Hi there everyone!
A friend of mine linked me to a news story that was on here a bit ago, and I figured I'd check the site out a bit more. I'm hoping that a site like this, I'll find more people that fall in with my beliefs a bit better.
Been an atheist for quite a bit, now, about 5 years or so. I don't believe in religion or God, but my main problem is that most atheists I've met have been completely down on the idea of religion. I respect people with religion greatly, though, and that's where I usually hit the disconnect. The idea that you can believe in something that you can't see is amazing to me, and to have that sort of faith in something is great. There are bad apples on both sides, of course, with people looking down on atheists as well as the other way around, which is why I usually stay out of the fray if given the choice.
My atheist friends won't stop downtalking, and my religious friends don't know I'm an atheist. I'm hoping here, I'll meet my happy medium. So, hello to you all!
Welcome to TA Nicholas :)
That's my bad for not being entirely clear, there.
I'm starting to slowly let my religious friends know of my beliefs. Some are more than ok with that, and some have stopped talking to me. Really there's only one that I haven't told yet on purpose, which I suspect is because he's my best friend, and I don't really know how he'd react. More of a fear thing than anything.
I guess this touches on one reason why many atheists are down on religion. Now, I make no statement on your friends or on their respect for you as a person, but if atheism was respected in your cultural circle, why would being openly atheist be this much of an issue? It's very difficult to be respectful when that respect isn't mutual. Obviously not all religious people and religious values are disrespectful and marginalizing of atheism (or other groups), but still is pretty common.
Hello and welcome to Think Atheist!
First of all, I would like to make a clear distinction between religious belief (specifically theism) and religious people. Our philosophy tends to be something along the lines of, "People deserve respect, but ideas must earn it." Keep in mind that while being an atheist tells you nothing about what a person believes, many atheists are also humanists. One of the humanist goals is to be kind to and cooperate with others who have differing yet humane beliefs. So yes, on one hand we do not allow any hate speech or bigotry to be directed at theists on this site. (Theists come here from time to time).
On the other hand, however, it sounds to me like you are someone who "believes in belief" when you make this statement:
"The idea that you can believe in something that you can't see is amazing to me, and to have that sort of faith in something is great."
Belief in belief is something you will probably not find much support for here. While we certainly respect religious people themselves, we tend not to automatically respect their beliefs simply because they believe them. For example, most Christians believe that atheists will burn in hell for eternity for not excepting Jesus into our hearts. Many Muslims believe that atheists are physically impure, and that physical contact with us transfers that impurity to them. They need to wash themselves in a special way before prayer to cleanse off the dirtiness of the non-believer. Why should such beliefs be respected simply because they are held by certain religious people? We tend to prefer to be honest about the vast differences in our world views and encourage open discussion rather than trying to pretend that no differences exist. This is also why we tend to encourage critical thinking skills and honest rational inquiry rather than simply pushing for atheism.
Agreed Apple. The part you quoted leapt out at me too. A big 'why?' is in order there.