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

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  •  I did... (0+ / 0-)

    ...give a serious answer. There are lots of groups which don't experience persecution and discrimination. There are some which do. The fact that more than one group experiences discrimination is no reason not to object to particular cases of discrimination.

    Unless, of course, you just don't give a damn about people's suffering. Frankly, that's precisely the impression I get from you. The messages you write communicate to me the idea that you don't care and don't understand why others care.

    Maybe that's not what you intend, but it's what you're communicating. If it's not what you intend, you might want to consider saying things differently.

    "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 01:52:48 PM PDT

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    •  I could care less what you think of me (0+ / 0-)

      What I object to in your position is that it waters down the language of "hate" and "discrimination."  We live in a world in which these are very real issues for human beings every day of their lives.  The don't have the choice to decide whether to reveal themselves as part of a hated group.  They simply are forced to suffer simply for being alive.

       

      •  Then You Must Care a Little... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but nothing you write is consisting with caring.

        What I object to in your position is that it waters down the language of "hate" and "discrimination."

        You offer no reason to think that these labels don't apply.

        We live in a world in which these are very real issues for human beings every day of their lives.

        Yes, I know. Some more so, some less so.

        The don't have the choice to decide whether to reveal themselves as part of a hated group.

        I didn't choose to be an atheist.

        They simply are forced to suffer simply for being alive.

        Some atheists in America have experienced exactly that.

        "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 02:34:27 PM PDT

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        •  sigh... (0+ / 0-)

          You offer no reason to think that these labels don't apply.

          Well you can claim them if you want to.  But then so can pretty much every ethnic, religious or political group in this world.  If those words are to have any meaning, they must be reserved for instances in which systemic discrimination or an overwhelming pattern of violence exist.  Being unpopular simply doesn't rise to that standard.      

          I didn't choose to be an atheist.

          Perhaps.  But you have a choice whether to share that information or not.  There are people on earth who do not have this luxury - and who face much graver dangers.  To compare your "plight" with theirs is wrong.    

          •  Your Attitude Encourages Bigotry (0+ / 0-)

            But then so can pretty much every ethnic, religious or political group in this world.

            So? There are obviously degrees to which discrimination and hatred occur. To use the labels exclusively with the absolute worst cases minimizes the suffering in every other case. For example:

            Being unpopular simply doesn't rise to that standard.

            This is an active and deliberate minimization of the discrimination and hatred against atheists — it's more than a mere lack of popularity.

            But you have a choice whether to share that information or not.

            Yes, I have the truth about whether to tell the truth about myself or to conceal the truth as if the truth were something to be ashamed of. Telling atheists to be quiet about their atheism is a way to ensure that the discrimination and bigotry against atheism continue.

            There are people on earth who do not have this luxury - and who face much graver dangers. To compare your "plight" with theirs is wrong.

            Actually, I personally have no "plight" — as far as I know, I haven't experienced discrimination because I am an atheist. That, however, does not prevent me from caring about the fact that many other atheists have been the targets of very serious discrimination, bigotry, hatred and violence.

            You are the only one who is comparing people's experiences. The fact that most atheists in America haven't had it as bad as people elsewhere isn't a very good reason to pretend that discrimination, bigotry, and hatred don't exist here for atheists. It's simply wrong for you to suggest that unless atheists have it as bad as some people elsewhere, then what they experience isn't "real" discrimination, "real" hatred, or really worth being concerned about.

            If I said that the racism experienced by blacks in America today isn't "real" racism because it isn't as bad as what blacks experienced under Jim Crow or slavery and therefore isn't worth worrying about, people would rightly dismiss me as a crank and perhaps a racist myself.

            "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 03:50:52 PM PDT

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            •   (0+ / 0-)

              So? There are obviously degrees to which discrimination and hatred occur. To use the labels exclusively with the absolute worst cases minimizes the suffering in every other case.

              The use of the words "hate" and "discrimination"will always ratchet up emotion.  By nature they imply a pervasive danger.  When they are used to describe isolated acts by bigoted individuals the use is irresponsible.

              The suffering of individual atheists who have been targeted is not in question.  But the suffering of atheists as a community is not worthy of those words.  To use them is a manipulation.      

              Yes, I have the truth about whether to tell the truth about myself or to conceal the truth as if the truth were something to be ashamed of. Telling atheists to be quiet about their atheism is a way to ensure that the discrimination and bigotry against atheism continue.

              This whole "as if it is something to be ashamed of" meme is a manipulation I refuse to bother with.  Nor (and I've now explained this many times) am I telling atheists to be quiet.  But you have that choice.  I do not tell people many things that are true about me - and I do not feel discriminated against for it.  I do not owe them intimate facts about my life, nor do you owe anyone an answer about your spiritual beliefs.  If you choose to offer it it is because you want them to know and you must then accept the fact that they might have a reaction.

              If you feel that being open an honest will counter bigotry - that is great.  But countering bigotry is not a bloodless sport.  If you choose to do so, accept the fact that some days aren't going to go well.

              If I was a firm beleiver in polyamory and felt it was a beautiful thing that needed no apology, I'd still be a fool to share that information with a potential employer or in a political race.  If I decide to do so anyways, calling discrimination after the fact won't change my foolishness.

              If I said that the racism experienced by blacks in America today isn't "real" racism because it isn't as bad as what blacks experienced under Jim Crow or slavery and therefore isn't worth worrying about, people would rightly dismiss me as a crank and perhaps a racist myself.

              Do I really have to explain to you why this is a dubious argument?

              •  Don't Be so Arrogant Dismissive of Others (0+ / 0-)

                The use of the words "hate" and "discrimination"will always ratchet up emotion. By nature they imply a pervasive danger.  When they are used to describe isolated acts by bigoted individuals the use is irresponsible.

                Given the widespread bigotry towards atheists and the insistence on the Christian Right to use "godless" as a smear, the acts are not isolated.

                What is truly irresponsible is your arrogant dismissal of people's suffering when it fails to meet your subjective and undefined standards of what qualifies as "sufficient" to merit the obviously accurate labels. You can't and don't deny that atheists experience bigotry and discrimination; all you can do is pretend that somehow it's not enough to actually use those terms.

                Face facts: there are degrees of degrees of discrimination, hatred, and bigotry. It's not a simple either/or issue where it's either extreme or it doesn't exist. The "standard" you are trying to use here isn't worth of serious consideration — which is probably why you appear to be the only person who uses it.

                This whole "as if it is something to be ashamed of" meme is a manipulation I refuse to bother with.

                Then don't tell atheists that they should act as though they should be ashamed of being atheists.

                If you choose to offer it it is because you want them to know and you must then accept the fact that they might have a reaction.

                Whether people might react negatively is not the question; whether such prejudice should be criticized and opposed is.

                Do I really have to explain to you why this is a dubious argument?

                It's your choice, but it won't change your foolishness for pretending that unless discrimination and bigotry are as bad as they can be, then they are unworthy of the words.

                Once again, face facts: if you don't find the discrimination against and hatred of atheists to be worthy of your attention, then don't pay attention to it. We'd prefer your callous indifference than your efforts to undermine the very idea that the discrimination and hatred exist. Such efforts ultimately aid and support that discrimination and bigotry.

                Which I'm not so sure isn't the point.

                "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 04:35:01 PM PDT

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                •  Don't be a self-righteous twit (0+ / 0-)

                  Just listen to yourself.  Look at the words you have written.  "Suffering," "hatred,"etc...  Do these words really describe your life?  I was an atheist for years and count many among my most closest friends and relatives.  None is suffering.  None live in fear.  Nor did I suffer or live in fear when I openly called myself an atheist.  

                  Is there disturbing rhetoric floating around society regarding atheists?  Sure.  But more so than I encounter as a Jew?  More so than we both encounter as liberals?

                  Have there been injustices done to atheists?  Absolutely.  But given the chance to trade places with you as an American atheist, do you doubt that millions in the world would not trade places in a heartbeat and carry that burden if you would agree to carry theirs in return?

                  But if you are firmly committed to assuming  victimhood, far be it from me to stop you.  I just would have thought you didn't believe in nailing one's self to a cross.    

                  •  Don't Be a Sociopathic Bigot (0+ / 0-)

                    Just listen to yourself.  Look at the words you have written.  "Suffering," "hatred,"etc...  Do these words really describe your life?

                    No, actually, but they do describe the experiences of other atheists. Unlike you, I guess, I'm capable of empathizing with them.

                    "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 05:16:10 PM PDT

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