Hello fellow non-believers!

I am new to TA but the question I pose is certainly not a fresh one: Can Atheists and Theists co-exist?

We all know that historically Theists and other Theists cannot co-exist peacefully. War and violence in the name of Religion has been widespread over the entirety of human existence, but it has to be said that civility between believers and non-believers in the modern age has been commonplace. Formal (mostly amicable) debates and the agreement on separation of church and state have somewhat proven this theory, right?

Do the majority of Atheists really strive for a world of empty churches, bible burning and the end of religion forever? Maybe some of us do, just as many Theists probably pray for the conversion of all Atheists to Theism.

What can we realistically hope to achieve as Atheists, and in your opinion is it possible to co-exist with the believers?

I'll leave you with some interesting quotes -

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
  - Criss Jami

"I'm noticing an exciting trend around the country: a resurgence of interest in Christian apologetics (the defense of the faith). This is a reaction to the current attacks on the essentials of Christianity that are coming from militant atheists, radical professors, and Internet gadflies."

- Lee Strobel

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

- Richard Dawkins

"Religion is part of the human make-up. It's also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy."

- Christopher Hitchens

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Hey Danny,

Do the majority of Atheists really strive for a world of empty churches, bible burning and the end of religion forever? Maybe some of us do, ...

I think the majority of atheists don't see this in their ideal view of what could be. But I do.

What can we realistically hope to achieve as Atheists, and in your opinion is it possible to co-exist with the believers?

It is possible to co-exist with believers under any conditions. The question I think you're getting at though, is can it be done peacefully and constructively? I think the answer to this is only if religiosity is a decidedly minority phenomenon. So, realistically, I think we can indeed see religiosity globally reduce to a minority practice within two or three generations, by education, science and explicit deconversion. In fact, if half the members of TA would commit to learning how to deconvert and "train the trainer" we could significantly reduce the practice of religion just here in the States, probably to a minority status, within a generation. The stumbling block is a willingness on the part of atheists to take deconversion seriously, imo.

- kk

- kk

As an ex-catholic, I still feel the twangs of grace or the sacred that sometimes influence my thought and awareness. To denigh these moments seems dishonest, and they seem to help me maintain a sense of beauty and wonder.

At the same time, I can see how talking to a priest about these moments, would only amount to a pontiflicating moment 'of yes my son'= been there done that. Looking at reality through just another lense, and then realizing the same thing seems a little off.

I could not bring myself to interfer excessivly with a theist perspective, but they could do with minor and long term course corrections.

Thank you for your honest answer, Kir.

In Australia, where I currently reside, the statistics show that at least 22.3% of the population are 'non-religious' and these numbers are growing every year. Actively informing citizens about critical thinking, reasoning and logic (by the Atheist community) is important if we are going to turn Atheism from minority to majority. The more free-thinkers we have in society, the more liberty we will enjoy, I think.

Hey Danny - spot on - I agree - kk

Hey - and you're welcome! - kk

@Danny - their own book says, "By their works shall ye know them," something they can hardly contradict. The effort expended to "de-convert," if spent in selfless acts to humanity, would do far more good in the world and give atheists an image that would be difficult to denigrate. If we can be "Good Without God," we need to show it.

I don't want to actively deconvert anybody because it seems just as bad as theists trying to convert atheists.  I don"t like it.  What I do think is crucial is to speak up for myself and make them aware that there are people who don't believe as they do.  I want some respect, basically.  Any theist worthy of converting me responds by acknowledging what I believe with actual respect and acceptance.  That is extremely rare in my experience.  

If somebody came to me specifically asking information about atheism and what I believe because he or she was contemplating deconversion, I would gladly provide whatever information I could to help the person find his or her way.

I am not sure how atheism and theism will ever peacefully coexist, but it seems clear to me that both sides will have to get used to dealing with the other because I don't see either going away.  

@Diane You are saying that we are not peacefully co-existing now? I wonder if the question is will Theists be able to peacefully co-exist with us not the other way around.

Will we become the next target in their target of violence in their crosshairs?

I think now that Atheists are playing the game smarter, and we are seeing success by organizations such as FFRF and others and actually winning noteable and publicized battles on issues by the current legal and societal rules, it is a different world. It is a world that xians especially those in the US have absolutely no experience living in.

They've enjoyed unchallenged and unquestioned majority rule forever, and we know what the devout, who are acting with the justification of power of a god in their brains are capable of when they feel backed into a corner with their absolute control slipping away from them.

My concern is are theists capable of living with us as their role and position of power in the world is slowly and continually diluted.


You make a very good point Marc.

Theists have enjoyed an overwhelming position of dominance for centuries. In most nations it is still taboo to question someones faith, or to denounce one's religious beliefs, even if they have no evidence to back up their supernatural claims.

People still take great offense to it and Atheists are often condemned for being intolerant, arrogant or in poor taste for challenging the beliefs of Theists. However, when Theism was strong, to be a vocal non-believer meant risking your life. We must never forget this when Theists say their feelings are hurt. They play the sympathy card way to often when confronted.

We must do anything we can to change the mentality of society from this backward logic and build toward a society where reason and critical thinking is valued over superstition and religious dogma.

Thanks Danny,
I agree that we need to do anything we can as long as 'anything we can' does not include an offensive military attack.

Then of course, the crusades were simply a defensive reaction to mulsim aggression, perhaps that is the way it will go down if/when we are targeted.
"crusades were simply a defensive reaction to mulsim aggression"

Actually the crusades were the church's solution to the infighting between the European lords, and a way to preserve it's power on the continent.
The call of the crusades wasn't to defend Europe, it was to CONQUER the Holy Land in the name of God.
@Milo's Thanks my sarcasm stands corrected ;^)


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