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View Diary: Being an atheist in America (242 comments)

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  •  It's the Truth (0+ / 0-)

    Why would it be important for other collectors to know that you don't?

    Well, if lots of stamp collectors are talking about their stamps and ask me what my favorite stamp, is, I'd tell them that I don't collect stamps. It would be important for me to simply be honest because I don't think that not collecting stamps is something I should be ashamed of, something I should hide, or something I should conceal the truth about.

    "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

    by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 12:40:18 PM PDT

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    •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

      But if they don't want to talk with you anymore, don't be shocked.

      •  Silence Perpetuates Bigotry (0+ / 0-)

        But if they don't want to talk with you anymore, don't be shocked.

        I'm never shocked by bigotry; that, however, is no reason not to oppose said bigotry.

        "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

        by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 12:50:29 PM PDT

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        •  Oppose it all you want (0+ / 0-)

          But humans are tribal by nature.   It is not reasonable to pretend otherwise.  

          •  So? (0+ / 0-)

            It is not reasonable to pretend otherwise.

            When have I done so? I haven't, which makes this statement irrelevant to the discussion.

            "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

            by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 01:50:20 PM PDT

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            •  Your whole argument pretends otherwise (0+ / 0-)
              •  Prove It (0+ / 0-)

                Your whole argument pretends otherwise

                Really? Then please do explain where and how my argument "pretends" that humans are not tribal. Cite specific things I have said and argued.

                Or retract the allegation.

                Either way, don't make the claim if you can't back it up.

                "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

                by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 02:36:10 PM PDT

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                •  It is self-evident (0+ / 0-)

                  You have not cite a single law or other social factor that you feel ought to be different.  Instead you simply complain about other people's behavior.  

                  You want to change how other people think?  Win them over.  

                  •  If it is, you don't show how... (0+ / 0-)

                    You have not cite a single law or other social factor that you feel ought to be different.

                    This does not entail pretending that people are not tribal. However, I have cited the fact that atheists are discriminated against consistently in child custody cases by sitting judges.

                    Instead you simply complain about other people's behavior.

                    Yes, I criticize people's behavior. This does not entail pretending that humans are not tribal.

                    So you claim that that it is "self-evident" that "my argument "pretends" that humans are not tribal," but what you state does not entail the conclusion you assert. You're going to have to try again.

                    You want to change how other people think? Win them over.

                    I have consistently written that atheists should participate in community, social, and political organizations and not hide the fact that they are atheists. This way they can demonstrate, by example, that atheists aren't the immoral monsters they are so commonly assumed to be.

                    But of course, your advice is to simply hide one's atheism when there is a chance that there will be negative consequences. Hiding one's atheism guarantees that bigotry about atheists will never be dispelled because people will not know about the kind and decent atheists in their midst. That's why your advice is both asinine and counter-productive: it is almost tailor-made to ensure that discrimination and bigotry continue.

                    "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

                    by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 03:56:40 PM PDT

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                    •  I think that problem is not on my end (0+ / 0-)

                      However, I have cited the fact that atheists are discriminated against consistently in child custody cases by sitting judges.

                      Admitedly, this is the best evidence in your favor.  But the law does not support the actions of these judges.  Therefore the problem is misuse of power, not discrimination.  I fully support any and all calls o prosecute these judges to the full extent of the law.  

                      Yes, I criticize people's behavior. This does not entail pretending that humans are not tribal.

                      You do more than criticize.  You expect them to change their very nature.

                      I have consistently written that atheists should participate in community, social, and political organizations and not hide the fact that they are atheists. This way they can demonstrate, by example, that atheists aren't the immoral monsters they are so commonly assumed to be.

                      I agree.

                      But of course, your advice is to simply hide one's atheism when there is a chance that there will be negative consequences.

                      No. I fully support not hiding it.  But be responsible for your choice.  That's what I keep saying and you keep trying to twist it.

                      •  ...if encouraging bigotry isn't a problem (0+ / 0-)

                        Admitedly, this is the best evidence in your favor.  But the law does not support the actions of these judges.

                        Nor does it oppose their actions. Those decisions are consistent with the law as it stands.

                        Therefore the problem is misuse of power, not discrimination.  I fully support any and all calls o prosecute these judges to the full extent of the law.

                        There is no prosecution to be done because their decisions are not contrary to the law. It's true that the law doesn't specifically say "screw over the atheist parents," but it also doesn't require that atheists be treated equally. If the judge sincerely believes that being irreligious and an atheist is bad for children — and here we come to the pervasive belief throughout society that being irreligious and an atheist is bad — then they are authorized to remove children from those bad environments.

                        It would be good for lawyers and parents to argue in court that being an atheist isn't detrimental to the kids, but the other lawyers and parents will argue the opposite. Lawyers have even suggested to parents that they should adopt the image of being religious in order to look better to the judge — you know, that in order to avoid the consequences of anti-atheist bigotry, they should not choose to reveal their atheism and should instead hide it. That should be a familiar refrain to you, shouldn't it?

                        You do more than criticize. You expect them to change their very nature.

                        I don't expect anyone to change their nature; I will, however, tell them that they should overcome what their "nature" might be pushing them towards when it causes unjust suffering in others. Or don't you think so?

                        Your statement here would apply just as much if I were arguing against racism. Racial bigotry is the most obvious and pervasive form of tribalism because race can be such a clear example of "them" being different from "us." Criticizing racism is not the same, however, as telling people that they should change their nature. Instead, it's telling them to overcome what their "nature" might be telling them to do when it causes unjust suffering.

                        Overcoming racism doesn't stop a person from being tribal. I won't even stop them from having unconscious racist attitudes that they even they aren't fully aware of. It is, however, an appropriate goal to work for.

                        I fully support not hiding it. But be responsible for your choice.

                        I am not responsible for other people's bigotry or their hateful, discriminatory behavior as a consequence of their their bigotry. People must be responsible for themselves — for their bigotry, for their hate, and for their discrimination. If someone learns that I am an atheist — either because I tell them directly or because they learn it through other means not of my chosen doing — and then treat me worse because of it, that behavior is not my responsibility. Stop trying to blame the victims.

                        Do pay attention to the fact that people can find out that a person is an atheist without the atheist deliberately choosing to tell them.

                        That's what I keep saying and you keep trying to twist it.

                        When you tell atheists that they should hide their atheism in order to avoid anti-atheist bigotry and hatred, you are telling them to act like atheism is something to be ashamed of. This also sends the message to others that atheism is, indeed, something to be ashamed of — otherwise, why hide it? Once again, that may not not have been your original intent but you have not wavered an inch in promoting this, even after being informed of the effects. Now that you know the effects, though, you treat those effects as acceptable. So, I'm not twisting anything.

                        "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

                        by AtheismGuide on Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 04:51:07 PM PDT

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                        •  You sure love your victim status (0+ / 0-)

                          And you are free to indulge in it all you want.  But your arguments are set in a loop that does not serve any positve purpose.

                          You assert that atheism is not a religion or a  belief system - but merely the lack of one, and yet you bristle with self-righteousness if anyone suggests that your problem is easily solved if you merely refrain from sharing that lack of belief.  Once we get on that track it becomes more than clear that your atheism is much more to you than just the absence of a belief.  Nobody who truly believed that would turn around and complain, "you want me to be ashamed of my absence of belief."

                          I don't believe in many things.  Among them, I don't believe in the version of Jesus that most modern Christians seem to embrace.  But I don't feel that my lack of belief requires expression.  I am free to express it if I chose, but I am not "in the closet" if I don't.  I assume you also don't believe that a 50 foot tall rabbit sits on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but are you subjegating some core part of yourself by not wearing a sandwich board proclaiming this non-belief?

                          I'm not going to go round and round with you anymore.  You want to proclaim your lack of belief to the world - fine with me.  You have my support.  And I'll condemn anyone that threatens or attempts to harm you - if such a thing actually ever happens.  But stop trying to have this every which way.  Either acknowledge that atheism is a belief system or stop acting as if your core beliefs are being trampled upon.  

                          •  Wah Wah Wah (0+ / 0-)

                            You sure love your victim status And you are free to indulge in it all you want.

                            Pointing out the fact that atheists are more distrusted than any other group is not "indulging" in victim status.

                            You assert that atheism is not a religion or a  belief system - but merely the lack of one, and yet you bristle with self-righteousness if anyone suggests that your problem is easily solved if you merely refrain from sharing that lack of belief.

                            I object to the suggestion that people hide what they are in order to avoid unjust discrimination and bigotry, yes.

                            I don't believe in many things.  Among them, I don't believe in the version of Jesus that most modern Christians seem to embrace.  But I don't feel that my lack of belief requires expression.

                            So what? That's irrelevant to the question of whether you are being fair in suggesting that others hide what they think in order to avoid unjust bigotry and discrimination.

                            To put it another way: what's the difference between what you are suggesting and telling gays that if they want to avoid homophobic bigotry, they should just stay in the closet?

                            I'm not going to go round and round with you anymore.

                            Translation: "I'm not going to support may claims no matter how often I'm asked."

                            "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes corrupted, impure, and ultimately self-destructive."

                            by AtheismGuide on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 05:14:46 PM PDT

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