The Irony of Atheism: “Stop Shoving Your Religion Down My Throat”

Atheism is religious in nature as much as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. (Go back and read that sentence again carefully before you comment. I didn’t say “atheism is a religion.” I said “atheism is religious in nature.” My next sentence will explain what I mean).

Each posits certain beliefs about God, nature, and life which guide them as they seek to live their lives and guide the lives of others on the basis of and in accord with those beliefs. It is a belief structure that is inherently about religion (specifically, it is about why religion cannot be believed or is wrong or evil or whatever).

When, however, one forces such beliefs on others through legislation, personal attacks, or bullying, one is doing what is commonly termed “shoving your religion down my throat.” Simply holding to a point of view or practicing one’s belief does not constitute and shouldn’t be interpreted as “shoving religion down another’s throat.”

The political and societal agendas pushed by many religious people are also held and promoted by non-religious people (e.g., the sanctity of human life, the freedom to live and/or worship without government intervention and coercion, etc.) and may often reflect nothing more than a desire for the society and mores of bygone eras and previous generations. Thus, seeking to see these views reflected in law and in culture does not necessarily involve forcing others to hold to their religious beliefs.

The agendas of atheism and secularism, however, are almost always driven by their religious views. They are also almost always in the minority. So when atheists and secularists, who are sometimes as militant as some religious groups and more militant than many religious groups, promote their political agendas, they are in effect “shoving their religion down people’s throats” as much as any militant religious group.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Atheism-Secularism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Irony of Atheism: “Stop Shoving Your Religion Down My Throat”

  1. Atheism isn’t a religion. And ‘secularism’ is the nature of our country. We live in a nation that has (or is supposed to have) a secular government. Which is why, legally, religions have no power, and shouldn’t. But neither should any other philosophy that is religion-like.

    • Thanks for your comment and for reading.

      Note that I did not say “Atheism is a religion,” I said “atheism is religious in nature” for the reasons cited. When someone forces their religious beliefs on another, that is tantamount to “shoving your religion down my throat” (since “atheism is religious in nature).

      We would need to agree upon a definition of “secularism” before I could agree or disagree with your next two sentences since, based on your statement, it seems (on the surface at least) that we are using the word in two different ways.

      I do, however, agree with your last two sentences, though, I admit I am in the minority of “evangelicals” by saying that.

    • Liam says:

      yet Darwinism (which has no reason not too be a religion) is taught in school even though it doesn’t anyone with anything (besides a reason for suicide)

  2. Pingback: » The Irony of Atheism: “Stop Shoving Your Religion Down My Throat … Church Leadership

  3. Marie says:

    Thank you Pastor, your comment was dead on. I have more non-religious people “shoving” their beliefs on me then I have EVER experienced from any religious group. Every time I turn around I am attacked for my faith. I always found it ironic that the people screaming for tolerance and a desire to be left along never practice what they “preach”.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Marie. I’ve experienced the same thing. And this means the tide has turned because now it is professing Christians who don’t talk about religion and don’t want to offend or intrude on another’s beliefs even to the point of not defending the faith even when they are attacked.

  5. Xyzzy says:

    Why do Americans seem to have such trouble with the use of “should” and “shouldn’t”?

    “Simply holding to a point of view or practicing one’s belief does not constitute and SHOULDN’T be interpreted as “shoving religion down another’s throat.”

    Fixed!

  6. It’s a simple typo. Get over yourself. And stop judging an entire nation because of something that you SHOULD have been able to recognize as a typo to begin with.

  7. Agnostic Atheist says:

    “Atheism is religious in nature as much as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity”

    Let’s see…

    1) Does atheism have a dogma ? NO!

    2) Does atheism oppress women or condemn homosexuality ? NO!

    3) Do Atheists indoctrinate their children with their beliefs ? NO!

    4) Does atheism practice stupid rituals in a grouped gatherings ? NO!

    5) Does Atheism regard religious scriptures anything more than fiction ? NO!

    6) Do Atheists have absolute faith in something they’re uncertain about ? NO!

    7) Does atheism encourage infant genital mutilation ? NO!

    HA HA HA HA Yeah i can sooo see similarities between them!

    Atheism is NOT believing in any religion simple… its not a ideology or a doctrine its a simple human cognitive mechanism at work.

    “Simply holding to a point of view or practicing one’s belief does not constitute and shouldn’t be interpreted as “shoving religion down another’s throat.”

    I’m sorry what was that ?? i’m pretty sure filthy evangelists in my country shove religion down gullible people’s throats! they fabricate or misrepresent facts and simply force people into beveling their dogma with psychological hacks.

    Not to mention childhood indoctrination is pretty much the textbook definition of “Shoving religion down the throat”

    Tch.. what a pathetic excuse for a blog.

    • Dear Agnostic Atheist:

      1) Atheism does have a dogma: God does not exist, religion is useless and probably evil, and everything can be explained trough nature, science, etc. (depending on what kind of atheist you are.

      2) Not all Christians oppress women or condemn homosexuality. Atheism condemns devoutly religious people, including non-Christian religious people. In making such sweeping statements such as this you paint every Christian in the world with the same brush. Next you’ll be blaming me for the crusades or the Catholic sex-abuse scandal, neither of which has anything to do with me. As far as oppression goes, atheism is responsible for the slaughter of millions. The numbers given for deaths under Stalin alone numbers between 25 and 50 million depending on the source.

      3) So when your children ask you if there is a God or if they can go to this neat event at their schoolmate’s church or religious group, you’ll stay mum about the whole thing? If you don’t teach your beliefs to your children you’re not a very good parent, atheist or Christian or whatever.

      4) All human groups have rituals so you do practice rituals in a group gathering and some may be stupid. I wonder that you would say this, however, since many atheists are now developing rituals and life standards etc. for the building of community, family strengthening, and personal development. (Alain de Botton is the most vocal proponent of this but there are others and they have been reported in the media.) Since many of these activities consciously mimic religious gatherings then I can only conclude that not all atheists believe such things to be stupid.
      Better to have stupid rituals that are meaningful than to make stupid comments on blogs to people you don’t even know that are stupid in their content and lack of knowledge and reasoning.

      5) You got me on number 5 but I’ll add that plenty of religious people (Christian and non-Christian) do not take their sacred writings literally but still see them as sources of wisdom just as some people find wisdom and meaning in novels, poems, movies, TV shows, popular songs, and a whole host of others things, many of which they know beyond any doubt to be fiction.

      6) Number six is tricky, many people have absolute faith in things that they are not absolutely certain about. Atheists believe in scientific principles that may one day be demonstrated to be false just as atheists in past centuries believed things that they were certain of at the time but later turned out to be false.

      7) You can’t say for certain that there are no atheists that encourage infant genital mutilation. (I assume you refer to circumcision.) I note that there are many reasons why people practice circumcision and the overwhelming majority of them have little to do with religion. Medical opinion is divided but those who advocate for it do not do so for religious reasons. In addition, many religions also do not encourage “infant genital mutilation” (as you put it using loaded language). For example, I know of no Protestant Christian denomination or group that believes in circumcision as a matter of doctrine or religious belief.

      If you don’t think atheism is an ideology then you’re as stupid as the points you raised above, as that’s pretty stupid.

      The only pathetic thing here is your vitriol and hatred for something that it is clear, based only on this comment, that you don’t understand. I should have known I was dealing with someone of less-than-stellar intelligence when I saw your contradictory name. You can’t even decide if yu;re agnostic or atheist.

      The next time you make a comment on this blog, make sure that the comment is based in fact, uses valid logical argumentation, which includes not using emotive or loaded language, and is more than a hateful screed. I note here that if you find this blog less-than-helpful, you do not have to read it.

      What saddens me is that I know many thoughtful atheists whom I respect intellectually and who make clear, thoughtful, and precise arguments in favor of their atheism and against religion. I feel bad for them right now because stupid people like you give them a bad name.

      • Soufiane says:

        Spot on Pastor. Never seen such powerfull counter reply.

      • Thanks! And thanks for reading.

      • elle9 says:

        Pastor,
        As a fellow believer, I must say that I am disappointed with how you responded to the above commenter. Calling someone with an opposing opinion/view “stupid” and further belittling him/her is both puerile and counterproductive. 😥
        Let us be loving examples of His Grace by exhibiting patience, kindness, and a willingness to open our eyes, ears, and arms to every non-believer so that they might see the Truth.
        Peace and love to you, Pastor.

  8. asgerry says:

    Your original post (and your responses) are all very spot on. Thank you for standing up for your beliefs. You don’t see much of that anymore.

    -Amira

  9. Pastor Jones, I am a practicing Catholic. I totally agree with everything you have said, both in your blog and in your responses. Thank you for your thoughts, and Bless you for speaking out.

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