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We Can Be Nice...

I am an atheist, a left-wing liberal, and I am gay. Pretty much, I try to be understanding because I know I'm the minority in a few ways. What really ****** me off more than anything else are people being jerks. Religous jerks, atheist jerks, liberal jerks, whatever. I'm just asking everyone who posts stories on being an atheist, please don't insult someones faith. It's their right to have faith, and ours not to. If they are being jerks about it, fine, get mad. But if they jsut want to celebrate a religous holiday, let them do it in peace. Please be considerate, and we can all argue kindely. May the best idea win.
Twink14 Twink14 13-15, M 6 Responses Jan 28, 2012

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In my opinion, religion should only be challenged when it infringes on the rights of others. When we are required to learn Creationism in school, then I would gladly challenge that belief. However, I'm not going to go the to Creationist museum and make snide remarks, because I know people are sensitive about it (No matter how un-scientific it is).

Porc,

As always I enjoyed your last point and marvel at your ability to match wits with some of our best and brightest such as MG, TS and forlorn.

But I must object to your last statement "just because they are unscientific, unproven, and un provable".

What better criteria then that is there for casting doubt and aspersions upon an idea or philosophy?

Parents who refuse to inoculate their children based on homeopathic gobbledygook need to be educated if not for their own good then that of the population in general.

Parents who keep their children at home in order to teach them the world is flat, six thousand years old and rides on the back of a tortoise must be confronted and the children rescued.

No Pork, I must disagree, when an idea is unproven yet taught as proven, un provable hence retreating to the land of faith and unscientific which makes it mythological it is the time to shine the light of reason upon it.

@ MentalGent

I brought up the ancients to make the point that you and I harbor ideas just as arbitrary as any religious person. Your notion of equality isn't set in stone, and humanity doesn't always "progress" in our notion of the term. Nor is there any absolute in what progress means. "Barbarism" as the Greeks and Romans practiced could very well return and be defined as normal.



If it does, today It will likely come from the Muslim world, where "barbarism" is daily on display, as is ethnic/racial discrimination, patriarchialism, gender roles, and suppression of homosexuality. High birthrates, ruthless promotion of their values and religious doctrines, and acquiescence to their demands elsewhere is raising the odds. It comes without the scientific sensibility of the ancient Greeks and Romans, but adopt the technology of modern civilizations to advance the new normal.



Even if it doesn't come from there, there are other rival norms, especially from China. While not as antithetical to Western progressivism as Islamism, it would nonetheless be a regression from the progressive viewpoint.



Again, the point I've tried to make many times. Western progressivism is a set of arbitrary norms that are really indistiguishable from religions in their arbitrariness. While you and I live in that glass house, avoid throwing stones at those we think harbor an inferior set of ideas just because they are unscientific, unproven, and unprovable. Some of ours are likely the same.

@ MentalGent

Sorry about the chip choking incident. Since you're still around writing, there must have been someone around to administer Heimlich. In the future be careful not to eat while reading my comments, as an atheist you have no second chance :)



Your interpretation of my statement to the effect of not challenging the religious is not what I meant. Yes, religious fallacies of the geocentric or creationist variety should be challenged scientifically. I meant that there's no point challenging the lay person who tells you all about the complexity of the eye and the giraffe's neck. They are not going to yield and the discussion will likely degenerate.



I find it interesting that you invoked Martin Luther King, some irony there. He was, after all, an ordained Baptist minister inspired in his mission of civil rights by his Christian faith. His example demonstrates the positive effects of religion on many people's lives. William Wilberforce also converted to Evangelism prior to embarking on his mission to end the slave trade. That's not universally the case; Pankhurst was not religious to my knowledge, and Darwin came to eschew his belief in a personal god.



One other point, you comment centers on progressive doctrines of social justice, with human progress in civil, women's, and gay rights as superior to past practices. As much as I agree with progressive social morality, there is nothing scientific about it. These values were not present in many advanced human societies, such as the ancient Greeks and Romans, as Archimedes can no doubt attest. They practiced slavery, were patriarchal, and enjoyed displays of brutality (such as gladiatorial combat) that we would consider barbaric. Progressive morality describes no fundamental law of nature, unlike heliocentrism and Darwinian evolution. It is as much a human construct as the Judeo-Christian morality which inspired MLK and WW. Progressivism also promotes equality of economic outcome, aka socialism, whereby, as you know, we disagree.

Nice sympathies, Twink. Agree 100%. Despite protestations to the contrary, criticism of religion from atheists often borders on the hostile and intolerant. We atheists are just as guilty of picking fights as theists. I especially appreciate the sentiment from someone like yourself, with strong left wing views.



Far too many on the left think of themselves as paradigms of tolerance and inclusiveness, yet only extend that courtesy to members of historically discriminated racial and ethnic minorities. People with different political views, believers in Western religions, and members of historically non-discriminated groups are fair game for viciousness and unvarnished hatred from some on the left. (For those who doubt such claims, spend some time in the "I think the Tea Party people are idiots" group...some here already do). Thanks for living up to your principles.



I agree with many posters that religious claims are accepted on faith alone, they are unproven and unprovable. But it's unnecessary to show the believer contempt, so long, as others have stressed that they do not attempt coercive adherence to their dogma. There's no point in challenging religious ideas, most people believe or accept many things that have limited to no basis in fact, including atheists. Most people do not accept challenges to their ideas and opinions, religious or otherwise. Let's show some humility and not throw stones while living in a glass house.

If you look carefully, very few people offend peoples faith. It's a common misconception that criticizing religion is offensive, when of course it isn't. You will probably find the only time when problems arise is when religious trolls join the mix looking for conflict.

You have to admit there are a large number of atheists looking to pick a fight, just like a number of religious people do. I just want people to not argue about personal descisions that effect no one save the person doing the descision-making.