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15 Things You Shouldn’t Say to an Atheist

Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is arguing with Christians, but he’s making cogent points we could all benefit from. The essence of his litany is that Christians (he could have addressed Muslims as well) are driven by a need to spread their faith around the globe, whether through persuasion or, should the occasion call for it, by applying a little pressure.

Jews, for the most part, don’t believe the whole world should become Jewish. The opposite is true. While we feel that the whole world would do well to live according to the rules of the Torah intended for them, as interpreted by our sages, it’s OK if they stay Christian, Muslim or even pagan and atheist with a strong sense of right and wrong and a passion for fairness.

For Jews, faith is a personal choice, taken through an intellectual process. We don’t trust religious impulses and emotional appeals. Give us a good book to figure out.

Which is why I enjoyed immensely Mehta’s entertaining clip. He would make a great Jew.


About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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39 Responses to “15 Things You Shouldn’t Say to an Atheist”

  1. Anonymous says:

    16. Religious people have more children. We will erase you eventually.

  2. Jean-Marie Desrosiers says:

    You would have done it by now if that was sufficient… problem is people use their brain and stop being religious.

  3. Israel Oz says:

    I find your sense of denial fascinating. He's not talking only to "Christians" he's talking to all religious people of any faith. Do you seriously believe that orthodox Jews don't say these idiotic things to Jewish atheists? I know for a fact they do. Orthodox Jews freak out just as much as anyone else when one of "theirs" becomes an atheist. And you're correct that often, but very far from always, Jewish faith is "intellectual". The flip side of course is that when these "intellectual" Jews become atheists it's often very well thought out. So yes the video is great and important, but it's not just for "them".

  4. The clip is great. I’d love to “share” but most of my FB friends don’t have the attention span to watch it from start to finish. I had a hard time hanging in until the end.

  5. Actually your children, being more educated than you are statistically leaving it in droves…..

  6. We actually have been growing in popularity. We will "erase" you actually as people are beginning to think, thus turning to atheism.

  7. All babies are born atheists. No child is born with an innate knowledge of any religion, or belief in any god. Our job as I see it is to make people understand that, and encourage them to apply critical thinking to their beliefs instead of swallowing whole doctrines from their parents without question. So it really doesn't matter if religious people outbreed atheists. If given access to enough knowledge (which is plentiful nowadays), they'll all revert to atheism eventually.

  8. Brian Florence says:

    Also tying into,”Do you worship the devil?” In an abstract manner (and equally infuriating when directed against me, personally) I hate hearing:
    - Aren’t you worried about going to hell?
    -you’re gonna go to hell if you don’t believe in Jesus
    Or any permutation of the above.

  9. Frankie Be says:

    Really? Moron. You do realize that a vast majority of atheists were at one point religious themselves. So you keep popping out kids and we will sit back and watch them come to the realization that there is probably no god(s) and even if there is he/she/it is most likely not petty enough to give a **** if you worship him or not.

  10. Elizabeth Tyson, because there is a number (16.) before naes1984's comment, I think they are trying to add one more thing to not say to an atheist. I didn't think that they actually believe that.

  11. Pamela Pouttu Ekdahl says:

    wow. wonderful

  12. 'We will erase you eventually." well, I see that you are demonstrating a true christian face of hatred and intolerance which reinforces the reason not to believe in fairy tale gods hiding in the sky lest one will become like you and indeed, the mind is a beautiful thing which is made to be used (hint, hint)…http://youtu.be/-ViF6JRNjTk

  13. Elizabeth Tyson please do behave as a christian–you are better than that; never relegate yourself to there sub-human sub-standards. you ought to better 'pray' for them ;)

  14. Eileen Hoyt says:

    Well that's certainly interesting, that you're looking forward to "erasing" entire groups of people based on their views. Where have I heard that kind of talk before? Hmmm… Well, in any case, fortunately you are mistaken. Many atheists grow up in religious homes where they are indoctrinated into the family's religion, but then as they grow older and learn more they realize that a belief in a deity isn't for them. So there's no guarantee that having lots of children will produce more copycat thinkers.

  15. Aleister Gates says:

    great compliment…and no matter how they babble…the religion is equally as delusional as any other

  16. Aleister Gates says:

    hahaha the younger generation are growing up and separating from the delusion of their parents…in one or two generations…the old idiot christians will be dying off and the world will become mostly secular

  17. Arthur Cammers says:

    The Devil is just another god. You should frame things that way. Satan is the Christian god of mischief.

  18. Terry Lees says:

    Lame comment I know but I just fell in love with this guy

  19. Brad Hess says:

    Love the video. Made me laugh and brightened my day!
    Thanks for posting it!

  20. Not listening to ignorance-have been through it all, an innate belief in G-d (or whatever you might call Him) as a very small child, observing His creation, faith as taught by Christian relatves (mostly grandparents) a brief stab at outrght atheism when running away from G-d (convicted but denying my own sin that distanced me from Him) a return to G-d realizing I, as all of us, could not live without His protection and love, but not really sure about that Jesus fellow (a guy who dies then comes back to life- really?!) and finally, really do believe, being shown in a truly miraculous way just who He is, so-understand the running away, but will PRAY that this guy in the video, like all who try to run from G-d and are ultimately unsuccessful, will finally acknowledge he, too, needs that hope. IF this life were really all there is, I'd be OUTTA HERE in a heartbeat… Let me also say this, too, fully understand why most of the Jewish people do not believe Jesus is their Messiah-but hope and pray for one day soon when all humanity will know there not only is a G-d, but One who loves us so very much!

  21. David Mills says:

    As an atheist, I can tell you he probably would not make a great Jew, or a great Christian or a great Muslim or a great Hindu. We tend not to make great religious people.

  22. David Mills says:

    Quit praying. Atheists don't want your prayers. As he said, if you want to do something concrete for us, do it instead. That means a lot more to us.

  23. Ian Adkins says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_on_sentence

    Also, regarding "IF this life were really all there is, I'd be OUTTA HERE in a heartbeat…": Saying there would be no point in living if you knew it was going to end ahead of time is like saying all terminally ill patients should just kill themselves as opposed to spending their remaining time enjoying life and (in most cases) trying to make a positive impact on the people around them.

    Having a definite end date is (to me at least) a relief, because the idea of living for an eternity under the rule of a thought-policing, self-absorbed, violent and childish dictator like the deity prescribed in the three major holy books is absolutely frightening.

  24. Pati Beardsley says:

    Some hyper-christian recently asked me (upon learning I "am" "Buddhist (because he couldn't have handled it, had I said I was atheist). "WHAT do you DO when you have overwhelming adversity?" And I said, I think inward, because "I" am responsible for "Me". He vapor-locked. (BTW, Buddhism is not a religion, but more, a belief system. No praying to a vindictive dude in the sky, no retribution from a spook.. it's just holding yourSELF accountable and doing right by Everyone. So, Don't ask an atheist how they handle stress, or (we) might just explain it to you, in a non-stoning/non-raping/non-daughter killing/non-violent manner. I do not need a story book Jewish guy Or his story book, to help me tell right from wrong. I don't follow religion because I love all people, all plants and animals, and would rather do the right thing by Mother Nature, "whom" I Can substantiate <3.

  25. Doug Hamilton says:

    I agree. Christians tried REAL HARD to erase doubters and free thinkers by torturing and/or killing anyone who dared challenge their self-righteous authority for over a thousand years! How did that turn out? Christianity is losing ground as never before as more and more people are thinking for themselves.

  26. Stuart Wragg says:

    Ha ha ha Aleister Gates. More secular meaning what? Secular countries are peaceful and prosperous? I might just stop being Christian if that was true

  27. Sam Supowit says:

    An atheist would make a great Jew? Clownshoes.

  28. Aleister Gates says:

    Stuart Wragg sweden

  29. Aleister Gates says:

    Stuart Wragg ". Four countries have experienced a drop in religiosity in their populations that is greater than 20 percent between 2005 and 2012. France and Switzerland saw decreases of 21 percent, while Ireland's number of faithful declined by 22 percent and Vietnam's by 23 percent."

  30. Aleister Gates says:

    Stuart Wragg also…it seems the poorer less educated countries are more religious…imagine that..hahaha

  31. What if you're wrong about atheists making great jews? hahahaha

  32. * shoooooof–* The sound of the point of this article zipping past your head.
    That's your thing, fine. But we CAN live without all that fiction you mention, and we DO.
    Is this not the very picture of what not to say to an atheist?

  33. Ian Kirk says:

    Ummm, why did he say God gave me this mind?

  34. Cierra Wilson says:

    Because 'they' did. We are the result of genetic modification. The gap in our progression as a species can not be accounted for scientifically.

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