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Old 09-19-2011, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,355,594 times
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Over the years I've noticed a basic misunderstanding that the religious tend to have about the motives that drive atheists.

It seems to me that many religious people have this idea that atheists are atheists because they don't want to be bound by morality. In other words, because they are hedonistic heathens. This description couldn't be further from the truth of who I am nor does it accurately describe any of the atheists that I know or have ever known. I don't do drugs or even drink for that matter, and I certainly don't kill or steal or eat babies under the pale of a full moon at midnight. In other words, I'm just as moral as any theist, and because my sense of morality is unmotivated by fears of burning in ever lasting hell fire it could be argued that its more altruistic and admirable.

The only real difference between myself and the average theist is that I don't believe in their God and this leads me to my main point: most atheists come to be atheists for intellectual reasons rather than the desire to be unconstrained by moral considerations. In my case it was simple: I love science and the more I learned about it the less I was able to believe in religious ideology and dogma. I just basically grew out of my old world view and into a new one and this is exactly what happens with most atheists from what I've been able to gather.

Another misconception about atheists is that they are all liberals. The truth is that atheists fall on every point of the political spectrum just like everybody else. I'm more of a centrist myself, but I have met and known many right wing atheists -there are even a few here on City Data.

Another common criticism of atheists is that because they have no God they see nothing as bigger than themselves -that they view themselves as the center of the universe. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more I learn about science and the cosmos the more awestruck I am at the beauty and majesty of the ever evolving, self aware universe that we live in. In other words, everything is bigger than me.

So Christians, Muslims, Hindu's, etc., give us a break. We're not that bad.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,706 posts, read 3,336,503 times
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What do you mean?
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,706 posts, read 3,336,503 times
Reputation: 1911
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zekester View Post
Over the years I've noticed a basic misunderstanding that the religious tend to have about the motives that drive atheists.

It seems to me that many religious people have this idea that atheists are atheists because they don't want to be bound by morality. In other words, because they are hedonistic heathens. This description couldn't be further from the truth of who I am nor does it accurately describe any of the atheists that I know or have ever known. I don't do drugs or even drink for that matter, and I certainly don't kill or steal or eat babies under the pale of a full moon at midnight. In other words, I'm just as moral as any theist, and because my sense of morality is unmotivated by fears of burning in ever lasting hell fire it could be argued that its more altruistic and admirable.

The only real difference between myself and the average theist is that I don't believe in their God and this leads me to my main point: most atheists come to be atheists for intellectual reasons rather than the desire to be unconstrained by moral considerations. In my case it was simple: I love science and the more I learned about it the less I was able to believe in religious ideology and dogma. I just basically grew out of my old world view and into a new one and this is exactly what happens with most atheists from what I've been able to gather.

Another misconception about atheists is that they are all liberals. The truth is that atheists fall on every point of the political spectrum just like everybody else. I'm more of a centrist myself, but I have met and known many right wing atheists -there are even a few here on City Data.

Another common criticism of atheists is that because they have no God they see nothing as bigger than themselves -that they view themselves as the center of the universe. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more I learn about science and the cosmos the more awestruck I am at the beauty and majesty of the ever evolving, self aware universe that we live in. In other words, everything is bigger than me.

So Christians, Muslims, Hindu's, etc., give us a break. We're not that bad.
I don't think atheists are bad at all. As I have said before, there are often times when I am tempted by a naturalistic explanation of the cosmos. I freely admit that there is no empirical evidence for my belief. Then again, I am not some whacked out zealot either. Here is a recent quote from myself on a similar recent CD thread.....

"I sometimes find it hard to communicate with other people who are theists. Perhaps that is because I can't take organized religion seriously. I like the following, rather lenghty quote from G.K. Chesterton to explain my belief.

"It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it. But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is really only convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, "Why do you prefer civilization over savagery?", he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, "Why, there is that bookcase.....and the coals in the coal scuttle....and pianos.....and policemen." The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible."

It is here that I have purchased in. I like the various arguments, cosmological and moral, but what it boils down to for me is that everything makes sense if it is true. Also, if it is true especially, then the belief is warranted. I can imagine a possible world in which God is real, and those that do believe in such a God may have a certain relationship with him/her/it that makes those beliefs all the more real. Not all theists should have to be apologists in order to believe if there really is a God.

All that said, respect for others beliefs is an absolute necessity, as is respect for others privacy. I can assure you that through my voice, my vote, or my daily life, my belief would not affect someone's who thinks other than I do. Because I also believe in other absolutes, like freedom. I do not believe in a government controlled by people who believe in a diety, or a government controlled by any who would impose their beliefs upon the whole."
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Terra firma
1,374 posts, read 1,355,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgiafrog View Post
I don't think atheists are bad at all. As I have said before, there are often times when I am tempted by a naturalistic explanation of the cosmos. I freely admit that there is no empirical evidence for my belief. Then again, I am not some whacked out zealot either. Here is a recent quote from myself on a similar recent CD thread.....

"I sometimes find it hard to communicate with other people who are theists. Perhaps that is because I can't take organized religion seriously. I like the following, rather lenghty quote from G.K. Chesterton to explain my belief.

"It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it. But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is really only convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, "Why do you prefer civilization over savagery?", he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, "Why, there is that bookcase.....and the coals in the coal scuttle....and pianos.....and policemen." The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible."

It is here that I have purchased in. I like the various arguments, cosmological and moral, but what it boils down to for me is that everything makes sense if it is true. Also, if it is true especially, then the belief is warranted. I can imagine a possible world in which God is real, and those that do believe in such a God may have a certain relationship with him/her/it that makes those beliefs all the more real. Not all theists should have to be apologists in order to believe if there really is a God.

All that said, respect for others beliefs is an absolute necessity, as is respect for others privacy. I can assure you that through my voice, my vote, or my daily life, my belief would not affect someone's who thinks other than I do. Because I also believe in other absolutes, like freedom. I do not believe in a government controlled by people who believe in a diety, or a government controlled by any who would impose their beliefs upon the whole."
Good post. If only more people thought like you do. Sometimes I'm amazed at just how undemocratic the average American can be.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
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you said it all there Zekester! I also noticed that over the years in the US...
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:45 AM
 
39,056 posts, read 10,837,135 times
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Good posts. I'd say that the title should be 'The misrepresented atheist' since the misunderstood atheist is the one accused of claiming to 'know' that there is no God - 100% certainty, having all knowledge, has looked everywhere in the universe, believes that science has all the answers.

The most common misunderstanding is that the basis of atheism is agnosticism - NOT knowing, rather than knowing. If you don't know that a god exists or is even probable, then logically you ought not to believe that it exists. That's all atheism is.

The misrepresentation is based on all sorts of immoderate assumptions and claims made by and for theism. That it imparts morals, answers all our questions, gave us our intelligence if not our very existence and not only gives all our lives some meaning but gives us hope for something better, if not in this life, maybe in a next one.

It follows that anyone rejecting these claims and assumptions are without morals, having no wisdom, except the pitiful human opinions of logic and the fairy tales of so - called science, fails to explain - indeed, ignores - all the evidence - for - god -of our intelligence and has a life without meaning, hope or expectation of an afterlife.

Moreover, it is dark, despairing, suicidal, wicked and nihilistic. All assumptions based on this misunderstanding and misrepresentation of atheism. If it simply misunderstands, the misunderstanding is forgivable but, when it has been corrected so many times, it looks like deliberate, calculated, cynical and wilful misrepresentation.

And we know why. To discredit atheism and its very sound and (to theism) dangerous arguments. So it is of course justified to smear it it as one would a political opponent with being a sort of Godless faith in science with it its approval of baby murder, genocide and the BOMB It wants to fornicate in the street (I heard a Islamic cleric say exactly that) have totalitarian states where the unfit to survive are coldly eliminated in accordance with Darwinist eugenics theory.

There is no art, no laughter, no love, no fantasy or beauty. We are all going to be soulless mindless robots logically programmed to such clinical ruthlessness that good and evil has becomes meaningless. It's total malicious garbage, but very effective propaganda.

This isn't even addressing the 'you are afraid of hellfire' argument. The buggers have had 3,000 years since 'The fool hath said..' was written to think up their nasty smears, so by now it's a long list.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:58 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,907,518 times
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I've been preaching this same thing over the years. In fact, in the past month, I've had to set a younger cousin and a niece straight because they felt the need to contact me via Facebook messages to subtly tell me that I should stop insulting their [biblical] god with my questioning and comedy (Mr. Deity on YouTube for example). I had to tell them that I did not start to disbelieve simply because I wanted to party more, have wild sex or because I just did not want to be restrained by a bunch of church rules and regulations. I was not one of those Christians who came out of a life of drugs and alcohol or one who had to give up all the babes and had to go through a continuous struggle and just could not resist anymore. My decision to leave Christianity was STRICTLY intellectual! Somehow, many Christians CAN'T grasp this simple admission. It comes as a huge shock to them that there are actually people out there who do not conclude "god" to fill up their ignorance.

Then there's the "oh, you're just mad at god" or "you are mad at god because you don't/didn't grasp the TRUE concept of god." It's like people claiming that I just don't like grits because I've never had THEIR grits. I just don't LIKE grits - simple as that! You can spice it up, add sugar or salt to it, even drop it in a tub of chocolate. I still won't like it. You just CAN'T (at least not me) start believing in something intellectually that you've intellectually discounted unless that something all of a sudden pops up with SOLID, VERIFIABLE, UNMISTAKABLE proof and I'm not into the mystical, esoteric nonsense either sooooo....

Post-Christianity I still don't do drugs, barely and rarely drink and when I do the limit is ALWAYS 2 mild drinks (no beers...yuck!). I don't do wild parties and I have ONE girlfriend who means so much to me and I am faithful to her. I am still rather conservative (I'm democrat though) and I live a rather boring life with only dreams of an exciting life of traveling the globe and making documentaries IF I had the money. Simple as that yet an enigma to many Christians.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:05 AM
 
9,412 posts, read 11,729,758 times
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Great posts.

I seldom have to justify my lack of beliefs. My family are all a bunch of heathens which is great. I've also found the older I get the less I care about what other people think of me.

My life is a simple one, I'm an RN, I'm a Mother to grown up daughters, I'm a wife to my beloved, I bake and garden and live as organic as I can. I don't hurt others, I donate money to charities.

I do all this as an atheist with strong views.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
17,177 posts, read 13,722,916 times
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I drink etc, and have other vices as well, but I don't see how this is immoral in any way. I do see myself as being the centre of my existence, but that is okay by me. I'm liberal in many regards, but can be conservative on some issues.

I am an Atheist because I don't see evidence of any Gods etc, and I don't see the need to dream one up either. I've had the angry at god routine put to me before, but somethings are so absurd, that there isn't much to say in reply.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 21,976,804 times
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It seems to me that if one is "angry at God", by definition he cannot be an Atheist. You're right, it's absurd.

I never drink too much unless I'm at home, and that way I'm the only one who gets hurt.
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