Article: Toxic Atheism vs. "Faithiests"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by decafjava, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. decafjava macrumors 68000

    decafjava

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    #1
    Very interesting article: can we get along? Seems not-even if religious nuts hvae been the past masters at this but is the new atheist attitude making things worse?

    Toxic Atheism Drives People Apart/

    And more...

    Gotta say as a religious person, I not only have atheist friends I am sometimes more comfortable with them than with many religious people - an advantage of living in Europe-so paradoxically I can understand this fellow. Maybe the problem is not belief vs. unbelief but something else?

    ----------

    Another one:

    http://www.skepticblog.org/2009/12/01/from-faitheist-to-fundagnostical/

     
  2. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #2
    i am not sure about this article.
    it seems very skewed, and not rooted in reality.

    or at least it doesn't reflect my experience at all.

    as an atheist, I very rarely if ever get engaged in discussing it in real life and have never met any atheist of the militant sort described by the authors, and most of the people I am around at work are of the agnostic/atheist kind.
    I would tell them I am not a believer if someone asks my opinion, and i am ready to discuss the reasons, but that has rarely happened. In a few occasions, i have voiced my disapprovement of improper public displays of faith (for example a coach that insisted that games in a public league started with the kids kneeling and praying)

    On the other hand the vast majority of my family are people of faith, but with moderate views.
    we disagree but respect each other perspectives, and usually our positions converge on condemning the insanity of fundamentalisms (of various religions).
     
  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #3
    Isn't the reverse true also? Toxic "Faithism" will annoy Atheists also.

    And if the reverse is true, I don't think it really matters.
     
  4. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #4
    Thats because you haven't meet me in real life.
     
  5. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5


    Here are the problems:

    1. Many religions try to put themselves on the same level as science.
    2. Many religions try to impose their beliefs on others through civil law.
    3. Many religions ignore facts in favor of beliefs.

    None of this is OK. This is why you have conflict. If the religious would agree to live and let live, there would be a lot fewer problems. Really, I doubt anyone would have issues with religion at all.
     
  6. decafjava thread starter macrumors 68000

    decafjava

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    #6
    Well I agree most of the effort has to come from the religious side, I just wanted to say the articles are a warning not to become like the enemy. I can promise from my side to fight back against religious extremists of the sort you describe...I really cannot abide them.
     
  7. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #7
    Exactly. The problem is the people with these beliefs trying to force them on others and make them abide by their beliefs through legislation.
     
  8. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #8
    Much appreciated. Unfortunately in the US, the zealots get their way much of the time.
     
  9. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #9
    "Imagine ... no religion ..."

    Without believers to push back against, atheists are just people who are not seeking meaning in a meaningless universe.
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    Not really. Mainly I just don't see the point of believing a bunch of old stories that have no basis in reality to explain the unknown. I'm not uncomfortable with not knowing what happens when we die.
     
  11. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #11
    There are people pushing back and I'm still not seeking meaning. It doesn't bother me that humans might be an accident. It doesn't bother me that I might just be atoms composed in a certain way and at some point they need to separate in order to do something else. When I die, I don't think I'll care since I won't be anymore.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #12
    Precisely my thoughts on it. Or like Katharine Hepburn said: "I'm not afraid of death. Must be nice, like a long sleep".
     
  13. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Personally, I find it very difficult to get worked up about my non-belief. I do get worked up by people using ideas of god(s) to quietly advance their or their tribal interest against the interests of others. I often think it's like dealing with a child who has an invisible friend. To start with it's harmless and fun to humour the child who's convinced of this friend. But gradually you realise that this invisible friend (who can only communicate through the child) only ever wants to do what the child wants to do and any evidence of it's existence only ever presents when the child is in the room. It's not long after getting tired of the endless veto's of things that will help everyone (that the child doesn't like) by this invisible friend that the parents start to suggest that the invisible child should stay out of discussion about what to watch on the telly or what everyone should have for dinner. It's only when the child insists on including it in discussions that the parents snap and shout that it doesn't exist. If it's kept as a private thing then everyone else is prepared to humour the situation.

    I'm always surprised that when arguing against such self interested views such non-belief get's categorised as a 'thing' that has an equivalence with faith. Just about every atheist I know doesn't want to 'convert' people (here's that equivalence thing again), they honestly don't care what you think, as long as it stays in your head - they just want to stop being outvoted by invisible friends.
     
  14. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #14
    Toxic atheism is a misnomer. There's nothing toxic about reality or the spread of knowledge of reality.

    Dawkins and Harris have done wonders for atheism. Literally every day people from all over the planet wise up because of them. Until religion is treated the same way as voodoo or candle magick we need them to be aggressive.

    For the rest of us, atheism just isn't interesting enough to discuss in real life. Humanist activism or secular humanism is worth participating in, but atheist groups themselves are a bore.
     
  15. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #15
    When half the country thinks the earth is under 10k years old we must always be ready to present facts and science to try and educate.
     
  16. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Religious extremism is often a more intellectually honest position than religious moderates.

    There are exceptions groups like the West Bourough Babptist Church have cherry picked the most violent and pissed off portions of the bible as there guide. But a literal interpretation of the Bible the Koran or most religious texts doesn't mesh well with modern society.

    To deal with this dichotomy religious people (who are for the most part "good people") start to write off more and more of the bible as "symbolic" or they just outright ignore the parts which don't fit with there more enlightened world view.

    ----------

    You're making the assumption that meaning has to be something intrinsic to the universe. That there must be a "greater" continuous meaning.

    I don't think that sort of meaning exists, that doesn't mean I've stopped seeking "meaning". I've just recognized that "meaning" is something that we must create for ourselves and sometimes for those around us.

    Realizing that there is no big "answer" to why we are here frees us to decide purpose for ourselves, instead of wasting our lives seeking the answers to non nonsensical questions.

    Atheism is the freedom of self determination, that's why so many people find it frightening. It places more responsibility on our heads, and it breaks down boundaries which suggest we must think and behave in certain ways to be "moral".
     
  17. leenak macrumors 68020

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    #17
    I agree. I'm not an atheist, I'm not sure there is a name for what I am. I think there possibility that there are supernatural beings, but its possible that there aren't. Even if there are, they may care nothing for our lives. I'm ok with the idea that there is no true meaning to our lives although I'm particularly found of the idea of reincarnation because if there was spiritual growth, our time frames seem too short to achieve it.

    Anyway, we might be an accident. There may be nothing more to us than the short life we live here. That is ok. I think defining ourselves in this life by doing good and making the most of our life is important.
     
  18. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #18
    I don't know about "many". It appears that Christians and Muslims do this. Is it safe to assume most do or is there a live and let live (in practise) religion out there?

    Years ago I had some Southern Baptists appear on my doorstep with the hope of saving me. They started asking me questions and when they did not like the answers, I saw the look of superiority on their faces along with the "he's going to burn" glances between them. Imagine being grilled on your doorstep. The most glaring question: Was the Bible written by man or God? Apparently, I got the answer wrong. ;) Now if they had asked me "Was the Bible inspired by God?", this would be a more reasonable question to ask, however in the end, I suspect they would not have been satisfied with my answers. Now I actually had some Mormons inside once and they did their best to help me see their version of the light. They were much more polite and in the name of salesmanship, could better tolerate differences of opinions.
     
  19. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #19
    Interesting, glad you got some civil ones, I had some punk kid get all flustered and angry when I asked why his religion is anymore valid than Buddism or even Zeus and the Pantheon, needless to say his answer included "The Bible says so" and I sent them on their way.
     
  20. NickZac macrumors 68000

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    #20
    I think there is, and in many ways it bears similarities to fundamentalism in terms of how it approaches the belief's of others. These people engage others actively and then get upset because the other side got pissed and doesn't agree with them. If you tell someone that their god and their religion is fake, they are probably not going to be happy for reasons I hope most people here can empathize with. This is a small but still sizable percentage of atheists I know who seem to go out of their way to be able to criticize someone's religion for what I see as no other purpose than to create conflict...this doesn't do anything to help. With that said, I believe there are significantly more religious fundamentalists with these attitudes compared to atheists. Likewise, if you try to 'save' someone who is atheist, they are probably not going to be happy either (and if you are atheist or agnostic, you've likely experienced this quite a lot). In some cases, not trampling on the belief systems of others' (or lack of), is the best thing you can do. While that applies more to fundamentalist religious groups than groups with lack of religious belief, it is something everyone needs to keep in mind.

    I have a lot of issues with religion...mainly its mix with science and politics. So you could say I am biased. I'd have less criticism towards it if religion was kept outside of law like our country was originally founded on the premise of. The day the Catholic church recognizes women's rights and LGBT rights is the day I will consider going back to church. I'm still waiting, and probably will be for a while.
     
  21. segovius macrumors regular

    segovius

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    #21
    And yet Harris is pretty much a Buddhist.

    Says it all about atheists really. It's not about thought or moving things on...it's just another load of tossers who want to be hailed as being 'right'. Just like the Church and every sad loser before them.

    A pox on both their houses. We deserve so much better.

    But we're never going to get it.
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    Says what? And what connection is there between your comment and the post you quoted? :confused:
     
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #23
    Agree that these problems as set out by you exist regarding religion:...

    namely, that many religions try to 1) argue that their beliefs should be treated as seriously as scientifically based theories;

    2) impose their beliefs on others through civil law; &

    3) ignore (and, indeed, sometimes deny) facts in favour of (religious) beliefs.

    However, I'd add a fourth issue - or problem - to that list, and I think it is this which gives the topic of religious belief and its consequent imposition of religious values in the laws and lives of those in the wider world such heft and makes it matter so much and be contested - and imposed - with such vitriolic vehemence.

    This is that those of a religious persuasion who seek to impose their values and belief system on others frequently claim divine sanction for their actions, and argue that they are impelled - not by power, or the need to control and define others - but by the word, and world view of a deity. Arguing that you are prohibiting certain actions - not because you wish to - but because you say your god told you to do so, is a very powerful motivation, as the world's sorry history to date (and indeed, current US political campaigns) all too sadly tell us.

    The bottom line is that atheists and agnostics do not seek to impose their world view on others. Nor do they seek to impose laws which derive from their world view on others who do not share such views.

    This is not the case with ardent religious believers, as many who claim to be divinely inspired in their world view use what they say is their divinely ordained mission to impose their views and attitudes on others, and claim divine authority to do so. In fact, at their worst, they will even argue that they are divinely mandated to do so.
     
  24. Ariii macrumors 6502a

    Ariii

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    #24
    Through that logic, you could assume that every living thing is a "Load of tossers who want to be hailed as being right."
     
  25. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #25
    And you'd be half right. Not everyone is like that, but there are quite a few *******s out there, and they all think they know better than you do.

    See, it isn't an issue of belief vs. non-belief, religion vs. atheism. That's an academic distraction to what the article is trying to get across. If you boil it down to the bare basics, it's all about concepts and ideas, and how people get attached to them to the point become hostile to those with contrary ideas. If an atheist were to walk up to a bible study and calls them all idiots for believing in their invisible sky magician, while proselytizing the virtues of free thinking, he's no different, no better, no worse than an evangelical baptist knocking on your front door to attempt to save you from the hell fires due to your heathen lifestyle.

    Ignore the fact they're X and you're Y. Look past the fact you're likely to agree with someone else who believes Y, even if they do take it to extremes. The end result is you've got a bunch of *******s being *******s, because they're so attached to their ideas and concepts, they can't fathom why anyone else would believe otherwise, and then proceed to get hostile about it.

    Hell, you've got people who get indignant over someone's choice of cell phones, and you all think this is simply an issue of religion? It's an us vs. them scenario, and we're all guilty of it.
     

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