I Don’t Mind Answering Questions. Do You?

I’ve been thinking about a post I read over at the FTB site a little more than a month ago, authored by Greta Christina. It’s titled 9 Questions Not To Ask Atheists – With Answers.

She starts off the post by comparing the questions to racial and gender bigotry. Dehumanization of a class of people. I’m really not going to address that here, because it’s just too ridiculous to even try to respond to for me.

Here is a telling statement:

Some questions perpetuate bigotry instead of reducing it. Here are nine questions that make atheists feel second-class — and that make you look like a jerk.

Why does someone asking another person about their atheism make that atheist second-class? Why does it perpetuate bigotry if someone is trying to understand ? Why are people jerks for asking?
Does the same apply when atheists ask theists how they can believe in a supernatural being that there is no evidence to support? I know that happens a lot. Look out on the internet and there are lot’s of YouTube videos and blogs that ask that very question. How is it okay for us to challenge theism and not, in return, expected to be questioned about being an atheist?
This sounds more like, “It’s okay for me, but not for you” thinking.
I personally don’t care if people ask me questions. We ask questions of one another in hope of promoting understanding.
Then, right before Ms. Christian starts her list – with answers, she makes the following statement:

Here are nine questions you shouldn’t ask atheists. I’m going to answer them, just this once. And then I’ll explain why you shouldn’t be asking them, and why so many atheists will get ticked off if you do.

Well, first of all, that paragraph comes across a bit condescending. “I’m going to answer them, just this once”. It made me think about being a child and asking one of my parents why I wasn’t allowed to do something. Yeah, condescending is the right term here. The last sentence is really telling. Why would so many atheists become “ticked off” by these questions? Sure, most, if not all of the questions we’ve all been asked on multiple occasions. Sometimes I get tired of hearing the same questions over and over but on the other hand, it also helps me to hone my thinking about the specific question. I’d like to think that every time I’m asked one or more of these questions, that my thinking and explanations become clearer to me and to the questioner.

In summary, here are the questions Ms. Christina highlights as those that should not be asked of any atheist:

1: “How can you be moral without believing in God?”
2: “How do you have any meaning in your life?” Sometimes asked as, “Don’t you feel sad or hopeless?” Or even, “If you don’t believe in God or Heaven, why don’t you just kill yourself?”
3: “Doesn’t it take just as much/ even more faith to be an atheist as it does to be a believer?”
4: “Isn’t atheism just a religion?”
5: “What’s the point of atheist groups? How can you have a community and a movement for something you don’t believe in?”
6: “Why do you hate God?” Or, “Aren’t you just angry at God?”
7: “But have you (read the Bible or some other holy book, heard about some supposed miracle, heard my story about my personal religious experience)?”
8: “What if you’re wrong?” Sometimes asked as, “Doesn’t it make logical sense to believe in God? If you believe and you’re wrong, nothing terrible happens, but if you don’t believe and you’re wrong, you could go to Hell!”
9: “Why are you atheists so angry?”

All the the above seem to be legitimate questions. I guess the only one I would question is number 9. It’s seems a bit of self promotion there since the question is the title of a book she wrote last year.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the book, it’s supposedly an expansion on a talk Ms. Christina has given on multiple occasions. Actually the talk is good. I’m not going to link to the YouTube video, but if you’re interested I’m sure you can find it.
Also, I would like to point out, I’m not angry. Are you?

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Mind Answering Questions. Do You?

  1. It seems to me, that if a theist were to come at me and posit these things in the form of a question, as opposed to just shouting them as assertions on TV as many do, it would be to the benefit of all that I answer, instead of saying “Don’t ask me that, it makes me angry”. I don’t see how someone can take offence at merely being asked a question, unless it’s just being repeated as a barb.

    There’s a lot of theists who simply don’t “get” the concept of atheism, and nonsense like her attitude sets back the perception of atheism as a whole.

  2. Her idea of interacting with others is to preach and to impose rules upon them. Which renders her virtually indistinguishable from a religious fundamentalist.

  3. Those are legitimate questions. I want believers to ask me questions like that. I have really great answers.

    Leave it to Greta to pick a good topic, then make a hash of it.

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