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Atheist Community of Austin
Atheists uninformed about religion & the bible/koran

Hi, often I get the feeling that Atheists are expected to be experts on religion & religious texts in order to give them the 'tools' necessary to refute creationism & associated beliefs.

It's almost like, if you admit you're an Atheist, you'd better have a damn good argument to back yourself up. I get this impression from both religious people as well as other Atheists telling me "It's not OK to be an ignorant Atheist." - Specifically in respect to religion.

I'd like to ask why it isn't ok for me to simply say "No I don't want or need exposure to your religion." & "No I don't need to prove God doesn't exist." Without getting into a drawn out discussion about what is written in some ancient text, or have to explain why I don't want to fill a gap in my understanding of some (currently) unexplained natural phenomenon with 'Proof of God.'

Well I think it is OK to be an ignorant Atheist.

Because honestly, there are only so many hours in a day, and I'd rather be filling my head with better understanding of (insert interests/hobbies here) rather than having to read up on the Koran simply to be able to defend my Atheist standpoint.

I understand that having an understanding of religions is useful for us to better understand our history and the origins of our cultures & languages, but for me, knowing that religion exists is more than enough!

What are your thoughts?

You are absolutely right in my opinion, i don't need some book to not believe in God, and i don't need hours and hours of their brainless blather to be able to reject some irrational belief. But most atheists were born into religious homes and "suffered" a religious upbringing, so many of us were forced to get informed about at least one religion. I had 2.. Islam and Christianity, luckily my parents let me choose but did feed me with lots of facts.. and the rest of the family turned almost aggressive in their desire to "implant God" into my brother's and my heads when they found out that we are "infidels", which didn't work so well. In fact we spread the seed of doubt in our family, what earned us a lot of dislike (i didn't want to say hatred although that might be true as well with some of them). However, over the years I spent a lot of time reading both the Qur'an and the Bible and talked to several Imams priests etc and countless believers.. my problem was always the same, i listen to all their stupid arguments, think about all their fruits of imagination, but when i give them something to think about and present my rational analysis of their teachings, it is being ignored in most cases.. or so badly twisted and adjusted that i have no choice but to ridicule them or even get annoyed. Well anyway, i think you are right, atheists should maybe simply say "whatever dude, leave me alone with your crap" or something among those lines and switch the topic or avoid the conversation altogether. I would like to encourage people to think rationally and use their logic when it comes to their belief but i had to realise that is almost impossible for a "true" believer. But nowadays, in many countries, you are safe to come out of the closet as an atheist and don't have to be afraid you will get exorcised etc or even killed.. so if you run into somebody who just wants to feed you his delusional version of the truth without giving a thought to your arguments, i guess the best option is to save your breath and lots of time, provided your life doesn't depend on a conversation and arguments about their religion haha! I wrote a bit and uploaded it so if it is online, i just give them a link and then they can see what i think about their books before they start quoting too much.

http://tinyurl.com/cannotbuyit

Nik, I do not think willful ignorance is a valuable trait, but I do understand where you are coming from. Too often, Christians are ignorant of their own beliefs and yet they think they can dictate what we are suppose to believe in or accept. I am not spiritual (whatever that is), I think nothing is sacrosanct, and I am not interested in living forever. And when I am asked why by Christians how I could say that, I just remind them that not everyone prioritizes things the same way. Some people get married and have kids. Others do not. If I simply am not interested in something, like an asexual is not interested in sex, then it is pointless from my point of view to push it.

Thank Allen, I'm wondering at what point does it become willful ignorance? Obviously my expected knowledge of Christianity, depends on what country & culture I'm from. For example most people would consider me ignorant if I lived in America and didn't know who Jesus is. Is it fair for me to call them willfully ignorant if they haven't taken the time to learn about quaternion rotations or complex numbers if I'm from a country where mathematics is culturally significant?

Apart from the 'know your enemy' argument, is there any reason to learn about religion if i'm openly and even outspokenly Atheist?

No.

Next time someone demands your qualifications, ask them which specific religious texts you should study. Then ask them to explain why only those and not the plethora of others. Then ask if they have studied the plethora of others as much as they expect you to study their preferred text.

I bet they will be equally ignorant of other religious texts but unlikely to admit their own hypocrisy.

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