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"When you understand why you do not believe in other gods, then you will understand why I don't believe in yours."
   -- Stephen F. Roberts
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From: "Sybil F. Smith"
Subject: the quote
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006

About the quote on your site
        "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why
          you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours....Stephen F. Roberts

for its history, dating back to about 1995, go to http:// (no more -- 2008)

In my readings, I have also found the thought here:

Athenagoras of Athens, 133-190 C.E. "....if Christians qualify as atheists owing to their disbelief in the pagan gods, then everyone is an atheist of some sort, since those who believe in the god [or gods] of one religion will necessarily disbelieve in the god [or gods] of other religions."

Saint Justin the martyr, 100/114-c. 162/168 C.E..." We are called atheists, and we confess that we are atheists, so far as the pagan gods are concerned, but not with respect to the most true god."

1890, Ingersoll said much the same in his Why I am an Agnostic, [part 2].

1949, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic? Russell also had the same thought.
{See Bertrand Russell: What is an Agnostic? and Why I Am Not A Christian -- Ed.}

1987, in a non-tract, no. 1, [ Dear Christian] Dan Barker also said the same.
1992, Losing faith in Faith, Barker [ chapt. 19, Dear Theologian} said it .

2003, The quote was also in Like Rolling Uphill, p. 6 by Dianna Narcisco.

2004, Natural Atheism, David Eller said the same in the introduction."...If they thought hard and honestly about why they dismiss those religions, they would understand why we dismiss theirs. We only disbelieve in one more god than they do."

It is undeniably true.

From: "Sybil F. Smith"
Subject: addition
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006


{...}  For the additions, if you want to add them to the existing note;

1890, Robert G. Ingersoll said, in his booklet [ Essays by an Agnostic and Criticisms by a Skeptic], essay number one; Why am I an Agnostic?, part 2, page 11-12.
" Every intelligent American is satisfied that the religions of India, of Egypt, of Greece and Rome, of the Aztecs, were and are false, and that all the miracles on which they rest are mistakes. Our religion [Christianity] alone is excepted. Every intelligent Hindoo discards all religions and all miracles except his own. The question is: When will people see the defects in their own theology as clearly as they perceive the same defects in every other?"
note: This is from a Haldeman-Julius booklet, Not to be confused with the, Why I Am an Agnostic, found in Ingersoll's book, Superstition and Other Essays. It is NOT the same essay.

1949 - In Bertrand Russell's lecture, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?
under the section, Proof of God, he says, "...  None of us would
seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really exist...
I think that all of us  would say in regard to those gods that we were
atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly
the same line."

Note; this lecture can be found in his book,
Bertrand Russell on God and Religion, edited by Al Seckel. It is essay
# 5 in part one.

1987 - Dan Barker wrote in a Freedom From Religion non-tract, Dear Christian, " There are many gods which christians reject. I just believe in one less god than you. The reasons that you give for your atheism toward the Roman gods are likely the same reasons I would give for not believing in Jesus."

1992 - Dan Barker wrote in his book, Losing Faith chapt.19, Dear Theologian: " I know that you think many other gods were created by humans; Zeus, Thor, Mercury, Elvis.....If the blessed beliefs of those billions of individuals can be dismissed as products of culture, then why can't yours?"

2003 - In her Book, Like Rolling Uphill, Dianna Narciso quotes "the Roberts quote" and goes on to say, "Atheists don't believe in any gods while christians don't believe in all gods save one. Very simply, when you understand why you don't believe in Zeus or Vishnu, you will understand why I don't believe in your god....I don't consider everyone an atheist simply because there are some gods in which they don't believe."

2004 - David Mills, in his book, Atheist Universe, chapter 2, Interview with an atheist, wrote, "Christians instantly disregard the Greek gods as being figments of an overactive imagination, and so I view the christian god in the same way that the christians view the Greek more evidence supports the christian god than supports the Greek or Roman gods."


"Only a fool would have a false religion"    Modified Friday October 03, 2014