People Just Don't Understand

Being an atheist means you belong to one of the last groups that it is OK to hate.  We are equated with satanists and pagans.  It's hard explaining to people that I don't hate god I just don't believe he exists.

papagrande papagrande
6 Responses Dec 4, 2008

No problem. Trolling isn't so bothersome if it's purpose is to make a point rather than express hatred. Even civil debates can be considered unsettling. Yeah, the participants consent to having people barrage them with the possibility that they could be wrong, but as humans, debate will never be a comfortable activity. We naturally dread even the slightest hint that we could be wrong, and as such, we will never be entirely open-minded. However, discussion is still essential to the survival of a competent, fair, and technologically-advanced society. It eases our fears of diversity, it guides negotiations between opposing sides, and it promotes reason which in turn contributes to scientific advances and educated decisions. If it weren't for the audacity of those who confront others with their doubts, we'd still be living in the Dark Ages.

#1 In order to believe in anything, without contradicting yourself, you have to disbelieve something else. Therefore, anyone that bothers to post an ideology isn't going to post it unless they truly believe it's the better choice. It's a fact of life, regardless of your religion or non-affiliation with religion (that includes you, me, and our posts).<br />
#2 No one group is more moral than another. They all have their bad eggs including us atheists (I don't think that comment about atheists being more moral was even made by an atheist anyways). <br />
#3 Thank you for reminding us that other people are hurting, too. However, I would like to point out that discrimination goes both ways. I agree that there are some countries that are horrible to Christians (take China for example), but atheists too are oppressed in many countries along with Muslims, gays, etc. In Egypt, the terrorist group known as the Brothers of Islam kidnaps, tortures, and murders atheists, in Switzerland, the government has been considering banning minarets on mosques (the equivalent of a bell tower in a Christian church), and here in the U.S., homosexuals, transgenders, and queers are frequently bullied in schools and/or sometimes attacked in the streets by homophobes. <br />
#4 In nearly all the countries of the world, atheists are a minority. According to statistics from atheists and agnostics compose a majority in only nine out of the 196 or so countries in the world (the information is from 2005, however, religious ideologies don't usually change much over a matter of only a few years). As a minority, it makes it very difficult for atheists to have much influence on anything. Not that it's right what they're doing, but China, North Korea, and Cuba's atheist totalitarians just got extremely lucky. <br />
#5 Not only do atheists tend to be a minority, but they also fall amongst the most hated minorities in some of the most powerful countries like the U.S.A. In a survey conducted by the University of Minnesota, atheists were found to be more hated than even homosexuals, blacks, and Muslims. In some Islamic countries, atheists face the death sentence for apostasy. <br />
#6 Usually, what we mean when we say we hope for a more secular planet, is that we hope for people to stop injecting their religious beliefs into the lives of those who disagree with them.<br />
#7 Most of us do NOT complain about a simple disagreement. We complain because we DO receive death threats, ostracism, insults, beatings, and lynchings, and in some extreme cases we DO receive the death penalty in certain parts of the world.<br />
#8 Just because someone’s situation is less dire than another’s, doesn’t mean it’s not deserving of attention. If we spent all of our efforts trying to help only those who need it the most, we’d never get anything done, because we’d be too overrun with just trying to determine who’s in the deepest sh*t in the first place. Besides, you can do just as much good by preventing someone from getting into a bad spot as you can by helping them out of it.<br />
#9 We were not complaining to you, we were complaining amongst ourselves. After all, this is our own private group. Just a side note, trolling is when you invade another group's site, forum, etc. to criticize their beliefs especially without their welcome which is exactly what you just did. I don't mind because you seem like a fairly respectful guy/gal and you're one of the few that hasn't said that you hate us, that we're immoral, that we shouldn't have rights, that we should be tortured/murdered/burned in hell, and or that you are going to torture/murder us. However, I don't speak for the rest of the group.<br />
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Thank you for your respect, your time, and your thoughts. I hope that we both got something out of each other's comments.

Thanks for the reply. I think we did both get something from this exchange. In retrospect, I may have come across a little aggressively, and for that tone, I apologize. It seems to me, that's one of the perils of debating for extensive periods of time: eventually, it becomes too easy to read into a simple statement more than what's actually there. Looking at the statement with fresh eyes, papagrande makes some valid points. Intolerance sprouts up in all demographics...

As to my appearance in the comments, I followed the suggestion-link. I guess, by that definition you gave, I've "trolled" other atheist stories before. When it comes to the Internet, I'm not very culture-savvy.

Call it trolling, if you must; but, you're very closed-minded. Your ideology is no more provable than any other, but you post as though it's somehow proven to be the better choice... in spite of the lack of evidence to that conclusion.<br />
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I don't know where you live, that atheists are so mistreated; but, in most places throughout the world, the exact opposite is true... atheists are considered superior to every other group; especially Christians. Some governments take it so far that they lock up Christians in prisons, beat them, starve them, let them get deadly infections, work them like slaves, and even execute them, because they claim the Christian is somehow intellectually and factually inferior to their atheist perspective. In most places, if you call yourself a Christian, people immediately get images of a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, thumping a stone tablet and grunting. Some get the image of snake-handlers in their heads; others imagine KKK members, Nazis, or con artists. Not only are Christians considered intellectually and morally inferior; they're often considered dishonest. Rather than the atheists being the ones who are persecuted by the majority of society, it's usually the Christian who can't catch a break.<br />
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I thought atheists were supposed to be more understanding; but, when I read such posts like, "...critical thinking skills and logic to help us become a more secular planet", "...atheists are the most moral group out there...", "...most wiccans are at least open to logic and rhetoric, and normally do not proselytize...", "Door-knocking evangelists should be illegal...", "Atheism is often argued as a position 'one comes to' after realizing that religion often comes up wanting in the logic and rhetoric departments...", and "...atheism is the default position of -all-humans: infancy. Religion is inculcated...", that is one stereotype that doesn't hold up well.<br />
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Until you've had rocks thrown at you, and received death and rape threats, don't talk to me about how bad the "poor li'l atheist" has it. I'm sure you'll disagree with me, just like all those "horrible Christian fundy morons" disagree with you. Deal with it: disagreements happen, and - whether anyone likes it or not, - EVERYONE has the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, AND freedom of religion. This isn't the U.S.S.R., where religion is against the law and people get sentenced to death-camps for practicing it. This isn't Vietnam, where the war effort has shifted to target Vietnamese Christians. This isn't Pol Pot's Cambodia, Communist China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Darfur, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, or any other nation where people are calumniated and abused for their religious beliefs. I, for one, would rather live in a nation where all religions are permitted, than to live in a nation like that, where any religious group is sentenced to death SOLELY for their religious beliefs. In my opinion, the death penalty, public humiliation, discrimination, slander, and propaganda should be reserved for the worst criminals... NOT people you don't disagree with, and can't convince with any amount of propaganda to "tow the line".

Many people simply think morality comes from one's faith and atheists have no faith and so must be amoral, which they think is synonymous with immoral. My experiences are that atheists are the most moral group out there in many cases.

I agree!! According to Bush Sr.: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."<br />
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But I do believe things are shifting as overman pointed out. I'm hoping the younger generations will have the critical thinking skills and logic to help us become a more secular planet.

You make a good point, but I think that is changing.