When I'm arguing with a theist, I always find myself being.... well not myself. I feel I have to try to break all the stereotypes of atheism and not give it a bad name. Like I am a representative of atheism, and i can't say what i really want to say. Without fear of the repercussions of what the people will think, of atheism in general. So why should I, fell obliged to try to disprove the misconceptions about atheism, when it intervenes with who I am? Now you could say I am "being selfish" but I could say the same about anybody that wants me to disprove all the misconceptions about atheism. Since they are thinking about themselves or the atheism community, and the way society will treat them, if there are still stigmas about atheism.
So lets hear it, why should i be nice to the religious when the only reason I'm doing it is to disprove the misconceptions of atheism? Why can't I tell them to STFU, without fear of the repercussions, that the atheism community will face?
Why is "forced to be a good role model for atheism unnecessary"? I'm the only atheist that I know of in real life, I'm the only one that criticizes religion where i live. So i figure since I'm am the only one that the people have ever met, that i should try to disprove all the negative stereotypes about atheism. By being somewhat of a role model, or spokesperson about it.
the point i keep trying to make is that if you want people to listen to and actually absorb your arguments then that's why you should hold back on the STFU's.
even if i were to think that being a good role model for atheism- or probably more accurately for atheists everywhere- that's still by no means the only or best reason not to bring out the STFU's. is being a good representative on behalf of atheists everywhere a good idea, sure it is! i just wouldn't argue that you should subordinate yourself to that goal.
if you're going to engage in debate with theists then your goal of course is to make them think, to reconsider their beliefs. listen, you don't absolutely have to refrain from the STFU's if you don't want to but you just have to realize that when you do you undermine everything you said up until that point. so either continue doing it with that understanding, refrain from it, or simply refrain from engaging with them as, if you can't refrain from the STFU's, it's largely a pointless exercise.
oh trust me i absolutely agree. sometimes there's no way we can hold back. we're human after all. even as i counsel you against doing so i can't say i've never done it myself.
but you began by saying that you feel like you're not being true to yourself when you hold back and i'm saying that there are far better reasons to hold back that have nothing to do with atheism as some sort of movement. that's all i'm saying.
I'm a buttinski here, but you made a point that resonates with me here, and likely many. I'm the only one that criticizes religion where i live.
I felt that way as a kid growing up in a conservative part of Washington. As an adult the other Atheists have come out to play and we were the 5 to 10% of the population. it's becoming more accepted to be a non-believer, but there is still a stigma and not everyone will want to face Mom and Dad with a uncomfortable religious conversation while they still write the checks. Sometimes it's just escaping home and going to college to find themselves and not the click they grew up with. At 35 looking back, that's what I see.
Because, ultimately, I want to "out class" them...that's why I try to stick to logic and not get into personal insults. Oh, I'll tell someone they're wrong and point out why, but calling them an asshole just gives them an excuse to be nasty right back.
Forrest, I genuinely respect your attitude about this. If I might digress for a moment, some years ago, when women were first breaking into management roles, we all knew we had to be BETTER than anyone else, simply because we were so quickly criticized by so many. It was tough, but it was ultimately worth it.
You can be sure that, in a town where nobody criticizes religion, etc, your quiet courtesy and intelligent speech will open you up to far fewer reasons for ridicule.
Or you could politely decline to debate religion. Sometimes, I simply am not in the mood. I don't wake up every single day thinking that I need to go change the world. It's OK to say, "No, thank you," if you just don't feel it.