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?
Tim - totally agree
Rob - perhaps I haven't been run over by enough people of a certain gender / race / religious affiliation to start stereotyping about it!
I tend to react with standardised name calling when pushed.... only really have a few categories for:
someone who has cleverly fooled you either in fun or to purposely rip you off
someone who mischievously creates problems for others.
general stupidity that has caused harm
someone who is self absorbed to the harmful detriment of others
someone who has intentionally harmed another
someone who appears to be causing vindictive emotional harm
when you really hurt yourself eg kicking a door jam really hard
Stereotyping to me seems an active conscious process, which I would like to think I would only do for entertainment purposes. It doesn't befit a person to create a small space for another human to occupy, if you share a society with people you got to give them the space that they deserve.
If a society treats a group like inferior beings, based on race, sex or sexuality it will only enforce isolation and all the bad stuff that accompanies it.
I try not to resort to name calling, especially in real life where non verbal communication is often enough to convey a message of disapproval. If I hurt myself I do like to curse, depending on my mood (oddly, not really dependent on the amount of pain) I might curse or just simply sigh.
I do get ticked off by general idiotic behavior easily but I tend to just walk away instead of engage the stupidity.
I have been in the worst neighborhoods of Seattle, Washington DC, Juarez/El Paso, working with poor and troubled people. I have never ever been hurt or assaulted. I have never even been afraid except in April, 1968, in Washington, D.C. when the riot started. I was teaching a class in the housing project in Anacostia when the riot started coming toward our class room, which was an apartment in the project. Suddenly, the doors flew open, four of the biggest black men I have ever seen lifted me out of my chair, put me in my car and put a car ahead, behind, and on both sides and escorted me out of the project until I was safely across into Washington, D.C. I drove to my home in Bathesda, MD. and looked over my shoulder to see a mile and a half of Anacostia burning. Several were killed that night, and the Black community of the housing project protected me.
"People Were Out of Control": Remembering the 1968 Riots. "Martin Luther King died at 8 pm on April 4. By 10, the crowd along 14th Street had turned violent. Off-duty police were called in, and a force of 2,500 law-enforcement officers managed to reestablish order in the early morning. By then, 150 stores had been looted and 200 people arrested.
Joan - wow, what a moving story.
"I have observed what looked to me like, arrogance, prejudice, superiority and dismissive attitudes."
Yeah, you're right about that. I don't know if I am correct but I do believe that the "angry" asshole kind of atheists exist mostly in countries where atheists are a (persecuted) minority. In the Netherlands there are very few of these atheists for instance, most people don't really care about religion one way or the other.
It is logical for me to think of my self and my thoughts as superior to those of others, after all if I thought that those of others were superior I would've change my mind to accept the superior opinion. I am not too upset when I communicate with people whose opinions I do find inferior to my own, as I'm sure that they feel the same way about mine.
Whenever a person openly voices an opinion that I find not only inferior to my own but detrimental to human progress (racism for instance) I am more then capable of speaking up and I will not sugarcoat my opinion at times like that either.
Although I can understand why people come to certain opinions that does not excuse people from being a dick. If you have bad experiences with a group op individuals it is silly to extrapolate your experiences to the whole of the group. It is human to do so, sure, but it's still wrong.
Thanks Rob - good points - it's interesting hearing others views on this subject - because clearly there is some issue here.
There is most definitely an issue here. Too many times people do not engage in any fruitful discussion at all because of a "they are wrong, I'm right" style of thinking. It's great that people have their own truth, and that people can debate said truth, however it is extremely annoying when a person cannot see the human behind the opinion and seems to ignore the whole complexity of human nature and judges another person based on one difference in opinion.
I mean, come on, if you don't want to be ostracized for being "different" then don't return the same favor to others.
Be open and be respectful and you actually get to see the people behind the theism/atheism label. We're really not that different, we just give different names to the same human experiences. We all experience wonder, love and compassion, some of us call that spirituality, others call it god and I would call it "being human". Who cares? I mean we're all alike, aren't we?
yes, I agree.
When a group of people hold a view that would legislate in their interest but not mine, I resist and as noisily as I can get.
This site, Atheist Nexus, is a very humbling place to participate. When I write something that another sees as foolish and calls me on it, I have to stop and think about it. Nine out of 10 time the other is right and I have not thought it through as far as I should. On the other hand when I rethink something, changing my mind is easy for me. I guess I have been wrong on so many things in my life, it is normal to change ... given evidence that I need to.
Joan - I totally agree - and I think this is why I notice the arrogance and prejudice - because when I cop a ship load of critical thinking attacking my ideas, I take the hit and examine them, with reference to logic and reason - any grandiose ideas I had about myself being smart or knowing - have been totally trounced here. And I am very grateful for the trouncing, as it has allowed me to develop my ideas to be robust, and to be less attached to false ideas, and more objective in my thinking - to let go of attachments to false realities and delusion.
Thank you to all you free thinking atheist who have helped me to see the light of science, reason and rational thinking. I am indebted.
Joan - sounds to me like you need a community - you need a power base - stuff this fighting on the back foot - you've got needs and they are valid and you need community support for these demands for equal and fair rights. Equal and fair rights are needs - not to be ignored over greed for power and money. Have total confidence in your rights and your position - and have compassion for those who are unable to share your insight and perception for what is just.
"I guess I have been wrong on so many things in my life, it is normal to change ... given evidence that I need to."
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.
Oh, and welcome to the club for people that are wrong a lot or most of the time, we currently have about 7 billion members ;)