As a proud nonbeliever I watch documentaries on any given religious topic with a bias, a rather notable one. What I've found though is that, while on our side we have facts, logic, reason, and for the most part good intentions, we go about the whole thing with too much hostility. The religious people that convert and maintain faith are honestly good people who also have good intentions, as far as I can tell they all truly have faith and want to help those without. 

Even if the facts on our side are stronger, love doesn't flow from facts and unfortunately that is how the argument is presented from our side most of the time, as facts. Not to mention all the angry protests I have seen against the holy this or that. 

This is my main point, calm down Atheists. If you are forced to argue instead of debate, keep a cool head, and argue the indisputable facts with a smile. Sure, many of them are very stupid and will make this easy on you but the faster we can take the rage from our words, the faster our words will be heard.

Tags: Fry, Keenan, presentation

Views: 640

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Arguing is futile. Levelheaded debate is more a rarity but preserves some chance of the opposite side considering what you have to say. For theists the emotionality of the subject can be hard to keep under control. You have to try and remember that their belief system is a core part of their being and they will become defensive quickly. Arguing only increases the divide and makes the prospects of a theist taking you serious less remote.

For theists the emotionality of the subject can be hard to keep under control. You have to try and remember that their belief system is a core part of their being and they will become defensive quickly.

Replace the word theists in the above with atheists and the statement remains true.

Also, I would prefix both words with the modifier some.

As a proud nonbeliever I watch documentaries on any given religious topic with a bias, a rather notable one. What I've found though is that, while on our side we have facts, logic, reason, and for the most part good intentions, we go about the whole thing with too much hostility.

Every poll that has ever studied the subject has found atheists to be the most despised and mistrusted minority group in America. If you doubt it, post comments as an atheist on 'news' websites popular with the mainstream Christian right and brace yourself for all the "good intentions" you'll get in response.

From an international perspective, being an atheist (or just an apostate) in many parts of the world means a savage beating at best or a death sentence at worst. Make no mistake. Theists have cornered the market on hostility, often to murderous extremes, and it is directed at and inflicted upon atheists.

I am responding to that hostility. I believe most atheists do. I am indifferent to UFO chasers, palm readers, cranial sacral therapists, ghost hunters and astrologers. They are not making public school kids profess belief in ghosts, putting "In UFOs We Trust" on courtroom walls, using tax dollars to build palm reading schools, banning same-sex marriage because the stars say so, or oppressing those who protest their quackery. If they did, I would resist them too.

So what is 'too much hostility' on our parts, Keenan? Firm language? Raised voices? Outrage at what they do? You'd better get used to it.

The religious people that convert and maintain faith are honestly good people who also have good intentions, as far as I can tell they all truly have faith and want to help those without.

Do tell. Where does this fit in?

Even if the facts on our side are stronger, love doesn't flow from facts and unfortunately that is how the argument is presented from our side most of the time, as facts. Not to mention all the angry protests I have seen against the holy this or that.

If love flows from anywhere, it's from fact-based truth, not holy falsehood.

This is my main point, calm down Atheists. If you are forced to argue instead of debate, keep a cool head, and argue the indisputable facts with a smile. Sure, many of them are very stupid and will make this easy on you but the faster we can take the rage from our words, the faster our words will be heard.

No theist ever encountered a fact he could not dispute or ignore, no matter how much evidence it rests upon. (They all do this to some degree or another, or 'faith' would be unnecessary.) As such, arguing with 'stupid' theists-- the ones who ignore scientific facts-- really is a waste of time. That is, unless you have an audience. Within that audience, count on a few non-stupid people to "hear" your words. They're the ones I do it for. The religious crackpots I debate (or argue) with are nearly always a lost cause.

Taken as a matter of effective public speaking: it's fairly well established that in a debate with a neutral audience, the debater who gets cold and angry is more often seen as having lost the debate, while the reverse is true for the debater who seems warm and in good humor.

I know where you are coming from and to a point I agree with you. Bear with me on that.

I have regular debates with theists of various denominations. I can debate “Atheism” all day long. I can debate for the sake of debate, for intellectual or philosophical reasons. Some play the guitar, I debate theists. I am interested in getting people to challenge their own beliefs and in particular their doubts. I try to be as civilised as possible and allow people to see that not all Atheists are devil worshipers. Many theists that engage in these debates are scared of what “losing their faith” means to them. That is often why they are antagonistic towards Atheists.  It is not easy for them, especially those from fundamentalist cults to understand how much better off they would be if they became Atheists.

 I want to help lead them to a world of reason and to see how much more beautiful a life of discovery can be. The biggest thing for many when they do look back after a few months living life as an Atheist is the sense of freedom they now have. They have freed themselves from the mental enslavement of religious indoctrination and superstitious beliefs.

I know some are saying “Why bother” but I see it as helping another person to become free. I am happy for them but the reward is all theirs. When the head Jehovah Witness calls to my house to insist I leave “his people” alone I speak to him with a lot less anger than he speaks to me with. (Atheists 4,  J.W.’s 0). He now calls to debate me on a regular basis and we have mutual respect for each other. Maybe someday…..

However when I see any encroachment by any religion into the education or political system then I am a different animal. I have no time for any of it. They can all get the fuck out of public life. Any attempt to influence how I should live or act is met with my abhorrence of their vulgar religion. I will not even attempt to reach a meeting of minds with them on any point where they are encroaching into the secular world. I will do my best to thwart them on all fronts. I despise organised religions and while it makes me angry, my anger is directed towards them in a calm level headed manner that will leave any apologist in no doubt that I am their enemy. I want them gone. I am not interested in compromise. I want to live in a completely secular country (world) and will do my part to help get us there. Ok, something much milder from Greta.

Ok, something much milder from Greta.

Love it, Reg.

I'm just saying we can't get across to them if we're both angry, you seem to be angry at even the suggestion of a calm approach. I don't understand.

I have no problem with a calm debate with people about their personal beliefs. I will defend their right to believe whatever they want to believe. Once they cross the line and try to have their religion elevated to a special or privileged position in public life it becomes a different matter. Organised religion is a carbuncle on the back of humanity. It is a poison to the advancement of humanity. Yes, it is that bad. I will not give it an inch. It is long past its use by date. I openly blaspheme it in a country where blasphemy is a crime. I am not interested in any form of compromise with any organised religion. It is my enemy.

I'm just saying we can't get across to them if we're both angry, you seem to be angry at even the suggestion of a calm approach. I don't understand.

I won't presume to speak for the others, but there were two aspects to my response.

The first was that it's okay to feel anger-- the emotion ranging from slight irritation to total rage-- which is the natural response when something violates our sense of justice, fairness or reason. As an atheist in a belligerently theistic world, I have plenty to be angry about, but never is my anger constant and rarely does it get beyond irritation. I do not find this troubling at all. I also don't feel the need to defend or spare the religious from anger (mine or anyone else's) that is just, fair and reasonable and a result of the harm done by their religion. 

The second was an acknowledgement that too much anger sometimes puts up barriers to communication and receptiveness, either by clouding judgement or turning off the intended audience. On this, I was agreeing with your point, although I don't think it applies to atheists any more or less than to anyone else.

While I have seen my share of anger in atheists, I have only rarely witnessed what I would call "too much" anger. That is, anger that is unjust, unfair or unreasonable. On the contrary, most of the angry atheists I've encountered in my travels-- from Dawkins, to Harris, to Hitchens, to some of the folks on this board-- show remarkable restraint in getting their points across. This goes especially in dealing with religious who treat atheists with condescension and dishonesty, or defend abhorrent things like child rape or female genital mutilation.

I used to feel mostly the same way, and I still consciously try to avoid the more hateful, one-way, anti-communications.

Meanwhile, I've decided to accept that there are hateful, bad examples on both sides, and commit to being a good example when I can. This means assuming that people are basically sincere to start with, even if they're so sure of themselves they feel that throwing rocks somehow helps their cause... or maybe it just makes them feel better, venting on a particularly stressful day. At least here, the damage isn't physical.

Who are the real movers and shakers of the world, and who are remembered best by history? Isn't it the wise, non-violent ones? I don't think it's hate that unties the knots of slavery, suppression of women, or suppressive idealism (like religion). Anger and fear produce big mistakes, like righteous, knee-jerk invasion of countries, or reduction of personal freedoms for "security" reasons. Such acts also border on being unconstitutional, despite the flag-waving furor behind them.

Anyway, I'm sometimes embarrassed by angry atheists, but I still have to understand where they're coming from. All I can do is try to find ways to emphasize what I think are the positive and most effective ways to do good things. I'm not here for the mudfights. The goal for me is critical thinking, which includes questioning any absolute proclamations made by anyone.

Reg, Gallup, Korsan, and the Pope nailed it. Religion is a virus and we are the only cure. And let me remind you that the religious have no intent or belief that the world and humankind go on. Their scriptures and leaders are hell-bent on the end-of-times prophesy and they aim to see it through. Think the Reverend Jim Jones on a grand scale. Al-hah Snack Bar, The Rapture, Take me Jesus.

Dear me.   Not to jump in with any facts to mess with your world-view, but what you describe with respect to "rapture" applies to only a fraction of one somewhat odd branch of one religion, not to "the religious", and its an unfair characterization of most of them.

This perhaps is a good example of the original poster's point, however.  As a Catholic I read statements like this and immediately dismiss them as ignorant, even more than I do with our apocalyptic Baptist brethren.  

The religious are seeking the end of humanity in some form of mass murder-suicide?  That sort of calumny to me illustrates the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of atheism.   It shouldn't be necessary to dehumanize and vilify others to make a point, and if it is necessary then your argument probably isn't very good.  The people who make such bizarre claims to stir up hatred or fear of another group are the ones who themselves lead pogroms or genocides and inspire others to do so.

So the result of the approach is the natural one to any anti-intellectual hate speech.  It's revulsion by people of good will.   I'm not sure how you can make your point that way.

But surely Bob your faction also has an “end of days” scenario. Do you not believe that your god will return to this planet and that there will be a day of reckoning where you and your fellow believers will join this god in Heaven and that the “intellectually and morally bankrupt” Atheists like me will burn for eternity? Are you now saying you do not believe this?  Is that not the prize you have been promised?

RSS

Support T|A

Think Atheist is 100% member supported

All proceeds go to keeping Think Atheist online.

Donate with Dogecoin

Members

Forum

Science Isn't About Truth

Started by Ari E. S. in Philosophy. Last reply by Simon Paynton 1 hour ago. 22 Replies

Blog Posts

Seeing the man in the child.

Posted by Diane on April 19, 2014 at 9:52am 1 Comment

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Into life hacks? Check out LabMinions.com

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service