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Atheists; the most hated group in America?
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mortalthoughts
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icarus502 wrote:
The "bad" part about fundamentalist Christians is the content of their beliefs, not their willingness to share those beliefs.


its not just what they share them but how there so pushy with everything
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:20 pm
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Confidential



Joined: 23 Jan 2004
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thought about it, there is some truth to Hellen Earth's comment about atheists but it might've been a bit reactionary coming from me. It's true I don't know a lot of atheists that are stupid or bull headed, or that even define themselves as atheists but i no longer dig when enlightened, hyper rational types take a condescending approach toward religion. It probably occurrs the other way around a lotmore often, but still, to me I don't desire a hyper rational world of secular modernity, which is implied in blanket statement against the idiocy of religion. If ihere are tons of christians who are part of the walking dead that don't recognize god in the meekest of people and in non-human creations, then I'm sure there are atheists who love life, respect creation and are on a spiritual path wether or not they understand it as such. when it comes to spirit knowing is beutiful, defining it and making others see is where things get all fucked up.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:28 pm
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futuristxen



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icarus502 wrote:
The "bad" part about fundamentalist Christians is the content of their beliefs, not their willingness to share those beliefs.


I disagree. Content is immaterial to action. It doesn't matter what they believe, it matters how they interpret those beliefs into how they operate within the world.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:37 pm
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TurnpikeGates



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redball wrote:
When I talked about "running the numbers" I also spoke of the world at large. My point was that the percentage of overzealous theists is probably proportional to -- and potentially smaller than -- the percentage of overzealous atheists. They're louder because there are more of them, so if you're not contrasting the size of the base group then you will find that the fringes are bigger on the bigger base group. To simplify:

Theists outnumber atheists (at least in Western culture, who has stats for the world?)
Theist fringe groups/members outnumber atheist fringe groups/members

So, yeah, we can ignore the former and focus on the latter to try to paint theists in a worse light than atheists are, or we can take all of that into account and come to the conclusion that neither group has a significant advantage or disadvantage. I choose to contrast, as I think it allows a more balanced view of things.

When you decide that millions of theists are damning you to hell you're taking an extreme view of their beliefs. Yes, some of them actively damn you to hell. Most of them are instead worried about your salvation. They are concerned that you will go to hell and want to protect you from this fate.

We hear too much about the parts of religion that teach hate and intolerance, but I've had many very tolerant experiences with religion. Yes, the intolerant ones left a lasting impression, but I would be remiss to act as though the tolerant ones didn't happen. Christianity and Islam both teach love and tolerance as a central theme, and the mainstream versions typically teach to love all people even if they don't share your beliefs.

I believe you are applying a fringe philosophy to the masses when you characterize theists as such. I think it's too easy to see the loudmouthed jackasses who twist their religion's message from love into hate and think that a majority of others are doing that. Though, I can see where these religions need to be faulted because their leadership does not do enough to silence or disavow these people, I don't think they are a fair representation of the majority.

Lastly, I never said you were calling anyone that. I merely stated that conversations about theism have happened here in which theists have been insulted such. If you saw the conversations then why are you questioning this? More specifically: conversations here have shown intolerance towards theists and assholery by atheists, to the extent that we as a microcosm prove Hellen's point. My original post says nothing more than that.

Here comes way too long of a post:

So in sort of opposite order...
-I acknowledged atheist condescension on this board within the body of my last post.

-I agree that the absolute numbers skew perspectives on who's "more overzealous," but even per-capita, I still doubt that atheists are more proportionately "in your face." It kinda depends on which definition of atheism you're going with. I'm using Icarus' definition (the one I came into this discussion with)... the people who answer "no" to the question "Do you believe in god?" Not only those who answer "yes" to "Are you absolutely positive there is no god?" If we only allow the people who are SURE to be called atheists, then we can't allow "spiritual" people and those who go on faith alone to be called theists, because they don't KNOW there is a god, they just believe it. If we restricted to the "certain" people, then we get more loonies, proportionately, on all sides of the debate.

All that being said, taking EITHER sample, I'd say that theists are STILL more overzealous, both in numbers and degree. I think you'd have a hard time finding ONE lynching, murder, imprisonment, torture, exclusion, assault, etc... in the name of atheism. You could find them, I'm sure, but you'd be hard-pressed. (We can debate the relevance of state crimes [i.e. secularizing "socialist" states of the 20th century] to this conversation if you'd like). Now, I'm obviously eliding the gap between "overzealousness" and "persecution" here, but I guess my response to that criticism would be that overzealousness is a step between tolerance and persecution. Furthermore, Strange Famous is not a representative sample of the religious dialogue in the U.S. or the world. I think atmosphere is an example of EXACTLY the phenomenon you're talking about RE: numbers. Atheists/agnostics probably outnumber theists here. At the very least they almost necessarily outnumber strident theists, because what is there here for such people?

Now, again, I really don't want to characterize all Christians, or theists, based on the craziest members of the group. But honestly, I think it's naive to claim that there aren't a SHIT-TON of people (even proportionately) on the crazy fringe, specifically in the U.S. We likely have different definitions of what constitutes crazy, but to me that includes not just the "God Hates Fags" people but also Focus on The Family (beat the shit out of your children to force them to act right), anti-miscegenation, subordination of women, etc, which pervades a lot of theist doctrine.

So as for the millions of theists damning me to hell... remember, there are BILLIONS of theists, so I know I'm talking about a minority. And I fully understand the distinction between wanting to "save me" from hell and taking active pleasure in my damnation. I still think that the latter group includes millions.


So, OK, to get back to your defense of Hellen Earth's original point. You said that we, as a microcosm, represent her point. Her point that "I have found a lot of atheists to be just as stupid and bull headed as christians, they just think they are cooler." So look, if we take this to mean "a lot of atheists", like any number more than 2 or 3, sure, it's obviously true. I take it to mean "a lot" relative to the total number, and I take "as stupid and bull headed and christians" to mean, well, stupid and bullheaded. I just don't think backing that point with reference to this message board makes very much sense. This is such a skewed sample that it doesn't say much about atheists in general at all.

To be honest, I was really more arguing in reaction to futurist's posts than Hellen Earth's, to begin with... I'm more bothered by the pretend-disinterested flippancy than by attacks on atheists. I much prefer to argue with you than having to duck all the "who cares? what does it matter? everyone's stupid. believing anything is stupid. believing nothing is stupid" kinda nebulous rhetoric (coming from many posters on this topic).
<also, futurist, if you read this, I don't mean to attack you, I think you're swell and I just don't like your stance on this issue>[/i]
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:32 pm
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TurnpikeGates



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Confidential wrote:
thought about it, there is some truth to Hellen Earth's comment about atheists but it might've been a bit reactionary coming from me. It's true I don't know a lot of atheists that are stupid or bull headed, or that even define themselves as atheists but i no longer dig when enlightened, hyper rational types take a condescending approach toward religion. It probably occurrs the other way around a lotmore often, but still, to me I don't desire a hyper rational world of secular modernity, which is implied in blanket statement against the idiocy of religion. If ihere are tons of christians who are part of the walking dead that don't recognize god in the meekest of people and in non-human creations, then I'm sure there are atheists who love life, respect creation and are on a spiritual path wether or not they understand it as such. when it comes to spirit knowing is beutiful, defining it and making others see is where things get all fucked up.


Man, I like what you have to say 99% of the time, but the way you're threading theist presuppositions into the very possibility of atheist existence here is pretty weird. Like "I'm sure there are atheists who love life, respect creation and are on a spiritual path"... No. There are no atheists who respect creation. I'm an atheist and I respect life, both plant and animal. I respect the environment (broadly defined), and I express awe at the vastness of the universe and the mind-blowingness of existence. But why do I have to be on a spiritual path? Why do I have to respect "creation" when I don't believe somebody created the earth, the trees, or the laws of physics.

I think I get where you're coming from on the anti-hyper-rationalist tip. I think there's also a lot of ethnocentrism and arrogance built into the more strident mode of atheism. There's no room for condescending attitudes anywhere in discourse, really, they're just a product of exasperation (and sometimes, douchiness). I think I'm basically a rationalist-materialist, but I also think at least scientific-rationalism doesn't do enough for me to contribute much to my metaphysics (nor does monotheism). So if you want to say I'm on a spiritual path because I ask myself questions like "what does it all mean?" then sure. But why privilege that path?
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:46 pm
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R. Kamidees



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I have never seen that Tyson/Dawkins clip before (though I think it antagonistic to put that "vs." in the title). I have a big amount of respect for both of those men, and I agree with Tyson about taking the barbs out.

Not many people have the ability to turn a complicated subject like astrophysics and make it accessible to the masses like NDT.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:51 pm
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futuristxen



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TurnpikeGates wrote:

To be honest, I was really more arguing in reaction to futurist's posts than Hellen Earth's, to begin with... I'm more bothered by the pretend-disinterested flippancy than by attacks on atheists. I much prefer to argue with you than having to duck all the "who cares? what does it matter? everyone's stupid. believing anything is stupid. believing nothing is stupid" kinda nebulous rhetoric (coming from many posters on this topic).
<also, futurist, if you read this, I don't mean to attack you, I think you're swell and I just don't like your stance on this issue>[/i]


Sorry :)
If it makes you feel better most theists I know feel the same sort of bother about that kind of thing. I personally find it a little amusing, slightly strange, but understandable in some ways too. I think most of my friends are atheists, or agnostics, or catholics by this point in my life. And my family is nazarene/southern baptist/fruitcake. Because of the last point, and because of how crazy my childhood was with god, I think I now approach the issues with less of an interest in the wide overarching existential questions, and more of an interest in how people personally use their beliefs to shape how they treat one another or see the world. So to me it's so much less interesting for me to hear whether you believe in god or not, and it's much more interesting to hear what believing or not believing or whatever does for your life, and how all the little spirit voices jingle jangle your puppet strings at midnight sort of thing, I think.

I mean, honestly, when has a yes/no question ever been worth it's weight in anything? It tells you nothing about anything. Which is great if you want to learn nothing. Or talk about nothing. Heck I love talking about nothing. But, it's worth noting that one nothing is as good as another nothing, and all things being equal Albert Pujols is probably better coffee table discussion.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:52 pm
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kese



Joined: 16 Mar 2003
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Sarah's on point here...
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:58 pm
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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</object>
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:04 pm
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Captiv8



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This is sort of a misleading survey though. People make assumptions about what others are based on visual and audio cues. So unless you actually hear someone say "Hey man, I'm an atheist" you'd really have no idea in a casual social context. So to say they're the most hated makes it seem like they're a specific and easily identifiable demographic of people. I probably talk to atheists every day and have no idea that's what they are.

And why hate an atheist, really? I guess George Carlin said it best.

- Do you believe in God?
- No.
- Boom. Dead.

- Do you believe in God?
- Yes.
- Do you believe in my God?
- No.
- Boom. Dead.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:38 pm
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neveragainlikesheep



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Where's your God/Dawkins now?
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:25 pm
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the mean
Certified O.G.


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neveragainlikesheep wrote:
Where's your God/Dawkins now?

Not here.

Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:32 pm
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neveragainlikesheep



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Dawkins is a down ass ninja. He got to see them for $1.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:36 pm
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Oh Daesu



Joined: 11 May 2005
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futuristxen wrote:
icarus502 wrote:
The "bad" part about fundamentalist Christians is the content of their beliefs, not their willingness to share those beliefs.


I disagree. Content is immaterial to action. It doesn't matter what they believe, it matters how they interpret those beliefs into how they operate within the world.


I don't understand what you think the difference between one's belief and one's interpretation of their belief is. Beliefs are couched in language and language is interpretation. It's interpretation all the way down.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:53 pm
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Confidential



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TurnpikeGates wrote:

I think there's also a lot of ethnocentrism and arrogance built into the more strident mode of atheism. There's no room for condescending attitudes anywhere in discourse, really, they're just a product of exasperation (and sometimes, douchiness). I think I'm basically a rationalist-materialist, but I also think at least scientific-rationalism doesn't do enough for me to contribute much to my metaphysics (nor does monotheism). So if you want to say I'm on a spiritual path because I ask myself questions like "what does it all mean?" then sure. But why privilege that path?


Yes, that's pretty much what I meant. I didn't mean to impose a spiritual path on you, and I privilege it because that's where I'm at at the moment.

At the risk of sounding evangelical, i gotta say Gibrain knows the deal:

On Religion
Kahlil Gibran

Have I spoken this day of aught else?
Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, "This for God and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?"
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.
And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.


Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.


And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:54 pm
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