Now I am not expected to go into extreme specifics or go into too much detail but just basically throw this out there and let it be know. If you disagree don't be a dick. :P So I hear a lot of people talking about how Militant Atheism is a bad thing for the image of Atheism and I came to one final conclusion:

It's complicated.

I mean what is Militant Atheism? Asking to have "God" removed from the pledge? Wasn't that how it originally was? Being against religion? Even though they do demonize science. So what is Militant Atheism? To someone who is theistic it is as much as saying you are atheist. To someone who is atheistic it is, well, someone like TheAmazingAtheist on YouTube. Who, whilst being a dick, presents hard evidence which makes religion laughable. It's not approachable by religious people and even some atheists think he is too much of a dick.

But isn't that the point?

Can you really label an atheist?

I mean we have no bible, no Jesus, no evil lord xenu, and most importantly no Allah and/or God.

So how can you? The whole point is a disbelief so from a religious standpoint we are the null. You cannot group us together and assume something about all of us from one of us. Whereas with Christianity, they follow the bible. They have the same general beliefs and can be held accountable for the action of one.

It's not that we are special. Just that we are different.

This is another thing theistic folks like to point out: If we do not have a God, and all believe different things and different ideas, then what are morals?

To put it simply lions don't eat each other cause they know they need it for survival. So as for the whole murder thing that goes against the survival and natural selection thing most, if not all, atheists believe in.

As for other things, such as stealing, we know in the modern age that it is wrong. Laws in our governments and etc. So if you steal from someone it is already known as a dick move, not just because God said it was so.

Meh. I refuse to edit this. It's just a rough spilling of my thoughts.

Views: 11

Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 12:02pm
Some Atheists that would be defined as "militant" by many people:


Penn&Teller
James Randi
Pat Condell (That awesome youtube star, google him)
Sam Harris
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Infidel Guy
Christopher Hitchens
Salman Rushdie
Carl Sagan

These are only a few of the many, but it is no coincidence that it is always the so called "militant atheists" the atheist swilling to get up and go out and do things for Atheism that are the ones that accomplish the most for atheism.

There is no such thing as a "professional atheist". Someone who's only advantage is that they are an Atheist is someone who isn't much of anything. Being an atheist in and of itself doesn't equal accomplishment or knowledge or sophistication or refinement. This is a fallacy.

Another fallacy is the idea that atheism has some automatic advantage over christianity or islam or scientology. This has been proven historically false and simply does not work in reality. The only way that Atheism can spread is if it is pushed by atheists themselves. Otherwise the other side will push it out of the picture. Society doesn't always progress, when fanatics take over and when we give up what we prize most, and become idle and apathetic then society will indeed take steps backward. It has happened before and it can happen again.
Comment by Johnny on February 26, 2009 at 12:42pm
Nice write-up Leland; reminds me a little of an article recently post on HeavingDeadCats.com.
On one extreme, you have fundamentalists who blow themselves up in bus stations or kill doctors in clinics for thinking differently than they do. Then there are tons of people in the middle. On the other end you have … well, the thing is, I can’t really think of anything that extreme for atheists.

Let's go back to hypocrisy and talk about fairness and honesty. Dawkins and other atheist proponents use science and philosophy to put forth their ideas in clear arguments that are rational and thoughtful. Yes, they question the status quo. Yes, they don't like religion. I don't either.

On the other hand, my experience with christians is underhanded, unfair, fallacious, hypocritical, and manipulative; aggressive arguments that are based on trying to bend the person to their beliefs through fear and thoughtless obedience. They rely on logical fallacies, bullying, fear tactics and pure hypocrisy to fight as nasty as possible. It seems to me that they believe the means justify the ends, and if they save a soul for their god and win someone over, it doesn't matter how unfair their tactics are.

I do think atheist need to push the envelope sometimes; but realistically are there extreme/fundamentalist/militant atheists? AtypicalAtheist names a few of the more prevalent names above, but none of them are starting wars for atheism, none are flying planes into buildings or bombing clinics, none are spouting deceptions and hypocrisies in the name of atheism. On the scale of things, there might be some who are a notch or two away, but I tend to think there really aren't any that make the full end of that scale to be classified as extreme/fundamentalist/militant atheists.
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 12:45pm
That's because the real atheist's goal is to educate people on atheism. Flying planes into buildings or blowing people up doesn't accomplish this. It's immoral and unproductive.
Comment by Johnny on February 26, 2009 at 1:23pm
I think "convincing" religious people is not for everyone Adva; but some do feel driven to it. Many people have been so burned by religion that once they have escaped it, they have that drive and need to 'help' others free their minds.

Personally I find the most satisfaction in presenting arguments and facts up to the point where said religious person starts to have questions of their own, and then pushing them down the path to do some research of their own.

Many religious people have huge misconceptions about atheism, and as AtypicalAtheist points out we need to educate people about atheism as the first step to overcome this. Additionally, to truly win over someone from religion to a state of freethinking, agnosticism, or atheism, the best way to do it, the truest way to make it stick, is to educate them.
Comment by Frink on February 26, 2009 at 1:31pm
I'm a militant atheist. I tend to be detrimental to religion :D
Comment by Pam on February 26, 2009 at 2:14pm
I couldn't care less about "converting" people to atheism. If they decide not to believe in god, then that should be a freely chosen belief, not something forced on them and proselytized.

However, I believe correct information about atheism should be available, and we should attempt to revise the misconceptions people often have about us.

And when we feel marginalized we should be able to take actions against that without fear of being unfairly labeled as "militant", but it seems that any action taken by atheists sends up an automatic red flag of militancy. If speaking out against discrimination and misinformation is considered militant, then that label needs to be applied to many other groups of people besides atheists.
Comment by Gaytor on February 26, 2009 at 4:57pm
Absolutes on most subjects is not conducive to furthering understanding and acceptance. Penn and Teller, for example, in their live show, are uncomfortable for me to watch. I have the first two seasons of Bullshit, seen them live, but rude is rude and it usually isn't necessary and you don't win over people even if you are correct.
Militants harm the greater understanding and general acceptance of what non-belief is. if you look back through history the Black Panthers, the Gloria Steinems, and others no longer exist as the leaders of their movements. Social movements have their time to come forward in history and it's the extremists that keep everyone on the fence from being persuaded in the early stages.
Open and honest conversation with a persuasive point will win more minds than pounding your chest saying that you are right.
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 10:07pm
Gaytor, I think you're taking the term "militant" too literally here. I don't think that anyone wants atheists to arm themselves and act like the Black Panthers.
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 10:13pm
Also, It's a battle of memes. Their memes are bad, atheism is good. The bad meme fights for dominance over all other memes, just like any other meme does. The fact is that even religious moderates can produce religious extremists and even religious moderates usually want to force their religious beliefs onto others. This takes the form of abortion laws, drug laws, laws against gay marriage, intelligent design Initiatives, etc, etc.

It is wrong to believe that "live and let live" will work with memes that can produce the horrific things such as 9/11, the inquisition, the crusades, etc. Sitting back and hoping for the best right now will only mean that you will have to fight harder when sitting back and hoping for the best is no longer even possible.
Comment by Jake on February 27, 2009 at 4:31am
I have mixed ideas on the subject of "militant" atheism. While some may be considered rude or even angry towards theists, I believe that I great deal of the cause for this reaction is frustration. I don't think that sites like this would even exist if religion didn't call adherents to violence, or try to force its way into the classroom or courtroom. I mean really, the binding force between all of us isn't the fact that we don't have imaginary friends, it's the fact that we are tired of others who insist on walking through the world with blinders on, and try to blind those of us who want to know what's actually going on.

There is a place and a need for those of us who are willing to bring a little controversy to the table, even if we don't agree completely with their tactics or ideas. We need vocal, prominent figures to light a fire under our asses, "rally the troops" so to speak, and build communities or organizations like TA.

If we want our place in the conversation, and to be taken seriously, we must be willing to challenge the status quo, even at the risk of pissing people off.

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