Senator John Kerry: “Atheists Don’t Believe in Anything”

Yet again the notion that Atheists don’t believe in anything has been aired in a public forum, this time by a very well educated Democrat Senator John Kerry.

Yesterday at a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life luncheon he told the crowd :

The vast majority of Americans say they believe in God,” Kerry said, responding to a question about the likelihood of an atheist or agnostic winning the presidency. “The vast majority of America, at some time, goes to church, and I think it matters to people. When you are choosing the president of the United States, people vote on the things that matter to them.

“So I think it is probably unlikely that you are going to find somebody who stands up and says, ‘Well, I don’t believe in anything,’ and you’ll get a whole bunch people who get excited about voting for that person,” Kerry said. “It’s just a fact.”

What is NOT a fact, Senator, is that Atheists don’t believe in nothing. We may not believe in a supernatural being who guides our lives and created the universe especially for humans. We do, however believe in Science. We believe that the universe evolved by natural processes.

Every-time a well known public figure repeats the false assertion that we Atheists believe in nothing it enables the religious right to leap on the bandwagon and to keep perpetrating this outrageous myth.

I have yet to met a single person that believes in nothing. That person does not exist. And in any case, its not a matter of belief, its a matter of knowledge and evidence. We believe in things that show clear evidence and not stuff that only comes from a book.

Senator Kerry, I suggest you read the God Delusion or any of Richard Dawkins other books on science and evolution and then try and say Atheists do not believe in anything. I can guarantee you won’t. The difference between you and I is that you apparently(even though you are a very intelligent and highly educated man) believe that there is a god, on no evidence or proof whatsoever.



14 Responses

  1. […] post by atheistkiwi This was written by . Posted on Friday, November 9, 2007, at 1:16 pm. Filed under Politics. […]

  2. people without brain believe in anything.

  3. This is one of very many distinct reasons why I abhor politics and any derivative thereof because they never truly understand the people, but better yet, their beliefs.

  4. Do you honestly think that that’s what Kerry meant? Sure, maybe he was referring to people who don’t believe in fictional beings, in science, in the sun rising tomorrow, in themselves (“I don’t believe I exist”, that sort of thing). Or, and this is me just thinking out-loud here, is it possible that the “anything” Kerry was referring to is a God (or Gods)?

    That thing you’re afraid of happening, right-wing nuts jumping on a bandwagon from one silly remark, is exactly what you are doing: you took a quote out of context and went on a tirade to attack (in a small way) John Kerry.

    If I were you, I’d concentrate more on the rest of Kerry’s speech, rather than a single word. If I was going to get pissed, I’d be pissed not about the semantic meanings of something said by a man who can screw up a joke, but about the fact that atheists are so hated in this country. What Kerry is saying is true, that there is no way in hell that an atheist is going to get elected president any time soon. Here’s a Gallup poll that I’m sure you’ve seen that refers to just what Kerry is talking about:

    But, hey, that’s just me, I may be wrong.

  5. … faith is tought us to keep believes even we did’nt seeing the evidence…

  6. I agree with your basic premise here. I suspect that one of the basic functional constructs of the brain is faith. Well, you have said belief, so for the sake of some accuracy, the capacity to feel secure with the future on the evidence that the patterns of yesterday were repeated today and will repeat tomorrow. Of course we know that there is a likelihood that tomorrow will be different so we need a more flexible faith to cope with those changes. People who don’t cope well with crisis are more likely not to have extrapolated their faith onto a bigger meaning about life. Thus people who follow disciplined religions are less prone to depression than others perhaps because they continually reinforce that there is a purpose even when it all hits the fan.

  7. Well, come on – I mean, if you don’t believe in *God*, then how can you believe in anything? It’s unfathomable that someone could even utter the words “I believe in …” (free speech/ love/ helping people/ our democracy/ the human race/ etc) unless they also believe in the invisible magical sky daddy. The two are inseparable. By the way, the same is true of Bigfoot – if you don’t believe in Bigfoot, you obviously don’t believe in anything at all!

  8. FuzzyGamer, if thats not what meant then Kerry used a poor choice of words. Instead of saying that atheists don’t believe in anything he could and should have said atheists do not believe in God. It is rather easy to misunderstand something when the words you use are open to interpretation and are not specific. I did not misquote him, i took the quote from CBS article.

  9. I never implied that you misquoted him, I am sure that is what he said. Sure, maybe he should have put his thoughts into better words, but you’re stirring up a storm in a teacup over a simple mistake.

    Your own words were: “Every-time a well known public figure repeats the false assertion that we Atheists believe in nothing it enables the religious right to leap on the bandwagon and to keep perpetrating this outrageous myth.” And what is it that you are doing? You’re pretending that a well-known public figure has repeated a false assertion and (you) have leapt on the bandwagon to keep perpetuating the (not-so-outrageous) myth that the world is united in an attack against atheists. Kerry, in this specific case, is not attacking us, but merely pointing out that, in the current society, an atheist will not be elected president. That’s not exactly news.

    PS: This is what I was referring to when I mentioned Kerry’s legendary ability to screw up a joke: So, once again, let’s take what Kerry (or any other politician) says with a grain of salt.

  10. I am well aware of Senator Kerry’s history of screwing up jokes. This was not one of them. And what he did say IS false assertion. And nowhere in my comment or blog did i imply that the world is united in attacks against atheists. I think YOU are the one misunderstanding what i wrote.

  11. Yes, it is a false assertion if Kerry actually meant that atheists don’t believe in anything (like tinyfrog’s example of “free speech/ love/ helping people/ our democracy/ the human race/ etc”). You know for a fact that Kerry didn’t screw up? That he meant word for word what he said? OK, that’s your position.

    I think that either (a) Kerry mis-spoke, saying “well, I don’t believe in anything” instead of “well, I don’t believe in a god or gods”, or (b) Kerry meant exactly what he said that, as tinyfrog pointed out, without a belief in an “invisible magical sky dadddy” a person could not believe in science, free speech, helping people, etc. Now, going from those two possibilities, if we say that A is true, we’re saying that Kerry is human and makes mistakes. If we say that B is true, it means Kerry is either an idiot or thinks that a belief in God is essential to being human. From what I know of Kerry, A is a lot more likely than B. I guess I’ll take the position of not taking whatever a politician says quite so literally.

  12. You may be right Fuzzy. But as a politican he knows better than anyone else how what he says can be misinterpreted. John Kerry is a very intelligent man. If he did not mean what he said then i suggest he should have been more specific.

  13. On that, I think we can both agree. 🙂

  14. The past few years I’ve noticed that it seems to be open season on atheists. Politicians, clergy, political analysts and teachers have all jumped on the bandwagon that it is ok to speak negatively and generally about atheists. If these things were said about any other group of people, then there would be parades of protest.

    I’ve heard radio hosts call atheists leaches on our society. I’ve read where the Pope has said that atheism led to the greatest form of cruelty. And I’ve sat in ethics classes where the teacher taught that atheists have no moral compass. I’ve even attended family functions where a close relative said that atheism is wrong.

    What if I said Muslims were leaches on our society? What if I said Catholicism led to the greatest form of cruelty? What if I said Christians have no moral compass? And what if I said the right to believe in your religion was wrong?

    If I said all of these things I would at the very least be accused of being intolerant. Why then aren’t people who disparage atheists called intolerant. Our country was founded on the belief in freedom of religion. This means that we not only have the right to choose which religion we want without worry of ridicule, but it also means that we have the right to believe in no religion without worry of ridicule.

    By the way I’m an agnostic, my wife though is an atheist. Even though I have my doubts about the existence of God and my wife does not believe in Gods existence, we both strongly believe in the individuals right to believe in God. It would be nice if believers would return the favor.

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