Friday, September 9, 2011

Are Atheists Obsessed With God?

No. There, I saved you from having to read the explanation.

I have often heard Christians say something to the effect of, “Atheists talk about God more than religious people do.” My problem with this is largely semantics; I would agree that many atheists talk about religion more than most religious people, but this is not theocentric.

I think there is a fundamental difference in how religious people view religion and how irreligious people view religion. To monotheists like Christians, Jews and Muslims, religion is all about God. To atheists and agnostics, the aspect of religion most affecting us is not theology, but practice.

It makes sense, because religion teaches you to put God first, while atheists and agnostics essentially don’t care about gods, they care about what people are doing. To me, religion isn’t about worship, it’s about pushing views on other people. To me, religion isn’t about praising God for the blessings He has bestowed, it’s about standing in the way of teaching science. To me, religion isn’t about maintaining a high moral standard, it’s about standing in the way of gay marriage.

Even the “good” things religion does are not always really “good.” It’s all about perception. A religious person sees their church doing charity for the community, while I see a creepy old man offering kids candy to get into his van. Well… not exactly, but you get the general idea.

I would bet these are some of the reasons atheists bloggers do what they do. Atheists are not interested in God, they are interested in the consequences of belief in God. We tend to be less concerned with gods and religion, and more concerned with the annoying or horrible things religious people are up to. By proxy, this means we end up discussing religion and God.

What’s more, because atheists are a small minority, we become hyper-aware of religion. Monotheists of the Abrahamic tradition don’t tend even notice the plethora of religious propaganda around us. Atheists can’t avoid it, and every little thing may be perceived as a hostile attack on those of us who just want to be left alone.

And frankly, I doubt most religious people think about their religion less than I think about religion. I just blog about it, and you only read my thoughts as written on an atheist blog. In my day to day life, I only think about religion when it is invading my personal space. None of my decisions are based on religion or its rules.

While I can’t pretend to know what goes on in the minds of every religious person, I know that when I was religious, I thought about God more than I do now. Maybe it’s because I was a child, but I honestly thought about what I was doing, whether it was right or wrong. I still do this to some degree, but I think about it outside of the context of, “Will this send me to hell?”

Frankly, I find the whole “atheists are obsessed with religion” bit to be played out. It seems like motherly pseudo-psychology. “The bully only makes fun of you because they have problems they can’t deal with, and they’re jealous of you.” Yeah, right…

I don’t see religious people using this same logic towards themselves, and perhaps for good reason. It’s not that insulting to accuse an atheist of secretly finding value or interest in religion (which is really what Christians are implying when they say that atheists talk about religion so much, even even go so far as to claim atheism is a religion). It’s a little more insulting to take this approach towards Christians, because if you actually adore that which you vocally oppose, then Christians are a bunch of promiscuous, gay abortionists.

There’s so many illogical things in that statement… I don’t even know where to begin, except to say: just because you publicly oppose something, that doesn’t mean that you secretly like it.

[Note: I still reserve the right to assume anyone who refers to homosexuality as “temptation” is actually gay.]


  1. Well said. Religion is fascinating. I am also fascinated by serial killers, but I do not secretly wish to be one! :)

  2. great post. Will have to remember that line "Christians are a bunch of promiscuous, gay abortionists." You spot it you got it. :)


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