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?

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Replies to This Discussion

That's why it's sometimes useful to be civil in discussions, almost everybody can change their mind if presented with sufficient evidence but it's difficult if people hurl insults at you.

These sentences should be shown on every page of discussion on AN.

There are some people that you cannot have a civil discussion with because they have evidence of a truth that only they can see. Sometimes one person's truth is so confronting (offensive) to another that insult is taken even if it was not intended.

So although you can strive to engage in civil discussions, sometimes people need to take off their gloves and get ready to rumble because it is important to share one's truth and to put it up for criticism. 

I don't want to shy away from a heated argument, especially if it's something close to my heart, but I often look back and think that it would have still been better if I kept it more civil instead of getting in people's faces. Ah well, we live and learn, right?

Rob - I think it's about intention - is someones intention to harm me?  Have they misunderstood my intention as wanting to harm them?

If we are clear on our intentions to promote well-being for all - I don't see how evidence or opinion can be offensive - unless it's personal towards the person, rather than the belief/idea/ideology.

Sure intention is important, but sometimes stupidity takes hold of people and they are simply not even aware of the harm that they are doing to others. I try to get a feel of people's intentions because it does influence me in deciding how to act upon it.

Well, if you believe that no person is allowed to remove a body part of a person without the ability to consent you in effect believe that circumcision is a violation of the rights of the individual. People that oppose that view might find this offensive for instance, and perhaps even feel personally attacked, I wouldn't be surprised.

I think that surgery that improves well-being is fair, without informed consent with children.  Such as for congenital birth defects.

Oh yeah, definitely, medical necessity is just that, a necessity. Aesthetic corrective surgery would not qualify in my book, especially if the procedure is quite intrusive and/or irreversible. 

I personally don't support cutting the skin off the penis of a baby - unless there is some medical reason to do so.  I have 3 boys, and they are all in tact.

Rob, I think that number is about right!

Rob - LOL - so true...

Your comment applies to pretty much every group...not just religious or atheism. Especially your 3rd sentence. Funny thing is, if you agree with it hard enough, you won't see the "arrogance..." etc. Let's pick out dog groups, for instance. People into breeding purebreeds compared to ones into the rescue dogs area are like that and those who see both sides, would see them as you describe. I'm even guessing some outside of the "Naturalism group" may view that group in the same light you view many in the atheist community. It's called "being human". We all have opinions. Just to varying degrees on certain issues.

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.

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