Fundamentalist Christians vs New Atheists on bad history

It should go without saying that both Fundamentalist Christians and New Atheists base their history on what they ‘want’ to be true, not what ‘is’ true, and then take their crackpot ideas as historical fact. I thought I’d evaluate which side has the bigger issue with it:


  • Human/dinosaur coexistence.
  • Joseph was Imhotep.
  • Ben Carson’s view on the pyramids.
  • Anything to do with Nephilim.
  • Certain fringe ideas in biblical archaeology, such as claiming that Noah’s Ark has been discovered.
  • Crusade Apologetics.
  • Hitler was an atheist.
  • America was founded as a Christian nation.
  • The Nazis were militant homosexuals.
  • Any downplaying of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, for that matter.
  • Apologism for Karadszic and Miloševic.
  • The shroud of Turin.
  • Overstating the very real evidence for Jesus.
  • The Catholic Church is a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism.
  • Allah originated as an evil demon in Sumerian mythology.
  • Hanzi of Genesis.
  • Anything about Ebla. (An Ancient city in Syria)
  • Cultures all over the world have a flood myth, therefore a global flood happened.
  • Darwin was a massive racist who supported genocide and eugenics.
  • Darwin had a deathbed conversion.
  • Darwin thought the eye was too complex to arise by chance.
  • The banana is a creation of God, rather than one of men.
  • Hitler derived his ideas from Charles Darwin.
  • Neanderthals were fully human.
  • No one other than the Hebrews in the ANE didn’t distinguish between the heavens and the atmosphere.
  • Margaret Sanger supported genocide.
  • British Israelism.

New Atheist bad history:

  • Jesus mythicism.
  • Jesus plagiarised from pagan myths.
  • Panbabylonism.
  • Myth of the flat earth.
  • Anything about the Council of Nicea.
  • Christians destroyed the Library of Alexandria/Serapaeum because they hated knowledge.
  • Christians killed Hypatia because they hated science. (Rather than people who just so happened to be Christians killing her due to a political dispute)
  • Christianity destroyed Classical science and ushered in the dark ages.
  • Exagerrating the role of the Inquisition.
  • Exagerrating the extent of witch hunts.
  • Christianity became a major player via forced, violent conversion.
  • Claiming Giardano Bruno was a scientist, or that he was killed because he supported heliocentrism.
  • Paul mythicism (a fringe view, even among the fringe).
  • The Galileo affair was an example of the Church dogmatically opposing heliocentrism in the face of all the scientific evidence. (Which at the time did not exist)
  • Downplaying the role which Christianity has had in creating modern western cultural values.
  • Downplaying (and sometimes outright denying) the atheism of Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot and others and the role in played in their atrocities.
  • Claiming Hitler was a devout Christian.
  • Claiming the Catholic Church supported the Nazis.
  • Islam only had a golden age because Christian Europe was so bad.
  • Lebanese DNA disproves the biblical conquest narrative.
  • The classical world was a utopian era of freethought and tolerance, destroyed by those evil Christians.

Ideas held by both:

  • Allah is based on a pagan moon God.
  • Easter is based on a pagan festival. (At most only the name was)
  • Revisionist history of Young Earth Creationism, suggesting that it was always the ‘dogmatic’ belief of Christians in the face of all scientific evidence.
  • The festival of Sol Invictus/Mithras/Saturnalia is the foundation of Christmas.
  • Taking the mosaic law out of historical context, therefore it must be the result of divine guidance and is either, a law which Christians must follow today, or proof that God is a violent, sexist, racist, homophobic bigot.

So I’ve counted more bad history amongst fundamentalist Christians. The difference is however, that there bad history is rotundly lambasted by the media when it comes up, and rightly so. That by New Atheists however, is either simply ignored, or outright promoted. And that is the reason why I consider the latter to be more dangerous, and why I will continue to focus on it.

What do you think?

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As Richard Carrier would say, “cranks”.

Never heard that one.

My mother constantly mentions that.

What do they say?

Hitler’s religious views were strange.

I think it COULD be real, but the probability it was Jesus’ shroud is very small.

I’ve heard that one several times.

He said (if I remember correctly) that if a single organ cannot build itself, then his theory would be refuted.

Ray “Banana Man” Comfort. I think he debated Richard Carrier some time ago.

The atheist equivalent of young earth creationism.

Acharya S, Mike Sherlock, most atheists on YouTube, my internet nemesis Francisco Muñoz Martin (this guy even supports Fernando Conde Torrens’ mythicism), my other nemesis Pedro Leonardo (who never accepted my debate request) and a big etc.

Mike Sherlock.

Some YECs also buy into that one.

Dan Brown, Fernando Conde Torrens (who is not an atheist, but still a crank) and the rest of them. You can’t imagine how many times I have seen people who don’t know anything about the Council of Nicea say nonsense.

“B-b-but it appeared on a film!”

More crackpot theories.

If I had a dollar for every time I see an atheist using that as an argument against the existence of God, Bill Gates’ fortune would be nothing compared to mine.

He was more of a pagan.

Never heard that one before.

You forgot to mention this one:
Christianity was invented in the fourth century by Eusebius and Lactantius (remember it?)

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Of course, but doesn’t he claim to believe in God?

Never heard that one.

Then you’re missing out:

What do they say?

The crusades were heroic, defensive wars to defend Europe from Muslim invaders. Tim O’Neill has a takedown of this claim here:

Never heard that one before.

I’m surprised, it was all over the news (maybe not in Uruguay). Basically, it’s a result of taking figurative language literally, and ignoring the biblical evidence that it is so:

I don’t remember where he said that (I think it was on YouTube). When someone asked him if he is an atheist, he said:

I am a theist. I KNOW God is real, but during my research, I discovered God, the real one, not the one Lactantius created.


Oh, my…

I heard that one before. Not sure about how accurate it is.

A friend of mine saw a post on Atheist Republic that said the name is based on a pagan deity, but he debunked it.

They always quote Exodus 20:11, something that has already been refuted. Plus, the ones who began doing experiments to know how old the earth is were Christians (Lord Kelvin, for example).

I was never too sure about that one.

AronRa, my two nemesis (Pedro Leonardo and Francisco Muñoz Martin) and most atheists I have seen love using that as an argument against a good God.

As a general question how are “new atheists” defined?

I’m an atheist (perhaps an ‘old atheist’ given that one branch of my family has been atheistic for over a hundred years); however, I don’t agree with most that is attributed to new atheists above (some I would want a more nuanced discussion). For instance I think there was a historical Jesus but that legends quickly accrued to him (e.g., the birth narratives, resurrection, etc.). Most of those pushing back against the bad history of some atheists are other atheists (or fuzzy such as Bart Ehrman).

As far as relative danger, I don’t see the atheists being as successful in getting school districts and state legislatures to teach their bad history/science in the state schools,

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“Fundies” and “New Atheists”: Stereotypes used by some theist and some atheists to create a false impression of the group they are arguing against.

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