Mis-quoting others, atheists being dicks

One of the joys of the internet is the ability to check out and spread humorous quotes of famous people that backup your philosophical position.

Which probably explains why the following quote, supposedly of Mark Twain, has been doing the rounds for some time.

Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.

When the above quote appeared on my Facebook feed some weeks ago I decided to check it out. I don’t like to just take pithy quotes on face value and in today’s age of easily assimilated and faked images it is so easy to attribute anything to anyone.

There are many places that repeat the quote, but only a few that show a history of the quote, among them is this one: http://www.zebrafactcheck.com/neer-the-twain-did-speak-it/

As can be seen, the quote is of dubious attribution.

One of the reasons I wanted to check the quote out is that I don’t consider it particularly accurate. The history of religion is very complex and no one who studies it long enough will actually claim the quote as being an accurate representation of that history.

The quote is the sort of thing that I would laugh at with friends over a beer if repeated down the pub, but would never take seriously. However, sticking it on Facebook makes it open to challenge. So having found that it wasn’t a valid attribution I commented to that effect and corrected the poster.

Now this particular individual is rather outspoken and like to say things that shock and will argue them until the other party gives up. Some of his posts and comments are so abrasive that my wife has blocked his comments from showing on her feed. He certainly isn’t the type to admit a mistake easily, so I wasn’t particularly surprised when his response to my correction was to reply that whoever said it, it was effing funny.

It is this kind of atheist that, sadly, gives the rest of us a bad name and it is this kind of mentality that, also sadly, many people of a religious persuasion imagine when they think of atheists. I know that is the sort of person I thought most atheists were because that is what I had been warned about many times growing up.

The truth of course, is that this is not characteristic of most atheists, it is simply that this is the kind of atheist that gets noticed the most.

 

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7 thoughts on “Mis-quoting others, atheists being dicks

  1. Too many atheists on the Internet accuse religious people of being dicks and turn around and act like this. Well done for fact checking. I occasionally get caught out taking an internet fact at face value and later learn it was wrong. I’m like “dammit, I’m meant to be a critical thinker now!”

  2. Mis-quoting Mark Twain unheard of dadblameit! The professor understands it is those that feel most threatened that grab onto phony lines in a sadly superficial way of supporting themselves….. the pits await them I fear.

  3. I know what you mean. I don’t like to use a quote on my blog if I can’t source it. As for atheists being dicks – you know, I find more of that on the internet than I do with atheists I personally know. How deeply I wish believers and nonbelievers could love each other differences and all. I think some of the deeply religious folks are afraid of atheists, and many atheists are former believers who were burned emotionally by religion and just can’t stand the subject or those who don’t share their disdain for it.

  4. It doesn’t even sound like Mark Twain (or even Shania Twain). If you’re going to talk bollocks it helps if it’s credible bollocks.

    Religions and god-beliefs (not the same thing!) have complex origins and functions; glibly denigrating them is not going to persuade anyone, even if it makes you feel superior. And if you’re going to laugh at them it should be a good joke.

  5. @ confessionsofayec
    “Now this particular individual is rather outspoken and like to say things that shock and will argue them until the other party gives up. Some of his posts and comments are so abrasive that my wife has blocked his comments from showing on her feed. He certainly isn’t the type to admit a mistake easily, so I wasn’t particularly surprised when his response to my correction was to reply that whoever said it, it was effing funny.
    It is this kind of atheist that, sadly, gives the rest of us a bad name and it is this kind of mentality that, also sadly, many people of a religious persuasion imagine when they think of atheists. I know that is the sort of person I thought most atheists were because that is what I had been warned about many times growing up.
    The truth of course, is that this is not characteristic of most atheists, it is simply that this is the kind of atheist that gets noticed the most.” Unquote

    don’t think there are many serious and positive atheists anymore. From the time they had started sort of following Richard Dawkins as their leader; under his direction they have adopted derision and ridicule as their prime tool of “Atheistic preaching”; this has taken them afar from reason and dialogue. This has made them stubborn, arrogant and intolerant of others. They enjoy fellow atheists who support them and sort of reassure them of their ideology “atheism”.
    I would say the new-atheists; about 99% of them have become like this.

    One other dilemma of a universal divide is that the Atheists almost collectively are siding with the religious extremists; that they are bent upon proving that Religions teach violence even to the moderate adherents of religions; I don’t know what benefit accrues to them from this.
    In my opinion they are creating a wrong religious phobia.

    If there had been people with vested interests who played politics “in the name of religion”, now there are people who play politics “in the name of Atheism” and the like; flip side of the same coin.

    Of course on could differ with me; but that is my experience with the Atheists.

  6. Pingback: Playing politics “in the name of Atheism” rather than sticking to reason and tolerance | paarsurrey

  7. Pingback: Crypto(mis)quote Spoiler – 03/12/14 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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