PDA

View Full Version : Atheism - Conceptions and Misconceptions



Tsuyoiko
25-04-06, 16:19
Here's another companion thread to Mycernius' on Christianity and Islam - hope you don't mind my borrowing your wording Mycernius.

Religious Tolerance's article on Atheism (http://www.religioustolerance.org/atheist.htm) is a good place to start. It explains the many definitions of Atheist, discusses discrimination against Atheists, particularly in the US, and looks at some common misconceptions of Atheists.

This essay http://www.religioustolerance.org/mettetal01.htm deals with an issue that is of particular concern to me - the way some Atheists can fuel misconception through their intolerance of the beliefs of others.

Mars Man
26-04-06, 01:15
Alright Tsuyoiko !! This should be a good thing to discuss too; and it gives us room to look into definitions for the terms, platforms that are out there, and whatnot. I'll check out the links and get back.

Some have pointed out their positions on Atheism in that old 'Atheism a religion' (if I have that right) thread, yet, I'd hope to get some further, clearer posts by Atheists here too. Having the ability to see all areas helps in understanding. Catch you later !!

No-name
26-04-06, 03:00
Out of my six sisters and two brothers, I believe that I am the only one that does not define myself as atheist or agnostic. Some of my siblings have a clearly developed belief system based on dialectic materialism. Others kind of drift into whatever they feel comfortable with at the time.

From their responses and from some of the posters on our fair forum, I always wonder what kind of pain causes such caustic bitterness and such an overblown sense of superiority. Have you guys encountered atheist that seem even more vociferous and opinionated than stereotypical televangelists?

Reiku
26-04-06, 05:03
Well, the ones that speak loudest are rarely the best exaples of their beliefs, whatever those beliefs are.

Personally, I've seen more caustic, bitter, egomaniacal thiests than atheists. Although I notice that those theists (partucularly some christians) who get wrapped up in the whole "love of god" thing tend to misjudge people who don't believe in their god as being bitter. Because they've made that particular deity the source of all happiness in their life, they assume anyone who doesn't belive in that deity must be miserable--or at least that they "cannot know true happiness without Him". This is rather short sighted in my opinion, and actually rather frightening:

Such a level of obsession is just plain unhealthy, whether it's for a Deity or your girlfreind, and it tends to lead to behaviors that are at best extremely obnoxious.

Myself, I'm not an atheist per se, I belive in the existance of gods and other supernatural phenomenon--I just don't belive such things are currently active in this world. As near as I can tell, god is either bored with us and off playing with some other universe--or he just got lazy and is kicking back on a couch up in heaven collecting all the souls we keep sending him.

Either way, I don't find him particularly deserving of worship, and his track record seems more than a bit suspect. As for other deities, I'm really not familliar enough with the gods of other religions to form an opinion about their existance--but in any event I haven't seen much evidence of any gods being active in our world recently.

Ma Cherie
26-04-06, 05:19
There are some egotistical Athiests. But here in American, Athiest are the most hated group and therefore they don't seem to push their beliefs on other people. I met several Athiests in high school and there were times when they would scoff at religion and perhaps try to convince students that God doesn't exist.
Thank you for article Tsyuoiko, that information is helpful. :cool:

Anyways, I think one of the biggest misconceptions about Athiest is that they are bitter and have no morals. This is how I learned that you don't really have to be apart of a religion to have moral beliefs. I've met Athiests who are against premarital sex.

Sensuikan San
26-04-06, 05:59
Out of my six sisters and two brothers, I believe that I am the only one that does not define myself as atheist or agnostic. Some of my siblings have a clearly developed belief system based on dialectic materialism. Others kind of drift into whatever they feel comfortable with at the time.
From their responses and from some of the posters on our fair forum, I always wonder what kind of pain causes such caustic bitterness and such an overblown sense of superiority. Have you guys encountered atheist that seem even more vociferous and opinionated than stereotypical televangelists?

Yes, Sabro ... I have.

And this is why (as you know) I have empathy with folks like yourself.

I feel that those that feel that way (i.e. evangelical, overkeen to "convert" others to their view, etc.etc.) just "give the rest of us a bad name".

Personally ......... I think they are .... religious ..... ! ... Or, at least, on a power trip ....

Funny world, ain't it?

ジョン

Sensuikan San
26-04-06, 06:40
....From their responses and from some of the posters on our fair forum, I always wonder what kind of pain causes such caustic bitterness and such an overblown sense of superiority.....

My apologies, Sabro.

My last post, I notice, did not respond completely to your (rhetorical?) question.

I can't speak for the pain you speak of, because I do not feel any particular bitterness or superiority in my Atheism. I cannot, of course speak for others either - they must do that for themslves.

I can only try to answer as to why I feel myself to be Atheistic, and have felt so for many a long year.

I see no evidence for or of a "God".

Is God loving? He/She/It is supposed to be. Where is the love? Why was the world in such a mess when I was born - with millions being slaughtered most cruelly every year? Where is the love now?

Some may see it and reason for it - I can't. Don't want to debate it. Won't.

Does God "control" our world? If He/She/It does - He/She/It's doing a rotten job. And has done for centuries. Why does He/She/It allow us to be such beasts against each other? What's He/She/It doing? Pulling a beer from the fridge and having a damned good laugh?

Are the testaments "untrue" are they "lies"?

Damned if I know. Who cares? They're all written by men anyway. What did those men believe?

Damned if I know. Damned if I care. Not one of them "proves" to me that there is a God. That's my opinion and all I care. You don't have to agree with me, and I don't want to get into debate about it. I won't. I don't need to "show off" that way - be I Atheist, Christian, Satanist, Communist, anybloodyist.

I'm here because I'm here. I will die because my body and brain will wear out, just like my car, and I will sink into the same black oblivion that I was in before I was born. It didn't bother me then and it won't bother me in a few years from now. I accept that.

But that's just the way I feel. I'm comfortable with it.

If anybody else feels different ... so what?

Should I persuade them to feel differently? Should I be that impertinent? Should I lash dynamite around my waist and walk into the local supermarket ready to punish them? Should I bang on their doors on Saturday morning and issue fliers and a lecture, spoiling their breakfast?

Should I?

We should all - and I mean, worldwide ALL keep our religious or irreligious beliefs where the ladies often say we should firmly keep our brains ...

... quietly ... in our pants ...!:mad:

ジョン

No-name
26-04-06, 06:54
Sensuikan san, I follow what you are saying---

it is a belief and a logic-- a rationale I find common in people that do not believe in God...and explaining why you don't believe in God, in no way offends me or denegrates my faith in God...It is perfectly sound logic based upon honest and truthful emperical observation. This is not the superiority that I was speaking of.

My sisters and brothers have long since stopped trying to convince me that religion is ignorance as if I only believed in God because of a lack of information or sloppy logic. The conceit that many show-- that faith is some sign of weakness, mental laziness, or outright stupidity-- seems to fade over time, tempered by experience and the wisdom of middle age or something. When I do encounter such conceit, I'm a bit taken back. It is not all that common-- or at least vocal, but it is implicit in a lot of what die hard athiests say. And I'm not certain what evangelical compulsion drives them to share such thinking.

I have learned a great deal about the world through the eyes and writings of dialectic materialists and I have found a great deal of valid observations. I do not however agree that my faith is in some way an inferior or immature way of thinking...nor do I think that I am less capable, moral or intelligent for believing in a living, active God...who for whatever reason has chosen to remain hidden to the many. I also believe Him perfectly capable of revealing Himself to whomever he chooses to.

Sensuikan San
26-04-06, 08:04
And, Sir ...

You have my respect for that.

Regards,

ジョン

Mycernius
26-04-06, 11:35
Myself, I'm not an atheist per se, I belive in the existance of gods and other supernatural phenomenon--I just don't belive such things are currently active in this world. As near as I can tell, god is either bored with us and off playing with some other universe--or he just got lazy and is kicking back on a couch up in heaven collecting all the souls we keep sending him.

Have you read Douglas Adams' Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul? He has Odin living in a retirement home in Florida (I think. It has been a while since I read it)

There are some egotistical Athiests. But here in American, Athiest are the most hated group and therefore they don't seem to push their beliefs on other people. I met several Athiests in high school and there were times when they would scoff at religion and perhaps try to convince students that God doesn't exist.
I found this attitude when I was in North America. It might be the puritain mindset that still seems to exist in the American, and to some extent, the Canadian view. Whiel I will happily mention that I am an atheist to people if asked why I don't go to church, I got a shocked reaction in North America. Not something I find in Europe as a whole. My cousins Husband, a catholic, kept refering to me as the Satanist. I don't really mind, as atheists do fit into that group, but not in the context he thought he was using it. I had to point out that atheist do not believe in dieties, be it God, Satan or or thier little minions. It is still an odd concept to him and many other I mentioned it to in the US an Canada.
Just a quick note on the term Satanism. It refers to anyone who does not follow an Abrahamic Faith. In other words heathens, pagans, buddhist, hindus and atheists all fall into that group



Anyways, I think one of the biggest misconceptions about Athiest is that they are bitter and have no morals. This is how I learned that you don't really have to be apart of a religion to have moral beliefs. I've met Athiests who are against premarital sex.
I remember seeing a quote once that in America atheist families and marriages do not suffer as many breakups as religious families and marriages

@Tsuyoiko- I don't mind at all. These companion threads are a good idea to focus on one set of beliefs rather than a general thread that would have a tendency to go off topic when another view is introduced

Reiku
26-04-06, 19:41
Have you read Douglas Adams' Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul? He has Odin living in a retirement home in Florida (I think. It has been a while since I read it)

Nah, I never made it that far into the series. I'm pretty much limited by my local library, and the libraries here are almost never open--funding issues.

That bit about the bable fish and why god doesn't exist was funny though--if somewhat flawed in it's reasoning. :blush:

Mycernius
26-04-06, 22:12
Douglas Adams was an Atheist:-)

Tsuyoiko
27-04-06, 14:35
Thanks for the replies so far guys. :cool:

I was interested to learn from the info on RT that many Americans equate Atheism with Communism or Anarchy - since most Communists are Atheists, they assume that most Atheists are Communists - which is obviously untrue. This seems to be the cause of much of the discrimination.

I have never come across any discrimination against Atheists here. For that matter, I don't really know any Atheists. My father-in-law is an Atheist, but it's not a big deal for him. I only know he is second-hand - he's never talked about it. He doesn't care what other people believe - my mother-in-law is a (lapsed) Catholic. I knew a boy at college who was a proselytising Atheist. He liked to ask Christians if God could make a rock he couldn't lift *yawn* :okashii: I know a lot of Christians, a few Pagans, a couple of Muslims, my husband is Agnostic. Most people I know express no interest at all in religion. I know ex-Christians (such as my parents) who still hold Christian values very dear, and would probably identify themselves as Christian if asked.

The overwhelming attitude I see here is one of apathy. People just don't ask what you believe. They ask if you support Stoke City or Port Vale :okashii: If you say that you don't like football you get a similar reaction to the one Mycernius got in American when he said he was an Atheist :D :p

himagain
20-01-12, 04:45
I take exception with organized atheism because it seems so much like
a religion without a deity.

Maciamo
20-01-12, 09:01
I take exception with organized atheism because it seems so much like
a religion without a deity.

What is organised atheism ? Buddhism ?

sparkey
20-01-12, 18:07
What is organised atheism ? Buddhism ?

Perhaps organizations like the Richard Dawkins Foundation and American Atheists? Those don't seem akin to religions at all.

Maciamo
20-01-12, 20:28
Perhaps organizations like the Richard Dawkins Foundation and American Atheists? Those don't seem akin to religions at all.

Well, that's because an organisation is not the same as an organised religion. I also think that an organisation like the Richard Dawkins Foundation is not any more akin to a religion that a football club or a stamp collector association.

himagain
29-01-12, 04:36
Regarding the attitude toward atheism in the USA, I fear that the government here has already, under fundamentalist influence, taken dangerous steps away from separation of church and state. Politicians here seem to embrace and protect " Bible thumping".