first .. I'm not even atheist, I am agnostic. (but I'm still going to hell.)

There are some situations in which I feel the need to defend religion and its followers from hateful atheists.

Everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, and to worship what they want to worship. There is no rule in any lawbook that says otherwise. You can be Jewish, Buddhist, you can worship the ground, nature, space, or goats. It doesn't matter, you have that right as a citizen. (Now, keep in mind I'm talking about America because I am not sure about other places.)

There are Christians who openly bash and persecute peoples of different religions and cultures. There are Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist people who do the same thing. Pagans and Wiccans, Satanists, and Atheists.

And unfortunately..

There are some atheist people out there who are unforgiving and unrelenting in their bashing and hatefulness towards peoples of any religion.

The one thing I was taught in life were morals and ethics. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Christians preach love for all, and there is a bible verse in which it says (roughly, don't know word for word)"He who gets slapped in one cheek, turn the other and ask no questions, for it is your duty to forgive." I took this to mean that you should let people walk on you. Of course, they don't, and neither does an atheist. Unless that's your personality.

So occasionally, I will meet an atheist whose purpose in life is to be hateful towards Christian people. I feel ashamed of these people. I am, as agnostic, a part of this "disbelieving blasphemous group" and people like those who actively seek to be hateful offend me. Their screams of "GOD ISN'T REAL, YOU'RE A STUPID MORON AND YOU NEED TO JUST KILL YOURSELF AND GO TO YOUR HEAVEN SO THE REST OF US CAN LIVE PEACEFULLY" and etc are offensive to me.

They are the types of atheists that religious people think of when they think of atheists. It is human nature to take a little bit of good and a mouthful of bad, and then complain and bitch and moan about the bad, while ignoring that tiny piece of goodness.
These are the same atheists that scream respect from religious people and tell the religious people they are not following their God's wishes by being angry and spiteful in return.

This comes back to, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Religious people can be just as hateful, but I am not talking about that group, I am talking about OUR group. They should be ashamed of themselves just as much as hateful atheists should be ashamed of theirs.

Sorry this was so long and I hope I don't lose any friends over it. It's just something I was thinking about.

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Seriously, Ralph. Lost all respect. You obviously have an agenda and are blinded by your passion on this, or else you would not continue to ignore what I tell you in favor of your incorrect interpretation of my words, and in some cases blatant misrepresentations, that fit your paranoid delusions.

Reggie, I have a very deep respect for Ralph McRae. He is an ardent supporter and champion of various human rights issues, including women's fundamental human rights, namely the right to bodily autonomy — something that too few people in this country care about due to the normalization of cruelty and abuse towards women.

Ralph, like myself, believe that it is important to address this fundamental human rights issue as well as working to ameliorate poverty, religiously-inspired classism, and political disempowerment of countless Americans.

I happen to know Ralph very well. He is my friend, and he is an atheist, but he does not believe that the ONLY thing atheists should be concerned about is eradicating religion. He believes we need to work on eradicating the hate religion has caused over the course of the past several centuries and to encourage people to question religion on their own. I don't believe it is fair to say Ralph is here to proselytize and say that he has a theist agenda. I may have some points of disagreement with him on this particular issue, but I still deeply respect him and all of the contributions he has made to this site.

As an aside: Many moderates in Catholics For Choice have begun questioning their doctrine on their own simply by being involved with the pro-choice movement because of recognizing the importance of valuing women's lives. They did not need to be beaten over the head and told how stupid they were for believing in a Sky Daddy. They began questioning this on their own...because many of us pro-choice feminists have corrupted them. It is through this that many will come into atheism. ::wink::
@ Rich - Because I am convinced you are having trouble making the connections, I will spell out why female genital mutilation was brought to the fore. You thought it was for shock value only, I guess. In cultures that practice it, the very women who were victims of it subject their daughters and granddaughters to this practice. They are convinced it is for the greater good and the benefit of their girls. If you, a man who sees value in terrorizing children, were to object to this practice in that culture and even dared call it abuse, they would accuse you of "watering down" the term. Is that more clear? It really is a simple point I am making about your ill defined position on the matter of abuse.
This is my belief of why atheist must not relent to theists claims. This first part goes a bit off track of your post but I will come back and respond to your post at the end.
Here is an important fact regarding theist: According to most religions, especially the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), there is an apocalyptic aspect that allows theist to agree with global catastrophe as part of God’s will. I have heard things such as Orthodox Jews claiming that 9/11 and even the Holocaust happened because Jews throughout the world weren’t being observant enough. We are all familiar with the New Testament book of Revelations and its predictions of global catastrophes. I think that when religions are more agreeable to these concepts, they are less likely to attempt to find solutions to prevent them from happening because it is God’s will. I believe either Sam Harris or Dan Dennett put this concept to the extreme by evoking a logical argument of possible Nuclear war and the possibility that as the conflicts arise, religion will accept such global behavior as the end of the world, the return (or first coming) of the Messiah, and will not put enough thought or effort into controlling the global conflict. This is only a concept, but it has a reasonable outcome.
The theists and this way thinking puts all of humanity at risk of extinction, and as if warfare on behalf of religion wasn’t enough. Theists have been able to manipulate the population into believing that science is merely another belief and not true evidence. Science is the only tool for human survival that can objectively find theories that work and can be replicated.
Now, after I have made my argument for why Atheist should be bold, stand out and up against Theists, I will respond to your posting.
I, like you are ashamed of people who are hateful and that discriminate against others for any reason. It is not only a dark spot on groups of people, but a dark spot on all of humanity. I disagree with all forms of acts of violence towards other living beings. The only difference of our viewpoints is that I take into account proportionality. Richard Dawkins defends this point very well in the God Delusion in the chapter on the Moral -Zeitgeist. Throughout history there are a significantly higher number of cases of discrimination from Theists than from Atheists. As I noted on you posting, one of the replies was that the majority of Atheist are more likely to be Humanist. With this in perspective, I do not feel as sorry for the Theist as I do the Atheist. Especially in the Bible belt of the United States, discrimination against Atheists is very high. I do believe that a percentage of the Atheist population in the United States feel suppressed which this would account for outburst of discrimination. Even though I understand those who are hateful towards Theists, I do, however, agree that acts of discriminatory violence brought on by Atheists do not help our image as Atheists.
Examples of religious abuse abound, Neil, but just because some religious upbringings are abusive does not mean that they all are. For example, a family that brings up their children to believe in God and go to church, but also encourages their children to learn, to think for themselves, does not teach intolerance, doesn't teach provably false 'facts', and encourages critical thinking I would not call abusive. I prefer not to paint with too broad of a brush.

Now, I also think that the dangers of abusive religious upbringings are understated and generally overlooked as part the 'free pass' that religion tends to be given.
"Provable" does indeed come into play, which is why I included it. :)
Does anybody say that those things in your list aren't abusive?

And your last line here is EXACTLY like a religious person putting his religion beyond the argument. You have learned their lesson well!
Your opinion is very, very wrong.

Why, exactly, did you say it was "just my opinion"? Did you mean that you couldn't, shouldn't, or wouldn't defend it with rational argument?
I don't necessarily hate the religious people, I hate religion. My family is religious as are a lot of my friends. I disagree with them but I don't hate them. But I have to admit I do feel hate towards people who are like "kill the gays and burn the heathens..." etc. But yes, there are some atheists who are way too hateful.

And your blog is not that long actually.
Well I do like some of what Jesus was supposed to have said, like 'by their fruits you shall know em' ... often ppl can be lovely in practice even though you don't agree with their so-called views ... does that makes sense at all?
yes, everyone has the right to believe what they want, but that isnt being threatened by "bashing." yes bashing speaks down to them and insults them but that is in no way stripping them of that right. If they do subside strictly to evade the bashing then they have given up that right themselves.

Having said that, i dont condone insulting others and here is why. If i am talking to a christian and i say that theyre an idiot and such, then i am giving us atheists a bad name. Attacking the person does not help us convince another person. Our whole basis of this philosophy is logic and taking emotion out of thoughts so that we dont grow dependent on a theistic religion.

Mind you again im not saying dont do it because if you do, its mean, but dont do it because that will close the others mind even farther.

Still that is when talking to a religious person. when you talk to other atheists then i have no problem insulting them.
Anyhoo i'm with roy n cynthia re the commandment to take the weekend off ... think i read somewhere the sabbath idea came originally from iran maybe the zoroastrians?? Not sure when it became 2 days ... sorry if this is slightly off topic ;)


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