I just got 200 comments and counting on my local atheist group when I posted this:

"On a matter of self reflection as a group I would like to discuss the idea of us calling anyone inferior or superior based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation - as there all share the same medal of racism.

I realise that XXX may see this as the promotion of political correctness. I don't support political correctness as a means to an end. I do support freedom of speech. And I like the idea that we are free here to discuss opening about our attitudes.

What concerns me is that in the atheist community (on the many forums and you tubes that I've seen) I have observed what looked to me like, arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes. 

I realise that we all have our own nature - but I do support the idea that we can all try to act on science and reason - and not perpetrate racism or other harmful attitudes based on false beliefs about superiority. And think it important that we become more self aware of these issues and come up with effective methods that deal with it.

Preferably compassionate - based on the principles of Naturalism, rather than regressive aggression against it."


Is this a very contentious issue?

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Oh, gracious, you wouldn't think my nature is gentle if you saw the bloodlust in my eyes at the first scent of an Evangelical. "Mmm, dinner!"

I was chuffed to bits earlier this month when my roommate warned his brother about getting into a debate with me. My rule is to try to not engage unless someone else comes after me first. Then it's gloves off/claws out.

David, yes, me too. and I have no intention of losing. It took some practice, but I find that being a victim does me no good and I don't see where it does anyone else any good either. The odd thing is, and I have written about this before, the people that received my toughest rebuke come back for civil discussion ... I like that. It usually starts with a simple question, "How do you get your morals?" or "Aren't you afraid of Hell?" or "You could make a wager, like Pascal!" But they never accuse me of being without morals, or doubting that I don't believe in Hell, or a sense of wonder doesn't require a wager. So, all-in-all, I find a powerful offense works for me. Of course I could be wrong, I have been before. 

I'm sure yours is a better strategy than mine, and far more civil. Frankly, I don't like to react that way because I don't want to be bothered with their palaver. Selfish? Yes! Discourteous? Of course! Do they learn to avoid me? I hope so? With 7,000,000,000 humans on this planet, there are more interesting people for me to engage with. 

After a certain point though it's SO HARD to stay civil, especially when you get done fending one Christian off and then another one pops up moments later and you find yourself saying the same things over and over. And there's so little logic involved!

My roommate's brother came to the house this year to celebrate his birthday. Both my roommate and his wife are progressive Christians who have known me for years and knew me through both my coming-out periods as a gay man and then as an atheist and are wonderful people. His brother and his mom are both members of the Salvation Army church, and at one point the made a comment about god sparing his life (he literally ran into a moving train earlier this year - he was texting and not paying attention and drove through a train crossing into a moving train), to which I responded, "Welllll..." The brother started to retort, but then my roommate quickly piped up, "Dude, you don't want to go there. You'll lose."

I was utterly delighted.

cool story :)

I think arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes are flawed in that they are all based on a close minded false pretense. I do not think that calling someone illogical when they are being illogical is wrong. I do think that calling someone illogical because of their claimed religion, sexual orientation, race, and so on is wrong because their state of being isn't illogical, it is what they are stating as fact that is. We should look to inspire them intellectually through their outlets and lifestyles they choose instead of seeking to raise our ego. This is not saying that we should allow pseudo science. Every once in a while people find others with whom they thought they could never be acquainted with and find that even though their lifestyles are vastly different, their ideas are the same. Every person has the ability to be rational. If people aren't given the chance to think and debate, people will never have the chance to progress intellectually. Open mindedness doesn't mean someone has to agree, it just means they are willing to attain facts and search for them everywhere. People who are illogical come in all forms, especially with deprecating bias. I don't think you are being too politically correct. I think you are trying to retain the humility and purity of fact.

Perhaps it's about engaging and being honest about our views - but at the same time maintaining a good feeling about that other persons well being.  

Lilium Mitchell

You have demonstrated a very broad minded attitude. Would I be wrong that this is expected from the atheist commnity?

I am in a small meet up group (MUG) and topics that are argued from a point of having compassion as in sharing resources or understanding the lack of education in the believing population draws a suppressive barrage of fire.  My question is one about compassion itself. Does the majority of the atheist community (like in my MUG) favor the selfish-gene over human compassion?

have a look at the Naturalism website

http://www.naturalism.org/ethical_implications.htm

we are evolved as humans with a conscience - our brain has the ability to empathise and show compassion - it is a human trait shared by other life also, that allows us to work successfully in groups.

We used to live in trees - and were more selfish.  Then when we moved to the ground we the ones that had more empathy and compassion worked together more to hunt big game for food and act together to protect the group against predators.

The ones that were selfish and went it alone often couldn't hunt alone or protect themselves and starved or were killed.  The survival of the fittest has favoured those who have the ability of empathy and compassion.

Check out how many of your aggressive anti compassion group members have kids?

How is their natural selection going? :)

I'm not aggressive nor without compassion. I don't have kids. Mind you, I wouldn't claim to be childfree or anti-birth, but those who are often are very compassionate people and have good reason not to procreate. I doubt you meant to slight anyone by quipping about aggressive people and children, but there are plenty of broken homes to call in doubt on that, regardless of spiritual belief or lack thereof.

forgive me - it is perhaps a personal prejudice I have developed based on feeling threatened by single aggressive males who lack compassion and think it's a good place to be - at the expense of others.

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