Thursday, April 16, 2009

Arrogant Atheists Indeed

Atheists, probably more than any other demographic, get tarred with the epithet of arrogance. Its no mystery why this is the case, particularly with such outspoken famous atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens who are so unapologetically atheistic (or antitheistic in Hitchens' case) that their confidence comes across as arrogance to those who do not share their views. Their being British doesn't help them in the States as British people are regrettably already too often smeared with an unjust label of intellectual snobbery.

But let's look at the bigger picture on rality. Atheism is a skeptical view at its heart. Atheists (at least intelligent atheists) do not claim a perfect knowledge of any of the following:

1: Is there a god and/or gods?
2: What Caused the Universe to Spring Into Being?
3: What Happens After We Die?

Atheists try and answer as best we can, and to that end we end up with plenty of "likely's" "probably's" and "I thinks" which is in stark contrast to the surety of the monotheists who claim to -know-. Now, this is not universal. Many monotheists simply claim it is what they believe, and hedge in many of the same ways as we atheists do. But the ones who claim to know, like Ray Comfort for example, are all too willing to call atheists arrogant (or insane*) for what we know to the best of our ability through reasoning and science, while they claim to know with absolute surety on the basis of their own personal convictions and no real evidence outside of a highly flawed book dating anywhere from 1400-2500 years ago (pick your poison).

And we're the arrogant ones. Ok, right, gotcha. There area arrogant people on all sides of the fence and in all walks of life. But when it comes to theological views (or lakc thereof) it certainly isn't the atheists whose beliefs are on their own arrogant. The only reason the theists consider it arrogant is because it offends their religious sensibilities that we not only don't believe in their sky daddy, but are loud about it, and proud of our atheism. I guess when you have a good argument it can seem arrogant.

*Dawkins has certainly said the same of theists, so this doesn't really offend me, but the theist grounding for such an assertion is so weak that it is basically laughable.


  1. I feel bad for them- for millenia atheists hid and pretended, afraid to upset the religious majority. Now we're out and proud, and to some people, that's just wrong.

    And really, "arrogant"? I can deal with that. I've been called worse. I've been called worse today.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I will never understand why people think we should keep our mouths shut while their public discourse gets to influence our lives, our children, and our politics. its indefensible.