Have you ever noticed how much fun it is to preach to the choir? When everybody agrees with everything you say you can walk away confirmed that you are right with the world. Lately I have been irritated with the news and talk radio hosts. They have been preaching to the choir so much that they all just pat themselves on the back and agree with each other. When someone calls in to dissagree with them they are short with them or cut them off and talk about their own stuff. So all the callers have become people with the same religion talking politics in the same way day after day. They have cut the diversity out of talk radio. I love to hear what other people are thinking, especially about religion and especially if they are going to include their religion into politics. The politicians who reveal their religious beliefs are putting up a poster that says " If you don't have the same religion as I do then don't vote for me"

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It is easier to cut short the voices of dissent than to debate with them. The problem with theists is that they only reaffirm their beliefs by meeting people with the same beliefs rather than reaffirming them by having them challenged. They only tolerate like-minded people to get their biases confirmed. If they had to deal with challenges then they would end up becoming Atheists!!

 Reaffirmation is one factor learning new info/arguments is the other. It's no different than me listening to an Atheist podcast or even interacting with a site such as Think Atheist.

 You are doing the same as they are with this post. And when people come to this site with a difference of opinion then they get about the same treatment.

 "when the nail pops up it gets hammered down."

-Mac Lethal

 "It becomes a question of degrees and perhaps principle."

"when people come to this site with a difference of opinion then they get ABOUT the same treatment."

 I do understand your point but what I was trying to illustrate was that it's human nature -it seems -to do that. I don't want to hear what those jackass' have to say in defense of their make believe God. I could care less if they were banned from this site. They most likely won't change their minds after having visited this site. Get'em out of here for all I care. 

 I don't have anymore desire to call in to a right wing religious program than I have to go into a Klan rally to try to reason with them... That would be idiotic of me. Why? (among the obvious reasons) It would just annoy me. Then I'd have to come complain to like minded people for reaffirmation.

They are not taken seriously. They may as well be hung up on. "a question of degrees" I summed in one word: "About".

Kris – you point about groups feeling victimized by dissenters is valid. Many cults like Jehovah Witnesses produce pamphlets about “the rise of New Atheism”. This is done not so much to show followers that other people may not hold the same belief as they do, but to reinforce an “Us and Them” mentality. Why would people of faith be so upset if others don’t believe? To answer my own question, it is because the need to reinforce the differences to give more credence to their own. It makes them feel special and in turn makes them almost intolerant of those who don’t believe.  If you win the lotto, why be so upset with people that did not? (maybe a poor analogy).

So between the sense of elitism engendered by holding their beliefs and the sense of victimization created by having to protect them from unbelievers they become increasingly intolerant. We are not dissenters as they wish to portray us, we just don’t believe what they believe. The see our passive disbelief as an aggressive assault……like that “sleeping furiously” quote by  AC Grayling

When theists come to this site and post in a respectful and civil manner they are almost always welcomed. We welcome the challenge. I am open to discussing anything with them. I have tried to politely comment on a few Christian forums in the past. The vitriol and abuse that comes from them is not short of vile.

Jared - an Atheist listening to an Atheist podcast on an Atheist website is not necessarily a case of reaffirmation. It might be though if they refused point blank to listen to anything else. I have yet to meet an Atheist like that. I have however met plenty of believers that will not engage with anyone with a different viewpoint. So even on the first page of this post we can have 3 Atheists with 3 different viewpoints. That is why I return. Not to have my views given a hug but to have them given a kicking. I am sure you are the same…:-). Imagine that on Christians Radio!!

The thing is I can't imagine that on christian radio. Because it is just that: "christian radio".

I hear a lot of people complain about being accosted by Christians who just want to argue with them and beat down their views then they eventually go on to criticize Christians for not wanting to hear their views. I think people are just nit picky in general.

I also said "Reaffirmation is one factor learning new info/arguments is the other." Yes I do all of these so called atheist things for both reasons. Sometimes I'm on a train of thought and I just want to know if it holds water. Other times -yes -kick my butt...

 I'm honestly not trying to be a jerk (perhaps it's natural) but I'm not going to show up at a golf tourney and be upset (with questions about it) when they don't want to play football.

"The vitriol and abuse that comes from them is not short of vile." Now you know. So do you still do this? Did you come here annoyed with questions as to !why! they do this?

 There is radio out there for everyone. I don't get this because I don't for a second misunderstand their agenda. "Oh perhaps they'll let me go ahead and politely tell them my opinion."

 We know that these ppl believe some crap because it makes them somehow feel better, blah blah blah -we know all of this about them.

 There really isn't much that someone can challenge me with once I decided I don't believe and more so that it is not helpful for me to consider.


Actually. I'm wrong. I do have a solution for this though: Let's call them and simply ask them to change their format!

“The vitriol and abuse that comes from them is not short of vile." Now you know. So do you still do this? Did you come here annoyed with questions as to why they do this?

No, I don’t but I was invited to join a Christian Forum by Christians because they claimed to want different opinions. I was surprised at how disgusting many of them when it came to basic civility. I never once made a negative comment. I only asked a few questions about the role of prophecy. But I was not annoyed, even though I did expect something more intelligent and polite. I am around too long to be irked by sheep.  I refused to sink to their level of abuse which only served to make them worse. So I asked them what they thought of 2 Timothy 2: 24-26

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

I should have kept the transcript of the replies...it was hilarious.  Jesus Wept. Then I forgave them and left. :-)

Here is another case of Atheism attacking believers...this time in England.

“Despite our secularist enemies, we are on the brink of a Christian Spring” says a Catholic as she lists 41 laws that discriminate against them.

It was nice to see replies on the preaching to the choir thought. I do like to hear what others think even when I don't agree. It keeps you on your toes. When you think of it there are a lot more of them (people having some sort of religion) than there are of us, aren't there? I guess that depends on who you ask. I will still listen to talk radio  just long enough to hear what they are talking about. We even have a Christian radio station. I have heard them speak intelligently about things from time to time without getting too glassy-eyed. It  beats going to church to check them out. A little too much opposition for me.

My family and I live deep in Fundamentalist territory. Whether we're at work, out to dinner at a local restaurant, or at the grocery story, we have to stay on guard constantly. Our home is nearly the only refuge we have where we can relax and let our guard down. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is argue what seems so obvious to us, and for this reason I enjoy when I finally find a discussion with like-minded people where I might actually learn something and gain a greater understanding, instead of having to constantly argue I'm not the one who drank the cool aid.


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