Well-known atheist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins signs a poster reading "In the beginning, MAN created GOD" for Andrea Garber (center), 15, during the "Rock Beyond Belief" festival at Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina, March 31, 2012. Reuters
Q&A site Quora. Quora

This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Salman Khan.

There are many I could point out!

However, before I start listing them down, it’d help to preface that with the following. The bulk of such misunderstanding actually happens due to the feeding of false information by pastors/fathers/other Christian peers. If a Christian just takes the time to talk to us, they’d not have these misunderstandings to begin with. Anyway, here we go:

  • Atheists REFUSE to believe in God

Some very misguided Christian influential figures promote the idea that we KNOW that there is a God, we just REFUSE to accept it. As a result, the Christians who grew up being influenced by such a misguided propaganda tend to confuse us for irrational arrogant people. If you are a Christian reading this and want to truly understand what our position is on that matter, let me relate it to you.

Think about the Qur’an/Vedas. As a Christian, you don’t accept the validity of those books. You don’t accept the Gods they propose because you are not convinced of the truth of those books. As such, you are an atheist with respect to those Gods. In fact, you are an atheist with respect to the Gods of thousands of other religions. Now imagine a Muslim walking up to you and saying “You actually believe in my God. You are just refusing to admit it out of arrogance!”. That is what we atheists feel like when some Christians say that we KNOW their God exists but pretend to not believe. If there are 1000 models of Gods humanity has come up with, you are an atheist for 999 of them and we just go one God further.

We simply don’t believe in your God the same way both we and you don’t believe in all the other Gods.

  • Atheists worship the devil

This is another bizarre claim made by some Christians. Some Christians have been confused by their pastors/fathers/peers into thinking that because we don’t believe in God, we must be Satan worshipers. God and Satan come in the form of a duality. Every story/gospel/scripture/narrative about Satan already presumes the existence of a God. As such, it doesn’t make any sense to say that we don’t buy the God thing but we totally bought into the Satan thing. Please don’t let people brainwash you with such foolish accusations about us.

  • Atheists are immoral

Although I’ve met plenty of Christians who fully understand that someone being an atheist doesn’t make them immoral, I’ve also been disappointed by plenty of Christians on this topic. Their reasoning goes something like this:

As long as someone believes in a God/Higher Power, we know that they must feel accountable to them. How can then we trust an atheist?

That kind of thinking can easily be refuted using your very own life experiences. Since I’m assuming that I’m writing this for a Christian reader, I’ll keep on writing as though my reader is a Christian. So, let us proceed. Did you ever get bullied? Did anyone ever break your heart? Did you witness someone lie? Did someone cheat on you? Did you ever witness dishonesty? How about you bullying/lying/cheating/not being honest/etc?

The point I’m trying to make here is that if a belief in God truly ensures moral behavior and a disbelief encourages immoral behavior, this is what you should have noticed in life:

  • No believer ever lying
  • No believer ever cheating
  • No believer ever bullying
  • No believer ever being dishonest
  • Atheists topping the chart in all those immoral actions everywhere including your experience

Is that the reality you live in? I suspect not. If you still don’t trust us, please do the following. Gather data on the prison population of your country. Better yet, do it for as many nations as you can. If being an atheist truly makes people that immoral, the prisons should be flooded with a significantly disproportionate and high number of atheists. That simply isn’t the case.

Considering the world we currently live in, I’d like to give you a very practical thing to consider. Imagine that your government just issued a nationwide terror-alert because a bomb went off at a mall and some people got stabbed somewhere else. Who would you think are these offenders? People screaming out “Atheism is Great” / “Atheism hu Akbar”? If you have been living under a rock thus far, please google “recent terrorist attacks” and just go through and see how many were atheists. In any case, if you wish to know more about how we deal with morality and moral issues, please consider the following:

Salman Khan's answer to Do some atheists feel guilty about indoctrinating their children with atheism and not giving them hope and a moral compass?

Anyway, I’ll end my answer here. Just know that I was talking about the Christians who misunderstand us, as such, it might not be an accurate representation of what every Christian believes about us atheists.