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Does Atheism Lack An Impetus For Proselytizing?


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@mymistake: Literally, people think we're devils? Has anyone ever genuinely wondered if you were Satan/anti-christ?

 

Once in government class, we were reading other countries' preambles to their constitutions, and one said they recognize god's law as sovereign. I got mad about it--the preamble was apparently written in 1982--and asked if they'd been trying to appease the fundies. People asked me if I was an atheist and one Xian girl joked that I was Satan. LOL

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I found a number of Atheist sites such as godisimaginary helpful in my deconversion.

 

Dont know what things are like stateside but the trend here is for more secularism anyway.

Yes, that's a GREAT site. Very helpful to me, too!

 

I am in Canada and I live in a very religious town. Secularism is equated with the anti-Christ here. I think people in the UK are more likely to have their heads screwed on straight, although people from my fundagelical ilk feel sorry for Brits because of their growing secularism. They're missing out on Gawd, dontcha know. WendyDoh.gif

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@mymistake: Literally, people think we're devils? Has anyone ever genuinely wondered if you were Satan/anti-christ?

 

Yes. If you talk openly about your unbelief long enough a Christian will say that you are a child of the devil, or a demon fooled you into saying your opinion, or you are possessed by Satan, or you have the spirit of the Antichrist, and so on and so forth.

 

Once in government class, we were reading other countries' preambles to their constitutions, and one said they recognize god's law as sovereign. I got mad about it--the preamble was apparently written in 1982--and asked if they'd been trying to appease the fundies. People asked me if I was an atheist and one Xian girl joked that I was Satan. LOL

 

I'm talking about the way fundamentalists actually think. To them demons are real and everwhere waging a spiritual war. I grew up in a Christian sect where a demon was around every corner. So if you say something that makes it sound like Christianity is wrong then that is a lie of Satan. This is why it's nearly impossible to de-convert a Christian.

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I find his certainty (read: arrogance) grating, ...)

 

I've found that the things which most irritate me about others are the things which I don't like in myself. But it's just so much more visible in others. There are a small number of things which I hold to be solidly certain. And I honestly do not care if others call them "dogma" or "arrogance" or whatever.

 

I think Descartes, the prime skeptic, found a certainty. But this certainty is somewhat shallow by the standards of many people. And some have noted that extreme skepticism has given rise to a number of unfortunate side-effects. Often, skepticism can be a sort of lazy, disrespectful, shallow sort of wisdom.

 

I've somewhat embraced my role among the philosophers with whom I've interacted as an "anti-skeptic". :HaHa: And I'm even now working on trying to hone my skills to do battle with skeptics.

 

As atheists, do we have a moral imperative to act?

 

I've only encountered around two or three (but it may actually be one) moral imperatives. The first was outlined by Kant, which seems to have been cast in somewhat negative terms. Something like... "Do nothing which you would disallow others to do." Or perhaps in more positive terms, something like... "Do as you would wish all people to do." I guess it's very like the Golden Rule.

 

Another one of which I've heard, is called "The Good Ancestor Principle". This basically calls us to behave in a fashion which will allow our distant progeny to look upon us with favor, after we have long been dead.

 

Anyway, just some ideas out there.

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I'm mainly responding to the first post in this thread. I didn't read the whole thread yet. Either way I would like to help people come out of the christian cult. but I know it's pretty pointless to try to convince someone that already has their mind made up and doesn't want to hear any facts. It just wastes my time and theirs and frustrates both of us.

 

That is mainly why I don't bother with it. If someone asks I will tell them what I think, otherwise it's just more frustration that I don't need in my life.

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Reminds me of that movie "Jesus Camp", which I'd like to see.

 

Your wish is my command: http://topdocumentar...com/jesus-camp/

 

OMG! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!! You just saved me from renting it on iTunes or waiting two weeks for another library to send it here. Thanks so much Pudd!

 

You're more than welcome, Lilith :) That particular site I have found to be the best and with the widest range of documentaries. Their lecture section is also good. When I'm hunting for a doco, I go there first, YouTube second, and documentary heaven third. Top documentaries has an extensive science range and a pretty comprehensive religion range. I love docos, so I'm often watching something on there :)

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I've found that the things which most irritate me about others are the things which I don't like in myself. But it's just so much more visible in others.

One of my worst fears is that I become some sort of asshole about my beliefs. I find my intolerance of religious people is growing thin and I do need to learn to manage my intolerance and eye-rolling better.

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I'm mainly responding to the first post in this thread. I didn't read the whole thread yet. Either way I would like to help people come out of the christian cult. but I know it's pretty pointless to try to convince someone that already has their mind made up and doesn't want to hear any facts. It just wastes my time and theirs and frustrates both of us.

I know that was certainly true of me when I would here the voice of reason during the time in my life when I was up to my eyeballs in religious bullshit. There was simply no talking sense into me.

 

You're right: like any addiction, people need to be at a place where they realize they need help getting out.

 

It's craziness!

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I've found that the things which most irritate me about others are the things which I don't like in myself. But it's just so much more visible in others.

One of my worst fears is that I become some sort of asshole about my beliefs. I find my intolerance of religious people is growing thin and I do need to learn to manage my intolerance and eye-rolling better.

 

Well I'm never going to regret or apologize for interfering in my Children's religion. With the oldest I am undermining the indoctrination he has already received. With the youngest I'm minimizing the indoctrination so that she keeps her current view regarding religion. We were all born atheists. Somebody had to turn us into something. Our testimony section is full of reasons why Christianity is harmful. I think I would be an asshole if I didn't try to help them.

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I agree that there is nothing you can, or should do to try to get people to leave religion. They have to do it when they are ready.

 

I guess the best thing we can do is probe people to think, and to be there when it all comes crashing down for them.

 

THAT we can do!

 

I know there are a lot of Secular Student Alliances on campus everywhere but I think that they struggle in smaller cities/smaller campuses. We've had an SSA start up at our local university but once the person who starts it graduates, no one keeps it going.

 

We have a strong and growing progressive/secular community here in this very conservative southern community but we haven't been able to support groups like the local SSA because we have no formal organization, yet. We hope that by starting a American Humanist Association chapter and becoming more organized that we'll be able to support groups like the SSA, Recovering from Religion, Skeptics in the Pub and the Secular Family Network.

 

I think that SSAs in smaller schools will benefit from having a contact with a stable organization so every time someone wants to get involved with SSA they don't have to start all over again!

 

It is my opinion that church provides something that a lot of people desire or at least think they desire. People who doubt aren't always going to leave religion just because they doubt. Most that leave religion probably leave because of some negative they experienced along with their doubt whether it's directly from the church experience or a negative they see happening and the church isn't or won't do any thing about it.

 

But if we begin, little by little, creating the communities that people need for real-life support with secular choices rather than religious choices... then it's not proselytizing, it living. I think we all need to live.

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Evangelizing of all kinds pisses me off.

 

I'd tell an atheist missionary to fuck off just as fast as a christian one.

 

Telling people what to think is a dickheaded move.

 

Luna your religion does not harm you, correct? Not every religion can say the same. I'm glad you have a religion you like but it isn't about you. There are some people where Christianity messes up their lives. It's wack. But showing somebody the evidence that Christianity is brainwashing them isn't telling them what to think. It's helping them on the natural path to get free.

 

The problem is, not every atheist thinks like you about MY religion. Many think all religions are bad, and I've already seen people here infer that atheism is THE TRUTH. Sound familiar?

 

I have been pestered by evangelical atheists, and they're assholes too. Just saying. Doesn't matter how harmful christianity is, if you come off as an asshole with THE TRUTH, it's not a backlash of "faith", you're being an asshole.

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Evangelizing of all kinds pisses me off.

 

I'd tell an atheist missionary to fuck off just as fast as a christian one.

 

Telling people what to think is a dickheaded move.

 

It seems to take a certain arrogance and/or compassion to give rise to the compulsion to evangelize (of any kind). Be it Amway, Melaleuca, Christianity, or atheism, being targeted for changing one's thinking (esp. on such a foundational thing as religion or epistemology or ontology) is belittling and requires arrogance on the part of the evangelizer.

 

Three cheers for epistemological, ontological and religious pluralism, then? beer.gif

 

Key word, ARROGANCE. By the fuckton.

 

No one here has the end-all cosmic truth, and if you think you do, I pity you.

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I've found that the things which most irritate me about others are the things which I don't like in myself. But it's just so much more visible in others.

One of my worst fears is that I become some sort of asshole about my beliefs. I find my intolerance of religious people is growing thin and I do need to learn to manage my intolerance and eye-rolling better.

 

I think that's honest enough Pos.

 

What ideas do you yourself hold in a "dogmatic" or unshakeably certain way?

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there is no zealot stronger than the newly converted.

 

Nor one as dangerous.

 

Other than a leftist. Them buggers ya gotta really look out for.

 

Hear! Hear!

 

At least a new religious convert has some idea of what his or her ideological world dominion would look like.

 

With a Leftist it's "Hope" and "Change". But they have no clue about that for which they hope, or what the change would be.

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Evangelizing of all kinds pisses me off.

 

I'd tell an atheist missionary to fuck off just as fast as a christian one.

 

Telling people what to think is a dickheaded move.

 

Luna your religion does not harm you, correct? Not every religion can say the same. I'm glad you have a religion you like but it isn't about you. There are some people where Christianity messes up their lives. It's wack. But showing somebody the evidence that Christianity is brainwashing them isn't telling them what to think. It's helping them on the natural path to get free.

 

The problem is, not every atheist thinks like you about MY religion. Many think all religions are bad, and I've already seen people here infer that atheism is THE TRUTH. Sound familiar?

 

I have been pestered by evangelical atheists, and they're assholes too. Just saying. Doesn't matter how harmful christianity is, if you come off as an asshole with THE TRUTH, it's not a backlash of "faith", you're being an asshole.

 

This isn't about you or your religion. It's about people who were brainwashed as children and then told lies for decades. Christianity lies to them about horrible things happening if they question THE TRUTH. Even questioning is a sin. Entertaining wrong thinking is definitely sin. That is how Christianity traps people. It lies to them and tells them that the path to freedom leads to destruction. Fear becomes so deeply ingrained into their brain that it becomes part of them. If there is a way to successfully help brainwashed Christians then doing so is good. However I do see it as a waste to use unsuccessful techniques. Can we prove that Christianity is a pack of lies? Yes. That doesn't make atheism a religion.

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. . .

 

Is the modus of atheism one of apathy, or is it/can it be a passionate pursuit of purposeful living? I know for me, my heart breaks every time I see a couple of students sitting on the grass around campus, praying to a god who is not there.

 

As atheists, do we have a moral imperative to act?

 

These are great questions! Much respect to you!

 

Atheism doesn't necesarily lead to apathy. I think people who happen to be atheists can become apathetic due to various circumstances in their lives, personal history, etc. There can be the passionate pursuit of purposeful living once they overcome the factors that contribute to their apathy. I think everybody needs influences in their lives that will prod them on to discover passions that are wholesome, self-directed and , like you say, purposeful. I don't think people are products of some "cookie cutter" vision of humanity. So our roll is to affirm people in their personal journey and provide whatever insight , information and encouragement we can along the way, thought we have to dose it out in accordance to their need and their ability to receive. Of course there is always the possibility that we as individuals just aren't the right person to influence a given person at a given point in time. But generally, if we can develop a rapport with a person we should feel free to share our viewpoint.

 

I think atheists do have moral imperative to act if we see that there is suffering taking place as a result of religious influence and we feel we can make a difference in that area. Of course, we have a moral imperative to seek to relieve poverty, provide education to children, help the elderly live in a dignified manner, to help those who are suffering from terminal illnesses.

 

So, anyone who feels they should actively engage in counter apologetics or confront street corner evangelists or "student ministries," then count the cost to yourself, examine your motivations, figure out the best way to be affective and humanitarian in the process, then proceed.

 

That's all I've got to say about that . . .

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I didn't say atheism is a religion. I said telling people what to think (or not believe, whatever) is a dick move. And it is.

 

I didn't say it was about my religion, ever. Why do YOU think it is?

 

IT'S ABOUT NOT BEING AN ASSHOLE.

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I didn't say atheism is a religion. I said telling people what to think (or not believe, whatever) is a dick move. And it is.

 

So I should just stand by and watch when other people are being told what to think? Sure the pastors are being dicks but if I were to try and help that would make me a dick too? I just have to watch my kids become Christian zombies and then years later they can come to ex-C or some other support group and complain about all the baggage Christianity mind fucked into them.

 

I'm not persecuting Christians. I'm just demonstrating why their lies are not true.

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I didn't say atheism is a religion. I said telling people what to think (or not believe, whatever) is a dick move. And it is.

 

So I should just stand by and watch when other people are being told what to think? Sure the pastors are being dicks but if I were to try and help that would make me a dick too? I just have to watch my kids become Christian zombies and then years later they can come to ex-C or some other support group and complain about all the baggage Christianity mind fucked into them.

 

I'm not persecuting Christians. I'm just demonstrating why their lies are not true.

 

Helping the miserable leave is one thing, but the ASSUMPTION that they will be atheists, and the move to make them atheists, makes you no better than the pastors. It really doesn't, no matter how awful christianity is.

 

There are more ways to think than christian OR atheist, and you should fucking know this. Evangelizing atheism is making the EXACT SAME MISTAKE as christians.

 

Fine, share how christianity is awful to you, I've done the same. But don't say "you shouldn't believe x, you shouldn't believe in anything ever, JUST LIKE ME." That's the asshole move. Anyone should know this.

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Helping the miserable leave is one thing, but the ASSUMPTION that they will be atheists, and the move to make them atheists, makes you no better than the pastors. It really doesn't, no matter how awful christianity is.

 

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. While I disagree with your statement (since I'm not trying to con them out of their money) it's a moot point because I don't mind if people wind up agnostic or go into some other harmless religion. I'm not trying to turn everybody into an atheist. My own journy away from fundamentalist Christian had many different flavors and positions. I might have never become atheist had it not been for tradgedy.

 

There are more ways to think than christian OR atheist, and you should fucking know this.

 

Yes, I do know it.

 

Evangelizing atheism is making the EXACT SAME MISTAKE as christians.

 

Fine, share how christianity is awful to you, I've done the same. But don't say "you shouldn't believe x, you shouldn't believe in anything ever, JUST LIKE ME." That's the asshole move. Anyone should know this.

 

I don't think anybody has ever heard me say that. I've said "there is no such thing as gods" but I don't tell people what they should believe. I push facts and logic. Belief falls into the area of intuition. In my opinion we do not directly control what we believe. We can throw up defenses to protect our beliefs but it's not something we actively control.

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Ok, let's make this clear. I'm not talking about anyone is particular right here.

 

Proselytizing atheism means one thing in my mind - OMG YOU MUST BE AN ATHEIST NAO. And that pisses me off. And it's wrong. Anyone should know that.

 

Talking to the deconverting, helping miserable people out of christianity does not always equal the above. But the above is ALWAYS WRONG.

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[quote name=Lilith666' timestamp='1349633430'

post='813374]

Reminds me of that movie "Jesus Camp", which I'd like to see.

 

Your wish is my command: http://topdocumentar...com/jesus-camp/

 

OMG! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!! You just saved me from renting it on iTunes or waiting two weeks for another library to send it here. Thanks so much Pudd!

 

You're more than welcome, Lilith :) That particular site I have found to be the best and

with the widest range of documentaries. Their

lecture section is also good. When I'm hunting

for a doco, I go there first, YouTube second, and

documentary heaven third. Top documentaries

has an extensive science range and a pretty

comprehensive religion range. I love docos, so

I'm often watching something on there :)

 

You've probably seen Religulous. I sort of found it on TDF, but it wouldn't play. Neither would The Most Hated Family in America. Did you try them, and if so, did they work for you? Maybe it's my iPod.

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