Why Do Atheists Shout So Loudly When They Believe the Stakes are Lower?

When it comes to religious matters, we Christians believe our very souls are at stake.  Atheists do not believe there is anything so serious at stake.  Anyone would therefore expect that Christians would shout their message the loudest, since they believe there is the most at stake.  However, it seems that both 'shout' similarly loudly.  Why is that? 
 
Both camps genuinely believe that their version is the underlying truth (although of course, both cannot be right).  Therefore, both camps have the truth at stake; they think of themselves as campaigners for the truth.  In addition, Christians believe our souls are at stake.  Why then do atheists shout so loud when they believe there is less at stake?
 
This is a question which is difficult to answer.  However, we should be aware that Christianity can actually benefit from these loud shoutings of the atheists.  Why is that? It is because the atheists give us specific things to refute. Much more dangerous for Christianity if atheists regarded religion with the same indifference as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny.  The fact that atheists stand up and shout against Christianity gives Christians something concrete to refute.  Whereas if atheists instead had a "Tooth Fairy" attitude of uncaring indulgence to Christianity, it would be far harder for Christians to have something specific to refute.  Of course, Christianity rests on what Christ did for us, not on how flawed the arguments are for atheism. 
 
From a recent discussion involving an atheist, I realized to my surprise that some atheists are actually against the idea of Christianity existing at all (as opposed to a 'you have your beliefs, I have mine' approach).  This may be a subset of atheists and these views may not be representative of all. However, this lack of tolerance seems odd to me, as I always thought that atheists (along with Christians) particularly valued the idea of freedom of choice when it comes to religious beliefs. Furthermore, most Christians do not have a problem with atheists choosing to be atheist (although they might worry about the atheist's soul being in danger, but ultimately recognize each individual has the right to make their own decisions).  Indeed, it is clear from the Bible that Jesus wants people to come to him freely and not under duress or against their will. Yet many atheists have a problem with the mere existence of Christianity.  Why does it seem to bother someone if I am a Christian? The other person's opinions of my religion doesn't upset me or affect my belief that Jesus is our Lord and Savior - I am secure enough in my beliefs after all - but their attitude puzzles me a little, and in any case I am not bothered by their beliefs.  However, I will take it as a compliment: if someone dislikes me for my religion, that's fine by me.
 
So in conclusion, it is not really clear why some atheists shout so loudly when according to their beliefs the stakes are lower.  Yes, it is correct that Christians and atheists both have completely incompatible views, and each believe their view to be the truth.  However, if the stakes are really as low as the atheists claim, then why is there the need to be so vocal about it?  Why are atheists not willing to let everyone just coexist? Yet, this very attitude is something which is to the advantage of Christianity: by being vocal it gives the Christians a chance to refute something specific (and therefore their voice to be heard), and also, any attitude of religious intolerance by atheists will, in my opinion, hurt their argument and not that of Christianity.
 
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Comments

  1. I'm sure most atheists would argue against Santa and the Tooth Fairy if most people believed they really existed and...

    1) had everyone's children in public schools pledge allegiance "under Santa"
    2) tried to get Tooth Fairyism into dental schools
    3) any politician who didn't believe in them couldn't get elected
    4) anyone who didn't believe in them was automatically regarded as untrustworthy and immoral
    5) some even less enlightened countries make it illegal to not believe in them, with the threat of prison or even death
    6) gays couldn't get legal recognition of marriage because Santa was against it
    7) mixed-race couples couldn't get legal recognition 60 years ago in most states because Santa was against that, too
    8) the false premise that ALL of our laws are because of Santa's rules, ignoring all the non-Santa countries with the same laws and all of Santa's "old" rules that are now ignored

    etc etc

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Brian Westley, and thanks for taking the time to comment and put in some words of explanation on the atheist point of view about this topic. However, I feel it is important to point out that either someone upholds freedom of speech, or they do not - it should not depend one bit on how many people believe in Christianity (or atheism, Hinduism, etc ) - whether this is one person, ten people, thousands, or a majority of the population. Neither should it matter what the prevailing 'moods' are (in terms of politics etc) as to whether Christians, atheists, Hindus etc., should be free to talk about their beliefs.

    So if these 8 types of reasons given above are the general sorts of things that atheists object to, then those are the sorts of things they (atheists) should be trying to change - and I know some have tried to do that. However, this is quite a different thing from trying to take away the right of free speech. For example, regardless of the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance (whether that is changed some day or whether it remains the same - and I don't care), that has no bearing whatsoever on my right to talk about my religion. It is the attempts to stop those talking about their religion or stop making it available to others (usually on some pretext that it might 'offend') which is the part that puzzles me.

    There are many, many subjective areas where people can have ideas which oppose or offend others (fashion, music, etc) and we don't seem to see quite so many people want to silence those people! It seems silly that someone might want to silence someone else purely because their they have different ideas.

    Christians and atheists are currently free to talk about their views on religion, and I am hoping it will stay that way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "However, I feel it is important to point out that either someone upholds freedom of speech, or they do not"

      And what examples do you have of atheists not supporting free speech? You indicate (without any actual quotes) "some atheists are actually against the idea of Christianity existing at all" but you give no examples. I can find Christians saying similar things about atheists.

      Delete
    2. Hello Brian, and thank you for taking the time to comment again. To put my point in context, within the same paragraph as the sentence you quoted, I start by saying that this stemmed from a discussion I had with an atheist. Later in the paragraph I go on to say that I'm aware that this type of viewpoint could be just a subset of atheists, and is not representative of all.

      You make a good point that some Christians (again, a subset) have also been shown to be against the freedom of speech or of religion of atheists, and I am not saying that this is OK.

      I would just like to see more people on both sides being willing to allow the other side to express their religious views without trying to censor them.

      Yes there have been examples of atheists being against the expression of Christianity. One recent one is a school ban on allowing prayers in the school cafeteria ( http://www.christianpost.com/news/wyoming-school-ban-public-prayer-christian-students-overturn-platte-county-school-district-153084/ ). The ban was eventually overturned, but it's concerning that some atheists feel that religious viewpoints should not be expressed in public. Again, like I said, I'm aware that this is not the view of all atheists, and likewise that there are examples on both sides of the argument.

      Another example is where an atheist sued a church and its pastor over the building of a very large cross (see http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/03/16/giant-texas-cross-sparks-atheist-lawsuit-and-wont-believe-why.html ).

      Religious expressions should be allowed by both sides, if nothing else to avoid hypocrisy! From the atheist points of view, freedom of thought and of speech is highly prized, and this ought to extend to everyone (Christians as well as atheists). From the Christian point of view, God gave all of us freedom to choose. He did not create us as automatons. Because of that, Christians should be willing to allow people the freedom to choose also.

      This should NOT equate to either side being banned from expressing their religious viewpoints in public.

      Delete

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