There seems to be some who have the attitude that religious people are BAD people. If a religious person does anything good in their life it is seen by some that they are only doing it for their eternal life not for the sake of doing something good. As if the only thing they live for is their eternal so-called reward in heaven. 

Is it black and white?

Are they bad people just because they believe in God? There are many good people who are believers. Many. They may not have fully thought through WHY they believe in God or the evidence that supports that there IS no evidence for a God or they would be Atheists. But just because they haven't walked the same journey you have in life, or were born in to a religious family, does this make them a bad person?

Some of you seem to think that just because a person believes in a God, this somehow makes them bad. If you truly believe this I have a questions for you:

Who are YOU to judge another person like that? Are you not then just as judgmental and closed minded as the very people who you say are bad people? Does this make YOU a bad person?

Think about it.

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Tom - I agree.  On a related note, from the Buddhist psychotherapist, John Welwood:  

"The word compassion literally means “feeling with.”  You can’t have compassion unless you’re first willing to feel what you feel.  Opening to what you feel reveals a certain rawness and tenderness—what Trungpa Rinpoche spoke of as the “soft spot,” which is the seed of bodhicitta [kindheartedness]." 

People who really know themselves can understand others better.  People who can admit their badness can understand it in others. 

Richard Dawkins doesn't know when to shut up.  In my opinion, in his position, he should be more responsible and just use his brain more.  If I've come up with an alternative - he should have done the same, it wasn't difficult, and he's much more brainy than me. 

Belle, I think it's up to you to present some kind of alternative position which other people can learn from and follow.  If you've got the ideas - you put them together, since no-one else is going to.  That's all that RD does.  His ideas aren't even particularly good.  He just has a big mouth and lots of money.  He's in a position of authority since he went to Cambridge and is a famous scientist, and is very brainy.  Well, we all have a brain and a computer.  It's all about the D.I.Y. action.  

How many atheists I wonder could say the same thing about a theist.

Richard Dawkins would be one of them. He and the ex Archbishop of Canterbury were quite friendly and he respects him a great deal.

What if being a free thinker involved the ability to identify with religions to the extent that you could refute their claims based on their own language?

How can you refute fantasy with fantasy, Belle? How can someone refute claims that present no evidence, based on other claims that present no evidence?

It would require some humbling and empathy.

It would require circular logic, fallacies and using "feeling" as proof. None of which is humbling. It is embarrassing and detrimental to any debate or meaningful discussion.

But it would go a longer way in allowing atheists to be heard for what atheism really is as opposed to turning people off with contempt and ridicule.

Daniel Dennett for one, is very mild and polite in his interaction with theists and he is one of the "four horsemen". Hemant Mehta is the "Friendly Atheist" yet his voice tends to be cast down with the "hateful" atheists. Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheists) often has theists as guests on his show, and often is a guest on theist shows, and is very kind and respectful, yet Seth gets countless hate messages and posts on his facebook page, in his email and so on.

How many atheists send death threats to theists, Belle? What if being a theist involved the ability to identify with non believers to the extent that you could speak to them without labeling them as baby eating monsters or feeling the need to "save them"?

That is why most atheists treat theists with ridicule and contempt, Belle. Because they treat us with worse.

"That is why most atheists treat theists with ridicule and contempt, Belle. Because they treat us with worse."

But Milos, these are the morals of the playground.  Would it not be nice for atheism to move forward - past the age of 8? 

"What if being a free thinker involved the ability to identify with religions to the extent that you could refute their claims based on their own language? It would require some humbling and empathy. But it would go a longer way in allowing atheists to be heard for what atheism really is as opposed to turning people off with contempt and ridicule.

With the emphasis on the free and thinker

@Belle -

"... the ability to identify with religions to the extent that you could refute their claims based on their own language?"  

I don't see any need to refute their claims.  There's nothing inherently wrong with believing in God - or even inaccurate.  I see a need for religious people sometimes to become less confused about what's important. 

Milos: Because they treat us with worse.

Some of them, most of them, or all of them?

Does it matter to you?

Bad?

Not generally no. I tend to keep them further from me, not letting them get as close, not telling them as much as I would normal people, not joking with them like I would my normal friends, but they're not bad. They CAN be bad, but so can any single person you meet, religious or not, black, white, whatever. Anyone can do bad things and be considered a bad person for doing those bad things.

Bad really isn't the word for it.

Ignorant is.

Frankly, I do not like theists.

I think, for the most part, the religious ones are ignorant mightier-than-thou pricks.

But then again, non-religious theists are much more common where I live. Most people here identify with a religion, but never pick up a bible and never go to church. I like those theists.

You don't like theists.

I like those who lead theists less; they are con artists, swindlers.

People are born neutral and it comes down to how they are raised to how they view the world. It is more than black and white but religious or not is not the defining factor in what makes someone good or bad. The definition of what is bad is an individual one for the most part but also to an extent is the concept of good. A person may do something good with the belief that it will benefit them in some way, but is the good they have done undone by this belief? No the good was still done and visa-versa with bad . There is an old saying some of the worst decisions where made with the best intentions in mind.
Peace be the Journey

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