The Raving Theist

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Holier Than Thou

December 17, 2008 | 1 Comment

In response to the theft from a capitol rotunda holiday display of its sign declaring that “[r]eligion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” an atheist group is posting a second sign quoting the Biblical injunction “Thou shalt not steal.”

Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation explained why she believed the resort to scripture was necessary:

“Atheists never engage in vandalism. We don’t go around stealing the Baby Jesus. They don’t follow their own commandments.”

A religious group might well counter the new atheist sign with one reading “thou shalt not bear false witness.” The police “do not know who did it or what happened to it.” So Ms. Gaylor’s conclusion that “they” did it — i.e., Bible believers hypocritically disobeying “their own commandments” — fails to observe the standards of proof ordinarily embraced by the reality-based community.

Ms. Gaylor’s simultaneous exoneration of all atheist suspects similarly violates this evidentiary principle. To declare that “atheists never engage in vandalism” is as baseless as saying that “atheists never engage in adultery” (or in taking the Lord’s name in vain, for that matter). While the usual atheist tactic for removing a Baby Jesus is litigation rather than theft, a publicity motive cannot be discounted. Certainly, it was the primary motive in displaying the religion-as-myth sign in the first place.


One Response to “Holier Than Thou”

  1. Mad About Madison : The Raving Atheist
    December 18th, 2008 @ 10:59 am

    […] 18, 2008 Responding to an atheist groups’ unsubstantiated suggestion that believers stole its holiday sign, the Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute […]

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