I sometime read religious boards and it amazes and disappoints me how much religious zealots and atheist have in common – the absolute and righteous certainty that they at the exclusion of others possess knowledge/revelations that makes them the bearers of the truth.   

Recently on a different Atheist discussion board a lady that had just lost her young daughter wrote about her religious experience and of the comfort she receivers from her faith.  She politely shared her heart breaking story and even offered words of kindness.  The replies were predictably brutal and mocking, barely a shred of compassion for a mother that lost her child.  I made my best to present my atheist point of view to this lady but I did so with respect, compassion and understanding.  I also felt ashamed for my fellow atheists.

I see it here too at nexus, the same hubris and arrogance that at times is such that some individuals proclaim that their philosophies are “my own religion” while others are themselves “…my own religion” and their church is “my flesh and blood”.  Does this sound strangely familiar?  I suppose soon we will have Gods among us. 

Before we all get too heady from over indulging in the advantages of having the weight of evidence in our favor, we should remember that pointing out the irrationality of religion is as-easy-as- shooting-fish-in-a-barrel!  The real challenge is offering something better.

We are no better than those that dismiss us and demean us for being atheist if we dismiss and demean them for being believers. The belittling of others only diminishes us and at the very least makes us as misguided as we see theists to be.

It would serve us all well to remember that before presenting our carefully constructed arguments we could show something very simple – respect – and maybe even modesty.

If you believe that logic and reason offers superior guidance than mysticism and religion then BE the example.   

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Demeaning, mocking, ridiculing and being disrespectful have nothing to do with facts or how people respond to having their views being challenged.

Theist and atheists alike don’t like being challenged and yes, people are often rude when they are challenged.

But as I have stated earlier, just because you think the facts support of point of view, there is nothing to be gained by being disrespectful and arrogant.
John D: Rudeness is a tool. Just like anger and humor and politeness. They are all just tools. You prove that rudeness is never a good tool and I will think about changing my behavior.

“The citizen's job is to be rude - to pierce the comfort of professional intercourse by boorish expressions of doubt” -- John Ralston Saul
"There is a measurable portion of the population here, whose week isn't complete unless he's made someone cry. And I'm one of them." -- Vinnie Jordan
"I hate you for better reasons than you hate me." -- Jim Goad
Oh, I AM polite ... I'm also ruthless. I do not call names, but I do not spare facts in my arguments, nor am I given to tolerating BS on the part of my opponent's attempts to counter or obfuscate the matter at hand.

If they can't deal with the truth, the door to the kitchen is THAT way ===>.
Shanon,

I also know a little about hostility. Should try being a wildlife biologist in a small western town with two lumber mills and one of the largest open-pit mines in the world.

I was threatened and ran off the road by militias, I was shot at with an AK-47 and had a shotgun barrel inches from my nose but I always came back if possible the very next freaking day. Most of my coworkers did not like me because I was a commy and an atheist (but mostly because I actually did my job) and the ranchers and mine people didn’t like me because I worked for Feds.

Through it all I never disrespected anyone, even though at times I was burning with rage. I am proud to say that by the time I left I had earned the respect of most of my coworkers who awarded me with a distinction and the rancher that stuck a shotgun in my face, offered to let me do my dissertation research on his land.

We can’t always win people over, and most often I don’t, but we can choose to be decent and respectful men.
Personally I am as polite to religious people as they are to me.

I know several who know who and what ( atheist and gay) I am and treat me with utmost respect and

I treat them the same way.

I can't say that about the majority of them though,if I get hostility then I give it.
Attitudes and a behaviors are not free speech.

Fuck off Fred Nevermind.
Attitudes and a behaviors are not free speech.

I beg to differ. To restate the founding concept behind "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day:"

NO ONE has the right not to be offended.

Attitude is likely incorporated into the concept of free speech, and so long as behaviors do not physically impact someone other than the actor, it also falls under the same category, or they are in the US, so far as I know. Certainly, manners are important, and civility generally aids conduct of a reasonable discussion. Our opponents frequently violate this principle in their attempts to debate or convert us ... and while I don't think much of ad hominem attacks as a part of such discussion, continued behavior of this sort on the part of the theists will eventually cause me to "take the kid gloves off," and frankly rip their arguments apart without consideration for the feelings or attitudes of the opposition.

As I stated before, I will remain polite, but I can be polite while simultaneously "tearing them a new one."
I think I will have to agree with Funk and Lorne on this one. Attitudes and Behavior definitely fall under free speech. It is like the question of having the right to not be offended. Some people find it rude for you to curse, I personally like to save those for when I am in a bad mood. But, it is a matter of free speech to do so at any given moments. Just like some people have the right to be grumpy and upset.

I take great pleasure in trying to fight what I consider offensive in polite terms, but every once in awhile it is enjoyable just to be slightly offensive and rip into people and lowering my English to less formal and less polite forms.

As far as morality goes, and I am sure some people will object, I have not found any form of objective morality, as it is something that I find to be a combination of the individual and societal norms that negotiate the moral/ethical behaviors of a person.
I understand what you are talking about. Yes, in my opinion people should not be that rude. I think you are correct. In general, no, no reason to be rude here in Nexus. Still, some people might use language in a way other people think is rude. But, I don't think anyone would intentionally use rude language. As I said with curse words, some people think swearing is bad, some use it for daily conversation.

I agree very much with what Miquel has said. My post was with the statement about Free Speech.

Should those people have been so rude to that lady? I don't think so. I think they were being jerks. Did they have the right to be? I guess so. We don't have the right to not be offended. I am not defending what they did, but it was their choice to do it. And on the topic they were discussing it would hurt the reputation of atheists. They were jerks, and many other words I don't like to use.

Miquel is right to be upset about such a disgusting assault on a person. And Fred, I am happy that you also feel the same way. I made no comment saying that what they did was correct, I hope I never do. But, they have the right to do it.
Very direct, but can't argue against it.

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