Atheist stereotypes: the one group it's still okay to discriminate against.

Somethings has been bothering me lately. How come it's considered okay to propagate the atheist stereotype in books, movies and tv shows? No one would ever dream of making a movie where the token black character is lazy, stupid and a criminal. Or a book where the lead female is dumb, helpless and pregnant in the kitchen. So why when there is an Atheist character, if there is one at all, it is an old, bitter, intolerant, immoral, self-serving, man? Who is usually a doctor or some well paying position of high status.

You can't tell it from where you are, but I'm none of those things. I actually think that my morals are better than some of my christian friends and I am way more tolerant than a few of them (baptists). I am young and very up beat and volunteer every week. I'm middle class and not a doctor (though if all goes well I soon will be). Oh, and I'm a woman. And I bet most of you reading this could say a lot of the same things.

Where have I seen this atheist stereotype? Well, the most well known example would be everyone favorite psychopathic, institutionalized, doctor and tv atheist House! I have nothing against the idea of having an Atheist be the star of a popular tv show but House fits the above Hollywood atheist stereotype like a glove.

Why are atheists never depicted as the bright, cultured, diverse and moral people most of us actually are? Not enough people are telling them to stop. I know we are a precious few but if you don't want people, when they hear the word atheist, to think old, self righteous, curmudgeon, then right to a movie producer or an author and tell them they offended you. It's no fun being discriminated against but you don't have to sit there and take it.

If you agree with what I'm saying, comment. If you don't agree, comment. If you don't really have an opinion, comment anyway.

Tags: Atheists, House!, Unite!, moral, stereotypes, values

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Yeah, you are right, I got dramatic in the heat of the writing this article. What I'm saying is somewhat true but it is important to be rational and be aware of the people that actually have their rights taken away because of who they are. It might not be as common as racism, sexism or homophobia but it still exists and it's still important to talk about.

Thanks for the response. Always good to have people keeping me on my toes.
I agree, and I enjoy House. It seems the most active during the December month when the Evil Empire of Halmark Channel strikes. All the Christmas shows of the person being the Atheist and then the 'Theist' idiots converting him/her by the end of the movie. And all of Halmark's movies are the same idea presented in a new way. Though, we Atheists are making a comback in books. I personally like Piers Anthony's "Incarnations of Immortality". I don't know if Mr. Anthony is an Atheist, but his works are great. I am currently reading "And Eternity" where the Incarnations kick out God.
I once told a woman I was an atheist and she asked me why I worshiped Satan. I just walked away.
That depressing. I'm sorry that happened. Atheist, by definition, don't worship anything. We don't even believe in the devil. If someone says that to you again you could say that. But they'd probably just say, "Well, the devil believes in you." It's really difficult to deal with people who are that irrational.
Glen,
Your comment about people with albinism is correct. Googling on "evil albinos" autopopulates the term once "evil al" is typed. Wikipedia has an extensive article on the topic. Now an evil gay white atheistic albino man....
This old discussion is new to me so I'll weigh in.

I can appreciate that you don't wish to be stereotyped. Anyone who agrees that an atheist is nothing more than a person who disbelieves in gods understands that there can be no stereotype. Individuals who disbelieve in gods can be moral or immoral, generous or selfish, conceited or humble, honest or deceptive, spiritual or materialistic, and just about any other quality you can imagine. I often imagine that atheist activists attempt to stereotype themselves as earnestly as theists do. I believe this is an error.

I believe that the best way to promote the ideals that I believe in is to live my life according to those ideals and hope that others take notice. I have no expectations that other people who identify as atheists share my ideals simply because they disbelieve in gods. Therefore, I try not to point to other people as representatives of my ideals unless I know them very well and have some added reason to do so. It would seem highly deceptive to me to point to a person of celebrity and say that he or she represents my ideals because of a disbelief in gods. Similarly, it seems irrational to claim that someone is casting you in a negative light based solely on the fact that they share your disbelief in gods but none of your ideals.

Because of the lack of meaning in the atheist label I generally avoid it. I don't believe there is anything to identify with in it.
One thing many people who I've encountered don't seem to understand is that there are as many differences between individual atheists as there are between individual Christians. When someone tells you they're a Christian there is really nothing meaningful you can assume about them from that, you just have to get to know them better. I think the atheist title has as much meaning as any other religious title. People just need to understand you can't assume anything about that person who says there an atheist other than they don't worship a god. Thanks for your reply.
Right. Though in theory you can tell a lot about a person by their religion.
My mind is racing, apparently I have alot to say on this and no doubt I will be very surprised at where my brain takes me. First let me remind you that we are still on Earth, where religion is king. The one thing that all religions have in common is the us versus them stories. The bible in particular is really a racist manifesto disguised as something else. I almost said disguised as philosophy,but it isn't even philosophical, it is just a book of hate. Same with the qu'ran, the bhagavad gita, etc. Religious people are taught that hate is acceptable and necessary for survival, it's always the same with the us against them mentality. When I take an objective look at US society I have to be truthful, and I see alot of the accepted forms of hate being torn down by force feeding enlightenment. There is an organization called GLAAD, gay and lesbian alliance against defamation, that is super vigilant. Trust me I have alerted them in the past to crap I have found online and they don't waste any time, they go after the hate mongers and force them to alter their language. GLAAD is active in media of all kinds and this type of vigilance is the only way to stop the hate in it's tracks. The queer community has a long way to go but look at how far the gay rights movement has come. Now to the atheist community, I have not seen an AAAD, atheist alliance against defamation, anywhere. Why is that? My opinion is that we atheists as a group are trying so hard to be liked, to be polite, to show that we are moral creatures after all, that we don't attack where we should attack. We just tolerate all sorts of ignorance and misinformation, all in the name of acceptance. Well that pusilanimous bullshit is not who I am, I will not shut up and I do not turn away from confrontation. It does not matter where I am or what the situation is, if I overhear a parent tell their child that atheists are baaad people I will speak up and tell the child that his mommy is a liar. I work with the public every day and I have a collection of t shirts that are very insulting to religion, and I am constantly adding to that collection. Sure I know that some people will say that I am doing more harm than good, what good can come from hurting someones feelings, bla bla bla. Fact is that there are so many people who Need to have their feelings hurt, and we need to be vigilant rather than putting up with the negative attention we get. Wheww! I feel so much better now, think I'll design a new t shirt. To comment on two previous comments, Satanists are also atheists, Satanic people Do Not worship the devil. Michael Stivic from All in the Family was an agnostic, not an atheist, hollywood played it safe on that one.
Actually, some satanist's do indeed worship the 'literal' devil. There are theist satanist's as well as atheist satanist's. Though theist satanist's are in the serious minority.
Anton Lavey was an atheist, Aleistar Crowley was a crackpot. I do not know of a single satanist that actually worships the devil, theist or not.
Well, first, all occultist are crackpots. (I know I was.) And not all satanist's are laveyan. I have, indeed, met christian satanist's online and off in the past.

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