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Whenever I come out Atheist .. they assume I must have no ethics or morals whatsoever and that I am willing to do just about anything --- like lie, cheat and steal.

Anyone else have this happen to them?

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Johathan, you state the situation very accurately. Some men think women like to be forced, but I have never met a woman who is content with a mate who forces her to do anything, or who aggresses against her.

Patriarchal religious males often feel the necessity to be in charge and women often think and act subordinate to male domination. I believe it is a religious custom and tradition that continues because of early learning and cultural traditions. Surely size difference matters, but the real differences are in the heads of those who would dominate or submit. Being with husbands and wives who think and act as partners seem to have a lot more fun than do hierarchical arrangements. At least I like being around true partnership marriages. 

Joan I agree that true partnership marriages are the most ethical arrangement. A marriage which has no hierarchy.
Oh I agree wholeheartedly! Why would anyone want a relationship where the partner controls you. You are right in that it makes no sense.

My mother is genuinely surprised I'm not a thief and murderer. She attributes all my good qualities to god and all my bad qualities to my atheism.

I'm pretty whatever about it now.

Many mothers are like you describe. I worked much of my career with troubled boys at boys' ranches; many parents truly did not know acting out behaviors were attempts to communicate. The fact is, most troubled marriages and children can learn skills that help make life less stressful and more pleasurable.

About a third of the boys I worked with had parents who were too strict and they very often justified their strictness on religious grounds. About a third of the boys were from neglectful homes and needed more structure. About a third of them got into or were born into unhealthy environments and lacked good role models. Although boys from three loosely defined categories had different needs, the remedy for most boys and parents was learning how to listen, assert themselves, solve problems and resolve conflicts in healthy ways. These are all learned behaviors. 

I hope your mother learns that god is not the author of your "good qualities" and atheism is not the author of your "bad qualities" but rather evidence of unrealistic expectations, lack of interpersonal skills, and desire to mold your character into someone she wanted you to be, as opposed to creating an environment where you can grow and mature into the person you are. 

Children are kind of like my garden. I provide the environment, and select the amount of water and food and light unique to each plant, I sow the seeds, and then nature does the rest. 

Hi Jonathan, good for you! According to my crystal ball (which is really listening to what you say), you have a great life ahead. 

That's a wonderful attitude about relationships Jonathan. Yeah lol ... Looks like that palm reader was right!

Jonathan, working with visually impaired kids must have provided you with some very interesting experiences. Did you learn anything about yourself, or your life experiences by working with them? Perhaps how they used their other senses that inspired you to experiment.  I have never worked with such sensual deprivation, but I imagine I would start by trying to live for a while, an hour or a day,  with a blindfold. Were you challenged in finding ways to facilitate their participation? 

I once tried to help a blind man through a door and I ran him right into a door frame. I felt so badly and he very gently said it happened to him all the time. He told me did better without "help". 

I have not a clue how a palm reader works, but I use what is called "neurolinguistic programming" and "cold reading" which means nothing more than listening carefully to how people choose words and string them together. These techniques help communicate with more than statements or opinions. For example, some say, "I have to go back to the salt mines;" Others say "I work at a great job." When I read your words, I see optimism. 

Yeah you have it made now Jonathan!

Jonathan! I had no idea! How do you get your messages, and how do you answer? Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine how you get around Atheist Nexus. Good for you! Oh! what spirit you have! Have you ever had sight? Can you see light or color? Can you describe how you "see" spring? I promise you, if I ever have an opportunity to walk you through a door, you won't hit a door frame! 

Jonathan, thank you for helping me understand a tiny bit of what your challenges are and how you overcome them. Because you are blind, does that give opportunity and time to think about things, to ponder, imagine, and figure out complex ideas? 

I used to have a recurring dream: I fell off a large ship in the middle of the ocean and I was alone at sea, no one to help me, nothing to hang on too. My dream, night after night, included being nibbled away by sharks until there was nothing left of me but my head. Then one night, in my dream I imagined I was fine because I could still think, even if the rest of my body was gone. Sounds gruesome, doesn't it! After I dreamed that last dream, I never had any part of the dream again. 

I don't know why I wanted to tell you about that old dream of mine, but it just occurred to me that you, much like Stephen Hawking, have abilities and potential to develop other aspects of yourself. Can you imagine a world of peace and justice and compassion? What will it take to create such a world? 

There was a man, Ed Lindaman, who was president of the college where I earned my master's degree. I was in deep trouble on my research paper; I had 18,000 3 by 5 inch cards of research data and was utterly overwhelmed. I didn't know how to bring it all together into a thesis. He spent an hour and a half with me and said I had to stop thinking as I had learned to think, and "start thinking in the future tense"; gather all the information I could find on the subject, imagine what I wanted to communicate with my thesis and then write in the details. It worked! Three months later I presented my thesis to my committee, "Toward a Theory of Family Violence: its Antecedents, Treatment and Prevention". I received my master's degree: Joan Denoo, Master of Applied Behavioral Science. 

I wonder if the same thing can be done about leaving a better world? Gather all the information one can, imagine a preferred future, and fill in the details? 

Sorry I took up so much of your time; I just felt I wanted to tell you about me. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I am richer for having you as a friend. 

Oh I don't mind Jonathan ... I would love to hear what you have to say on the matter .. you could email me as well about that topic Joan asked you about.

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