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ShackledNoMore
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I've seen this question hinted at to some degree or another in the relatively short time I've been here, but I haven't yet seen it covered directly in a dedicated thread.

 

Do you think atheism, skepticism, rational thought, anti-christianity, etc., etc. (take your pick) should be vocally promoted, or is a "live and let live" philosophy the way to go?

 

And for those of you who were active "witnesses for jesus," or told to be, were you comfortable with that while you were xians or not? If not, was it a factor causing you not to fit in? If so, do you retain any of your previous zeal to persuade people to your now ex-christian viewpoint? Do you feel any need to atone for any of your efforts to lead others to god? Do you think the need to proselytize tends to be a built in part of the personality of those who would tend to become hard care evangelicals or fundies?

 

My thoughts:

 

I am by nature a "live and let live" kind of guy. I tried witnessing because I was "supposed" to, but I don't think I did a very good job (yeah!), nor was I comfortable doing it. I do feel some need to atone for any damage I may have caused as a xian, be it through the money I gave to the church or any influence I may have had to encourage others to stop using their brains and open themselves up to a world of damage and hurt. Now I tend to support organizations that generally promote civil liberties and work against any sort of theocratic control. I also like to hope that something I post may encourage a fellow deconverter in some way.

 

So on one hand, and by my nature, I say that if I can help another person unpoison his or her mind because they ask or through a normal course of events, great, but otherwise, that people a right to do what they want, nevermind that I think it is damaging to them, and nevermind that it may in fact be damaging to them.

 

On the other hand, there may be some valid points as to why to promote a non-christian viewpoint. For example, I can't help but notice that Christianity and Islam are the two most actively promoted major religions. "Actively promoted" means massive evangelization efforts, mass broadcasting of the alleged rewards of believing and the alleged punishments of not believing, wars, and finally state mandates promoting the religion. And by some chance, Christianity and Islam also happen to be the two religions that have gobbled up most of the world. It seems like a threat that must be guarded against, but what's the best way? I think my "live and let live" attitude is a virtue that sets me apart from christians in a positive way. I guess it's just difficult to combat intolerance, superstition, and lies that are told often enough, loudly enough, and hammer out absolutes.

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Mainly live and let live, but I'd speak up if anyone asked me about my views, or if I were trying to give someone good advice.

 

Life's too short to ruin it over differing opinions.

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To me the issue is simple.

 

On the higher level:

The world is a market place of ideas. The ones that get sold grow and the ones that hide behind the counter will atrophy.

 

I do not see the world as a live and let live environment. I wish it were but that is not reality to me.

 

By speaking out, we create a comfortable place for people to feel they are not alone. More people will stand next to us just because we said we were not part of the xtian borg.

 

On the indivudual level:

If speaking out is not for you, no problem! "To thine own self be true..."

 

For many people the work place is the wrong location to speak out. That's fine.

 

If you have to lie about your views to preserve youself until you can get out of an abusive or unaccepting situation, I'm all for that.

 

I would ask though, that you not discourage people from speaking out because it is not for you.

 

Sam Harris is doing everybody on this planet a great service.

 

Mongo

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I'm live-and-let-live until someone tries to force their views into my life. Then all bets are off. I will not debate religion with strangers who ring my doorbell, and have a strict "Off my property. Now!" policy.

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I am also mainly live and let live, unless someone tries to force their beliefs down my throat. And I definitely agree, we need better education. But all the education in the world won't help the kids who get sent to private Christian schools because their parents want them to be brainwashed.

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If the topic comes up I state my view with humor and kindness. Should there be nicely dressed young men and women going door to door hawking the absence of god? I'd like to see it, but I don't think it would accomplish much.

I'm also someone that has never shyed away from conflict. I have more than once told door to door god salesmen "on your bike" or just opened long enough to see and closed the door in their face.

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I voice my positions, but I'm not an ass about it. I know who I should just let live, and I only debate on certain specific issues or with very specific people who I know well. I don't hide things, but I don't try and force people to change their pinions.

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Hi guys

Living in the Uk I think we definitely have more of a live and let live attitude when it comes to religion. However the christian fundamentalists are still a very pushy and vocal minority.......but not to the extent that they are in the USA.

 

They do not have a live and let live policy. And if they have their political agenda realised then no one will be free to speak what they want to. I have already seen how some of the US citizens are hesitant to speak about their atheism, belief in evolution, express a more liberal theology. And if they do they feel under pressure not to. Or maybe even persecuted. THIS CANNOT be allowed to happen. And the "liberals" must be more assertive in speaking up for what they believe. The problem is the more liberally minded tend to let people get on with whatever they want (admirable as that may be), but for the fundamentalists that will not be enough until their self righteous agenda is realised and we are all back in the dark ages. If the liberal people don,t speak up then it could get to the stage where they have no voice at all.

 

I wish you guys all the luck in the world. And I hope we don,t go the same way here.

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To me the issue is simple.

 

On the higher level:

The world is a market place of ideas. The ones that get sold grow and the ones that hide behind the counter will atrophy.

 

I do not see the world as a live and let live environment. I wish it were but that is not reality to me.

 

By speaking out, we create a comfortable place for people to feel they are not alone. More people will stand next to us just because we said we were not part of the xtian borg.

 

On the indivudual level:

If speaking out is not for you, no problem! "To thine own self be true..."

 

For many people the work place is the wrong location to speak out. That's fine.

 

If you have to lie about your views to preserve youself until you can get out of an abusive or unaccepting situation, I'm all for that.

 

I would ask though, that you not discourage people from speaking out because it is not for you.

 

Sam Harris is doing everybody on this planet a great service.

 

Mongo

 

 

I agree with Mongo. I think ex-christians, athiests, skeptics etc. should speak out and stand up for themselves. It should not be done obnouxiously like proselityzing, going door to door or handing out flyers on the street. But there are definately times one should say something. I think the classroom is an excellent place to speak up. The class is a place for learning and discourse and allows people to see viewpoints other than there own. In another thread, someone was talking about how they raised their hand when asked who did not believe in god. This is a good example of the right time to speak up, esp. in a predominantly black setting.(I'm black too and comformity runs rampant in the black community.)

 

I also like people to know where I stand about issues and what I'm about. I don't like people assuming that I'm xtian and it's good to let others know that they are not alone in their views. I'm a pretty honest and straightforward person. I don't like lying or pretending I agree with others' views just to keep the peace. I did that enough when I was a kid and it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Also, I don't think there is anything wrong with wearing anti-xtian clothing. I think it's just showing your position and telling people that there are plenty of non-xtians out there and that you should stand up for your rights.

 

Another example about when to speak up was when my sister was complaining about people wanting to get rid of "In god we trust" on money. I tried to explain why people were upset with that and it just went over her head. She pretty much kept saying that the xtians wanted it and that's why it should stay. Now my sister is younger than me and was pretty young at the time(like 13 or something), so I don't really hold that against her. But a lot of other people feel this way, and people need to make it known that they aren't the only people in this country and that everyone else of every faith or non-faith are just as important as they are.

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I keep to myself. For me, my spirituality has developed enough for me to pretty much take it as a given, and thus I don't feel a need to blow it up in other's faces but to simply and bemusedly enjoy it as it is.

 

However, I do have a very steadfast belief, and that is that the world would be so much better with a widespread live and let live additude. That is why I do combat Christian and Muslim proselytism, because it is based on the idea that there is no right way to be but theirs, which I think has been proven throughout history and within objective reasoning, is a bad turn for society at large.

 

So in short, I've no problem with Christians quietly being Christians. I do have a problem with the "join us or go to hell" additude, though.

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Good observations. I've always hated the imperialistic leanings of some xianity, and I do agree that we can't allow ourselves as a society to regress back into the dark ages by acquiescing to the mandate of a group that thinks it has a divine handle on the ultimate truth.

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What timing!

 

We're having a garage sale as I type, and after popping into the house for a few minutes, I go back outside and see a bold leaflet on the table proclaiming, "THE END OF FALSE RELIGION IS NEAR!" It seems some Jehovah's Witnesses had been by. It's actually a bit entertaining. It starts by mentioning crimes, war, terrorism, etc. committed in the name of religion. So far so good. Then it proclaims the problem is not with all religion, but with false religion.

 

It describes the attributes of what it considers false religion:

- Meddles in War and Politics

- Spreads False Doctrine

- Tolerates Immoral Sex

 

Now get this: this is really where it starts to get good: Under "Spreads False Doctrine" it presents a classic presentation of "my god's better than your god" throwing in a couple of bible verses as "proof." Also, under "Tolerates Immoral Sex" it complains of churches that "urge governments to recognize same sex marriage." How bogus given the second paragraph before that had just expounded on how false religions meddle in politics! Now I understand that opponents of gay marriage would be the ones to accuse people like ME of meddling in politics, but let's face it: they're the one's who support using the force of law to deny freedoms and privileges to some that others have.

 

Of course it finishes with a big plug for their particular flavor of deception.

 

I haven't had a chance yet to ask my wife much about the details, but I do know the same people who left it bought a couple of dollars worth of garage sale stuff, and I suspect they just slipped it in without an accompanying sales pitch. I don't think the leaflet would have made it inside the door if they were out proselytizing: my wife's polite, but wouldn't roll over to entertain a sales pitch like that.

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Personally, I believe all atheists, agnostics, etc. should be MORE outspoken against Christianity and all forms of abusive religion. Since deconverting from Christianity, I am highly outspoken, at first I would basically demand an argument out of a Christian, but I have since calmed down. Whenever Christianity is brought up you can believe your ass I will be voicing my opinions against it. I have been met with strange looks, or have had people try to "prove" the bibble to me, but this is all done in vain, although, I have yet to have a Christian admit they could not answer my questions. Whether people agree with me or not, I feel, it is our time to speak up. Sure, we can all complain or laugh at the fundies or be angry about the blurring lines of seperation of church and state, but in my eyes, unless you speak out against it you have no right to bitch. The same way I believe if you don't vote you have no right to complain about politics. Some may see this as being a hard ass but its the way I feel.

 

I do realize that some people may be persecuted for standing up against Christianity, in their workplace etc. On one hand I do not blame ppl for keeping quiet if it will cost them their jobs, or they will be faced with physical harm, but on the other hand I also look at it as an oppurtunity to fight the religious right. If you are fired for your lack of belief you can sue, possibly making the news so people can hear about it. It may only reach a few freethinking ears but could possibly spark interest in someone else to stand up for their beliefs (or lack thereof).

 

I understand the "live and let live" philosphy, and its not that I totally disagree, I just feel with the overwhelming amount of Christianity that is invaded areas it should never be allowed to invade, it may just be time to say, "ENOUGH".

 

That is my little speech, I'll get off my soapbox now.

 

Any comments (good or bad) will be appreciated.

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