Atheists who embrace the "Think for yourself" meme. Isn't this rather contradictory?

So I have seen this on Facebook, with a whole lot o’ atheists (and other folks) who are clicking “like!” for the meme, not to mention a bunch of folks who have “shared” it:

Now, does anyone else not see the bit of irony here?


I should add that the proverbial, ever-present Catholic Both/And is at work here.

Catholics *should *think for ourselves. We don’t want to follow the Kim Kardashians of the world. We certainly should encourage our children to not follow what the crowd does.

OTOH: There’s no reason for Catholics to reject the good old fashioned truth. If it’s true, we embrace it, even if it’s simply something we’ve been told.

In fact, we don’t want a whole lot of folks to “think for yourself”–and neither do atheists, if they are honest with themselves.

No atheist wants his airline pilot to “think for yourself” and decide that she’s not going to follow the rules of calculus in discerning altitude algorithms.

No atheist wants his child to “think for yourself” and decide that candy is a nutritious alternative to this for dinner:

No atheist wants to write a response here that refutes this point by typing “j;kfadjkfdkjgkjadfkjdfkjfda” because, hey, he’s going to “think for yourself” and not conform to the rules of grammar, spelling and syntax.

Yeah…all of us are better off when society actually conforms to what’s been demonstrated to be true.


Hitchens, a materialist, promoting immaterial realities as goals/ends to be sought.

True, dat.


You have a particularly cynical way to looking at the issue… I don’t think anyone is suggesting we disregard the laws of physics or nutritional values.

A Catholic interpretation of this idea would be to freely choose to believe, to personally choose to have faith. Too many still simply follow the rules (i.e. kneel now, stand now, say this prayer out loud or that, face this way, make this gesture)… in general find God in your own unique way. After all faith that is not freely chosen, has a high risk of being meaningless. This is not promoting anarchy nor does it mean that systems are not good, but to blindly follow a system would be and is disastrous for people and their eternal life prospects.

I don’t think cynical is the correct word for my attitude. I think I have an amused attitude.

I don’t think anyone is suggesting we disregard the laws of physics or nutritional values.

They are if they’re advocating thinking for themselves.

Or, what they mean is, “Think for yourself, except for when I tell you not to think for yourself”.


Yes. This is very Catholic what you assert here. :thumbsup:

Have any of y’all read Peter Hitchens? I have not, but I know about him from Fr. (now Bishop) Barron. What amazes me is how incredibly different he is from his brother with regards to religion and morals. He thought for himself and found atheism unconvincing.

Oh! How very interesting! I did not know that Christopher Hitchens had a brother who had made his faith journey public.

I don’t remember who wrote it but on the National Catholic register one of the blogs on there I think made a comment about something that Christopher Hitchens said and pointed out a reply that Peter said in a sarcastic tone. It had something to do with when Christopher Hitchens supposably decided there was no God and Peter Hitchens did not at all believed him.

Why just atheists?
I think for myself.
We all need to think for ourselves at some point in regard to faith and life styles, or we find we just follow the crowd.

Yes. Great quote. I don’t see any irony to be fair. Thinking for yourself includes reading other people’s ideas and/or opinions and deciding for yourself if you agree or disagree with them. After all it is quite difficult to come with some ideas that no one else ever had before you.

You don’t think for yourself for lots of things, simpleas.

To wit: you followed what the crowd does with spelling, syntax and grammar as you posted your response.

Whenever someone tells me I spelled something wrong I point out that English is not standardized like French for instance and there is no standardized spelling in English. I don’t follow the rules with spelling I’m a grammar anarchist.

I’ve heard various things. Sometimes, a comedian will tell you to do that. What he does not tell is “you just heard my worldview and I am - well - right.” That’s all it boils down to. Some intellectual types have come up with a few interesting ideas like, “I’ll just create my own language.” Great, but you’ll be the only one who understands it.

People who study human behavior and demographics know that human beings are basically the same. There are many things we do day in and day out. Pay bills, go shopping, do the laundry…" There are people who think they can change human nature. But, killings happen every day, death happens every day, etc.

Arbitrary changes in behaviors and actions do not, in 99.9% of the cases, produce good results. Rediscovering a good behavior is not “new.” Good results are based on long-standing behaviors and actions that have been going on for generation after generation.

The other thing is everyone needs to understand that the words and images we see every day affect us to some degree. That thinking for yourself is you picking and choosing ideas you’ve been exposed to. Reality is real. Sure, you can try this or that but that often involves behaviors that are bad or harmful.

The assumption that rejecting conformity makes you free or freer is not shown by the various examples I’ve seen over the decades. Group A rejects a lot but turns into a tribe where everyone looks alike, acts alike, listens to the same music, reads the same books, goes to the same events, etc.

A favorite is creating trends, usually by people who may sound sincere but just want your money. And it’s all presented as new. And being different is cool (and makes us money). Dye your hair purple, get a piercing, go New Age, listen to some cool, with a compelling back story, band and get into whatever’s new because it’s new. No, it’s just different.

Sexual behavior that deviates from the norm: marriage and babies, is all about pleasure, and an STD epidemic. Medications, contraceptives and abortion are viewed as answers for some. No, STD’s are not caused by toilet seats.

In the early 1970s, someone used the term “collective individualism,” a nonsense, self-contradictory term. But creating new labels, words and slogans don’t define people as “modern” no more than the “new” words or slogans or labels defined anyone in any decade, except for marketing purposes, or in the case of slang, “a new way of talkin’.”

The Church has not been around for 2,000 years by accident, but self-proclaimed “new” groups are always going to appear. And the young, in particular, are most likely to be affected. “New” movies and TV shows are constantly out to make the bad good, year after year, decade after decade, but anyone can find out that this was not always true.

Dark appears in so much fictional media that eventually, the word will be dropped from overuse, if nothing else. But marketing evil as good has been going on for a long time as well, always repackaged and relabeled to sound “new” or “cool” or whatever other word that replaces those other words currently in use.

Study yourself. Be honest with yourself. A decade ago, Time magazine ran a cover story about all the medical advances we’d be seeing around now. In the next issue, a doctor, the head of a major medical association, had a letter printed: “In your entire series of articles, not once did I see the word ‘behavior’ used. At least half of the diseases and conditions mentioned could be avoided today if people just changed their behaviors (quit smoking, overeating…)”

Yes, think, but think it through. Research it on your own.


If you insist on taking a lowest common denominator approach, sure… eat all of the cheeseburgers you like, jump out of windows and don’t expect to fall, smoke packs of cigarettes and don’t expect health complications.

However, if you’d like to have an adult conversation about it, please reference any statements where Hitchens talks about ignoring and advocating these types of things.

Think about what this means in terms of the atheists’ objections to Believers.

The double standard is astonishing.

“We atheists evaluate an idea or opinion and decide if it’s true or not. You Believers, however, when you follow your religion, are simply NOT thinking for yourself”.

However, it turns out that Believers are using the exact same paradigm as atheists.

Except that atheists reserve for themselves the right to do this while objecting to what Believers so.

Peter Hitchens was also an atheist before converting. He tells his story in “The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith”.

Well, of course he won’t (or wouldn’t, God rest his soul).

Because he was oblivious to the glaring double standard.

“You should follow the normative ideals, except when it comes to religion. Then when you do that you’re an imbecilic, mindless automaton”.

What a double standard, eh?

That was something I did not know even though I probably had read it before but it just totally went out of my mind I did not know that until I looked up some information about him today I remember is that he is Christian and I remembered that he is really different than his brother

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