Dr. Shook Has his facts wrong

The slander doesn’t seem to want to go away. If we aren’t being accused of dogmatically disbelieving, then we’re being mean or belligerent, and every other imaginable insult, all because we don’t share the notion a magical sky-man made the world. Now it looks as though organizations that were traditionally on our side have started taking potshots at us. Check out this article written by Dr. John Shook, who is the Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry. He claims many atheists are ignorant of religions and should do more study before berating them (this, by the way, is his strategy for selling his new book).

I’ll ignore for a moment the fact I see no reason why anyone should be an expert in nonsense in order to disbelieve (the burden of proof is on believers, not atheists). It seems that Dr. Shook is unaware atheists on average seem to know just as much, if not more about religion than believers do. How about this little survey from the New York Times? Atheists scored the highest of all the demographics. And what about this survey which also found atheists were the most educated demographic when it came to religion? Is that not at least a partial clue perhaps we aren’t all as ignorant as Shook thinks?

The “know-nothing” wing of the so-called New Atheism really lives up to that label. Nonbelievers reveling in their ignorance are an embarrassing betrayal of the free-thought legacy.

A large portion of atheists I’ve met over the years had formerly been believers, and committed ones at that. They poured over the Bible hoping to find something compelling that could solidify their shaky belief, to no avail. The accusation we’re ignorant of fantasy is a slap to the face of every earnest atheist who came to their disbelief through study, careful thought, and intellectual integrity. Sure, there are plenty of loud, ignorant people who refuse to acknowledge the intellectual traditions of religion, but so what? If there was a “Higher Criticism” of the Santa Claus myth, would you need to be an expert theologian to argue the story is mere fantasy?

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