I have often been accused of being arrogant and closed minded because I am openly atheist. It really annoys me because (and I know I am biased) I feel it is so far from the truth and very often the person who is saying this is describing themselves.
I am called closed minded because I am not 'open' to the idea of a GOD.
Now this is just stupid word play and essentially they are saying I am closed minded because I refuse to put my rationality and reason to one side and accept a concept simply on faith or tradition. Where else in life would someone actually think this is an OK thing to expect of you? Nowhere!! If your boss refused you a good pay rise and you asked why and he simply said "you just need to accept it as so", you would flip and demand a proper answer that treated you with respect.
I regularly am pointing out to people that I am not an atheist simply because I got bored with church or religion and was too lazy to go to Mass on Sunday. I researched, studied, questioned and THOUGHT about it and after a few years or soul searching (pun intendid) I realised that it makes no sense. The arguments are full of childish "yeah well in that case then...." type arguments that are there simply to plug holes in an increasingly weaker and weaker stance.
The irony is that these people often are the closed minded ones and will refuse to read about atheism or even entertain the point of view that God may be a myth. Even in the face of contrary evidence.
The arrogant tag is equally galling. I am arrogant because I do not go with the crowd, because I used my own mind and decided it was wrong.
Whereas they believe that a being that has the power to create a universe in 7 days, is superhuman, omnipident and omniscient, is listening to THEIR prayer for a good pay rise.
Liam, hands down one of the best to the point concise blog posts I have read in a while. I completely agree with everything you have said. Seriously to a T. I have been feeling exactly what you been feeling especially these last few days with visiting family and giving my point of views.
"The irony is that these people often are the closed minded ones and will refuse to read about atheism or even entertain the point of view that God may be a myth. Even in the face of contrary evidence."
"Whereas they believe that a being that has the power to create a universe in 7 days, is superhuman, omnipotent and omniscient, is listening to THEIR prayer for a good pay rise.
I know I am not being arrogant in being an atheist. I look at it as seeking the truth and knowing what is real and being open to others about it. This is a great post and I agree with everything you said.
Challenge it. If there's obvious bias, go to the dean. I was fortunate enough to be able to effect the curriculum in my philosophy class this semester, which had a rather religious bent. The instructor, who is a Catholic, was still a reasonable guy and was open to suggestion (and he found his examples didn't work so well with an atheist knocking them down week after week :P). There ought to be someone you can talk to about it. Is it a high school or college class (don't know how old you are, so no offense)? I would say something, or even address the instructor personally.
True--I've had one such philosophy professor who designed his class so that his students would fail (one time finishing the class in Old Italian). Obviously, the man was smart (and awfully full of himself), and I'm always up for a challenge. However, the class was also entry-level. I don't know about others, but I wouldn't think the best swimming instructor is the one begins lessons by tossing first-timers into the deep end.
I agree. Unfortunatly the man who is the worst for this is Richard Dawkins. Don't get me wrong, he is right in what he says (both in his anti religion stuff and evolutionary biology) but very often I find myself disagreeing with the manner in which he says it.
I have a brother in law who at one time he was all messed up over beer and cigarettes. Then, he went through a phase of being all messed up over Jesus. Now, he is an ordained Pentecostal and all messed up on church. We were conversing over an after Thanksgiving cordial with my second (of five) brother in law(s) and we entered into the realm of cosmic existence that stands outside the human experience. Their orientation is one of a supernatural Heaven and mine is one that does not require the supernatural or special cases such as "God done it." One of these BILs is a Pentecostal and the other is a Lutheran. They were comparing notes and I found their individual affirmations and orientations to delve a bit in elements that exceeded the usual certitudes of their faith vehicle to include the dismissal of the usual "young earth" notions and the possibility that their theism was more inclined to deism. I used that as a polite point to enter the third more naturalistic possibility of pervasive cosmic intelligence that is hinted at in quantum physics. I pointedly struck down all notions of a being and affirmed the quite elemental likelihood of something like beingness that does not stand in the shadow of the likeness of humanness to something that is not transitory like humanness. I presented that human is a way station and that such a way station, while delightful, will not be replicated in their heavenly limitations. That brought a great scoff from the Lutheran (a closet evolutionist) and a rebuke from the Pentecostal (the closet Deist) that included the reading of Paul's rebuke to the Greeks that was an apologetic for the "foolishness of the Cross." I was accused of arrogance and I was named, "You are those Greeks." They are both uncomfortable that I read and speak a passable classical and Biblical Greek along with an ability to read aloud both Aramaic and Hebrew.
I always seek to temper any assertions that I make for my non-theistic orientation in absence of dismissal of the opposing position. To do otherwise would truly be arrogant.
I think this most often comes up among (a) family and (b) decided people. Firstly, I've got to admit that most of the heated discussions I've ever had on any religious issue have been with family or very close friends. They tend to both expect the most out of us (which is in itself a bit selfish of them) and feel less enticed to be quiet, soft, or even respectful in tone. Secondly, it has to be said on any issue that if both parties have invested themselves so deeply into their conceptions, that there can be no external change. I am stubborn, they are stubborn; I'll take a bit of this blame. In my experience, I usually find that the argument dissolves when a newsbreak or touchdown comes in and the other party is instantly ready to change topics. It's almost always a failed effort, but that doesn't mean not trying. I salute you, sir.
I know religious people who try to get books discussing atheism or books that are written by atheist banned from local bookstores because they "know it isn't true and don't want other people reading lies". They believe the books are not true because it isn't what they were taught. That is arrogant.