"It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out." - Carl Sagan
The top criticism that atheists receive is that of being close-minded, as they tend to be branded as close-minded due to their lack of belief in the supernatural. However, it is utterly ridiculous that the status quo is to assert that belief in the supernatural is automatically correlated to open-mindedness. In fact, it is the opposite: the position of atheism and agnosticism is the open-minded position and the position of gullible belief and wishful thinking is the close-minded one.
Who is more open-minded? The individual who looks at the cosmos and is open to whatever evidence is presented, or the person who has preconceived beliefs that cannot be changed despite compelling evidence? Is the person who discards facts that disagree with his worldview more open-minded than someone who takes a look at whatever evidence the universe provides to him and then draws his conclusion?
Is the old lady that believes in ghosts, voodoo, and astrology more open-minded than an individual who correctly asserts that no such things have ever been detected under scrutinized experiments and observations?
From personal experience in engaging and observing a bevy of different discussions between skeptics and religious individuals, I have found that atheists and agnostics tend to be better informed. In other words, they have done their research. They thoroughly understand the evolutionary process, for example, as well as the scientific method. And, unsurprisingly, in most cases, they are the ones who have actually read the bible. Someone once said that the fastest way to become an atheist is to read the bible — there might be some truth to that statement. One ought to be astonished at the number of Christians and Catholics that have never heard any of the bible verses that condone slavery and rape:
In Numbers 31:17, Moses instructs the soldiers to kill every male child and every woman who is not a virgin and to keep the virgin women for themselves, as sex slaves.
In Exodus 21:20-21, God says that you can beat your slave as much as you want as long as you don’t kill him because, according to God, the salve is your property.
In Exodus 21:2-6, God sets the laws on how to keep a slave forever: “When you buy a Hebrew slave … [you] shall bring him to God, and [you] shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And [you] shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be [your] slave forever.”
Those are just some of the abhorrent messages from God that were written in the purported “holy” book.
At the end of the day, one should simply just follow the evidence, wherever it leads — and one ought to be glad that there is no evidence, so far discovered, for the supernatural, celestial dictator that is the God of the bible.
As Carl Sagan put it, “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”