For all practical purposes, I am an Atheist. I lack belief in a God (or gods).

It is that, and only that, with which I can confidently say that I share with other Atheists. We're a diverse group.

While there certainly are trends, we're all individuals - our only shared 'rule' being to think for ourselves. In light of that, our specific attitudes towards religion itself are all placed on a spectrum: from outright anti-theistic to 'whatever floats their boat'-ness.

I, personally, am more inclined towards Dawkins' or Hitchens' take on it than not. In places, I see religion and superstition causing direct and measurable harm, and I feel that keeping this to myself is unfair - ultimately - to the victims.

But, as Dawkins and Hitchens don't either (but are misunderstood and misrepresented as doing so), I, when criticising religion, am not criticising religious people just for thinking in a certain way. I may severely dislike particular individuals, but I do not see 'moderate' religious people as anything other than a little deluded. In other words: I disagree with the thoughts, but I do not think, necesarily, that the people are stupid or immoral for - as is likely - simply having been born into and brought up within a certain world-view. Plus, many leave their parent's beliefs behind. Are they absolute idiots up to that point?

My specific use of the term 'deluded' should not be taken to be insulting either. It sounds it, I'll give you that; but there's simply no other way to express what I feel is an ignorance, whether wilful or not. I also detest the view that, say, those in the Middle-East 'don't know any better', or that us in 'The West' should avoid criticising certain practices in the name of cultural relativism. It's both patronising and untrue - again for the sake of victims and individuals.

Anyway, before I outline every one of my opinions, it's worth getting to the point of this post: is talking about these things, in public, an 'obsession' of Atheists?

I don't think so.

There are a few things at play here. The first obvious one is that the view that it is is a misunderstanding. True, some Atheists talk about religion a lot. But, in day-to-day life, with friends, I only mention it if relevant... What, then, makes it relevant?

I think it being in the news is a definite example. This shouldn't happen:

Person A: "Hey, did you watch the parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage?"
Person B: "Yeah, what did you think about it?"
Person A: "Isn't it funny that every single person arguing against allowing it did so for religious reasons?"
Person B: "YOU'RE SO OBSESSED WITH RELIGION!"

(Continue reading this post)

Views: 661

Tags: Atheism, Christianity, Humour, Islam, Misconception, Rationality

Comment by Unseen on April 13, 2013 at 9:08am

Certainly some atheists are obsessed. Most have real lives where something other than their atheism looms most important in their lives. 

If you live and breathe atheism, get a life!

Comment by Kerridwen on April 13, 2013 at 9:23am

I find this to be the normal response, of anyone that is a believer and still my friend! But they don't want to see, refuse to see or so consumed by their love for what can not be observed, that the default is "Everything is about religion to you!" Oh hiya remember me the person religion made to feel out of place, an out cast, a self loathing mess of a human. Yea well during my fall from grace, I did some thinking, okay a ton of thinking. During all of this contemplation, I kept finding remnants of prejudice, left over in my psyche, not only about others, but worse, about myself. This work continues to this day and it opened my eyes to just how much religion poisoned our society, and hindered our growth mentally and emotionally.

While not everything is affected by religion, oh wait what am I saying, of course it is. No not really, but there are quite a large number of issues that are either directly made worse by religion itself, and hold society back from being better. Or the people that follow those religions make things worse because of those beliefs.

Is it an obsession? Yes and no. Yes because why do we all care so much? and no because we freedom to do so!

Comment by Jason D. Johnson on April 13, 2013 at 4:45pm

"If you leave and breathe atheism, get a life!".  I think if someone was obsessed with ending religion, it wouldn't really be a bad thing.  Who are you to tell people they don't have a life because you don't like the way they spend their life?  We don't tell Christians to "get a life" because we don't like their beliefs, so I'm not sure what the big deal is here.  "Obsessed with religion"?  I would think that an atheist is no more obsessed with religion than an American is obsessed with ending corporate corruption in America.  This is simple logic.

Comment by Ron Humphrey on April 14, 2013 at 6:03am

I must confess that I have thought about christians and felt that they should "get a life", or at least a new life.

Comment by Unseen on April 14, 2013 at 9:02am

@Jason D. Johnson   Who are you to tell people they don't have a life because you don't like the way they spend their life?

Who do I have to be in order to express an opinion?

Comment by Simon Paynton on April 14, 2013 at 6:04pm

I think the expression "Who are you to tell people they don't have a life because you don't like the way they spend their life?" means "nobody has that right".  I agree.  Although I haven't read all the previous exchanges, so I might have the wrong end of the stick.

Comment by Unseen on April 14, 2013 at 6:39pm

@Kris Feenstra  Do I have to murder someone or be murdered in order to express an opinion on murder? Do I have to be a practicing Republican in order to express an opinion about the Republican Party?

More to the point, do I have to be an obsessive atheist in order to have an opinion on it? I don't think so.

Comment by Diane on April 15, 2013 at 12:31am

Strangely, I was recently accused of being obsessed with atheism.  When I tried to look at myself as my accuser saw me, I had to agree that it might appear to be the case.  I try to have a balance between not being overly-enthusiastic about atheism and being true to myself.  My accuser (my mother) told me that I shouldn't talk about it at all.  She isn't well, so I just let her say whatever she needed to say, but I don't agree with her on that part.  I am not going to keep quiet about this.  When would a reasonable person expect us to say something?  When our children were forced to pray at school?  When we have to wear an A on our jackets?  When it is not safe to say we are atheists?  In some places in the allegedly religiously free U.S., it already isn't safe.  

I have applied for a job and I am glad that I deactivated my Facebook account.  My atheism was obvious, and might have prevented me from getting the job.  It's not fair but that's how it is.  My financial security and privacy is more important than the need for me to have people know that I'm an atheist, apparently.

I guess my level of passion about atheism is contextual, dynamic, and evolving.  In general, though, I think I have to speak up because silence can be understood acquiescence.  Regarding this issue I will not be quiet for long.

Comment by allan jones on April 15, 2013 at 5:53am

I've always been an atheist but as a UK resident this was pretty much the default setting in my immediate community. I knew very few people that went to church and most of the ones that did were not 'true believers'. Religion was an unimportant pre enlightenment hangover. Then I started to look at the internet. I knew the US was a religious country but I had severely underestimated the extent of fundamentalist religious craziness. If you're a 'free thinker' in the US then you should be troubled (or maybe even a little obsessed) by the extreme religiosity of your culture.

Comment by Ed on April 15, 2013 at 8:19am

@ Diane

I know about the implications of being too vocal on atheism in small southern US towns. If you have a business and rely on locals for "keeping the doors open" then it is not a good idea to wear the shirt pictured above when out and about. I still take christian greenbacks despite the motto printed on it. haha 

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