23rd November 2009

“Atheists are frequently accused of being 'militant' and 'intolerant' for speaking out at all about their opinions on religion or theism, but it's a common experience for atheists to be treated quite disparagingly by religious theists. Believers themselves are probably unaware of this simply because they treat their beliefs as a 'given' and as the 'norm,' so religious platitudes from them are supposed to be treated by the rest of us as natural and appropriate.”

Austin Cline

14 Responses to “23rd November 2009”

  1. Chris Says:

    This is an important observation because pressure from theists causes atheists to keep quiet when we’ve just as must right to discuss our non-belief as they have to discuss “miracles”. Drive through any town in America and you will see signs everywhere proclaiming faith in the supernatural. But when the occasional sign is raised questioning this the faith camp seems to get pretty exercised. But we do have that right (in civilized non-islamic countries) and we ought to use it.

  2. tech Says:

    Not believing in your maker in my mind is very dangerous. but thats my mind.GOD BLESS ALL.

  3. The Heretic Says:

    I believe in my parents; but then, I can touch them and know they are real. And I am certain that they are my makers. Why should I add superstition to that equation?

  4. Chris Says:

    Substitute “Invisible Pink Unicorn” for the word “God” and you see how silly a statement like that sounds to people that genuinely disbelive in fairy tales. The IPU and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (PBUH) are EQUALLY plausible to your god.

  5. Brian Delrosario Says:

    To The Heretic above: you more than simply “believe” in your parents, you “know” they exist. Like all rational persons, you prefer knowledge over belief, greater certainty over lesser. Your thoughts?

  6. tech Says:

    I guess the old saying that to understand GOD, is to be equal to HIM is true.My thoughts.

  7. Chris Says:

    Huh? To understand a myth is to be equal to the myth? To understand a donut (or for that matter any baked good) is to be equal to a donut.

    But, on a more serious note – If god is what you imagine him to be than you have as much chance of understanding him as an anopheles mosquito has of understanding you. Anopheles, the main vector of malaria, by the way, is the most lethal species on the planet. Thanks for that, God.

  8. Chris Says:

    On reflection, that probably works both ways. I can’t “understand” a mosquito beyond being able, perhaps, to explain some aspects of its behavior. It’s “thoughts” are hidden from me by the enormous gulf between us. Why would a god be different? Would not the gulf be infinitely greater?

  9. Holysmokes Says:

    Over the past 7-8 years I have frequented chat rooms, forums, blogs etc. which attempt to discuss the god/no-god topic rationally. As an atheist, I must confess that most of my peers on the topic do indeed seem very condescending, mean spirited and hateful towards believers. The frequency and voracity of this conduct is very disturbing. Yes, there is no shortage of theists who act in a similar fashion, but there is little we can do about that. I think the trick to getting some of these theists to listen rationally is to be the sane, cool, calm, collected and courteous ones in the debate. Obviously both sides are highly polarized to say the least, however it seems to me that the more rational side, (and I like to think that atheists are), should take the high ground morally. There is nothing wrong with getting your point across, while being polite, even if, deep down inside, you think your opponent is a #$%&*! The simple fact is that we are greatly out numbered and likely will remain so during our lifetimes. Yes, that is a sad thought, however getting people to listen to us works better, if they don’t resent the way we present it. On a positve note, I think the people who routinely comment on this forum do a much better job of “using their manners” while addressing the, “other side.”

  10. Brian Delrosario Says:

    Great point, Holysmokes. I gave up the mean-spiritedness sometime ago. It’s not the person we dislike, it’s the notion. Plus, when was the last time a discussion board post ever prompted an opposing viewpoint holder to say, “Ah, hah! I have seen the light (or lack of it)!”? Mud slinging is fun, but distracts from the real issues. Your thoughts.

  11. Brian Delrosario Says:

    What I really wanted to say: a preference away from the supernatural or paranormal (i.e., atheism), seems quite natural and normal. Don’t you think?

  12. tony cynic Says:

    Holysmokes, are we really outnumbered or are most people with an education aethiests in all but name. I have tried argueing religion with true beleivers but how do you come back to comments like ‘god can too cure amputees’ Aethiests and agnostics are on the way to being a majority in europe, I hope america follows.

  13. Holysmokes Says:

    Hi Tony, I agree that responding to comments like that make me bite my lip, however I think it can be done. I’d likely try to answer it something like this;
    “Yes, wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing indeed if a higher power could cure amputees? The world would certainly be a much better place, but I don’t see any factual evidence to show that has ever happened. I’d appreciate any evidence you have on the subject, but please ensure that it is credible. By credible, I mean facts, or evidence that we can all see and verify. Unfortunately anything less will not be acceptable”
    Although my answer is much longer than the average comeback, I think it makes the believer think a little about what his evidence actually encompasses, and also fail to directly challenge him/her to an IQ test.

  14. Harry E. Mitchell Says:

    Tech Question: