Ok here is the deal.
Whether through humor, or just plain spite I have noticed on this site, and among some of the leadership in our Atheist community that in order to look out for our view of the world it is necessarily to belittle religion.
To an extent I get it, it's a joke, or hey Atheists have experienced discrimination at the hands of the vocal religious majority, most notably Christians. So it is ok.
I'm sorry, but I just don't think it is. I am an Atheist because I don't believe in God. But the great perk of being an Atheist is that I am not a part of an organized religion that systematically condemns fellow human beings. Or so I thought, because I am discovering that some Atheists operate under the self-proclaimed assumption that they are smarter than anyone that is religious, and use that power to condemn the masses. Sure, it is not a sentence to hell, but it is still an insult.
Furthermore there are Atheists that engage in arguments and debates with Christians mostly about religion vs. non-religion. Although well reasoned, it seems these debates are meant to cure the religious of their "faith." That more than anything disgusts me. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, I would have thought more than any belief system that Atheists would understand that. Besides, isn't it annoying when Christian try and convert the masses to their religion. Isn't engaging in aggressive religion vs. reason debates doing the exact same thing?
I'm sorry. I am having trouble being a part of this community right now because of some of the things I am seeing. I guess I just want to know that there are people out there that agree with me. Please let me know if you do. If you want to debate, I can't say I am too suprised, go ahead.
In summation I am not saying every Atheist is like this, I'm not. There are the Minnesota Atheists who clean up a stretch of highway that I travel on the way to school, and there was that bathroom posting on this very site a few days ago that said "There is no god, so that means we must take care of each other." That is the kind of Atheism that I love and support. And that is the kind of Atheist I hope to be.
Thank you so much, I have already started.
I don't think there is anything wrong with debate or even trying to change someone's worldview unless it is done disrespectfully or against that individual's will. The primary purpose for debate should be to find the truth for YOURSELF, and the secondary purpose is to help the other person to find the truth, whether that be your belief or theirs or neither. If someone is completely unwilling to listen to your arguments and constantly replies with insults, don't bother debating them. Conversely, if you are debating someone and they use an argument that you think is stupid, don't tell them that you think they are stupid, simply explain why you think that argument is wrong with kindness. You all know what self-righteousness is, but what about the same thing with intelligence? (The term for this escapes me) But you know what I mean. Don't think and act like you know it all, and show respect for the other person. :)
Thank you for your reply.
I am not quite sure where I stand on the issue of personally changing someone's worldview. I don't really think it can be done. I think that is something very personal that someone has to discover on their own, but of course if people were searching and asked me I suppose I would be happy to tell them about what I believe. I would never have the ulterior motive of converting them though. That just seems wrong to me. I agree with your debate and conversational ettiquette, the first step in having an important conversation or debate is to have respect for the other on both sides.
I think you're right on this one. :)
I dont go knocking on their front door spreading the good news of atheism, i am not shouting about my atheism from the street corner, i am not harrasing people on the street to join my disbelief. to be honest 95% of all the arguments i have had with theists is upon them learning i was an atheist and trying to change my world view. but maybe you are talking more about people like richard dawkins, the "militant" atheists , maybe you think those type of people should just shut up and bow their heads in silence? let me ask you this. do you think the gay movement would have ever got anywhere if its proponents had just shut up and not rocked the boat? where exactly do you think the gay movement would be now if its "militant" proponents had taken the course of leat resistance that think is the best option? should they respect the other persons opinion that being gay is an abomination and that they are evil and deserve eternal punishment?
"I agree with your debate and conversational ettiquette, the first step in having an important conversation or debate is to have respect for the other on both sides." be real here. if you are arguing against someone who wants to bring back slavery of blacks should you respect his opinion? or how about those neonazis or holocaust deniers? now i know that these are the extremes but it shows the absurdidty of respecting someones opinion regardless of how wrong or ill informed that opinion is
Do you think if you just yell at those neonazis and holocaust deniers that they are idiots it will seriously yield better results than if you were to sit down and explain why they are wrong and how serious the propositions they make really are? Respecting someone's opinion doesn't mean you agree with it, it is just how you respond to it. And hatred is never the right response no matter how offensive they can be. :)
I like your input. But I sstill disagree. I think if someone is completely unwilling to listen to reason and their beliefs/actions severely offend someone, then there is nothing you can do and nothing you SHOULD do but ignore it. Hating them might bring the temporary satisfaction of scaring them off or shutting them up but it never lasts and it only damages the individual even more than they already are. However, if an individual PHYSICALLY damaging people be it because of his or her beliefs or any other reason.. well thats what we have prison for. And believe it or not people can be punished ot of kindness. Hatred still never comes into play. :)
We have come to an agreement. :)
I agree that religeon in mass is a detriment, and to a certain extent ANY realigeon.
However I see the subject like this, just as folks here don't want beligerance in any open discussion, atheists only fuel the fire of "well of course they're like that" with negative rhetoric.
Now there are times where a little more "forceful" approach is neccesary.
I didn't necessarily come to TA to debate, but be around other like minded individuals, and I have different stances on this than some of my respected friends do here, and that's fine with me, at least there is open dicussion.
If anything it disproves the stereotype atheists have, we don't ALL agree. I don't think any individual truelly does.
I have no problem with debate, I guess I just have to be in the mood for it, and I would much prefer to do it face to face. I am somewhat bothered by the anonymity of the internet.
I do agree with your point that these conversations allow us to grow and develop our beliefs more thouroughly. I feel like I have already done that today.
Shalee, you seem like a tolerant person, so perhaps it just comes down to how tolerant you want to be with your fellow atheists. Like you, I see a lot of negativity towards religion, but I also see a lot of diversity in the threads which are nothing of the sort. Remember that quite often atheists are assailed here in their own space by Christian trolls, and they tend to attract a lot of negative response. I'm thinking perhaps that lingers through other topics as well.
But generally yes, I am also the kind of atheist who prefers the positive values of a secular, humanistic and science-based world view to the reactionary, critical focus on organized religion -- which in the end usually turns out fruitless and boring.