. Not only have I never heard of a logical and true prediction taken from the Bible, as this Christian suggested exists, but the very idea that a holy book makes predictions (and that there's a divine plan and that God knows everything, including all that will ever happen) is illogical, as that means everything is predetermined, including the choices we make and actions we take, which we are thereafter punished for accordingly. That means there's no free will, which theists stress there is, as God would otherwise punish us for things we cannot be held responsible for, since we had no choice.
Yes, I called this theist's beliefs irrational, and I've now criticized her counterargument. This is how argumentation works: I argue for my beliefs; others argue for theirs. We must respect each other's rights to believe differently and argue for our sake, but we must NOT respect the belief itself. And I do not respect religious beliefs, even though I respect theists as the human beings they are.
Update, later on January 13, 2015
The Christian responded to this blog post (same Facebook comment thread as before):
"Well, actually, I think it is in fact, more offensive for you to say my beliefs are irrational, and to say I believe them only because I was dooped into thinking so. Because, I could say you're beliefs or lack there of, are irrational. That, some sludge has magically become alive and over years become species after species, into what we are now. Because in fact, primordial stews have been replicated, and life has never been made from that. Or our sketchy fossil record. And the fact we have never made or witnessed those animals alive another species turning into another over generations, with small DNA changes. And that carbon dating has been proven to be inaccurate any farther back than about 40,000 years. SO, again, be careful with your choice of words, because just because you think you are right, does not mean exactly you are, and respect other point of views. Because, evolution, the creation of the universe, is still most theory. Nothing about this can proven without a shadow of a doubt. SO, I don't think you're evil or just want to sin, I just think that you are in fact, not being respectful of my, and many others, beliefs."
I answered her with this statement:
I'll state it again: One does NOT have to be respectful of any beliefs, whatsoever. If you feel insulted that I criticize the worldview you believe in, a worldview that is mostly believed by people only because their parents taught them to do so and one that is irrational and incompatible with science, then that is your problem. I don't mean to be rude, but that's just the way it is. You are free to argue for your sake and you can mock my "beliefs" all you want (although, you're only showing your scientific ignorance), as I see you've now done. You seem to think I can only dish it out, but cannot take it; it seems you tried to "teach me a lesson" by criticizing my "beliefs", but I support your right to do so, even though I disagree with what you said.
I also never said YOU thought I was evil or just wanted to sin; I did write about such a myth that exists about atheists, which quite a few theists believe in, though definitely not everyone. And you are right that I'm not "respectful" of your beliefs; criticisms are not often viewed as respectful. But being insulted is not a counterargument. And it's amusing that someone who believes in ancient superstition would criticize someone for thinking they're right, and while doing so using the old "evolution is only a theory" argument (I suggest you look up what the word theory means in a scientific context). You are right, however, that there's always a flicker of doubt; that is the essence of science, which always questions, whereas belief in Gawd is absolute.
Oh, and there's another myth many theists believe that says atheism and evolution are part of the same worldview. This is not the case. A lot of atheists accept evolution as the scientific fact it is because they are no longer under the dogmatic influence of religion, but evolution is science (something you should be able to accept and still keep your religious beliefs, unless your religious beliefs are faulty) and atheism is the rejection of god beliefs, not even a worldview in and of itself.
Here are some other worldviews/ideologies/religions of which I'm not respectful: Islam, American capitalism, communism, theocracies, Judaism, Hinduism, conservatism, Nazism, nationalism, fascism, all religions, and all dogmatic beliefs. Oh, and Santa Claus, of course.
She then wrote this:
As much I would like to say many things, including the fact my ignorance *cough cough I'm fourth in my class and also a part of the tag program, and I love science, hell, I want to make it my career. But, I am supposed to display tolerance and forgiveness and all those wonderful things, although lord knows I don't most the time, I have to say all I have to say is I wish you happiness and love, and that you might find God one day. So, thank you for acknowledging me and God bless you.
Oh! I almost forgot, I don't have a religion, I just have faith and believe in Jesus and his everlasting love and forgiveness.
I'll bet she usually goes to church and accepts creationist propaganda based on Christian scripture she reads, but no, she doesn't have a religion. Except Christianity, of course. I finally answered her this:
I wish you happiness and love, as well, but that you find godlessness rather than God, lol. Also, ignorance is not the same as stupidity; you could be the smartest person ever and still deny evolution on the basis of your faith and creationist propaganda. Disagreeing about things is not about tolerance and forgiveness; I have nothing for which to be forgiven.
Below is a meme with the entire conversation, and another conversation, as well.