This blog was prompted by a recent YouTube video add in the "Atheist Humor" group wherein some guy with an Australian accent is sitting in some posh room a la "Masterpiece Theater" and ranting about people who are "too stupid to be an Atheist".
His target this time around was "Humanities" students with Liberal Arts degrees who scoff at Christians.
I happen to be one of those people with what basically amounts to a Liberal Arts degree, as I am a teacher of Art and Theatre. While I don't particularly find what he said offensive, I did find it rather stupid and myopic. He falls into the same argument from authority that most Christians (and other religions) fall into. Which is to claim, in this case, that if your degree isn't in the subject which most supports your worldview, you can't possibly truly understand it and therefore have no business claiming to have an opinion on it.
I understand the frustration he's trying to convey, but it just doesn't work to lump all people who aren't actual scientists into a group and label them "too stupid to be an Atheist."
I may have my degree in the arts; however, I could easily come up with a coherent answer as to why the Big Bang Theory is a more reasonable worldview than any given religious creation story (as he claims I, being a student of the Humanities, could not do if asked). I also have read Hawking's A Brief History of Time from cover to cover (another claim made that we Humanities students haven't done). As if it matters I've also read The Universe in a Nutshell, The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and Breaking the Spell.
As I said before, I understand the frustration with people who think that because they never actually took the time to care one way or the other about finding rational reasons to support their view of a god, or lack thereof, which they probably never bothered to even ponder in the first place, they get to call themselves "Atheists." In fact, IMHO, it is exactly these kind of people whom I believe are the type who end up wearing "Ex-Atheist" T-Shirts and spouting stupidity and completely misrepresenting not only Atheists, but also mashing the Theory of Evolution together with Astrophysics and claiming that "Evolution is like a tornado in a junkyard throwing together a working 747," thinking the Big Bang and abiogenesis is in any way covered by the Theory of Evolution, and other such inanities to their fellow believers.
To me, those people were never Atheists, they were apatheists who never cared enough to think about it and fell for the first snake-oil salesman to come along and do the thinking for them.
So, while I do agree that there are people who are stupid, and Atheists as a group are far from exempt from that rule, I would like to say that: I'm a student of the Liberal Arts, and I'm not "too stupid to be an Atheist."
Personally, I don't care how well someone can explain how or why evolution works, or what exactly the Big Bang is, or even what kind of degree they might have.
My only criteria for agreeing that someone is actually an Atheist (as opposed to an apatheist) is if they don't believe in any gods and if when asked, "Why don't you believe in god(s)?" they can honestly and simply answer, "I thought about it."
Why am I an Atheist? Because I thought about it, and I continually think about it in a rational, skeptical and logical way. And no I'm not a scientist or a science major. I'm an Arts and Theatre teacher because that's my passion. I'm an Atheist because so far that is the most rational and logical position I have found in regards to the supernatural (whatever that word is supposed to mean), and gods.