This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Why do Americans still dislike atheists?

Why do Americans still dislike atheists? - Comments

Neurotic's Avatar Comment 1 by Neurotic

Try being a gaytheist.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:31:53 UTC | #621061

BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 2 by BowDownToGizmo

Quite happy to be disliked by people who score low on intelligence and morality tests.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:38:39 UTC | #621068

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 3 by Cook@Tahiti

Children don't like having their teddy-bear taken from them.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:53:45 UTC | #621074

JuJu's Avatar Comment 4 by JuJu

Why do Americans still dislike Atheist?

I dunno, maybe gullibility, ignorance, inability to reason, childhood indoctrination, mental predisposition to ignore facts that are inconvenient, and a belief that questioning beliefs is an insult or attack.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:26:00 UTC | #621085

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 5 by Stevehill

Scouting, which these days embraces (in a manner of speaking) Guides, Brownies, Rainbows et al is quite interesting.

The Promise to do your duty by God (and the Queen, in Britain; "my country" in America) is not optional and is recited at all meetings.

Way back in about the 1920s Lord Baden-Powell exempted 6 countries, three of which are still exempt, then decided enough was enough. A secular promise is available only in the Netherlands, The Czech Republic and France.

Israel wanted an exemption, a promise to god being offensive to some orthodox jews, but were denied it. So they adopted a god-free Promise anyway, and so far nobody's had the heart to kick them out. Just in case they send Mossad round, probably.

Scouting is, probably, offensive to human rights. I refuse to let my kids join.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:29:09 UTC | #621086

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 6 by Sparkly1

As a theist, I feel atheists who are not angry with me are condescending to me. As if I was mildly mentally challenged. As if they were the all-knowing beings. So I resent that, of course. I would appreciate a don't ask, don't tell mentality regarding this issue. Everyone allowed to believe what they choose, as we probably NEVER NEVER will know the truth.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:45:03 UTC | #621091

Lucid Lucy's Avatar Comment 7 by Lucid Lucy

Sparkly1... That's all very fine and dandy, but it's the religious folk who preach and approach you at airports and restaurants, telling you the ways you are evil and probably going to hell. Now, tell me that's not condescending and then we'll talk.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:47:55 UTC | #621092

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 8 by Sparkly1

Be part of the solution-don't engage them. Walk away.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:50:57 UTC | #621093

green and dying's Avatar Comment 9 by green and dying

Comment 6 by Stevehill :

Scouting, which these days embraces (in a manner of speaking) Guides, Brownies, Rainbows et al is quite interesting.

The Promise to do your duty by God (and the Queen, in Britain; "my country" in America) is not optional and is recited at all meetings.

I forgot the Brownies did this. The promise we used was: I promise to do my best, to love my God, to serve my Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide law.

Half of it is completely irrelevant to Brownies. And the "Queen and country" part is just as creepy as the God part.

The whole thing was kind of creepy and pointless. Your kids won't miss anything good.

Edit: oh look, they now have a "Discovering Faith" badge, the instructions for which assume you have one of your own. I'm sure they thought they were sooo forward-thinking and inclusive by not specifying that it be Christianity.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:51:37 UTC | #621094

piloth20's Avatar Comment 10 by piloth20

Comment 7 by Sparkly1 :

As a theist, I feel atheists who are not angry with me are condescending to me. As if I was mildly mentally challenged. As if they were the all-knowing beings. So I resent that, of course. I would appreciate a don't ask, don't tell mentality regarding this issue. Everyone allowed to believe what they choose, as we probably NEVER NEVER will know the truth.

Once again the irony of a theist statement escapes them. You have missed the point with your "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This same kind of policy was just dropped in the US military for gay soldiers; where were you when this occured?

What you are saying to atheists is "Shut up, I don't care what you have to say." all the while religion and religious people are allowed to espouse their belief unfettered in public!

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:01:00 UTC | #621098

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 11 by chawinwords

Sort of on subject, I often see the handle, "anonymous" followed by, "removed by moderator." I wonder, is anonymous one of those crazy, rational atheists hating, nose picking boogers, or perhaps, an irrational fundamentalist dingleberry? Just curious!

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:13:43 UTC | #621101

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 12 by Sparkly1

I feel this is just much wheel-spinning with no end in sight. A waste of time, except of course for mental gymnastics.. But why impose the fruits of your thought on others? In an article on the New Atheism I read yesterday by Russell Blackford, amidst much verbage is the tiny sentence:

"Other theistic arguments will be undermined when and if we get a truly robust scientific theory as to how life arose from non-life in the first place."

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/04/28/3202269.htm?topic1=&topic2=

Sounds trivial, doesn't it? Really, though, that's the ONLY sentence he needed to write.

By the way, Russell, how do your prove that truly robust scientific theory? "First, duplicate the conditions...."?

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:13:44 UTC | #621102

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 13 by Sparkly1

"Once again the irony of a theist statement escapes them. You have missed the point with your "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This same kind of policy was just dropped in the US military for gay soldiers; where were you when this occured?

What you are saying to atheists is "Shut up, I don't care what you have to say." all the while religion and religious people are allowed to espouse their belief unfettered in public!"

piloth20, I am offended as you are by the zealots of either persuasion who choose to impose their beliefs on others. The only way argument stops is when one party walks away. The better part of valour is discretion.

And I don't set my compass by the US military.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:20:20 UTC | #621103

submoron's Avatar Comment 14 by submoron

They'll never accept evidence with their "infallible book" telling them that we're evil.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:20:49 UTC | #621104

MMAtheist's Avatar Comment 15 by MMAtheist

Comment 7 by Sparkly1 :

As a theist, I feel atheists who are not angry with me are condescending to me. As if I was mildly mentally challenged. As if they were the all-knowing beings. So I resent that, of course. I would appreciate a don't ask, don't tell mentality regarding this issue. Everyone allowed to believe what they choose, as we probably NEVER NEVER will know the truth.

Comment 9 by Sparkly1 :

Be part of the solution-don't engage them. Walk away.

I'm sure you (along with every other theist) would appreciate a don't ask, don't tell -policy. You're not getting it. Not anymore. There's too much at stake. Beliefs have consequences. Ridiculous beliefs don't deserve protection, they deserve criticism.

This doesn't take away anyone's right to believe what they want any more than astronomy classes take away the right to believe the sun revolves around the earth.

And the truth we do know is that we have no reason to believe gods exist. There is no evidence to support them, and the idea of faith without evidence is clearly very stupid.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:31:27 UTC | #621107

MMAtheist's Avatar Comment 16 by MMAtheist

Comment 14 by Sparkly1 :

piloth20, I am offended as you are by the zealots of either persuasion who choose to impose their beliefs on others. The only way argument stops is when one party walks away. The better part of valour is discretion.

Yes, and those damn math/biology/physics teachers are imposing beliefs on little children too. Why not let them believe what they want? Who cares what the evidence says? They should just walk away.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:34:52 UTC | #621108

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 17 by Sparkly1

MMAtheist, you probably resent the rainbow having different colors too?

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:41:58 UTC | #621111

JuJu's Avatar Comment 18 by JuJu

Hey Sparkly,

Could you describe for us how a typical conversion goes between you and an atheist in which the atheist shows anger towards you? And as far as being condescending, something tells me that when an atheist is pointing out a fallacy to you and you have nothing to counter their point, you take that as condescending.

How is walking away from someone who is espousing misinformation considered being part of the "solution". I guess if you think the "solution" is to let the delusion of belief without evidence carry on, then walking away might be appropriate. If you think that the "solution" is to follow the evidence and raise consciousness about what is true or not, then engaging and presenting information to support this view would be considered part of the "solution".

I'm willing to bet that your the one who gets angry at the atheist because they paint you into a corner. I wouldn't be surprised if you just stomped your feet and walked away pissed off that the atheist wasn't buying into your delusion. And then run to the people who share your delusion and tell them how angry and condescending the atheist was. Well, that tactic isn't going to work here, sorry.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:43:38 UTC | #621112

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 19 by Sparkly1

MMAtheist, explain kindly to me the consequences of me holding personal beliefs on a subject that most probably will never be proven? (I engage, but will soon walk away). Note that there is no hostility in my question; please avoid hostility in your answer.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:50:05 UTC | #621117

Luigi Vampa's Avatar Comment 20 by Luigi Vampa

Comment 7 by Sparkly1 :

As a theist, I feel atheists who are not angry with me are condescending to me. As if I was mildly mentally challenged. As if they were the all-knowing beings. So I resent that, of course. I would appreciate a don't ask, don't tell mentality regarding this issue. Everyone allowed to believe what they choose, as we probably NEVER NEVER will know the truth.

I'm sorry you feel that way, but, do you have good arguments to support your belief? Or, do you just want to be left alone and not challenged to think the issue through?

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:55:00 UTC | #621118

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 21 by Sparkly1

JuJu, despite your portrayal of me, I do not engage in argument with anyone on this subject matter. (I consider this morning to be very unusual, and my statements to be hopefully noninflammatory, but informative). My own daughter is an atheist. It is where her schooling and current thinking has led her. I respect her right to continue to ponder the subject. IF she asks me a question concerning my beliefs of the subject, I answer her question. I do not preach. While you may have had unfortunate negative experiences with theists, we-just as you-are not all alike.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:58:54 UTC | #621119

wcapehart's Avatar Comment 22 by wcapehart

America's culture exposure to Atheists isn't Sam Harris, or Christopher Hitchens or Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ayn Rand even Thomas Jefferson. But rather Madelyn Murray O'hare who was painted as ... sorry... an @$$h0le. She came off in the media as a nasty and crass piece of work and scourge/shriek of the town. What's more, still people's exposure to MMO'H comes not from fact but from that bogus petition that still gets circulated. Fair or otherwise (and often the latter), she left a bad taste in people's mouth.

What's funny is that conservatives have grudging (and sometimes gracious) respect the other atheists listed above (often with far more respect coming from the right than from the left) but somehow her name-in-vain will come up when it comes to atheist in the public (and Public) arena. Refer to yourself as a Chris Hitchens atheist and you will be more likely accepted by cons and centrists on a personal level than saying you dig MMO'H. It's terribly unfair to make her into a scapegoat but that's just what happens.

Plus there are the traditional church-based social networks in the US that are important in the era of the mobile nuclear family. We are a work-a-holic culture and one that is expected to relocate occasionally. Religion, or should I say churchgoing (there's a difference), fills that void of an extended family by which you can have a ready-made social network on arrival (cause we don't think we have time for it otherwise) when you go from point a to point b. (And better still: when family is too much for you, you can't change your inlaws but you can change your parish when you get sick of Peter and Priscilla Perfect going on about how great they are at St. Marks' coffee hour!)

Atheists don't have that, and when we do it can become toxically political for those of us who are contrarians. Hitchens ruefully remarked on lack of true social networks on a Q/A in one of his talks.

Also, tradition aside, there is the ridiculous package deal where religion has insinuated itself into right and left US politics especially so as to contrast the US from the USSR. If you are an atheist (even an Objectivist) you are suspected of being anti-American.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:59:11 UTC | #621121

JuJu's Avatar Comment 23 by JuJu

MMAtheist, explain kindly to me the consequences of me holding personal beliefs on a subject that most probably will never be proven?

I wonder how Galileo would of answered that Question.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:59:11 UTC | #621122

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 24 by Stonyground

Sparkly 1, you quoted the following: "Other theistic arguments will be undermined when and if we get a truly robust theory as to how life arose from non-life in the first place."

You don't really make it clear why you think that this sentence is important. Are you perhaps suggesting that we don't yet know the answer to this question yet, and possibly never will, is evidence for the existence of a god or gods? If so, what about the possibility that there is a naturalistic explanation for everything even though we may never know what that explanation is? So far every mystery that has been unravelled has turned out to have a natural explanation, every single one without a single exception. In view of this track record what reason would you give for believing that if and when they are solved in the future, any of the current unknowns will turn out to be any different?

This seems to me to be like someone showing you a series of magic tricks each one totally amazing. The magician then explains each trick in turn and shows you how it was done. He then shows you one more trick and even though you are fully aware of how the previous tricks were done, because you can't work out how he did the last one you conclude that it must be really magic.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:04:06 UTC | #621123

Sparkly1's Avatar Comment 25 by Sparkly1

Luigi Vampa, as a scientist, I think CONSTANTLY. I have thus far in my life, through reading and personal experience and reflection on same, arrived at my current philosophy.

Please do not feel sorry for me, it is condescending.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:05:03 UTC | #621124

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 26 by chawinwords

Consider, someone tells you: I saw Moses talking to a burning bush and turning the Nile River into blood by touching it with a wooden staff -- or, I saw Muhammad riding to heaven on the back of a winged horse. Personally, I would think they were certifiably insane. Now consider, someone tells you: I heard a story from someone I don't know, who was repeating a story from 2 to 10 thousands years ago, using the above claims, and I believe every word, and if you don't believe it too, you are damned to the story-teller's storybook hell. Now the correct assessment would be, certifiably stupid. Why argue with every acorn that falls from the tree?

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:05:32 UTC | #621125

MMAtheist's Avatar Comment 27 by MMAtheist

Comment 20 by Sparkly1 :

MMAtheist, explain kindly to me the consequences of me holding personal beliefs on a subject that most probably will never be proven? (I engage, but will soon walk away). Note that there is no hostility in my question; please avoid hostility in your answer.

Why do I have to use the consequences in your case (which is probably something close to the God-of-the-gaps) when you're advocating that atheists shut up about religion in every case?

Who knows, maybe your faith doesn't have negative consequences (other than the apparent problem with outspoken atheists), but there are many cases where faith does have negative consequences.

How about you explain to me, why you think it's OK to educate people honestly about everything else, but when it comes to religion, we should just let people believe what they want? Why the special protection for religion?

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:06:10 UTC | #621126

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 28 by AtheistEgbert

The truth is, the reason why Americans are the way they are, is because of that big building in the middle of communities, otherwise known as the church.

The church (it doesn't matter which nor which denomination) sees itself as an authority to govern over communities, and tells them how they ought to live and how they ought to behave.

Ordinary people, bless them, aren't allowed to develop fully their potential, because as soon as they begin to search around the world for knowledge, they're plopped inside one of these buildings, and the process of darkening their minds begins.

No surprise then, that sooner or later, an ignorant stupid bigot emerges, with no understanding of the world or why they're living in a free country. This person's head is filled with all sorts of nonsense and opinions, thanks to the poisonous influence of the church.

There is another important building, of course, that sits in communities. It's called the library, which is the escape route away from the diseased ignorance among us.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:06:20 UTC | #621127

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 29 by Andrew B.

MMAtheist, explain kindly to me the consequences of me holding personal beliefs on a subject that most probably will never be proven?

Let's assume you believe life begins at conception. The consequences are that you would be likely to support candidates who oppose all abortion at any time after fertilization. Your belief in life beginning at conception indirectly affects the right of women to have abortions (or even make use of "morning after pills").

We might agree that the statement "life begins at conception" cannot be "proven," yet there are plenty of people willing to vote for candidates who maintain this belief who are prepared to say, defund Planned Parenthood (as recently occurred in Indiana).

So, yes, personal beliefs do indeed have consequences. Unless you are willing to abstain from voting or any sort of democratic participation, you can't really say "my beliefs are my business."

Besides, the whole rationale behind that statement is an attempt to discourage criticism. It's not that atheists are committing some horrible injustice to religious folks by subjecting their beliefs to the same scrutiny that political/philosophical/historical statements regularly incur, it's that religious people are accustomed to the sheltering of their beliefs from criticism and are upset that this unearned privilege is being challenged. Of course even the mildest criticism of religion will be interpreted by believes as "militant;" people haven't learned how to properly respond and react to challenges to or mockery of their religious beliefs. That's their responsibility, not ours.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:10:35 UTC | #621128

JuJu's Avatar Comment 30 by JuJu

Sparkly, in comment 7 you state this:

As a theist, I feel atheists who are not angry with me are condescending to me. As if I was mildly mentally challenged. As if they were the all-knowing beings. So I resent that, of course.

Which lead me to believe you engaged with atheist and that those atheist were angry and condescending.

But then you comeback at me with this:

JuJu, despite your portrayal of me, I do not engage in argument with anyone on this subject matter.

I'm sorry, I thought you were being truthful in your first comment, but I guess you were just portraying an atheist as you think they must be.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:11:41 UTC | #621129