Skip to content

This Week in Atheism 2018–06–25


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/06/25

“In light of the article written last month about atheism, it is clear there is a severe misunderstanding among some county residents about others. I was encouraged to help set the record straight as best I can on what atheism is and who atheists are.

Atheists, or non-theists, are people who do not assert the existence of God or any gods. That’s it. Note the lack of any other prerequisites. There’s nothing about needing to accept evolution as fact. Nothing about being pro-abortion. Nothing about being conservative. Nothing about being ABBA fans. And of course, nothing about worshiping Satan. It’s hard to worship something one doesn’t believe in.

Atheism has no dogma. Atheism has no creed. Atheism has no tenets. This doesn’t mean people who are atheists do not adhere to a dogma, creed, or set of tenets in their daily lives. Atheists do not necessarily share much in common with other atheists. Some atheists are spiritual (Theravada Buddhists), some believe in an afterlife or reincarnation, ghosts and spirits. Some atheists are wealthy while others are poor. Some atheists are artists while others build cars (arguably an art). Some are farmers, some are nurses, some are foresters, and some are business owners. Atheists may be the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet. And don’t quote me on this, but I hear that some adult atheists still cry when Simba finds Mufasa after the wildebeest stampede in The Lion King.

I hope this helps clear things up.”


“Towards the end of the Radio 702 interview about my book, You Have to Be Gay to Know God,Eusebius McKaiser asked whether I had switched to “the gospel of Richard Dawkins” since the book was published. I then shared my political misgivings about Dawkinesque atheism.

The social media pushback from some listeners compels me to point out how the proponents of atheism typically share the blind spots of liberals. The right to freedom of speech is normally invoked for their political activism. The limits on this right have been discussed ad nauseam by others.

Here’s the upshot: the bad-faith use of the right externalises the cost of an unjust economic status quo, while fronting a political innocence or self-righteousness that’s at odds with the speaker’s position, making a mockery of whatever liberal position the speaker claims for himself or herself.

I recognise this trick from religion, where heterosexually married, sexually satiated pastors recommend celibacy to me — don’t get me started on what they preached and lived with regard to money.”


“In recent years, as atheists have become more comfortable stepping out of the closet and living as out, open nonbelievers, we’ve seen an influx in believers lashing out against atheists, publicly stating they’re not welcome, or worse yet, should leave the country.

In just the latest example of this, the Boy Scouts of America, already known by the secular community to be discriminatory against atheists, reinforced their stance at their 2018 annual meeting. During the event, the BSA National Executive Board adopted a resolution entitled, “Reaffirming Duty to God.” In part, it says:

The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgement of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental of good citizenship should be kept before them.

So basically, BSA doesn’t care which “God” you believe in, as long as you’re not one of those nasty nonbelievers. Those filthy atheists couldn’t possibly be good citizens. But was this resolution necessary? Did it change anything in the Scout Oath or Scout Laws? No. It didn’t do anything but restate what they’ve already said for decades. This was purely an effort to publicly reassure religious groups who have aligned with BSA through the years that BSA is still full of God-fearing people who deserve financial support. Translated, this says, “Hey baby, I know you’re mad about us letting in the gays, transgender kids, and now the girls, but we still love Jesus and want to keep out the atheists, so are we cool?””


“Patton Oswalt, a comedian and actor who is known for his atheist beliefs, recently mocked the Bible and compared it to works of fiction.

“Dear people citing The Bible,” Oswalt wrote on Twitter. “It’s a cool book with some wonderful passages but it also has ghost sex & giants & super babies & demons. It’s why we don’t make laws based on Game of Thrones, My Little Pony or Legend of Zelda.”

Oswalt, who has appeared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Ratatouille, and currently plays Principal Durbin on NBC’s A.P. Bio, often brings up atheism in his stand-up comedy.

But this tweet didn’t leave users laughing, with the actor-comedian receiving pushback.


“When DMK working president M.K. Stalin accepted temple honours at Srirangam last week, it immediately kicked up a minor storm, with many criticising him for allegedly betraying the party’s atheist and rationalist beliefs.

But then this is not the first time that Mr. Stalin is seen accepting a ceremonial welcome by Hindu priests. In 2015, he had held a meeting with temple priests in Kumbakonam and even visited the Thirukoshtiyur temple, where Saint Ramanuja, ignoring the warning of his guru, climbed the temple tower and administered the sacred Astakshara — Om Namo Narayanaya — to the public, irrespective of their caste or origins.

In fact, it is not just Mr. Stalin who is seen courting the devout. One could see more and more DMK MLAs coming to the Assembly flaunting their religious credentials, including smearing their foreheads with the holy ash or sporting the kumkum, a practice more common among the AIADMK Ministers and MLAs.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: