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I am about to embark on a great new chapter of my life. In May, I finished my doctorate in physics, and as amazing of a milestone that was, tomorrow I pass another one, as I begin my first day as an actual professor at a local community college.

However, as an avid reader of Dailykos, but also someone interested enough to start a group here for Progressive Atheists, even though I have a lot of other things on my mind, I felt compelled to add a bit of my own thoughts on the recent debate that was ignited on these pages over Atheists.

First of all, for anyone who has not been able to attain all the facts, on an earlier diary, there was a comment posted by a prominent Dailykos diarist, which has since been hide-rated, which said the following:

If ive ever met any person who sees little

value in universal ethics, its an atheist. Their utter contempt for humanity is never far from the surface, as they typically have no concept of what it means to be fully human.

ive often thought it wouldnt be surprising if god were an atheist because theyre the only ones who actually lack the humanity to do the job.

This comment was posted to a diary about the historicity of Jesus.

Now, despite the implication made by the blockquote, Atheists in general do not argue that Jesus not existing is a basic tenet of Atheism. I mean, it's not like there's some unwritten rule that to be an Atheist, you have to agree and advocate that Jesus never existed. Being an Atheist and allowing that Jesus was an actual person are not contradictory. The issue, at least in regards to academically speaking, is purely one for historians and theologians.

And if you go back and read the source material of the diary, the criticisms of the historicity of Jesus do not seem to stem from Atheism at all. While some of the notable sources of the article are identified as Atheists, there is no indication that their criticisms stem from their nonreligion. Rather, it is mostly based on historical evidence, and investigating discrepancies in the documented history, a rather basic scientific approach, though one could then argue that their Atheist views color how they interpret that evidence. This would indeed be a valid criticism, though the above commenter doesn't seem intent on remaining within the realm of validity.

Next, it is worth mentioning that while I myself have many criticisms of the blockquote myself, others have already written some good diaries already that I think make a lot of the salient points.

"Atheists are Inhuman" - A Response From an Atheist
I'm an atheist.
Me Atheist Too!
Actual Human Atheists
Why I Argue With You About God: An Atheist's Perspective

While Atheists seem to make up a decent chunk of the readership here at Dailykos, I have noticed that when diaries are written explicitly on the subject, they rarely get on the Rec list, but counter-intuitively, they get hundreds of comments. So this makes today quite a rare occurrence, one that the Atheists community here should not pass up. Which I will get to in a minute.

The final point I want to make about the blockquote specifically, is that any point the commenter thinks they are making, they completely undermine with the last part.

After broadly attacking atheists for being inhumane, the commenter then uses that as their reason for likening them to God him or herself. Which is odd, given the focus of attacking Atheists implies that the commenter is a believer. One is left thinking that while the commenter does have a belief in God, they see him as so utterly in contempt of humanity that one wonders what value there is for humans to believe in him or her in the first place. Whether the point of the comment was to attack Atheists or defend believers, it seems to leave off doing neither.

The largest lesson I take away from this recent episode is that, unlike other culturally maligned groups in American politics, Atheists are still at the point where the majority of the attacks, both overt and subversive, are driven predominantly by a lack of understanding and exposure. After all, while recent polls show that as many as a quarter of all Americans identify as non-religious, Atheists still only make up about 3%.

We are still at the stage in our collective endeavors where Atheists first and foremost need to become more vocal in our experiences. If we want to see less outwardly divisive rhetoric and views towards Atheists and nonreligious - especially coming from people on our side of the aisle ostensibly most understanding of the discrimination and negative stereotypes we face - we are still at the stage where we need to enlighten people on what we experience because of our Atheism.

When diaries are written about changing the narrative on Obamacare and raising the public's positive outlook on the law, a lot of emphasis is placed on publicizing anecdotes of regular people helped by the law. Much like Obamacare, Atheism faces a lot of the same misconceptions and negative rhetoric; having specific anecdotes for Atheists to share to humanize and build empathy would go a long way.

Some of my favorite diaries here are when Atheists simply share some of the things they have experienced in their lives. Either what led to their Atheism, or what they have experienced since embracing Atheism.

So, to all Atheists, Secularists, and Humanists out there, I ask you to do one thing: write a diary telling of your own experiences as a nonreligious person. What happened to make you lose your faith, or have you always been nonreligious, or how has being non-religious affected your relationships with your religious family and friends?

While I doubt the original commenter is one to change their views that easily, my hope is that for the rest of the Dailykos/Progressive community, they will be reminded that Atheists are a significant, likeminded contingent of their loyal supporters. At the very least, we would humbly prefer that you avoid characterizing us all as anything less than human.

And if you are religious, but have had negative experiences that have led you to hold a view of Atheists similar to what is shared in the first blockquote: write a diary telling us why. What have Atheists done to you that has colored your perceptions of all who identify as Atheists? How do you know it stemmed from their Atheism or from your religion? Have those negative experiences caused you to view all Atheists in general as inhuman or immoral, and how do you feel that compares to how people stereotype all Muslims with fundamentalist extremists, or all Christians with fundamentalists?

Perhaps this would help elucidate the sources of some of these misgivings we have for each other. While many of us know how hard it is to dispel any negative stereotype, having specific instances of injustice to rectify would help both sides mend some of our broken relationships.

In the end, if it is the humanity of us Atheists that is under attack, what better way is there to combat this misconception than to attempt to empathize, and to share the experiences that show how human we truly are?

“There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not an atheist (21+ / 0-)

    but atheists are certainly human and should have the same right to be unmolested in their beliefs as anyone else.

    Conversely, I'm not convinced that physicists are human.  That much math isn't natural.

    •  I know you probably didn't intend to... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HiKa, Shaylors Provence, dandy lion

      ...but phrasing the atheist understanding as "beliefs" ties it to the faith based belief of religious people a little too closely for my, and I would think many's, comfort...

      As it follows to many attackers if that all it is is a belief then it no better than theirs, in fact no better those those silly believers who have it wrong, in fact at least those believers aren't immoral, just misguided... etc.

      To many it is not that there is no god...

      ...but that one is both unlikely AND irrelevant.

      Unlikely because its existence requires extra assumptions (do not get started on heaping the specific attributes of organised religions on top of this).

      Irrelevant because (in addition to not having a falsifiable or repeatable way to prove the existence of it one way or another) its existence alone provides no predictive powers.

      So, why the stink..?

      Well, it's mostly "could you please stop making laws based around the morals, magic and medicine of a many millennia old myth, rather than how the issue or law holds up in light of modern understandings of philosophy, science and medicine, please?"

      And, yes, that was quite a bit of atheist alliteration. Apologies.

      •  Atheists believe that there is no god (0+ / 0-)

        There is just as much evidence for that proposition as there is for the proposition that a god exists.

        So it seems to this agnostic, anyway.

        •  But you don't need evidence for the negative. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dandy lion, katiec

          The one making the positive assertion needs to provide the evidence.

          A statement that "there is no god" requires as much evidence as "there is no flying spaghetti monster" and "there are no unicorns".

          (Counter in advance to the argument "but what about "there was no George Washington" surely the burden would be on someone saying that"... yep! And as positive evidence has already been provided (and thus burden met), the "proof" of this statement wouldn't be "evidence that he didn't exist", rather "showing as being false the evidence provided that he did".)

          If you tell me there is a neon purple grain of sand at a beach that tells you others have to live their lives in a way it commands... I don't have to individually catalog each grain of sand to show you there isn't ("oh but you missed it", "oh but the tide took it out, now it's back", even if I tried this)... you have to show me it to prove there is...

          ...and here is the important part, I shouldn't have to live my life under the ludicrous will of this grain of sand until you do.

          Though here we are, with laws being made based on the will of a being the existence of which cant be proven, while the more likely explanation for the writings about it are stone age versions of societal control.

          And yet the position I've outlined is somehow doomed to engender false equivalences that are not granted to any other assertion in an otherwise "reality based community".

          tl;dr Russell's Teapot.

          note: I came up with the grain of sand analogy over a decade ago, blissfully unaware of the teapot.

        •  Actually, to put it another way... (0+ / 0-)

          You know all those lovely people who claim natural disasters are gods punishment for some sinful behavior?

          You know, that the gays caused the loss of life to happen.

          Prove them wrong.

          Using only your own rules.

          Because there is as much evidence for their proposition that god sent the disaster as communal punishment as their is for your proposition that he did not.

          i.e what differentiates their assertions from the assertion that god exists at all?

          I'm thinking the popularity of that opinion, and that's ALL.

        •  No they don't (0+ / 0-)

          Atheists have no belief in any gods.  That's the only requirement to be an atheist.

          A very small subset feel convinced that there are no gods.  But the majority of atheists would happily accept that a god exists if proof was provided.

        •  I believe there is no reason to believe in a god. (0+ / 0-)

          Do I have faith there is no god?

          Doesn't feel like it.  I have faith my son will grow up to be a nice person, that the sun will rise tomorrow, etc.

          Not having faith in a god isn't the same as having faith there is no god.

          It's a lack of faith on the matter.

          Faith doesn't come into play.

    •  hahaha! Everything is math. n/t (4+ / 0-)

      ...wispy longings for a time before Elvis and the Beatles, back when "a girl could cook and still would". You know before the troubles.~Hunter.

      by denig on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 04:56:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not an atheist either, because (13+ / 0-)

    the theism binary is far too small a question to be the single word defining my beliefs.

    Of all of the things to explore about the universe, the question of whether there exists (one or more) God(s), and if so which one(s), is just a subset of the great wonders out there to consider.

  •  At first I thought I'd stay outta the whole inh... (16+ / 0-)

    At first I thought I'd stay outta the whole inhuman atheist fray, but I'll endeavor to answer your call and post a diary on my atheism. Thank you for the suggestion that all of us proud heathens should do so!

    I'm afraid my story won't be very uplifting. It was a personal conclusion, free from outside dogma and recrimination, but it's the basis of my sincerest beliefs and deserves telling.

    Cheers!

  •  This won't end until Bob Johnson (11+ / 0-)

    does a satirical post on it.  Maybe we can have shirts and skins (religious v. atheists) on dkos?  A nice religious war?   Fuck changing the world outside when we can look at ourselves here.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:19:32 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps we aren't humans after all. (3+ / 0-)

    I mean, some argue that the 'human' species rightfully belongs in the pan genus, together with pan paniscus and pan troglodytes.

    Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

    by intruder from Old Europe on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:33:46 PM PDT

  •  I self-identify as an atheist. (11+ / 0-)

    I have learned enough in a wide variety of areas to understand how little we actually understand in the context of all that is.

    And so I'm not entirely certain that this consciousness called Greyhound will cease with my body, but it will.

    As for religion, I don't get it. I never did, even as a small child dutifully attending Sunday school. None of it made any sense, and forget plausibility. I can understand the desire for it, but how do you deny all the evidence that surrounds you every moment of every day?

    The greatest gift of atheism to me has been that my lack of faith has always driven me to live the life I want to live, now. It's been a great ride so far, and I plan to finish it with a smile, or at least no regrets.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:37:18 PM PDT

  •  Atheists do not usually proselytize (7+ / 0-)

    whereas most religions have that as one of their strongest tenets. "Spread the faith" "more souls for the Church, the One True Church." I heard it all when I was a Catholic child. I assume most religions love converts.

    Atheists attempting to show how human they are in an organized group context is a little like proselytizing.

    I'm a human being without any religion and I don't need to prove that I am human.

    "Love conquers all."

  •  But, but... (9+ / 0-)

    If you're alive and breathing, and your DNA expresses within tolerable variances the recognized standard patterns associated with the species Homo sapiens sapiens, you are by definition "fully human." Any supposedly intellectual quibbling about this natural fact is nonsense on its face. Humanity is not determined by any particular patterns in thoughts or actions;  humanity is a priori simply an inheritance from your ancestors' genetic materials.

    Persons may be an inhumane, uncivilized, sociopathic, unethical and immoral monsters, but they are still "fully human" whilst pursuing their various crimes.

    Say I.

    "[T]he preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country." - John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law. (1765)

    by AnacharsisClootz on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:56:22 PM PDT

    •  The corollary to this (4+ / 0-)

      is that we are all a product of our unique genome and unique environment, which guaranties that we all experience our humanity... differently.

      Any attempt to reduce 'humanity' to a non-biological(*), experiential definition is doomed to fail, at best, and at worst is the product of bigotry of one sort or another.

      * Obviously I mean a wide biological definition, not the obvious racism of some who use biological traits to define others as sub-human.

      190 milliseconds....

      by Kingsmeg on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:21:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My father was an atheist (15+ / 0-)

    He was raised Catholic, his parents were Irish immigrants. My mother was raised Mormon. Her family were among the pioneers who walked out to Salt Lake with Brigham Young.

    We didn't really have any discussions about religion or why we didn't go to church on Sunday like everyone else we knew. We knew my father didn't believe in religion. And that he didn't get promotions on his job because of it.

    We celebrated Christmas with a tree and presents, but we never went to church. The Easter bunny came to our house, too. We went to weddings in churches, but we never bowed our heads in prayer.

    Our parents taught us right from wrong. My father had a strong sense of right and wrong. It had nothing to do with religion or god, it had to do with what is right. Because we live in a society.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:59:43 PM PDT

  •  Somewhat atheistic/agnostic (4+ / 0-)

    I find it highly implausible that there is a "God" who pays any attention whatsoever to human beings to say nothing of sparrows.  It seems likely the universe is a pretty random place.  It is, however, wonderful and awesome and really beyond our powers to understand fully.  To me the meaning is in the Whole and seeing oneself and feeling oneself as part of the Whole.   The self is an illusion.  But I can't be really certain about any of this. How could one?  I think a healthy skepticism is important, even towards ones own views.  And certainly if you think you have the one true way you probably don't.

    Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

    by Mimikatz on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:00:39 PM PDT

  •  I believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pvasileff

    I I'll pour a second scotch.

    Seriously, while you ask some fascinating questions, I have a problem with one or two of your assumptions.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:01:00 PM PDT

  •  I have discovered that the name (11+ / 0-)

    for what I am is "Apatheist."  Is there a god?  Is there no god?  Is believing in God ridiculous?  Is non-belief laughable?

    I don't care.  Or, on a good day, I just don't mind.  Believe what you want, and shut up about it.  The rest of us just want to get along.

    That being said, I live my life as a secular humanist would, for the most part.  I do good because doing good is the right thing to do.  I donate and volunteer and care for my neighbors.  I believe that kindness should be everyone's first foot forward.

    Blah.  The whole conversation is just tedious as hell/lack of hell.

    Do good when you can.  And if you can't do good, just don't suck.

    "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." ~ Edward R. Murrow

    by CJB on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:11:50 PM PDT

  •  I'm a theist... (8+ / 0-)

    I firmly believe in the article "the".  I'm also down with prepositions.  Punctuation, however, is an apostrophe or an apostasy, or something like that.

    If atheism is a religion, then "off" is a TV channel.

    by DaveinBremerton on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:14:19 PM PDT

  •  bbb's assertions are beyond insulting -- they're (5+ / 0-)

    too absurd to be insulting. they've left the realm of sense. they're also just assertions. well, i don't know, maybe in some of his now-hidden comments he goes on to try to explain, but whatever he's got to say, i counter with this: "Nobody knows what it means to be fully human until he has confronted the reality that he did not exist for most of time past, won't exist for most of time future, is not immortal, and after death will in a cosmological blink of an eye vanish from any significance."

    most people avoid ever coming to terms with what it means to be fully human by pretending that they are going to continue to exist in some fanciful hereafter.

    a catholic once told me, "Heaven is just the knowledge of God." i think that's a great definition. i aver that enlightenment is the knowledge that there is no god, and therefore, no heaven.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:19:11 PM PDT

  •  Buddhists don't care about your Gods (5+ / 0-)

    if any or at all. Gods do turn up in Buddhist scripture, but only to offer help to the Buddha, or to learn from him. Except the few who don't who then get schooled.

    We base morality on evidence, on cause and effect, not on commandments.

    We don't stop with humanity, but promote compassion for all sentient beings.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:32:16 PM PDT

  •  If you actually read the criticisms of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offgrid, Caittus, dandy lion

    the "mythicists," you would be hard pressed to find anything "scientific."

    The question of Jesus' existence is an empirical question. If the evidence is there, then there's no problem. It is precisely because empirical evidence is lacking that it is a issue. All writing about Jesus comes after his alleged life, and is based on stories that changed over time and region.

    I am a scholar and I've read my share of early Christian works, including those of the Essenes. This writing, however, does not empirically prove the historical existence of Jesus. Any reasonable scholar would have to admit that this statement is true. People who are being scientific and objective would not have to resort to being so defensive. It's a "tell." That their faith/belief is threatened by these ideas. One can make a preponderance of evidence case based on "stories," but that is not empirical evidence that this person existed.

    The critics of the "mythicists" need to do a better job if they want to claim "science" or even scholarly history. I think the critics doth protest too much. It gives away their insecurity and unexamined assumptions.

    Moreover, your forcing those who don't share your beliefs or faith to answer your question 1) begs the question and 2) forces your opponents to be defensive. Neither of these are signs of critical inquiry.  

  •  My atheism is (0+ / 0-)

    just my ground of being and doesn't often manifest, except for a slight sense of embarrassment, which I share with Kant, that religion still persists.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 10:38:34 PM PDT

  •  Atheists are not fully human.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elkhunter, Caittus, Richard Villiers

    is as offensive as saying blacks are not fully human. Or Jews. Or Muslims.

    Would anyone consider asking them to prove that they understand what it means to be "fully human"?

    Would it be okay if I asked the DK gays and lesbians to prove that they know what it's like to be "fully love" someone of the same sex?

    Would it be okay if I asked transexuals to prove that they know what it's like to have "identify" with a particular gender?

    Would it be okay if I asked women to prove that they know what it's like to to be the "head of the household" ?

    I understand you're desire with the diary.  However, my story of growing an atheist is unremarkable.  Why is the assumption that it "must" be otherwise?  And that I must share it for people to acknowledge as something other than an immoral and without humanity?

    I'm not full of contempt.  Not in the least.  But I do have plenty for bigotry.

  •  when someone on this planet regenerates a limb (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix

    i'll reconsider my atheism.

    why won't god heal amputees

    Is God real, or is he imaginary? It is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.

    If God is real and if God inspired the Bible, then we should worship God as the Bible demands. We should certainly post the Ten Commandments in our courthouses and shopping centers, put "In God We Trust" on the money and pray in our schools. We should focus our society on God and his infallible Word because our everlasting souls hang in the balance.

    On the other hand, if God is imaginary, then religion is a complete illusion. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are pointless. Belief in God is nothing but a silly superstition, and this superstition leads a significant portion of the population to be delusional.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

    by elkhunter on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:07:26 PM PDT

  •  i identify as a pagan agnostic. or something. (0+ / 0-)

    or nothing.

    my reasons why are at least partially laid out in a couple comments i made in the 'jehovah's witnesses just came by' diary (it can be found in Community Spotlight). btw, the diary has a nice perspective on experiencing (and not judging) those religious people around you.

    and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make-jpgr

    by shesaid on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 11:10:50 PM PDT

  •  After joining in the meta for awhile, because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sapere aude, wayoutinthestix, Arenosa

    it's good intellectual fun, I've realized that some silly person who sometimes has insightful things to say and is sometimes a class A asshole making some rude comment about a class of people I belong to just simply doesn't matter.  Someone like that can't offend me if I don't take offense and, to put it bluntly, his opinion is so irrelevant, I can't bother to take offense.  Let him hold his opinion.  He's the one looking like a fool, not me.  

    While he deserved the donuts he got, I rather wish his comment had been ignored and died the ignoble death it deserved.  The attention he's received has served to make him seem much more important than he is.

  •  that (? one) comment was hideous, yet (0+ / 0-)

    are all the atheist diaries today a response to the view of one poster? Your diary seems to say that it the case and you speak as if it were one comment. One hateful poster does not a pattern make.

    My own experience online, is that atheists attack believers, often bitterly much more than the opposite. Someone will usually say "God help them" or something benign that indicates general belief-whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other-and sarcasm and mocking attacks begin. It happens on most threads -not on DK though-where some unfortunate mentions God. It was NEVER like this before recently when anyone expressed a religious belief, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddist, etc. The basic assumption in the US about  individuals expressing religious beliefs in casual mixed groups (as an online forum is) without infringing on others had always been "live and let live" and respect. Not that mentioning "God" means you are fundamentalist Christian or any particular faith, or believe in God at all. Many nonbelievers say"thank God", for example.

    I admit I'd always thought of atheism only as the benign absence of a belief so not fitting into any group. Hearing atheists described as persecuted is odd to me. I don't believe in God pretty much, but don't need to self identify as an atheist. Maybe because I was born into a minority religion so already have a "belonging" culturally.

    I just realized that I think of atheists, and I may be wrong, as largely white largely economically and educationally privileged. It is hard for me to feel overall that they are a victimized minority. I am not saying I think that or conclude that but that is my visceral reaction. It feels to me similar to how marginalized whites sometimes talk about their persecution as whites. My reaction is that privileged people are not victims.

    I can't recall seeing, say on HP, believers attack atheists. Perhaps this is because I am on left wing sites. . I suspect that some atheists are sarcastic and mean because are Sick of mention of God because it feels like they are marginalized and exclude. If that is the case for someone, I'd tell them to suck it up. Religious minorities (including non believers born into religious minorities like myself) suck up having to deal with Christmas and Easter and assumptions that everyone celebrates. We aren't "allowed" to complain about these things that if we were to get bitter, feel sometimes like they are rammed down our throats. And we don't call believers in Jesus names. But again, we are religious minorities and even if assimilated, we are not in power so we have to lie low and feel shaky about calling out Christian dominant assumptions anyway. Unlike seemingly atheists who seem to call out whenver God is mentioned benignly maybe because they feel excluded? If so, welcome to a tinge of what minorities and women must feel at times if you are male white and cis-straight.

    Note I am sharing only my experience and can't really say that is ubiquitous. I am sharing my visceral reactions, true or not, to what I have seen and am open to being wrong or even biased.

    •  I left a word out in this sentence (0+ / 0-)

      Unlike seemly Many atheists. Many

      IF so I'd Say To That Person welcome to a tinge...ie to that person.

      I don't want to label all atheists. I recognize my anger at what I have experienced as atheist attacks on benign religious people. I don't think I judge the individual nor certainly you, diarist, this way. But clearly I now have a perception of the group as acting pretty mean.

      I think religion is helpful to human beings. Many people, now and especially historically, have lives of incredible hardship and losses. Religion helped/helps these people cope. At its best, religion can motivate people to behave better than they otherwise would. I am aware of the tragedies wrought by organized religion but we can't measure how much religion has helped humans. Surely it must have been adaptive to have that drive in human brains, as scientists have discovered.

      Life for much of our history and sometimes now is/was short and full of disease, hunger, and suffering. A quarter or more children died before age 5 so almost all parents lost kids, often multiple kids. When I see a religious person I think that their religion, even in the US, must help and comfort them. I respect that.

      I acknowledge that atheists on this DK thread aren't acting like some atheists I"d experienced elsewhere.

    •  "I am sharing my visceral reactions, true or not, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wayoutinthestix

      to what I have seen and am open to being wrong or even biased." I'm glad you're open because my visceral reaction is that you are both wrong and biased.

      •  yet are you open to seeing how often atheists (0+ / 0-)

        attack believers? Or have you not experienced that?

         Can you see how I might then not feel they are victims if I've only experienced self-proclaimed online atheists as neutral or aggressors? My anger is from seeing people attacked.

        Can you see that If atheists are mostly privileged people, it is
        hard to think of them as a victimized minority? I may go there because my entire experience online except here at DK is of atheists being aggressors in conversations mentioning God. The most important thing I am open to is my data and assumptions based on it are wrong as it is that which leads to my conclusions, right or mistaken due to faulty data.

        I see based on the data I have that the cross section of atheists I've seen online are relatively priviliged people and, DK excepted, are the ones who exude sarcasm and who bully.  If they then complain about being the victims, it is annoying. I am sure you can see that privileged bullies...which I judge according to what I 've seen...claiming to be the oppressed minority is irritating and similar to white peoples claims of revere racism.

        Too bad you didn't explain to me why my data is incorrect. I did ask about if so many diaries are about one persons nasty comment. Assuming it is so per your diary was a data point.

  •  My god gets pissed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    etbnc

    when I don't acknowledge Her.

    What all this has to do with progressive politics I've yet to figure...

    I'm so tired of all this "meta" BS me

    by coyote66 on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:30:03 AM PDT

  •  Maybe some Christians would like to share (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix

    how they know what it means to be "fully human".

  •  I just assume that everyone is (0+ / 0-)

    atheist, even when they claim otherwise.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 07:14:15 AM PDT

  •  I don't think I understand what (0+ / 0-)

    "fully human" really means. I'm human. I have certain values that I've internalized from society, from my own instincts, from my emotions and whatever reasoning ability I have, and yes, from religion, even though I'm not religious. Whether they are sufficient for someone else isn't my concern really. I'm sometimes motivated by selfishness, greed,  etc., and this is part of being human also, as is the desire to help others and not be ruled by selfishness and greed.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 08:38:34 AM PDT

  •  Here's my long-ass beastie... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I'm wordy, my apologies.  I suck at making things like this short.  :-p

    If we acknowledge our fears, then we must also acknowledge the consequences of our actions when we react to those fears. Hate is based on fear, fear comes from a lack of understanding. When you understand, it is more difficult to hate.

    by TheProgressiveAlien on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 03:52:42 PM PDT

    •  I think you wrote an excellent diary (0+ / 0-)

      And I intend to post an update in the near future. We will see if I find the time.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 10:33:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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