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Stigma Of Atheism


MiggyEvans
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Hey all,

 

New blog post: http://weatheists.blogspot.com/2011/01/stigma-of-atheism.html

 

I changed the name from Skeptianity to We, Atheists because, well, I wanted to. So there.

 

Anyway else have any insight into why there is such a stigma?

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Historical.

 

The Catholic Church ruled the western world for millennia. When the US was founded part of it was founded by religious outcasts, who everyone expected to die. So there is a strong societal component to it. It is a universal bond in society. By choosing to live outside the norm, we are self-selecting to remove ourselves from part of society. Being that we are social animal, we are breaking the cohesion of the group. By doing so, it opens up the possibility of danger. Danger can be lethal.

 

I would think it would be similar to a divorced single mom in the 1950's. She would be viewed as many things and few of them good. Or a homosexual person in rural Nebraska. We don't fit the expected norm in society. Therefore, we invite danger and/or there must be something "wrong" with us.

 

We are specifically ex-christian. We are not exclusively atheist. Many are. My general understand from posts is the assumption is if you are not a self Identified christian on this site then you are an atheist. There are those here who believe in other gods and are self admitted not atheist. So in the spirit of this board a place was made where they could talk freely about their beliefs. This was apparently unacceptable to some and they attacked the theists in the safe area. From my understanding those offenders have been dealt with and future violations will be swift and harsh, but the concept is the same. The theists did not fit the assumed societal norm, therefore they invite danger and/or something is wrong with them.

 

you need look no further then our own little society to understand your question.

 

 

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We are specifically ex-christian. We are not exclusively atheist. Many are. My general understand from posts is the assumption is if you are not a self Identified christian on this site then you are an atheist. There are those here who believe in other gods and are self admitted not atheist. So in the spirit of this board a place was made where they could talk freely about their beliefs. This was apparently unacceptable to some and they attacked the theists in the safe area. From my understanding those offenders have been dealt with and future violations will be swift and harsh, but the concept is the same. The theists did not fit the assumed societal norm, therefore they invite danger and/or something is wrong with them.

 

you need look no further then our own little society to understand your question.

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply, Stryper.

 

However, I'm not concerned with the people who have other gods. My posts are not written to encompass every form of doubt, but to express my own, which went from Christianity to Atheism. These discussions are open to anyone, but of course are probably best suited to people who think like me.

 

Try to think of it like just one more voice with an age old perspective.

 

I do think you've hit on something interesting with the things stemming from "breaking from the norm." Though I'm not sure what the danger is in being different, I do agree that people tend to see it as dangerous. Perhaps fear drives them, or maybe the insecurity of being challenged. Or maybe people just don't like change. Hmm, hard to pin down, I guess.

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One opinion that I have, and it’s just that an opinion, is that religions are used to control people by setting guidelines to live by. They are given ultimatums that you have to do this or you go to hell, basically. So if you have no religion then you must be uncontrolled. Meaning you have no morals that you live by or standards which keep you in check. Hence living as an atheist you would live in anarchy, stealing, lying, murdering…etc. because you don’t believe in their gods commandments. This scares them. Of course, the reason for the fear is absurd, since there are way more crimes committed by people of religion than atheists. This would only be one reason but I’m sure there are many.

 

 

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Well its a fairly dogmatic attitude. There is a stigma against being overly religious too. I think that the average american doesn't want to make a choice on any sort of big intellectual issue and just stay in the middle. Not many would say that all non Christians are going to hell for rejecting Christ, but a lot of them kinda like the idea of an afterlife or "something watching over us" and cling to a illogical area of thought. So the stigma goes both ways towards people who are "extreme" in their views.

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Well its a fairly dogmatic attitude. There is a stigma against being overly religious too. I think that the average american doesn't want to make a choice on any sort of big intellectual issue and just stay in the middle. Not many would say that all non Christians are going to hell for rejecting Christ, but a lot of them kinda like the idea of an afterlife or "something watching over us" and cling to a illogical area of thought. So the stigma goes both ways towards people who are "extreme" in their views.

 

But that's the thing, why is Atheism viewed as an extreme? That's the stigma. It's seen as such a negative thing when in reality it's a nothing. That's what I find curious.

 

"They" could say the universe is made up of ball pit balls, and I would go, "alrighty" and then "they" would say "what, you don't believe me?" and I'd say "um, I guess not. I'm not sure where you got that from" and "they" would say "HERETIC!" and then society would hate me.

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Well its a fairly dogmatic attitude. There is a stigma against being overly religious too. I think that the average american doesn't want to make a choice on any sort of big intellectual issue and just stay in the middle. Not many would say that all non Christians are going to hell for rejecting Christ, but a lot of them kinda like the idea of an afterlife or "something watching over us" and cling to a illogical area of thought. So the stigma goes both ways towards people who are "extreme" in their views.

 

But that's the thing, why is Atheism viewed as an extreme? That's the stigma. It's seen as such a negative thing when in reality it's a nothing. That's what I find curious.

 

"They" could say the universe is made up of ball pit balls, and I would go, "alrighty" and then "they" would say "what, you don't believe me?" and I'd say "um, I guess not. I'm not sure where you got that from" and "they" would say "HERETIC!" and then society would hate me.

 

Well, it's ingrained in the culture of the US, at least. Any atheist action is publicized and scrutinized, and it gets a pretty bad slant (look no further than cnn and fox for examples of negativity towards atheism.) As for why? Your guess is a good as mine. XD

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Well its a fairly dogmatic attitude. There is a stigma against being overly religious too. I think that the average american doesn't want to make a choice on any sort of big intellectual issue and just stay in the middle. Not many would say that all non Christians are going to hell for rejecting Christ, but a lot of them kinda like the idea of an afterlife or "something watching over us" and cling to a illogical area of thought. So the stigma goes both ways towards people who are "extreme" in their views.

 

I think you've nailed it. America is "Christian" in the same way that Britain is a "monarchy." Most Brits can't be bothered to give a shit most of the time, but if you publicly insult the queen you'll get chased by an angry mob of football hooligans, as Johnny Rotten found out. At the same time, a fanatical Royalist would be seen as an anachronistic kook. The Queen is really just there for ornamentation in the end.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well its a fairly dogmatic attitude. There is a stigma against being overly religious too. I think that the average american doesn't want to make a choice on any sort of big intellectual issue and just stay in the middle. Not many would say that all non Christians are going to hell for rejecting Christ, but a lot of them kinda like the idea of an afterlife or "something watching over us" and cling to a illogical area of thought. So the stigma goes both ways towards people who are "extreme" in their views.

 

But that's the thing, why is Atheism viewed as an extreme? That's the stigma. It's seen as such a negative thing when in reality it's a nothing. That's what I find curious.

 

"They" could say the universe is made up of ball pit balls, and I would go, "alrighty" and then "they" would say "what, you don't believe me?" and I'd say "um, I guess not. I'm not sure where you got that from" and "they" would say "HERETIC!" and then society would hate me.

It's taking a stand on a controversial issue. The average person is indifferent (as Vomit Comet eloquently put it with the monarchy thing) about those issues, but when someone makes a truth claim about something controversial like religion, its off putting. Especially in our very pluralistic society.

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