Let’s Be Better, Atheists

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Sometimes I view online atheism as disappointing. Many online appear, in my opinion, to view their mission to simply mock religious believers and never proffer an actual argument against some believer they’re having a dialogue with at the time. The discussion devolves into insult and condescension. I don’t think that’s a way to approach anyone’s dogma, and of course it doesn’t make either party look especially mature. There are some that are decent and ask respectable questions, only to receive the same condescending, attitude from the other person. Does that mean, as atheists, we should descend to the same level in response?

I don’t believe so. I think that taking the high road is the best tactic. Yes, believers try and bait us all the time but why should we, knowing this to be the case, take the bait? It’s so much easier for the atheist, and more difficult for the believer, if the comeback is respectful, asking questions as to why they would make a derogatory statement about something (atheism) they don’t seem to know anything about and then ask them why they believe what they do about atheists? But I rarely see any type of interaction like that. It’s disappointing and doesn’t do anything to further the cause of atheism (if there is a cause). We’re accused of being demeaning to religion, purveyors of hate, when I see a lot of that from the other side. It’s often easy to see the deficiencies in another’s argument while being completely oblivious our own.

If we’re going to attack religious belief, we should  attack based on it’s inadequacy, not because we believe it’s just silly (it is).  When someone, a believer, calls me immoral because I’m an atheist, I ask, them, why they believe that to be true? the response is often, if not always, that it is “God that gives us our moral compass and without God, a person cannot be moral”. the last person to use that argument with me, someone I know fairly well, slunk back when I asked her, “Haven’t you received four speeding tickets in the last year? Doesn’t God tell you that you have to obey man’s laws?” Of course many will say that they’re imperfect, but I always come back and ask why it is then, they are so determined to judge imperfections of others?

For me, that’s a meaningful dialogue that doesn’t attempt to demean the other person. It doesn’t matter what the believer says, will they, or more important, can they, make their argument based on logic and not some book  that most of them haven’t actually read?

I think once we engage without derision, we’ll find less antipathy aimed at us. Maybe not, but shouldn’t we try?

6 thoughts on “Let’s Be Better, Atheists

  1. Good blog.

    I don’t care for religion unless it threatens my freedom or impinges on my rights, then I care about it the same way I care about typhoid or rabies.
    I do think religion is utter nonsense and I claim the right to criticize and insult it as much as I like. NOT because I believe in gratuitous insults, I dont, but I do believe in responding to it in kind. And there is a difference.

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  2. Yeah, there is the rub; believers, and Christians especially, are most often nasty and demeaning, even if they only rely on the “it’s the truth, because it is in the Bible and it is in the Bible so it it the truth, because the Bible is truth given by God, who is love and/or jealous, depending.”

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  3. These people do not want to engage in civil discourse and atheists who get off debating them do not hope to make a dent in such belief. They just want to engage in tit-for-tat, junior high school name-calling and venting to make themselves feel…powerful, special, high on outrage, whatever.

    Never quite been there, but have witnessed it enough.

    A good debate is civil and intelligent and ends without bloodshed, figuratively or otherwise. Ranting and name-calling and baiting is for people who don’t have anything better to do, quite frankly. What does it serve, except the continuance of venting and outrage and name-calling?

    Accept that people are different and that “peoples is peoples.” Wise advice from “The Muppet Movie.”

    And…from my inner Pollyanna, “Let’s all try to be better people.” 🙂

    Of course, not all Christians are mean and nasty in their responses. Some are just stupid…

    I am so bad this afternoon. I love my Christian friend, really I do. Ignorant, that is what it is, not stupid. Uneducated and ignorant of nearly anything except what she reads in the Bible or her pastor tells her. There are a lot of people just like her. Some people like her are atheists, but of course, they don’t read the Bible while they are drinking the Kool-Aid.

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  4. Agreed. It seems like social media is now primarily about outrage and not about changing minds, having meaningful discussions, or behaving like civilized adults. Of course, I think it is also helpful to remember that many of the people we see behaving like children might be children. If social media had been there when I was 16, I have little doubt that I would have acted like this. And to be honest, I probably would have still been acting like that into my early 20s.

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  5. We are witnessing a time when adolescence is prolonged to such an extent that the condition is altering everything from population growth to economic stability and most certainly threatens our Constitutional Republic. I would go so far as to surmise that such behavior and lack of personal responsibility in our younger generations threatens Western Civilization and democratic-like nations around the globe. Social media has played a large part in this odd trend. Socialism pretending to be the answer to everything has done an excellent job for its part, while the elder generations have been busy getting on with life.

    We have had it too easy for too long a time, despite the wars, despite the varying economy, despite the comings and goings of presidents…and we are paying the price.

    When my husband and I see our adult kids and their friends, even if they are hard-working and fairly serious-minded people…and we think how our lives were and are now and how our parents’ lives were and our grandparents’ lives were; the difference is stunning. Responsibility, hard and long work, concentrated parenting and civic duty and paying attention to the bigger political picture at the state and federal level, starting out of debt and paying off necessary debt quickly, denying ourselves and waiting until we had the money or maybe not ever getting or doing those things that we wanted.

    And our kids and their to-be-spouses worked when they were in high school and college and kept out of trouble with alcohol and other drugs and cliques or gangs, so they had a solid upbringing….but there is a gaiety about them that they don’t want to disturb with paying too close attention to anything, even social media, and this trait I find disturbing, because of what it portends for the future of their lives in a nation that is ever nearer the edge of loss of liberty for the individual.

    So…this old woman is shutting up now.

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  6. People who open with ad hominem arent interested in what the other party thinks. They are simply transacting in order to feel a certain way about themselves. These people should be summarily ignored. In this way, they become properly marginalized and effectively deplatformed without the need for censorship.

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