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The tolerant atheist

 
 
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 02:06 am
As an educator in Korea, I have ongoing relationships with people of lots of different stripes. Religion has never been a source of contention with regards to my students. I keep everything professional and mutually respectful in that respect.

Nor do I show a strong negative response when people knock on my door or accost me in public, trying to sell their religion. I just politely tell them, "No, thanks."

Online is a different venue. It's easy to ask a theist what sense it makes to participate in an organization that, for example, denies modern medical treatments for children in favor of faith healing, or denies science because their book of stories leads them to believe that the universe is only 6,000 years old and the final answer to every deep question is "Goddidit," which in turn makes it easier to deny vaccine science, global warming science, or sanctions discrimination against gender minorities, etc. All of that and more all because of some traditional old feel-good stories that have no evidential support for their main character: their god.
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 04:26 am
Listening to Setanta and FBM trying to appear reasonable on this topic is something that should make anyone who has read their posts over the years laugh out loud.

They are intolerant atheists...and although Setanta does it more than FBM, both try to pretend that atheism is just about "I have no belief... ."

Most atheists I have known...particularly the one's I know from the Internet...ARE BELIEVERS. They simply "believe" the opposite of what theists "believe."

And I see more intolerance coming from atheists towards theists...than the other way around.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 04:57 am
@Tuna,
I'm not sure that i follow your question. "Could it be . . ." Could what be? I'll simply fall back to what i've already said--this just doesn't come up in real life.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 06:00 am
@Tuna,
Tuna wrote:
Quote:
Being an atheist never comes up in my "real" life--it only comes up online, home of the flannel-mouthed crusaders of theism and of "atheism"

Could it be that the whole thing is a media phenomenon?


OK, i've gone back to read the OP. I don't know what "whole thing" you're referring to. What i read is that you went online to investigate something--this intolerant joker you referred to. Are you now saying that this has become an issue, a big issue, in news media? It's not a big issue in the North American news media.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:23 am
Don't pay much attention to what Setanta is asking there, Tuna. He's not really interested. That is just his way of telling me he is still pretending to be ignoring me.

He isn't!
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:30 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
And I see more intolerance coming from atheists towards theists...than the other way around.

On this site, yes, definitely.
layman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:38 am
@Olivier5,
Quote:
On this site, yes, definitely.


As I've said before, Ollie, those most in need of "tolerance" are small minorities and/or oppressed groups. Not surprisingly, they are generally the ones who preach the need for tolerance 24/7.

And yet they are often the most intolerant ones you come across.

Go figure, eh?

Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:40 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Quote:
And I see more intolerance coming from atheists towards theists...than the other way around.

On this site, yes, definitely.


Right!

And since I post in more than just this forum, Olivier, I see that same kind of thing coming from atheists in other places also. I suspect (do not know) that on the Internet...where the issue IS discussed...there is more in that direction than the other.

layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:46 am
@layman,
The rhetoric of "militant" advocates of their cause is generally characterized by four things: (1) fanatical certitude, (2) hostile intolerance, (3) amateurish simplification and (4) unsubstantiated demonization.

Basically, they are hate-mongers, first and foremost.
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:53 am
@fresco,
Quote:
So, irrespective of cosy local ethics, in the contemporary world of global acts of terrorism based on religious principles, there may a case for atheists to 'stand up and be counted' .

It's never occurred to me that doing so would have any impact on global events. If there is a case to be made that it would, I'd be interested to hear it.
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:00 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
Ya sure, but dont we see mass intolerance everywhere, particularly with the elite? I mean we are hyper tolerant on genetic stock and hyper tolerant to a point where we flip and then become intolerant on both how people **** and what kind of intimate relationships people want to have, but so far as just about everything else goes we are some intolerant assholes. We have culture wars where we do things that hurt others individually and the nation at whole because we believe that our beliefs need to rule the world. We think that someone in the room saying that they dont agree with us on some subject like global warming or the general outline of the value of the IRS is justification for being a prick to them.

Come on, intolerance almost defines the modern Americans.

We used to be better.

I don't think we've ever been better. I think we made the First Amendment because we perceived the danger in our propensity for intolerance.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:06 am
@Tuna,
Quote:
We used to be better.


Quote:
I don't think we've ever been better.


"Better" in one sense. In the past, communication was seldom anonymous. Most of the loud-mouth chickenshits here would never dare say the things to your face that they say online. They are "internet tough guys."
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:18 am
@layman,
Quote:
those most in need of "tolerance" are small minorities and/or oppressed groups. Not surprisingly, they are generally the ones who preach the need for tolerance 24/7.

And yet they are often the most intolerant ones you come across.

Yes, Einstein's remark about the damage that having its own state could do to Judaism comes to mind. Minorities, once they become majorities, eg in a new state such as Israel, often find themselves ill-prepared to tolerate their new minorities, for they are not used to be the dominant group and haven't yet learnt the temperance that must go with that.

Atheists / non-believers are dominant on A2K, more vocal, better entrenched than believers. And yes, some of them at least should go easy on the preaching. So thank you Tuna for raising this issue.

For the record, I am an atheist myself.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:28 am
@Frank Apisa,
Don't assume that the Internet is representative of anything other than itself. The Internet is populated by a particular demographic: mainly westerners, literate and reasonably affluent types, lots of geeks, more men than women. This demographic has more non-believers than others, I guess.

The Muslim world for instance is under-represented on the Internnet, including here on A2K, and in Islam a lot of crap is thrown at atheists. Similarly, the christian fundies may be under-represented here but that doesn't mean they don't hate atheists and aren't vocal against atheism in real life.

There's enough intolerance in this world for everyone to partake, believers and non-believers.
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:35 am
@layman,
Quote:
The rhetoric of "militant" advocates of their cause is generally characterized by four things: (1) fanatical certitude, (2) hostile intolerance, (3) amateurish simplification and (4) unsubstantiated demonization.

Basically, they are hate-mongers, first and foremost.


All too often, such militants come to be seen as "leaders" of their group. Spokesmen in other words, who many within their group believe they should imitate (or at least not undermine in any way). The problems they create for their "cause" are exacerbated by this. They become the "face" of their special interest group.

Far too few run-of-the-mill atheists speak out against them, as Ollie and Tuna have done here. Doing so is "heresy" to the average group member.
0 Replies
 
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:38 am
@FBM,
Quote:
Online is a different venue. It's easy to ask a theist what sense it makes to participate in an organization that, for example, denies modern medical treatments for children in favor of faith healing, or denies science because their book of stories leads them to believe that the universe is only 6,000 years old and the final answer to every deep question is "Goddidit," which in turn makes it easier to deny vaccine science, global warming science, or sanctions discrimination against gender minorities, etc. All of that and more all because of some traditional old feel-good stories that have no evidential support for their main character: their god.

The internet creates a virtual space for discussions that wouldn't happen otherwise. As compared to online recruitment for terrorist organizations, a debate about vaccines is benign and potentially beneficial.

There's a difference between intolerance of a viewpoint and intolerance of a person. With social media, it may be that all you see of people is the views they present. Is that an obstacle to making that distinction?

Or maybe that's actually a feature of the real world just reflected in online discussions. I think one of the functions of religion, and one of the reasons it abides, is that it becomes the core of community and identity for some people. In some ways it's not unlike sports. People pour energy into football, baseball, and soccer. Is all that energy really about the movement of a ball to a certain location? Of course not. Look what they do once they get the ball across the goal. They move it back to the center of the field and start over. There's just something about screaming in unison with others.

I experienced the power of it at a KISS reunion tour a few years back. Everybody knew what the performers were about to do because they were repeating old performances. I thought: this is what religion really is: the power of 10,000 people screaming at a common object. It has little to do with the origin of the universe. That stuff is eclipsed by what's going on in the present. And where religion is about divinity, that's private, personal stuff, isn't it?

PZ Myers, the biologist I mentioned in the OP, gave a speech he called "Sacking the City of God." The reference is to Augustine's work and Myers proposed that Augustine's concept of a global community of Christians is something atheists should pay attention to. He suggested that atheist should work in that direction. He offered no scenario for how that might happen, but pointed out the ways the makings of such a global community are there in atheism. He mentioned that science is a common language for the people of the world.

Because of being able to discuss it in this thread, I've formulated some thoughts about that. I think that where there is a community/identity maker, there's a potential storm of bullshit, hype, and much ado about nothing. I don't see any benefit for anyone in drawing science into that. Atheism isn't a scientific topic. There is no consensus in the scientific community about what "divinity" means. In the day there is, I'll assume Western Civilization just bottomed out and I'll be moving to South America to hide from the social upheaval that just happened.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:46 am
@Tuna,
Quote:
I think one of the functions of religion, and one of the reasons it abides, is that it becomes the core of community and identity for some people.


Yeah, and it at least that sense, atheism IS a religion for some. Many were formerly religious, and many have said they miss the sense of community and identity they used to get from that. So they join groups such as American Atheists. They even have what they call an "atheist church" were sermons are given to devout followers every Sunday (or maybe it's Saturday, eh?).
Tuna
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:48 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
OK, i've gone back to read the OP. I don't know what "whole thing" you're referring to. What i read is that you went online to investigate something--this intolerant joker you referred to. Are you now saying that this has become an issue, a big issue, in news media? It's not a big issue in the North American news media.

I agree. With people like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and whoever else, what exists is books they wrote, speeches they gave. They're just expressing their thoughts, and that's valuable. To an innocent bystander, it looks like there's some anger and aggression to it as if someone is under attack somewhere.

Where there's smoke, there isn't necessarily any fire. Call me stupid: that actually hadn't occurred to me. But yes, you're right.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:53 am
@layman,
layman wrote:

Many were formerly religious...


And like former smokers who often are totally intolerant of any smoking going on within a hundred yards of them...they tend to be totally intolerant of theists and theism...and tend to over-do it when beating on theists.
0 Replies
 
Tuna
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 08:53 am
@layman,
Quote:
The rhetoric of "militant" advocates of their cause is generally characterized by four things: (1) fanatical certitude, (2) hostile intolerance, (3) amateurish simplification and (4) unsubstantiated demonization.

Basically, they are hate-mongers, first and foremost.

True. In one of PZ Myers' speeches, he asked if there were any liberal Christians in the audience. He made a point of saying to them, "I don't like you." How does he know he doesn't like them? He hasn't met them.
0 Replies
 
 

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