I just got 200 comments and counting on my local atheist group when I posted this:
"On a matter of self reflection as a group I would like to discuss the idea of us calling anyone inferior or superior based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation - as there all share the same medal of racism.
I realise that XXX may see this as the promotion of political correctness. I don't support political correctness as a means to an end. I do support freedom of speech. And I like the idea that we are free here to discuss opening about our attitudes.
What concerns me is that in the atheist community (on the many forums and you tubes that I've seen) I have observed what looked to me like, arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes.
I realise that we all have our own nature - but I do support the idea that we can all try to act on science and reason - and not perpetrate racism or other harmful attitudes based on false beliefs about superiority. And think it important that we become more self aware of these issues and come up with effective methods that deal with it.
Preferably compassionate - based on the principles of Naturalism, rather than regressive aggression against it."
Is this a very contentious issue?
I agree there are in-problems in every group, but going "it's common, we can't do anything about it" and shrugging our shoulders isn't going to fix the problems.
1,000 years ago most women were considered property and didn't get equal education--but this still applies today.
150 years ago owning people as property was more common, as well as legal, right where I live--and slavery still exists in some parts of the world today.
Complacency in how the world is, is a trait that I see in most christians--they simply assume that "this is how god wants it to be"--like Rick Santorum's campaign manager writing that "Well if god wanted America to have a female president, we would have had one by now."--I, on the other hand, assume that things happen because of PEOPLE. We don't have a woman president because the right candidate supported by the right political party hasn't come along and convince people enough.
Things can get better, as long as people don't assume that "it's just the way the world is".
You may misunderstand my point. I was simply commenting on human nature. I wasn't even saying it's a good or bad thing. As for "it's common, we can't do anything about it" in terms of general "human nature", I'm not sure we can do anything about it...or would want to. Otherwise people would be walking around in a zombie state. That has nothing to do with issues and trying to change people's opinion though. Of course we can and should try to fix problems in the world. I really think it's doable.
And I'm not sure if I agree with you what complacency is. If you wholeheartedly and actively agree with someone like Santorum, that's not being complacent to me. If one agrees and actively votes for him, it's quite the opposite. Disagreeing and staying at home and not placing your vote is my definition of complacency.
I think that the response might be in terms of talking about the issue - as in this way everyone gets their say, their chance to causal effect, and the group comes to some conclusions - they may not all agree - but they get to see all the cards, and this is really useful.
Rudy, I agree with your statement: "Disagreeing and staying at home and not placing your vote is my definition of complacency."
Rudy - OK - but how about aiming as a group to be more cohesive - does that get us back to trying to heard cats, when it comes to free-thinkers?
I do like the values of Naturalism - and I don't profess to be able to maintain those values all the time, but I do make efforts to show compassion and kindness to others - what ever their position or beliefs. Is that not a worthy position?
Meaning, would it not be a better world if we all aimed to do this?
Perhaps my issue is with group inclusion - wanting to bring groups together, and seeing that these bad traits are causing divide in groups that have so much in common when it comes to shared needs for human rights, when it comes to laws imposed on our community that favour, exempt and give special treatment to religious institutions and doctrines.
My honest answer to your 1st question? Yes. Too diverse a group. It's why this site has many sub groups. You can have right wing or left wing thinkers within the "free thinkers" group. Obviously a right wing free thinker won't join a left wing group...free thinking or not. Nothing wrong with the diversity. In fact I'd go as far to say it's healthy.
And for the record, from the little I know of Naturalism, it seems fine. But I'm sure if you looked hard enough, you'd find someone who'd piss you off within the group. Hey! Maybe I'll join and show you what I mean...JK! (^_-) One day maybe I'll look into it more and then pester you with questions til I understand it fully (^_^).
Rudy - LOL - go for it mate - it would bring some excitement to the group! :)
Have a go with the Facebook Naturalism group and see how you go - I am really very curious to test your hypothesis.
It's hard to get a rise out of a Naturalist IME.
Alice, you are quite correct in sensing arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes. I plead guilty on all accounts. Frankly, I admit that compassion is a valuable trait and that regressive aggression exists; I plead guilty!
That said, I respect your desire for principled reasoning. However, what power do you have unless people such as myself are in the background raising holy hell about the status quo? There is nothing nice about natural processes. Hawks eat my garden critters; birds pull up and eat my farmed worms, cats eat anything that moves. That is naturalism. It is that it is. Messy at times, crude often, pure raw anger for some. These are valid emotions and have a place in human discourse.
I admire your gentleness and compassion; perhaps I will feel those feelings one day myself. But right now, especially in this crazy election year, I want to scare the bejeezus out of the believers and get some sensible people into office. Do the means justify the ends? Maybe. I have been wrong before. If I am wrong, my rants will fall on the ground and be crushed into dust. If I am right, others will join me, or more accurately, I will join them in making a joyful noise of resistance.
Joan - talking about it and raising the issue for discussion is the thing - it's about connecting, showing cards, expressing concerns, values, goals, intentions. These are what brings us together as a community and helps to raise awareness about needs.
I want our community to work better together on issues that matter for secular people, and I want to improve our group so as to be a softer place to fall for theists who are falling from faith.
I agree with everything you wrote. I like the image of a "softer place to fall for theists who are falling from faith."
Alice, I write this because I mean it and I do not take your response as a rebuke. I do invite you to block my comments as they are too strong for your purposes. I promise, I won't be offended if you do. This is your string and you are entitled to manage it to your purposes. I agree with your purposes and support your goal. My responses are not intended to distract or weaken your vision. And I can start a mad site that may suit some who have some fury with which to deal.
Joan - LOL - you underestimate my tolerance and capacity to embrace difference - I didn't even notice that I might have been giving rebuke! Nothing you have said is offensive to me - I am fully supportive of freedom of speech - and when I see fear, anger, hate, violence, aggression - so long as I am physically safe - I have compassion - acceptance - that their journey has brought them to this point. I don't hear any of these in you - although I do hear from you expressions of sadness, hurt and frustration - that has perhaps lead to fury, due to others lacking respect for your basic needs and human rights. This is totally acceptable and understandable - and very worthy of support, and righteous anger.
Alice, I am not saying you rebuked me. I am saying if you choose to block me, I will not take it as a rebuke. Your vision is exactly what I/we need ... the gentle, calm, supportive responses and your offering alternatives to anger. Anger is a choice. I wake up in the morning loving my life and go to bed so very grateful for the life I have. I am not a full-time anger spewer, I do notice ideas or language that needs to be confronted. The good news is, I can do it; I am even getting better when abusive phone calls arrive at my home with comments making it clear the caller is reading my Facebook stuff. Well, if I can't take that pressure I had better get out of the advocacy business.