Hey Jonathan, what's keeping you up so late? Or perhaps it's not so late where you are. I'm quite certain there are many such fundamentalists who would be homicidal maniacs without the fear of god, and probably even more because of their irrational fears. I certainly wouldn't argue that having religion around is a good thing because of the number of people kept "straight" who might otherwise run rampant. But that's the beauty of the response, because whether they would or would not be wildly immoral without fear of god, or expectation of reward from god, they certainly can't say that the only thing keeping them in line is their beliefs without giving themselves away. Even the hint that people can't remain good without god casts their whole character into doubt, and enables us to respond accordingly (promptly running away might be the most prudent course of action at this peculiar moment).
I’ve never thought of my blindness and my being an atheist as having very much to do with each other. I’d like to think that I would be an atheist no matter what my visual acuity. Actually I identified as an atheist long before I became comfortable in my skin as a blind person. I do believe that being blind and introverted made me an outcast; maybe, that helped me start thinking for myself and led me to becoming an atheist. After all, I was very much discriminated against by the church I had to go to as a kid because I was blind
I didn’t respond with a more direct response about the challenges I face as a blind person because I didn’t want to clutter everyone’s inboxes with a long message about me and my blindness maybe, someone can start a new discussion where we can have a detailed sharing of challenges we all face and how being an atheist has helped us overcome. .
Jonathan, I didn't mean blindness has anything to do with atheism. I mean because you are blind have you developed other senses? For example, since you weren't out playing baseball as a child, did you spend more time thinking or listening or whatever?
Did you think about such things as god or no-god? Did you ask "Why me?" and did you find an answer?
One study, "Do the auditory skills of the visually impaired compensate for their loss of sight?" found, "part of the brain that normally handles vision does not just die or atrophy without input. It somehow adds functionality to process subtle auditory information."
Did atheism offer any benefit or play any role in your facing you challenges?
I live in Oregon so it's not that late for me yet. But I'm always up late anyway. Personally I'm just going to let them say whatever they want as long as it doesn't cause me problems. I really think systemic change is the only way to really change things. So, we need to get our message out in the old and new media as much as we can. Sadly most people are too unwilling to think for themselves for an approach centered around individuals to work very well. I hate to say this--but we have to convince the elite first. Then the masses will fllow.
Good question Steph. I assumed Jonathan meant the cultural elite, like professors and prominent personalities (e.g. Sam Harris?), but if he meant the power elite then we're even more screwed.
I think I pretty much agree with you but, having thought about this problem for as long as I can remember, I see this as much a political problem as a cultural problem. Certainly it would help things if the government were on our side, but I also think that without a concerted effort to educate the masses, atheism hasn't got much of a chance in the foreseeable future of uprooting religion, especially in those under-educated, backwoods, backwards, deep South, Bible Belt places where people take so much pride in being so monstrously wrong in all the ways that matter.
Oregon eh? I loved Eugene when I was there once, beautiful, just beautiful. I've always wanted to go back. One glorious day I hope...
You caught me once again using shorthand that makes sense in my head but could be taken many different ways by everyone else. I appreciate your helpful question.
In this case when I used the word “elite” I was thinking about the talking heads that are responsible for telling most Americans how to think and what to believe. So, I guess I’m saying that we need to do what we can to get our message in newspapers and on TV and radio. Most people won’t take atheists serious until they see it being discussed credibly in a place they have been conditioned to trust without questioning. That sounds terrible but I think it’s true.
Thanks for catching that for me. J
I'm all for including professors in my deffinition of "elite." I left out the powerful--which I would define as politicians-because on an issue as difficult as this they will never lead. The move away from a religion-dominated society must come from the masses; as a result, it must start with those who tell the masses what to think. Isn't that terrible?