A resolution worth pursuing

Chris Steadman wonders if in 2014 we might put two pernicious ideas to rest: that atheists are incapable of being moral and that theists are stupid.


It’s often said that the trick to effective New Year’s resolutions is to set achievable goals. I have many hopes for humanity—and though they may not all be fulfilled in my lifetime, some are eminently realistic. For example, here are two false ideas I think we can easily lay to rest in 2014:

People can’t be good without religion or God.

Religious believers are unintelligent.

So as people consider their aspirations for 2014, here are a couple of simple goals I hope we might all work toward.

1. Theists, stop calling atheists immoral

Of course, not all theists think that atheists are immoral. But considering how often the claim is put forth, the privileged position that theists hold in our society, the sense of alienation that many atheists feel, and the negative views many Americans have of atheists, it is a real problem.

Theists are welcome to their perspectives on morality, but to claim that atheists cannot possibly be moral is to attack our character….

…2. Atheists, stop calling believers stupid

Of course, not all atheists dismiss theists as intellectual inferiors. But some do. These atheists probably do not constitute the majority, but they are often quite vocal. (The Onion even parodied this perspective recently.)

It wouldn’t be fair to generalize based on the content of comment sections or message boards, where such statements are more commonplace—but this attitude is also reflected in the words of some of the most prominent atheists.

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