Just Filling In: Marine Assualts Stereotypical Atheist Professor

A friend recently shared this with me:


This image was also shared by the Marine Corp Lives Facebook page recently. It is my opinion that urban legends like this one illustrate much of what is wrong with the way many Americans see the world.

First, what the Marine did was wrong, by nearly anyone’s standards. Assaulting a civilian, is something that can get one dishonorably discharged from the Military and get one charge with assault or battery. In this case it is also an instance of hypocrisy, since the Marine supposedly fought over sees to protect the right of individuals like the professor to speak freely, but then comes home and assaults someone for speaking freely. I would think that this story would actually be an embarrassment to many if not most Marines out there. It also has the unfortunate underlying implication that using violence is a good way to prove a point or silence one’s critics, even if the violence is used against someone who is in no way using or threatening to use physical force himself. This is not to mention the anti-intellectualism of stories like this, in which an overly stereotypical professor is the bad guy.

The story of is, as mentioned above, an urban legend and there is no reason to think it is true. While there certainly are atheistic liberal professors in the United States, they usually are not actually obsessed with disproving the existence of the Christian god to their class, and most would recognize that the existence of gods cannot be disproved in this way (or in any way, since god claims tend to be unfalsifiable).  As noted in this RationalWiki page, stereotypical, ACLU joining, military bashing professors, who believe they can disprove the existence of all Gods with a single poorly constructed argument, are regular characters in stories passed on in chain emails among conservative religious types. The atheist professors in these stories, tend to smugly make flawed arguments, that no educated person would actually make, and wallow in their own self satisfaction, only to be completely destroyed by some clever Christian student.

I have had many professors who struck me as very Atheistic and/or very liberal, but I have never come across any real life example of one behaving the way they do in these stories. These stories tend to be about reassuring the faithful and bolstering their resolve but they are not true, or believable and their points are never well argued.

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2 Responses to Just Filling In: Marine Assualts Stereotypical Atheist Professor

  1. Jeriah says:

    But the professor was also in the wrong. He wasn’t speaking freely, he was tempting The Lord. There’s a difference between speaking freely and saying things like “God, if you’re real, come smite me down.” The marine wasn’t in the wrong. The professor was taking Advantage of his freedom of speech.

    • Mr. Wilson says:

      As I said in the post, I doubt that the professor or the marine ever existed. This story is almost certainly an urban legend. I reject your claim that “there’s a difference between speaking freely and saying things like “God, if you’re real, come smite me down”. Freedom of speech covers the right to be a blasphemous as one likes. That said, the Marine was in the wrong by most standards because he used violence against a civilian who did not consent to it and such behavior would is not allowed by the Marine corps or under most ethical systems. Do you really believe Jesus would have approved such an action?

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