You've all heard the claim that we aren't really atheists, we are just mad at god. (Or you will see such things as "so and so claims to be an atheist.")
Today, though I saw an argument in chat with a theist, and someone else's account of an argument they had out in public, and I stopped to wonder if maybe we aren't sometimes encouraging this line of bullshit, albeit unwittingly.
What happened in both cases was the atheist began recounting all the sorts of horrible things Yahweh is portrayed as doing or believing or commanding. In one case, I saw the atheist say "why should I love god when he won't love me back?"
The problem with this sort of thing is we usually don't take care to phrase our remarks to make it clear that god is a character of fiction. When discussing the misdeeds of Yahweh we tend to fall back on a convention we use when we talk about a fictional character in a book. We refer to him by name and talk as if the guy was real and the book was not fiction, for example, "In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith was arrested for thoughtcrime," not, "In George Orwell's 1984, the character Winston Smith..."
We know what we mean, because we both know Winston Smith (or god) is fictitious. But they don't know god is fictitious.
Talking this way with someone who believes the fictional character is real might cause him not to understand you are just following the convention. Your phrasing sounds to him like you accept god as real, he "knows" god is real, so he assumes at some level you think god is real.
What I am suggesting here is that you ever want to bring up how nasty this being is, you make it clear that you don't think he exists, make sure you put "fictitious" (or equivalent) in every other sentence at least, and not let them think for a minute that you assume the existence of god.
Yes I know that when you just said you were an atheist this shouldn't be necessary, but obviously many of these people don't understand atheism in their guts, so don't let their paradigm default you into a "believer but mad at god" box.
While I do accept that most, if not all our 'humanity' in within each of us as a major part of our inheritance, it is still partly dependent on socialization. If you are raised as a brute, will you still become something more, without some modeling or other inputs? We might 'capable' of compassion, deep thought, and ethical decsision making, but can it mature/develope without a little something from outside of us? Nature VS Nuture.
During a last Sunday's Lutherian service, I noticed a possible problem with a previous posting that suggested my desire to self creation or origin/presence of humanity. I started to wonder if 'incompletness' issues could be present within the desire for independence, such that this idealization is foolish on the face of it.
While 'christ', might not deserve the deep positive press and commentary concerning 'him', his effect might have been evolutionary by a philosophical challege to Roman rule, confining theological authority, and the beginnings of multiple bifercations for different insights into the human condition. Compairing Christ with Socrates might be a fruitful exercise. The last days of Christ might be similar to the 'Apology/Crito' dialogues of Plato in thier degree of challege to state power and theological authority.
Yes, you are 100% correct. My neighbor once asked me if I'm going to church and I told her I am the pianist for a church - And she then said God Bless - I then told her I was an Atheist.
To which she responded..."An Atheist!?" - Then she laughs. I could tell she didn't really understand what the term meant so I told her I didn't believe in God.
To which she responded..."How do you not believe in God!? Don't be silly, of course you do!"
To which I responded..."No, actually I do not, I find there is good reason and evidence for the conclusion that God does not actually exist which is why you would say it's Faith."
To which she responded..."You're funny. Well I'll pray for you then."
So moral of the story - Some Christians just simply do not understand. So yes, I like this post and will begin using it's conversational strategy.
Sadly the 'track' of other minds is welded to their otherwise good intelligence. It might be more the effect of conditioning, than insight.
'Forgive them, they do not know what they do!'