QUESTION: You wrote:
" I have seen where atheists insulted religious people were usually when the latter threatened them with 'hell fire'.

We have seen in recent cartoon row incidents that it was atheists who first provoked religious people by drawing cartoons of religious leaders in a demeaning way. Why are the atheists unnecessarily provoking religious people instead of engaging intellectually.

Will the atheists accept if their loved ones are depicted in a bad way in public unjustly. Also the religious people believe that their leaders really lived this life and were made of blood and flesh. So just as atheists would still love their loved ones after their death, religious people love their leaders too even after their death.

ANSWER: Hello,

It is really difficult to place your complaint in any context since you have not provided any references. WHERE did you see these "insults" in the form of cartoons? Were they in newspapers, comics, monographs?  If you can provide an actual link it would help, else it's difficult to say if indeed what you claim are "insults" are only legitimate satire - which of course,  is allowed by what we call freedom of speech.

You ask if atheists would accept if their "loved ones were depicted in a bad way" but again there is no reference point for what a "bad way" is, since you have not provided anything concrete. Can you post a link with some examples, so I can see what you mean? Otherwise we are simply enmeshed in nebulous hypotheticals.

You also mention atheists "drawing cartoons of religious leaders in a demeaning way". WHICH atheists? WHO are they? Or do YOU just believe them to be "atheists" because they did satires? Please provide examples, since otherwise I've no way to judge from my POV what you regard as "demeaning" or indeed, if an actual atheist even did this.

Finally, you ask why atheists can't engage religious people "intellectually". As I believe I noted in a previous response to one questioner, this has proven to be very difficult because most religious people do not engage from an intellectual or rational position (based on facts, e.g. scientific facts) but an emotional or "faith-based" one. Hence, we are at moot dead ends. In my own experience, I can count with the fingers of one hand religionists who were actually capable of coherent logical debate - as opposed to emotive, faith -based responses.

If you can provide me actual concrete links to the examples of "cartoon insults" you mention, I can perhaps address this in more detail. But again, bear in mind that we do (here in the U.S.) have freedom of speech and you may only be referring to satire. Unless I see actual examples I am, alas, unable to judge if that steps over the line.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


These incidents are well publicized in the world. I was referring to Charlie Hebdo, Danish cartoons which depicted Islam's prophet in demeaning way.


True, the incident (one) is well publicized, but exactly fits the mold of what I defined in my earlier response: a satirical form (cartoon) which in the West is accepted based upon the principle of free speech  - enshrined in most constitutions.  Thus, what you and others may see as "insults" the creators see as manifestations of free speech.

Secondly, you have provided no evidence or proof that the Hebdo cartoon creators are actual atheists. The mere fact they have published satire in a satirical magazine that offends members of one religion does not make them "atheists".  They might well be members of other faiths, or agnostics or simply non-religious people. You need to actually demonstrate and corroborate their atheist bona fides if you want me to believe they are atheists. You cannot simply make the assumption they are atheists because they created these cartoons!  


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Philip A. Stahl


I specialize in the areas of scientific materialism and consciousness described as a materialist epiphenomenon. Also can answer questions pertaining to general atheism, atheist-agnostic differences etc.


I have been an atheist for over 36 yrs. and have written four books on the subject: 'The Atheist's Handbook to Modern Materialism'(2000), and 'Atheism" A Beginner's Handbook', 'Dialectical Atheism' (2011), 'Beyond Atheism, Beyond God' (2013)

Intertel, Mensa, American Mathematical Society, American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union

Atheist articles: 'The American Atheist' magazine, assorted U.S. newspapers (e.g. Baltimore Sun, Denver Post); papers-articles published in Intertel's Journal: Integra. Books: 'The Atheist's Handbook to Modern Materialism'(2000), 'Atheism: A Beginner's Handbook' (2007), 'Dialectical Atheism' (2011), 'Beyond Atheism, Beyond God' (2013)

Master of Philosophy in Physics. Also took more than 3 yrs. of theology and metaphysics courses at a Catholic University (1964-67) - before I became an atheist. Thus, I have much more religious familiarity & background than many atheists.

Awards and Honors
Writers' Digest Award for the essay 'The Atheist in America' (2000), Government of Barbados research in solar physics award (1980-84), AAS Solar Physics Award (1984)

Past/Present Clients
American Atheists, Barbados Philosophical Society, Harrison College- Barbados, Colorado Springs Freethinkers

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