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."
It's not even a case of being able to challenge their beliefs, it's the huge number of theists who feel that our very existence or our mere statement of our beliefs is an affront. Let alone finding it an affront that a government which is supposed to protect all of our rights is supposed to remain strictly neutral on religion.
The theists who have that attitude will ultimately have to either change or they will end up reaching for a gun (or getting the government to do it for them) someday.
So far I've not heard of Xian-on-atheist violence in the US.
But there has been plenty of threats and bullying. And when the bullies find out their threatening doesn't work, we'll see them either back off or double down. I hope it's the former. But I suspect we WILL sometime in our lifetimes see some atheist get killed over this, probably by some random bunch of rednecks.
They don't have to convert, just be willing to live with us, and treat atheism as being as valid as they treat another sect of Xianity.
Yes, I certainly think that theists and atheists can coexist peacefully. There are examples of this all over the place. Of course there are examples of theists and atheists not coexisting peacefully too.
As for the question converting others to atheism... I don't like the idea of actively trying to convert others to atheism. I don't like it when people try to actively convert me so why would I do it to them? I am all for speaking out and letting people know who we are and that it's ok to ask questions and be curious. I'm all for informing others, so that they have a better understanding of what atheism is and isn't. I'm all for answering questions and being honest (but not rude) about what I really think. I'm all for teaching our children critical thinking skills and exposing them to a variety of ideas (funny thing is most theists are too).
Sure! They go to their church, I go to my bar, and we can all skip along together! (Though I may not skip quite as well on my way back --)
Kristy, I can assure you that I have spent far more time on my knees, calling on god, before an open toilet stool in a bar, than I ever have in church - tequila is NOT my friend! "Oh, god!"
"Evolve?" - I hadn't thought of that, I suppose I could give it a try --
I suspect it's a question of relativity - no one is more annoying than I am, just ask Unseen.