Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) "This shouldn’t have happened," says atheist blogger Hemant Mehta. "We disagree with Christians all the time but that is not how we resolve our debate.”


  1. It is great to see Mehta and his readers take the teachings of Jesus* seriously, and do concrete acts of altruistic compassion for others. Perhaps there is more common ground for people of good will than we may imagine, despite our differences in belief structure.

    On the other hand, it saddens me that people who claim to follow Jesus won’t receive the charity and altruism of atheists. Surely if they believe Scripture they will realize that all acts of love are ultimately inspired by the God of Love, even if we do not realize it, or even disbelieve it (cf. 1John 4; Matthew 25.31-46).

    *And yes, I know that teachings on compassion and altruism do not come from Jesus alone, but are part of a worldwide chorus of moral teaching from sages, rabbis, prophets, gurus, and bodhisattvas that echo through the centuries.

    • What on earth makes you think an atheist takes the teachings of Jesus seriously?

      Sure, there is plenty of common ground for all people to work together in, but being deceitful about another’s motivations and incorrectly implying that atheism is a ‘belief structure’ is going to actively damage those opportunities. It helps no-one.

        • Agnosticism might reasonably be characterized as factual, but the undue certainty of Atheism is just as faith-based as any deity-centered religion. Its essentially a secular religion.

          • Atheism itself is not a religion, just as Theism itself is not. They are philosophical outlooks. Religions are social constructs with organized dogma concerning the treatment of a philosophical view. There are divisions of atheism that may fit under religion (as most theistic views do) but there’s theistic world views that in turn wouldn’t fit under that categorization (as most atheistic views don’t).

            To Adam: It’s a fact based belief system, theism is a faith based belief system. The word “belief” has no superstitious connotation.

    • That’s kind of a pompous comment, I would find it rather insulting to compared to a fictional, pro-slavery, douche.

      • This article stands as an opportunity to reach out and find common ground. Was Nate’s comment condescending? Absolutely. Was it worth showing your teeth and growling? No.

  2. Barbara G. Barrett

    Nate: altruistic actions and compassionate beliefs have been around longer than “Jesus” or Christianity (or any other belief system). Atheists do not take the teachings of Jesus to heart (in fact speaking personally, I think Jesus took Buddhist teachings to heart), Christians take on (or fail to take on) compassionate beliefs and altruistic actions in exactly the same way any other person does, because its the right thing to do. Crediting our sense of right and wrong to our belief system is backwards. We actually apply our belief systems to our sense of right and wrong. This is true of all humans, regardless what they believe or don’t believe. ~ AtheistsAreUs

  3. This shows you that you don’t need a Bible just to act the right way and being a good person. All of us Atheists think that one shouldn’t harm another person and respect the rights of others. That’s no invention of Christianity or the Bible.

    • “All of us Atheists think that one shouldn’t harm another person and respect the rights of others.”

      Substitute atheists with theists and you would most certainly have an issue with said statement.

  4. Atheism is always wrong (both spiritually and rationally), but it’s good to see humans helping humans. Kudos to Mehta and the medical fund.

  5. I’m NOT saying the pastor deserved the beating at all, but how smart was it of him to ask the girlfriend if she felt safe with Maxie right in front of Maxie? Regardless of Maxie’s character–or lack thereof–it WAS an undiplomatic insult to him. Insult people and a certain small percentage will go berserk as Maxie did.

    • You were,nt there the Pastor might have heard or seen something that made him say that…you it seems are trying to justify this brutal attack which is why this sort of atheism is a destructive belief

      • The point is the moral character of the offender was proven faulty. It had nothing to do with him being a theist or non-theist. What so called militant atheist would want go to a church service? Again one not right in the head to begin with. There are plenty of morally wrong people in the world, some may try to turn to atheism to have something to blame, when all they really want a greater being to fall back on that has never been there to do just that. It’s a shame people even tie this wrongdoing to atheism at all.