why it is bad to misrepresent your opponent when you are ignorant about her ways!

I apologize for the mouthful title of this post, I just couldn’t think of a better one to capture what it is I want to deal with. I was on my many strolls on the internet when I came across a post that decries anti-theists ignorance of religion but came out to show the author seems to be ignorant of atheists or has created a strawman to attack. That this is the case is evident in almost every paragraph, if not all of them.

The post starts thus

Ever since the Enlightenment we have held the rather dumb idea that not having a religion makes you smarter and having one makes you stupid

in which the author is wrong for saying it is a dumb idea. Only the educated are free of superstition and as such whatever little that can be said of the atheist, is, there is one point where she is smarter than the theist and that is with regards to matters of religion. Anyone who applies a little common sense to religion will easily see the folly in it. Am not going to say the religious is stupid, no, just that as long as he is religious, there is an area of his/her life to which he has not applied common sense and he would do himself good if he took time off to examine her religious claims.

We are told

 they assume that the different religions are false, rather than actually argue that they are false

The theist has made a claim about his religion. A theist of a different walk has a belief contrary to the one held by the first theist. And with differing sects and denominations, we have a situation where either all of them are right or are all false or one is right and the rest are all false but to know which is the right one then remains the only challenge to be overcome. The theist who thinks her religion is the valid one has the onus of showing us why this is so.

The author takes issue with atheists for writing a lot about some religions more than others. He writes

there is the fact that they argue against some religions more than others. They certainly argue more against Islam than against Buddhism.

Whereas am an equal opportunity non- believer, I have not met a person of Buddhist persuasion in my entire short life but I am surrounded by Christians everywhere. There is almost a church every where you turn. At the same time, the Christians are trying to have their beliefs made into law. The Hindus are not trying to do this. The Buddhists are not trying to do this. Unless the Christians acknowledge or are willing to acknowledge that their should be separation of church and state, am afraid, I will still have to write about it.

You know a person is in the deep end of numskull when they write

Another thing they do is assume that science somehow disproves God rather than actually showing how.

Science, construed broadly, only deals with testable claims. If you claim your god is actively involved in the events that happen around us, then science can test for that and if there is no evidence of supernatural intervention, then it can be said with confidence that science has disproved the necessity of the god hypothesis. It doesn’t need to do anything beyond that.

There is always the claim made requiring atheists to first have read religious books before they can criticize religion. The OP writes

Anti-theists also show a constant ignorance about religion. For instance, they attack Islam without even having read the Qur’an

You would expect that a person on a mission to show how wrong atheists are would not fall into the trap of committing such fallacies or at least would not be ignorant of Courtier’s reply. You don’t need to be versed in the Koran to critique Islam, far from it. The followers of Mo [piss be upon him] make claims about their deity or their prophet for which nothing in way of a demonstration has been proffered. You don’t need to read the Koran to know that Islam treats one half of the human species as being subordinate to the other half.

And he/she displays their ignorance more when they write

They also do not know anything about the Christian tradition of giving up all your material possessions and living an austere life in service of everyone else. Really, many do not even seem to know about the existence of saints.

We know because it is written, however, the jury is out for the number of Christians who live as described by this fellow. And we also know that the church has designated as saints some men and women for reasons decided on by themselves. However, the recognition of an individual to have lived an exemplary life is not proof of the validity of the belief but only shows how the deeply the individual was convicted.

The author writes

[..] that antitheists are more moral is proof that they are not as intelligent as they think they are

in which it is evident the author is not informed on what he/she is arguing about. When atheists say they are more moral than the believer, it is generally used to imply that their motivation for doing good is not based on a fear of deities but is based on our duties and responsibilities to those we live around. How this negates the intelligence of the atheist is yet to be demonstrated.

How do

friars and sisters dedicated to helping the poor

prove them wrong?

And then we have the often repeated line of atheist killers. We are told

And the atheist mass killers prove that atheism is not better at preventing people from doing moral atrocities, unlike what Warren Ellis would tell you.

and one would want to really be told who killed to further non belief in deities. Who among the atheist killers was motivated to kill because of his lack of belief in gods? And what are we out to settle here? I will say any killing is wrong[ am aware this implies an objective moral value], to do it in the name of a deity is worse.

There is the claim that there are other ways of knowing besides science without telling us really what this are. Here, I take science to mean

is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning, “science” also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied.

The author tells us

The same with morality, since the scientific method can’t tell me why I ought to not kill an innocent person (you don’t need a religion to know that, yes, but that is not the point, the point is that science is unable to tell you such things because it is outside of what science does).

If science is applied as the described in the second meaning, I don’t see how it would be inadequate in helping one identify what ought or ought not to be done. To claim or imply that religion teaches morality is to say that whatever a god commands is right.

It has always been written that once a person erects a strawman, there is no losing the argument. The author excels in doing this in almost every paragraph. He writes

Treating religion as a monolithic thing is another thing that antitheists do despite that being completely ignorant

is a strawman and doesn’t represent atheistic thinking. Religious practices and rituals are as disparate as the religious believers. The claims about how the deities or how many there are differ from one culture to the next and it would be foolhardy to treat all of them as one. No atheist that I know of does this.

And the following accusation

Antitheists on the other hand would make you believe that all religions are equal in making people do violent things

is false. Atheistic religions like Buddhism or UU are for most part very peaceful. Islam and Christianity who serve a vengeful god tend to produce vengeful and angry people. What would you expect will stop the christian from dealing violently with me if he holds the belief that his celestial master is going to punish me for eternity?

The author writes

Saying religion is a scam is another, even though that needs to ignore what the religion teaches and whether that religion is actually a scam or not. Certainly there are religious sects that are a scam. But many others are not

and ignores the validity of the claim. As long as the priests, mullahs, rabbis continue to peddle the lie there is a god who loves you and wants your money, it shall remain a scam. The only way to get around this is to prove the god hypothesis beyond what would be called a reasonable doubt.

The claim the author set out to demonstrate, that is

many anti-theists are very ignorant, and their anti-theism can actually make them less smart and intelligent as opposed to more. They have shown to be just as foolish and dumb as religious people, and for that reason should stop their arrogance and condescension.

has not been proven but the contrary seems to have been affirmed, that is, the religious are more ignorant than we actually think them to be and the author of this particular post demonstrates the truth of the claim without a shred of doubt.