Oh, those nasty, hateful atheists!
Time for a little demonstration of the straw man fallacy. As far as legitimate reasons for Christians to have a gripe against atheists, the pickings are pretty slim. In the absence of legitimate complaints, some people will design an argument against their opponent by suggesting that the opponent holds a view that he doesn’t actually hold, then attack that view. For instance, a Christian might claim that atheists are devil worshipers or that they eat babies. (As bonkers as it seems, some whack-a-doodles actually believe that.)
Setting up the straw man
In the video below, in a complete misrepresentation of atheists, a Christian TV show called WWYD (What Would You Do?) has set up hidden cameras in a restaurant and planted actors to play a Christian family praying over their food before they eat. At an adjacent table, another actor plays an atheist who gets upset because she has to listen to the family praying, then loudly complains to them.
Bearing false witness
The straw man in this case is the false claim that Christians are under attack by atheists who hate that Christians pray in public and actively try to stop the practice by complaining about it.
Speaking from personal experience, there have been a few times when I’ve seen families praying at restaurants I’m visiting. While I quietly roll my eyes, I have never complained about it. Nor have I ever heard of atheists complaining about it. In short, based on my experience, the scenario in this video never happens in real life.
Oh, the hypocrisy. Does this situation apply to all religions or just Christianity? What if these people were not White American Christians? What would the outcome be in this same scenario if these people were Muslim? Come to think of it, as far as I know, only Christians are inclined to make a public display of their faith like this. Bunch of hypocrites. Also, I doubt an atheist would make a stink about people praying over their meal. As long as they don’t burn us at the stake, we’re not terrified of them, like they are of us.
Just for kicks and giggles, I recommend reading this bible passage, which addresses the topic of praying in public. Oh, if Elizabethan English isn’t your thing, I’d recommend changing the version from King James Version (KJV) to New International Version (NIV). Of course, those who feel the need to be a “Hey everybody! Look at me being a good Christian!” type of person tend to disregard passages such as this. This is what’s known as a Cafeteria Christian; take the parts you like, ignore the rest.
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