Okay, Now I've Had To Go And Break Out The Soapbox...

I've only been here a few days.

Not long, granted;  but enough time that I've gotten a pretty fair handle on what the the place and the Folks here are about.

It's immediately clear that I am at opposite ends of the political spectrum from the overwhelming majority.

Not altogether unexpected I suppose, but I have to say, I am astonished at the homogeneity of thought that exists among a relatively large group of people who are supposed to be free-thinkers.

I can't help but ask how this is. 

This is not my my first forum.

There have been several other sites that I've spent a fair amount of time on.

Mostly Military, which admittedly have predominantly Religious Conservative memberships.

-- At least, that was the case with Military.com before it was overrun and became Militant.commie --  be that as it may...

I'm pointing this out, because to be absolutely candid, it appears that I was more accepted as a non-religious Conservative (and I made no secret) among religious Conservatives than I seem to be among non-religious, non-Conservatives.

Kind of flies in the face of convention, does it not?

I mean, you have the Military, with its reputation for intolerant lock-step groupthink versus free-thought Atheists who are ostensibly tolerant of practically all dissent.

I've encountered more condescension in a few days here, from just a few people, than I did in a couple of months in other places.

I'd say it takes that convention and stands it on its head.

I'm not being thin-skinned.

It takes a lot to get through the sand-blasted old hide I'm wearin', believe me.

I'm all about objective thought and objective observation.

If I'm wrong, I'm hoping someone will present me with a cogent argument to the contrary.

I'm feeling a bit disillusioned at the moment...

Tags: for, one's, self, thinking

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Matt puts it better than I ever could.  Exactly Matt!  Exactly.

Well you don't have to worry about that Mike, unless you get pregnant.  Then you can show em'!  I hope it's not through rape or incest though, or your life being in danger.  Then you could go through with the pregnancy no matter what and you could REALLY show them!  Oh wait... You're a man...

I don't know what you've been experiencing here, I haven't read the threads - I've only been here a couple of days myself.

And I may be way off base by offering this info, because not everybody identifies with or cares about Secular Humanism, but I just read this recently and thought you might be interested:

In the October/November issue of Free Inquiry they did a segment called, "Does Secular Humanism Have a Political Agenda?"  In which they ask why most Atheists (or in particular Secular Humanists) seem to be liberal. They then had four articles from four different atheist viewpoints: a progressive, a conservative, a libertarian, and a hard left-liberal. The conservative article is here. It is by Razib Khan, the founder of SecularRight.org.

They also posted a poll of their readers which showed that they are

Socialist 7%

Liberal 41%

Progressive 27%

Moderate 12%

Centrist 3%

Libertarian 7%

Conservative 3%

--------------------

So in total, about 75% self-describe as liberal.

Apologies if this is not germane to your discussion! I just thought it was interesting. On a related note, in another thread some of us have been musing that most women atheists are feminists. As well as liberal. for some reason that is the correlation.

Absolutely Claudia, I appreciate the input.

As to in-germane;  I intended this as a completely open thread, and I personally don't care what direction it might take.

No apology at all necessary.

I'd already seen Mr Khan's article before you posted it, and he does make some very interesting points.

Not sure I agree with all of them but interesting.

The poll confirms what I've pretty much known, but there is a hidden segment of the Secular Right that prefers to stay in the background and not draw attention to itself.

They're afraid of drawing heat from their families and associates.

I'm not saying it skews the poll by a lot, but it does to a degree.

Here's some food for thought...

I know it applies to people in general, but do you suppose Atheists for the most part take on their affiliations and associations because they think that is what is expected of them as Atheists?

Or, another way:

Are they following their individual instincts, or the herd instinct?

Here's some food for thought...

I know it applies to people in general, but do you suppose Atheists for the most part take on their affiliations and associations because they think that is what is expected of them as Atheists?

I promise you I'll chew on this for a while as I continue to explore the Atheist Nets. It could be true in some cases....But I think it's true more for people in general than for Atheists. From my personal experience, I think the politics come first. It does for me. I mean that I was more openly who I was politically a lot longer than I was even SURE who I was religiously. And my politics are of the liberal persuasion.

It is logical that there should be atheists all along the political spectrum - and thanks to polls we know that there are. But the majority are liberal. And we liberals, I guess, take it for granted that we're in a place where we can speak freely and be understood by our "in" group. And for the most part (I'm new here, what do I know?) it seems that dissenting points of view can actually have intelligent discourse because that discourse is not derailed by religion. That is so rare these days.


I find it very interesting that you felt more accepted by religious conservatives in the South, and in military culture (but isn't military culture it's own separate thing?), than by atheist liberals. You ARE an anomaly and you're in a tough spot.


So let's keep all keep talking. :)

P.S. I do have a question though. I notice you framed yourself as a non-religious conservative. Did you actually let those people know you were Atheist and not just non-religious? I'd wager they wouldn't have been as friendly with you then?

Engaging in a little misandry, booklover?

I wouldn't do that to you.

I have great respect for Women, and on those occasions that I disagree with a particular Woman, my disagreement is with her.

Not her gender.

I think you're better than that.

Mr Greenberg has been engaging in a little game, in that he'll make a semi-lucid statement, and if receives any sort of coherent response, he resorts to playing deliberately obtuse.

When that fails, he falls back on aphoristic platitude and feigns indignation.

I have seen this game plenty of times, and I'm at the point that it disgusts me.

I am not going to play it.

I have invested a lot of time in answering Mr Greenberg.

Too much time, considering his responses.

He's gotten all I'm going to give him.

He has demonstrated clearly that he is not worth the effort.

Now, I've been polite, reasonable and respectful toward you.

If you'd care to reciprocate, I'll be happy to continue to do that.

I am astonished at the homogeneity of thought that exists among a relatively large group of people who are supposed to be free-thinkers

In theory, the only requirement to be an atheist is the belief that no gods exist. In practice, many atheists also share traits such as:

- Respect for science and knowledge

- Advocating "social justice", such as being in favour of gay marriage

- Skeptical attitude with emphasis on evidence based reasoning

- Conflict with religious elements in society who want additional rights or exemptions

None of those things are required to be an atheist, but the fact that many share these traits can easily lead to homogeneity of thought amongst atheist groups such as this forum. Even if it doesn't, there can still be the perception that we are all the same.

Personally, I'm generally happy with people as long as they can come up with reasonable justification for their ideas (irrespective of whether I agree with them) and are not too vocal or pushy with opinions that they can't justify. I certainly do not tolerate dissent based on stupidity.

it appears that I was more accepted as...

Although I have not had the same experience as you here, I can sort of see how it could have happened as being "religious" or "conservative" implies a basis of shared belief while their opposites do not. (i.e. religious and non religious conservatives have their conservative values in common, but conservative and non conservative non religious people only have non religion in common, which is far less unifying).

PS: I read through the previous comments before posting this, and noticed that you are against abortion. I couldn't see a reason why written anywhere, but if you start a separate thread with more detail on that viewpoint, I would be interested in reading that and sharing my own opinion.

Mike,

I agree with some of what you say and think its a very important discussion to be had on here.

On the abortion issue I classify myself as anti-abortion but pro-choice. By that I mean i think abortion is the worst possible solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy, but that I would never take away a legal right for women who choose it.

As to the nitty gritty of my stance that is covered elsewhere on AN. I only mention it to illustrate a point.

Whenever I have expressed this viewpoint I have had lots of people, especially some who have spoken earlier in this thread, express strong opposition to it. That's great!

I think this site is most interesting when deep important issues are discussed and thrashed out. Its fantastic to see an issue pulled apart by people with passionate viewpoints, but without the resort to a theistic argument.

What i would like to say to you is keep stirring the pot. I look forward to locking horns with you over fiscal conservatism sometime, and equally agreeing on some other point sometime.

The more plurality of opinions we are exposed to the better everyone's world viewpoint will be.

Regards MB

Don't know about anybody else here, but I think that's just funny as hell..

But seriously folks,

Today was just a little bit grueling.

I'm whupped.

I going to shut this thing off, and after I've had a little dinner, I'm gonna' hit the rack.

I'll get back to you all tomorrow...

Let me put in a plug for libertarianism, which I regard as the political expression of secular-humanist philosophy, because it puts a premium on human dignity, life, and autonomy (and no, we are not anarchists or libertines).  I trust neither God nor govt. to improve my life.

Greetings and welcome! I think like in any sort of random population, you can expect there to be all sorts of people here. Nice/not nice. Judgmental/nonjudgmental. Tolerant/not tolerant. Liberal/conservative/or anything else you can think of. Some of these people might be more willing to engage in discussion, others want to put you in a box and close the lid. Just because we're a group of atheists doesn't mean we all practice free thinking (and I'm a bit hazy on this word choice as a describer for atheists). Although I would hope that we would be open to having a rational discussion, and I know I for one have changed my mind on one big topic (belief in god/s), not everyone is open to or will change their beliefs based on what we read here. I love coming here because it's the one place on the interwebs that I can go and not be harangued by others about my belief system (or lack thereof). For the most part, I can speak my mind and be heard and I think that's pretty bloody important for everyone regardless of whether we have the same political viewpoint or not. I hope you find your place here and love it as I do. And I hope you go on challenging us and yourself to fully explore what it is that we DO believe in!

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