Cringey Atheist Memes

Cringey Atheist Memes

If you hang out in the atheist part of the Internet, then you’ve probably come across at least a handful of some of our cringey memes. They’re some of the more shameful creations that you’ll see from our community. You get everything from ugly fonts, low image quality, and multiple layers of filters on screenshots, to fallacies, oversimplification of philosophical questions, and things that are really just mean. Below are a few popular memes that I’ve seen since I started my Twitter, and why I think they should probably just not exist. Enjoy!

a photo of the bible saying "proof jesus exists" and a photo of a boxed set of harry potter books with the caption "proof harry potter exists"

This is… not how this works. I saw a lot of memes that claimed that a work of fiction is proof that its story is true. But Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were purposely written as fiction. The bible is a complex collection of books. I don’t know (yet) what the writers’ intentions were with most of it, but it doesn’t seem like it was just for entertainment. Not to mention that there is a lot of historical and contextual criticism that went into the majority of secular scholars accepting the existence of the historical Jesus, not just the fact that he showed up in a book.

4 side-by sides of a generic white guy on the left and Kirk Cameron on the right. The ask-and-answer is How do you explain the universe? God did it! Rainbows? God did it! Bananas? God did it! Millions of innocent children dying? God di-- whoa yo almost got me there!

Another recurring theme. Now, just because something is in a cringey meme doesn’t mean that there isn’t some basis behind it. The problem of evil is something that people have been debating about for millennia. Maybe that’s enough of a reason that it doesn’t fit into a cringey meme.

people in a megachurch with the caption "we've been saved!: and a snarky looking guy in a beanie saying "from what? rational thought?"

Wow. You showed them, laptop camera basement beanie superior atheist guy!

isolated text saying: Bible (object) An ancient novel full of murder, corruption, homophobia, bestiality, incest and cruelty. It is often read to children on Sunday.

Again, maybe it’s not entirely wrong. But there is some context as to why the Bible is read to children on Sunday, which parts are read, and why it portrays a lot of those things in the first place. Also, it’s not a novel, and I think the word you were looking for instead of “object” is “noun”.

jesus knocking on someone's door. jesus: (in comic sans) let me in. why? so i can save you. from what? from what i'm going to do to you if you don't let me in!

I am so tired of seeing this meme. I mean, there is a basis for why one may argue this (or something loosely like it), and I don’t know of any really good responses to it, but it’s all null anyways because it’s in Comic Sans.

title: When atheists quote the whole bible. Christian: "Jesus said, peace on earth!" Atheist: "Actually, the full verse is Think not that I have come to send peace on earth. No, I have come not to send peace, but a sword." Christian: "you're taking it out of context! :("

I just don’t know why the atheist in this scenario doesn’t give them the book, chapter, and number of this verse. Without sources, we’re all just saying whatever we please. Sure, Jesus did say this in Matthew 10:34 about extending his Kingdom and why it would involve pitting family members against each other. But just before this, in verse 5:9, he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” So maybe it’s just another biblical contradiction. Or maybe we should take the entire book of Matthew into context and actually study what it means?

pictures of children wearing traditional religious garb and one child being baptized in a river, with the caption "Religion was not your choice... staying with it is."

I get what they’re trying to say here, but it’s oversimplified. I don’t know if they’re saying that if you don’t leave your religion, you’re consenting to forcing baptism on an unwilling child like in the last image. But I think that most of the time, keeping your childhood religion into adulthood is just something that happens. Most likely, you believe the same thing that all your family and friends believe, and it makes sense in your eyes. Often, it’s not even a choice, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses who are threatened with utterly horrible ideas of what will happen if they leave “The Truth”. Either way, do the atheists in this case think that their cringey memes are more likely to make people join in our view?

picture of people in heaven and hell labeled not real, and a while family jumping on the beach at sunset saying "real. Why waste time on fantasy?"

Foolproof argument. Checkmate, theists! If only the billions of believers in the world could see this meme.

a cartoon with a big sign saying "ANSWERS" and a lot of people going the direction "simple but wrong" and no one going the direction "complex but right"

I saw this on a couple of atheist pages even though it could work for literally any idea you have. Obviously, it could be turned around to have the Christians being the right ones and the atheists being the wrong ones. Couldn’t you see an apologist arguing that the idea of the trinity and the theology of atonement is more complex than the Big Bang (or what he would probably describe as “everything poofing into existence) using this exact meme?

if we are made in God's image, shouldn't we be invisible?

Ha. Good one David McAfee. You got me.

the confused baby meme with the caption "so the bible is true because the bible says the bible is true? how do you say that shit with a straight face?"

I really hate this picture of this baby. But besides that, I don’t even recall any time that the bible says that the bible is true or that God exists. It just says a lot of times that you will perish if you don’t believe in God or if you commit idolatry. Also, why is the word “The” the only one that’s not capitalized?

a post-it note reading "god's to-do list: 1. make man. 2. give them free will. 3. slaughter 99.9% of them for using it. 4. Randomly favor one group. 5. Never speak or write a single word.6. Legalize slavery and ban shrimp. 7. Kill myself for a weekend. 8. Hide."

First of all, God would be very mad that you didn’t mention him leading the Israelites out of their Egyptian slavery. It’s all he talks about, and it didn’t even make the list! Other than that, I think this one may be the least cringey content-wise. (That font is a sin though.) It was funny enough for me to blow a little bit of air out of my nose as I read it. That being said, it’s still oversimplifying a miserably long story.

a photo of a girl with a snarky facial expression with a caption saying "if hell does exist, there are so many brilliant scientists in there, it's probably air-conditioned by now"

Do scientists even know how to build air conditioners? Wouldn’t that be engineers? And what if the engineers were religious? It’s a classic atheist meme, but it doesn’t hold up.

a 50's-style illustration of white parents whispering in front of their son who is on time-out in the corner with the caption "Timmy's parents prayed to God to cure him of his belief in imaginary friends"

Get it? See, it’s funny because we’re supposed to think that the parents are just as dumb as their kid is because God is imaginary. Classy.

There are a plethora of Instagram accounts dedicated only to the atheist meme cause, and a lot of them actually bothered me a lot. On many accounts, I saw in their bios that “no religious people allowed” or something along those lines. However, I suppose it makes sense because so many memes have no point other than just saying disgusting things like “religion is a mental illness” or “religion is what you get when you don’t use your brain!” I guess that fellow atheists are supposed to get their confidence boosted from this, but it just adds to the way that people perceive atheists as cruel, condescending know-it-alls.

0 thoughts on “Cringey Atheist Memes

  • November 17, 2019 at 8:16 am
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    As a recipient of worse memes coming from “the church” I do not agree that these are “cringey,” because, well, turnabout is fair play. Also, you say many of these are oversimplified. Well, they are mini posters, what do you expect, a detailed discussion?

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 8:48 am
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    Not sure if you’ve come to your Atheism by reasoning or if you’ve had an aha moment of clarity where validity of the entire religious structure crumbled before your eyes. In that regard, the memes are pretty accurate. On the reason side one still holds out for the sake of civility, careful not to offend the believer. Both views are valid. The memes stand on their own merits or you wouldn’t have published them, and that’s the idea of a meme.

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  • November 17, 2019 at 9:07 am
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    Love them all….
    Not in the least cringe worthy

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  • November 17, 2019 at 10:08 am
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    I’m not a fan of memes in general because they strike me as a lazy of posting something without making a meaningful contribution, but not all of them are equally bad. The most cringeworthy atheist memes I’ve seen on Twitter are the ones depicting starving children. This strikes me as exploitative of human suffering, and I think this is the opposite of what we should be doing.

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    • November 17, 2019 at 10:12 am
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      Yes those are the worst! I had one lined up in the queue to show here and I don’t know why it didn’t end up in it

      Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 10:44 am
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    You have written before that you wish some people (atheists or not) were nicer and less politically (religiously) incorrect or rude. So do I.
    I have no Twitter or Instagram account, but I’ve seen most of these before (do have FB). If I took them as literal as you seem to, I might cringe, too. But all I can manage is an eye roll, a suppressed chuckle, and a whispered “good lord.”
    How-some-ever, since research indicates that most people trust atheists less than rapists (so I’ve read, but maybe not true), a little meme humor between unbelievers seems innocuous.
    All that said, I’m glad you wrote and posted this. I would never repost any of these memes. So in a way, I agree with your basis. They are mostly tacky. Me too, sometimes. (Snickers like Precious Pooch.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMk63SOkdms

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  • November 17, 2019 at 11:06 am
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    When one considers such things as Genocide,Slavery, Apartheid, War,Child Abuse, Burning Heretics,Human Sacrifice, Antisemitism, to name a few things off the top of my head all perpetrated in the name of religion, then yes, I’m sure the world can can stand a few memes, don’t you?

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  • November 17, 2019 at 1:25 pm
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    I’ve literally stopped following a few dozen atheists Twitter & Instagram accounts solely for the fact that all they post is memes…
    Every now and then though, one will make me laugh. But I find it comforting that the meme could be from either camp.

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  • November 17, 2019 at 3:11 pm
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    That Wiley cartoon tickles me. Why? Because simple but wrong vs. complex but right. I prefer the latter to be honest.

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  • November 17, 2019 at 3:24 pm
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    I actually like that first one because it seems to me that the point rather is to lampoon the mainly American Protestant notion that nothing is real if the Bible doesn’t say it’s real, whether that be dinosaurs or the Catholic concept of purgatory, both of which I have encountered. Which is all the more hilarious since those same people don’t seem to realize that the word “bible” never appears in the Bible, among many other terms they use.
    A subject I deal with to some extent in my new YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yLMlz5e6f0&t=197s

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  • November 17, 2019 at 9:21 pm
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    Memes are overly simple in general. I can’t decide if I love or hate them. I hate the ones about positive attitudes. As if people can choose to be happy. I mean who wouldn’t choose to be happy!? It’s not a choice if you have a mental Illness.

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    • May 18, 2021 at 9:09 am
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      These are memes… they are meant to be simple and funny. The fact that you have taken them so seriously and have analysed them like they are some scientific papers tells me that you are new to memes.

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      • May 18, 2021 at 11:07 am
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        So since memes are simple, no one should be allowed to analyze whether they are good or bad, funny or not? Are they all equal? Why make them if no one can have an opinion on them?

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  • November 18, 2019 at 8:38 am
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    Sorry Rebekah, but I don’t think there’s too much wrong with most of these. Bearing in mind the force used by religious authorities and individuals to continue oppression, including the death sentence for ‘blasphemy’ in many countries, and genital mutilation for millions of baby boys across the globe, I don’t see how you can say ridicule isn’t an acceptable tool to counter the imposition of religion on society.
    I particularly like the one which makes the point that you don’t have to continue belonging to a religion just because you were brought up in that religion. It may seem overly obvious, but sometimes people need a little nudge to see the obvious.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    I always found the one with Jesus knocking on the door and threatening people pretty funny, buy now that you’ve pointed out the font, I can no longer enjoy it 😄. Glad to see we Christiand aren’t the only ones who make horrible, inaccurate, cringey memes (and boy do we ever).
    Though I think the basement camera beanie guy comment might be my new favorite clapback.

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    • November 30, 2019 at 10:31 pm
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      and sometimes you just gotta vent, I guess

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  • December 3, 2019 at 9:48 pm
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    Sorry Rebekah. I believe your’e reachinnggg.The bible IS a sadistic, corrupt text that frightens believers of all ages and scares the bejesus out of children. And engineers didn’t discover electricity, math, etc.
    In 1998 I read “The Blind Watchmaker” and when I hit page 225 my life did a flip-flop. As an advertising copywriter a thousand memes flashed across my mind and 3 months later sold mail order loans to a list of educators with the line; ‘An Apple for Teacher’ using Memes Galore.
    I admit there are many boring and repetitive memes out there. ?

    Reply
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