So I was watching the PBS Judgement Day: Intelligent Design and Evolution on Trial, and I watched the part where the town of Dover pretty much divided itself. At the same time the Rhem family and the Katzmiller family, and every other family who sued Dover, received so many death threats in the hate mail over the issue. I recently received a newspaper published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and they had one section of just hate mail from theists. So maybe I am overly exposed to the hatred people have for the atheist, but I can not think of a time where I have seen atheists sending hate mail to theists. Or is it the case that we lampoon and parody everything instead of writing hate mail. If that is the case, then why do people trust theists more than atheists, especially when you are more likely to receive death threats from a theist, than from an atheist? I do want to mention hate mail is different from a counter viewpoint. I constitute hate mail as something that just says mean, ad hominem statements that attack the person and not his viewpoint, similar to hate speech. Which is to say mail can disapprove of someone's actions and still not constitute hate mail, as long as they rationally refute the actions as a negative pattern of behavior. What do you think?

Well if someone has an example of an atheist writing death threats, it would dissipate this myth completely, but I honestly have not heard of a case where an atheist writes a death threat. Have any of you written hate mail to Pat Robertson, Fallwell, Hovind, Ted Haggard, or VenomfangX from youtube?

Views: 30

Comment by Prazzie on March 10, 2010 at 4:51pm
Atheism is not a reliable measure of character. I would ask "Do some people write hate mail?" - the answer is yes. "Some people" include atheists and religious folk and both of those groups contain complete asshats. There are atheist murderers, atheist pedophiles, atheist rapists - why shouldn't there be atheist hate-mailers?

Atheism doesn't necessarily equate to rationality or enlightenment either. I know an atheist who would respond to anyone who disagreed with him on a forum with "you're a poopy head". Another atheist I know is absolutely closed to new ideas (he's in his 80's) - any topic he's not familiar with is "a load of shit".

Don't make the mistake of thinking "I'm an atheist, therefore you, as an atheist, must be like me". Herd of cats, ey?
Comment by Jim Scotti on March 10, 2010 at 6:07pm
I suppose there are some atheists who would produce hate mail, though I haven't seen any. Many theists probably believe that anything that speaks badly of their religion is "hateful" and such comments by atheists considered as hate mail. After all, we atheists are evil & hate America.
Comment by Reggie on March 10, 2010 at 6:58pm
I think that atheists, in general, are less likely to write hate mail, but not because there is something about atheism that encourages more civilized manners. Same with the oft quoted prison population statistics.
Comment by Jake W. Andrews on March 10, 2010 at 11:54pm
I do like that metaphor, "Herding Cats", and I understand that we are fully capable to write hate mail, but, are we doing that? and are we doing that more often than theists? I don't want to make the argument that we are more moral, and I think bringing up prison stats may imply that we are trying to get away with that, and I, too, find those stats misleading. So if we are less likely to write hate mail, why is that? Is it, perhaps, we may actually have, as Reggie put it, more civilized manners (which we may have to specify clearer)? What is, after all, the alternative explanation?
Comment by Jim Scotti on March 11, 2010 at 1:21am
If atheists are less likely to send hate mail or end up in prison, perhaps it is because we have chosen to be "more moral" without the threat of eternal damnation which is often all that keeps some theists from doing harm. I suppose for some, it is good to have an artificial, external source of morality if they cannot find their own motivation to have good morals. Not that I am in favor of any sort of religion - I don't see why a non-theistic set of morals can't be applied in place of a theistic set for the average human to live by.
Comment by Reggie on March 11, 2010 at 7:27am
To finish my thought, I think that there are attributes about people who tend to become atheists that can be correlated to low amounts of hate mail and under representation in prison populations. The two main ones I can think of is emotion and education.

Belief is an emotional experience. Believers tend to be more governed by their emotions. And when they get angry, they tend to be the ones that let fly with vitriol in an emotional outburst.

Education levels factor in, too. Educated people tend to be more reasoned and less religious. This contributes to a lower crime rate and a lower hate mail rate.

My simplified and unscientific hypothesis, anyway.


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