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These are two separate articles concerning Atheism. The first article was written by a Jew that started the article as if he wanted to understand Atheists. However, he proceeded to state all the common misconceptions about Atheists that most people have. The article enraged me. The reply, which is rather lengthly, from an Atheist was so well written I had to share it.

 

The Jew's Article

 

Highlights:

 

However, there is something I am missing about atheists: what I simply do not understand is why they are often so angry.

 

This one killed me:

This must sound condescending and a large generalization, and I don't mean it that way, but I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon, or an insensitive eulogy, or an unfeeling castigation of lifestyle choices or perhaps something even worse. I would ask for forgiveness from the angry atheists who write to me if I thought it would help. Religion must remain an audacious, daring and, yes, uncomfortable assault on our desires to do what we want when we want to do it. All religions must teach a way to discipline our animal urges, to overcome racism and materialism, selfishness and arrogance and the sinful oppression of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us.

 

For the most part, bullshit:

But our world is better and kinder and more hopeful because of the daily sacrifice and witness of millions of pious people over thousands of years.

 

Hello! This is probably what most Atheists think!

I know that Jim believes way more in Darwin than in Deuteronomy, but he also believes that at Cold Spring Labs the most important thing is not whether you are a man or a woman, not whether you believe in God. The most important thing, as he says, is “to get something done.” Now there's an atheist I can believe in.

 

The Atheist's Reply

 

Each one of us, atheists included, has an overriding metaphor that colors our existence and gives us purpose. We try to talk to each other in terms that really only have meaning to ourselves and there will never be a perfect match between the deep meanings of words and concepts that we use to communicate with each other.

 

Axiomatic to our existence in communities and nations is that each one of us has a profound effect on each other's objective reality. It cannot be denied that how we decide to engage each other, how we decide to rule ourselves, and how we decide to be civil is something that is not simply confined to our own perceptions. Our actions and decisions affect each other's objective reality, and if we expect to engage each other in a civilly responsible manner we cannot retreat to the ubiquitous, yet fundamentally flawed rubric of The Golden Rule. It does not serve us in this regard. We cannot simply do unto others because others don't think how we think, others don't share our values. We can't use our own subjective experience to guide us in a truly civil society. A truly civil society relies upon objective truths that we can all agree on. For the purposes of interacting with each other; like Descartes, we must reject all our subjective assumptions about what is true and start with those simple things that we all can verify are absolutely true and then build from there. Our policy must be based upon sound civil agreements, backed up by the methodology of science and consonant with the wisdom of history. All appeals to religion for this purpose are inadequate.

 

If you want to categorize the level of intensity that you've experienced as "anger," then I say that the only reason that it takes on that tone is because we are immensely frustrated by the level of intolerance, ignorance and willful sabotage we encounter when seeking out a place in our society to earnestly secure the rights and freedoms that our secular constitution has promised us. We are fighting the use of subjective religious values as a basis for our civil policy and that fight is what the Framers of the Constitution intended in order to guarantee our liberty. When the will of the people, through political power, through voting, and through the barrage of media reinforcement, relies upon subjective religious values to justify what we see as injustice, greed, corruption and human misery--it is indeed, very angering.

 

And the last part is being subjected to the constant deluge of rhetoric from the religious majority that accuses our position of having no merit, that we atheists have no morals and, if faced with death, our metaphysical beliefs would have no integrity and our intellectual fortitude is nothing more than opportunistic hedonism. Angry? Indeed.

 

If we quash that potential with dogmatic fear, instill the need for faith, and teach them to distrust their intellect, we are training them to be slaves and charity cases. We are training them to not be responsible for themselves.

 

If we critically examine the methods and practices used in mediating religious ideology to a congregation, we find many functional similarities between clergy and how a shepherd tends his sheep, an apropos comparison to many religions. Why is it not often mentioned that ultimately sheep are kept not for the sheep's well-being but for their master's? Why is that logical conclusion of the analogy never spoken? Might we find the same sort of parallels in the methods and practices a politician uses to feed his self-aggrandizing need for power and influence while masquerading under the guise of altruism? For these reasons I cannot abide by any institution that ultimately exists to serve itself, preys upon the weaknesses of the people who buy into it, and demands faith in concepts that have no objective base.

 

Very quickly on the heels of that realization, one comes to understand that anyone who asks for blind faith and trust to get you to accept an idea instead of being willing to demonstrate objective truths through empirical evidence--is a liar.

 

The only reason to lie is to control people's perceptions. The only reason to control people's perceptions is to manipulate them to do what you want. The only reason to manipulate them to do what you want is to exploit their capacity and potential for your own self-serving ends. And no one likes being lied to, controlled, manipulated and exploited. I don't need a god to know that.

 

Clergy have a vested interest in invalidating affronts to their theology because once the seeds of doubt are sewn and our intrinsic need of answers outweighs our fear of the unknown, so begins the search for truth--and not even the first basic steps to truth align with the claims of religious ideology.

 

And nonbelievers don't leave much in the collection plates.

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