Throughout the variety of religions what has become evident through my research is that most people chose to classify themselves with a label that best suits them. By that I mean that no matter how much a person identifies with being a "Buddhist" there are elements that they may disagree with and they will choose to behave in a way that is more feasible to them. So when we classify and label all theists as being the same, we are making them appear to be less human because their behavior is more or less "scripted".

I write this because as I've begun telling people about the fact that I am now choosing to identify as an Atheist, I'm being held to the same standards others have exhibited before me. This is one reason I searched out this place as to be a source of immense help, although I've found that it is not the "cure all" I thought it might be. There are still people here who want to identify as an Atheist because they think it makes them appear smarter, or in some fashion "better" than others. Some are even peddling their own version of 'snake oil'. Why would behavior such as this appear to be any different than the stereotypical close-minded fundamentalist who is completely convinced of their own moral superiority, and who would be more than happy to tell you (against their own dogma) about the good things they do for others, and how that makes them better people?

This is something I'm really interested in, and I'm hoping to find people who can add to this discussion without just offering dissent and basically acting like an argumentative theist. Why do we as people (ALL people) feel that WE are the only one's with the right answer? Is that even possible? I don't necessarily think so, because there is so much occasion for doubt. I prefer to use "maybes" instead of absolutes, because some people base all of their knowledge and hubris on the backs of research statistics or a book they have read.

I'm here to say I've read many books that were total BULLSHIT. It was their own interpretation of the world, but it was not the same world I see with my own eyes. However, that is the rub... we all have our own views which tend to be static, but when sharing those it deeply offends people when you cannot grasp their meaning.

Anyway, back to the initial question at hand... since there is no Atheist bible (thank god, haha) how are Atheistic people suppose to find a common ground to agree upon so that miscommunication is not a constant issue? We all think there is no happy sky king... GOOD! However, there are many other ways in which we all can find to disagree, to me the thing we should be trying to find is that common perception and an agreeable foundation, so that we won't appear to be as bobble-headed and ridiculous as we tend to see religious groups as being.

After all we poke fun at Christians for having a multitude of denominations because they cannot agree on interpretations of the same damn book, but somehow we are all trying to fit Atheism under a combined banner while having no real ethos to subscribe to other than science and reason.

I look forward to your contributions. :)

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First I just wanted to say that your pretty damn spot on in your statements, in my opinion. But one thing to keep in mind is "It is all relative." And everything you mentioned has to do with relativity.

Ok... so here is my subjective view. I became self-aware about 2 years ago. Nothing drove me more into the arms of science more than my lust for knowledge. I can NOT stand ignorance and Theism thrives on it. So, since I became Atheist, I had always thought that the reason anyone became one of us was because they wanted answers.

I feel that one mantra of the Atheist community should be that of a scientific nature. "Be open minded and search for answers." All of our statements to the Theist community should be objective and based in fact. And when we come to a question that we cannot answer, we should not give opinion but just state, “I am not an expert on the subject, but I am sure there is a good scientific explanation for it and I can find out.” Thank science for the Internet!
I really like that "be open minded and search for answers", and I do think that is an excellent goal to aspire to. The only thing I think we tend to be missing is that we must also find a way to be accepting of other people also. This is the part where I think it all goes wrong, whether it be religious in context or what have you. How do we agree upon behavior which would be acceptable? The one thing I see Atheists missing the boat on is how to go about treating your fellow man fairly, while at the same time poking fun at their most sacred beliefs. There has to be some way to do so.

Some here feel that if they disagree with something they should shout it out louder than anyone else, because that makes their point more valid. Others are more reserved about their own ideals, for fear of being made fun of or attacked by people who do not see things the same way. All this does is drive them away from Atheism in much the same way I assume most previously religious theists were driven away from their past theologies. Perhaps the big question is how to be more Atheistic without losing your humanity and becoming a know-it-all prick.

When I was very angry over religion and I had studied the council of Nicaea, the 3 major language translations of the bible, and other things that simply showed me how human influence was more prevalent than "God's" influence in the bible. I felt that everyone needed to know this information. I had all my ducks in a row, and all my facts checked and references at the ready... but NO ONE wanted to hear it. I was being blasphemous at best and just a rude prick with an axe to grind at worst. People saw me not only as a threat, but as an unhinged lunatic.

I'm doing what I can to convey a "kinder, gentler" non-theistic viewpoint now. I see that getting in peoples faces only serves to make you the same villain, just without a cross on your neck.

Thanks so much for your reply!
Completely agree! I feel the more civil approach is always the best way. If you have not read it, please pick up a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People". This book is the "holy grail" (pardon the reference) of how to approach prideful people and get them to submit to or at least consider your point of view.

I have experience myself with close minded ideological people (not just Theists, you could also include bigots, Atheists, and the just plain hard headed... basically anyone who lets pride get in the way of reason). I found that a good way to deal with them is to ask questions. Asking questions puts you in control of the conversation. And asking the right questions can and will embarrass those people. This way you can stop all the yelling contests and actually get to a point. I get really angry when I try to discuss a subject with someone and they will not even acknowledge that they might be wrong. But I find it calming when I can out smart them with questions that lead them to what I wanted to hear.

You said that we are driving people away from our cause by taking venomous stances… so true. We should have a meeting with the gay community; they are doing the same thing. You only hurt your own cause when you get in people’s face. I always felt that both communities (Gays and Atheists) could benefit from the ways of Mohandas Gandhi and take a non-confrontational approach to our protest of ignorance.

Afterthought: Isn’t it weird… the similarities between our cause and the plight of Gays in the United States. All caused by Religion.

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