A false quotation circulated by Christians?

Curious Presbyterian falls into what seems to be a pot-hole:

Janie B. Cheaney asks out loud what a lot of us have quietly thought: Why are Atheists So Mean?

Seen on Answerblog.com: “How do atheists express their love for the rest of humanity?” Answer: “You don’t need religion to express love, you complete idiot.  Why are all your questions so ignorant?”  Genuinely warmhearted atheists exist, but warmheartedness is not the first descriptive quality that comes to mind.  The more vocal ones betray themselves sooner or later: To reject God is almost always to despise people.

George P. Wood copies this also hereTrees for lunch does the same.  All three base this on an article in World magazine here.

Trouble is, I can’t find any “Answerblog.com”, outside of what is plainly a cyber-squatting site.  I can’t find any references to it either.

I can’t find that question online, outside of this article and its reposts.  Nor can I find the answer given.

I do not know why this is, and I have written to the editor of World magazine to enquire.  I’ve also posted a query in the comments of two of the three blogs above (Curious Presbyterian provides no mechanism to comment or email, as far as I can tell).  It’s probably a slip of  the memory or something.  But … it is not actually true, as far as I can tell.

Now there’s no denying that many atheists are very nasty people.  The anecdote above is doubtless true “in substance”, since material of this kind may be found easily online. 

But … it does not seem to be true in the narrowest sense.

It is not right to circulate material which is critical of others unless it is actually true, in the strictest sense.  Let’s be careful to check our facts.

UPDATE: A commenter has managed to find the source on www.answerbag.com here:

http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1828195

The question and the first response are as advertised.  Thank you!

3 thoughts on “A false quotation circulated by Christians?

  1. Thank you SO much — I appreciate the update. How on earth did you find it?

    It does one any good at all to have rubbish dribble into the hive-mind, and I wanted to head this one off at the pass.

    Sloppiness probably lies at the root of most false quotations that go around. I know of at least a couple of things attributed to ancient writers which are really quotes from modern novels in which the ancient is made to say this or that, and the person who quoted them failed to make the modern source clear.

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