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Old 03-07-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
6,637 posts, read 5,316,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
My point is exactly that: atheism shouldn't be a rebellion against religion. Posting obnoxious billboards and the act of pooling money together for that goal most definitely IS a rebellion against religion.

Becoming friends because of common interests is one thing, but forming a group which takes on properties of a typical religious organization just seems ironic to me in context to atheism. I personally would never 'attend' an atheist gathering. If I was looking for that sort of validation, I'd go to church.
I hear they have some wicked good spaghetti dinners.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:23 PM
 
1,866 posts, read 948,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
But what protections do we need? The right to not do something? Not being facetious, but I seriously can't think of a single 'protection' I need as an athiest unless there's a group willing to protect me from my grandmother.
Going to agree with the grandmother analogy, so far as intolerance towards the average atheist Joe seems to go, at least where I've lived. (Missouri/St. Louis). Admitting to being an atheist around Christians has had similar results as being mauled by sheep...It just doesn't seem to be much of a threat.


So, here's the problems atheists seem to face (to me):



Although...I'm not Jewish, and I'm not Muslim, or Mormon or Catholic. I'm a cultural Protestant Christian atheist. This is purely from the perspective of the atheist with fairly relaxed Protestant/Catholic, Christian neighbors, peers, coworkers, etc.
  • politicians not of religion X are thought to be the Devil
  • people gain votes for irrelevant, and possibly negative traits, such as claiming to hear voices
  • voters vote for things which don't make sense because they think it will please Spinach-Eating Huitzilopochlti or whoever (This particular Aztec God now eats spinach for power, rather than relying on human sacrafices, much like Popeye).
  • Also, of course, there's one friend I had who's parents attempted to convert her back into the fold upon discovering her atheism to the extent that she had go get a restraining order.
Could a sign which says "You know it's a myth, and you have a choice," assist in the solving of the above four problems?

Last edited by Clintone; 03-07-2012 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:37 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
9,931 posts, read 8,342,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
I find it strange when atheists band together in a similar group to typical religions. It defeats the purpose in my mind, and almost proves that we as humans need group acceptance to live a normal life, which is likely one of the reasons religions are so prominent throughout human history in the first place.
I strongly disagree with this, because there's a huge social stigma against atheists in our society. Atheists are widely considered to be immoral, hedonistic, a threat to the nation, Satanic or simply lacking a "soul," whatever that means. We are very much an outcaste to much of society.

But even more than that, I think that the supernatural beliefs in religions are not only false but they make religion collectively perhaps the biggest scam in all of history. Billions of people the world over believe in these nonsensical things generation after generation only because tradition and authority demands people to believe these things are true and it's wrong to believe otherwise, and nothing else. It's a psychological gulag.

This needs to be exposed so that more people actually question their beliefs. And I'm not backing down one iota.

Last edited by BigCityDreamer; 03-08-2012 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
114 posts, read 50,663 times
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Because I have a lot of quotes all at once, I'm putting them under spoiler tags. Please open the spoiler box to get the context for what I'm posting

Spoiler
Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
I've always looked at my atheism as a personal choice and mostly keep it to myself. I've never understood the atheists who take their disbelief to religious levels. Isn't that sort of going against the whole point of it? A group of atheists is just as bad as a church. I don't see the point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd9124 View Post
Exactly isn't it counter productive and doing some of the same exact things you criticize religious ppl for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Honestly, I don't see the difference between that billboard and this one:



Both sides need to grow the hell up. Doing exactly what the religious right does only makes Atheism look stupid too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyQueens View Post
Yea, as much as I agree with the billboard, I do find it unnecessary.

Most, if not all, of the atheists I know came to the belief (or lack thereof) on their own. If I saw a billboard that said the lord is my saviour, I wouldn't give a rat's rear. Why would people with opposite beliefs think otherwise when seeing this billboard? Basically, what's the point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
Both are intended purely to stir turds and not create intelligent dialogue and/or further a higher perspective on the subject.

The billboard in question is pretty much saying:

Attention Jews: Your religion is a lie and you know it, so just abandon your centuries old cultural identity already! We're right and you aren't so when are you gonna get civilized like like us? That is as patently ridiculous to say out of the blue as: "Why do atheists hate America?"

Too many atheists (on this forum especially) fail to realize that something doesn't have to be strictly true to be applicable in people's lives... and on the flip side, one can go through life quite well without understanding the hard science behind how our universe functions. That puts atheists at a double disadvantage when it comes to "spreading the word", so the LAST thing they should do is is put up brainless hate-spewing billboards that put religious people everywhere straight into defense-mode.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
being an atheist...or agnostic...I'm fairly confident the man realizes this is only a reflection of a few atheists.



Those signs are from someone who would be called a...well, this would get deleted by the moderators, but a close translation is "loons who bury their heads underground, ostrich-like, and get the angries when others don't follow their examples."

I think there needs to be a stopping point though...preferably well, well, ahead of the signs by the ostrich-people. A good stopping point would be signs similar to that one that says "Don't believe in God? You're not alone." Not a lot more is needed as far as bilboards is concerned.

The poster that says "You know it's a myth and you have a choice," probably serves the same purpose as the one which says "Don't believe in God? You're not alone." The first one, however, subtly implies that atheists have a duty to reveal themselves. I don't think it's anyone's business whether they reveal themselves or not. If they know its a myth, in all likelyhood, they don't need to be reminded. They have no duty to reveal themselves unless society gives them a fair trade for it, consisting of locally observable benefits of some kind. The second "You're not alone," sign provides such benefits. The first does not.

It would be wrong to ask atheists to be better than other groups behave towards them...again, it wouldn't necessarily be a fair trade...but as far as propaganda which will seem to represent all atheists to many people is concerned, I think it would be best for it to be vastly superior.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
If it's supposed to be private and personal, why put it out there on a billboard? Especially one that is patently obnoxious. As I said earlier, my atheism isn't an "ism" at all, because that implies a group thought process. I personally decided that I do not believe there is a god or any other higher power. I find it strange when atheists band together in a similar group to typical religions. It defeats the purpose in my mind, and almost proves that we as humans need group acceptance to live a normal life, which is likely one of the reasons religions are so prominent throughout human history in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
My point is exactly that: atheism shouldn't be a rebellion against religion. Posting obnoxious billboards and the act of pooling money together for that goal most definitely IS a rebellion against religion.

Becoming friends because of common interests is one thing, but forming a group which takes on properties of a typical religious organization just seems ironic to me in context to atheism. I personally would never 'attend' an atheist gathering. If I was looking for that sort of validation, I'd go to church.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
But what protections do we need? The right to not do something? Not being facetious, but I seriously can't think of a single 'protection' I need as an athiest unless there's a group willing to protect me from my grandmother.

As a response to these, I'd like to provide some information and some tidbits I think you all might find interesting:

First, one particular tidbit:
Denzel Washington Associates Atheists with Sociopaths?:
One
Two
Three
Four

And the information:
-Wikipedia: Discrimination Against Atheists in the United States
-University of Minnesota Sociology Study: Atheists as the "Other" (PDF)
Quote:
Table 1. Public and Private Acceptance, Ranked Groups (%)
This Group Does Not At All Agree with My Vision of American Society
—Atheist 39.6
—Muslim 26.3
—Homosexual 22.6
—Conservative Christian 13.5
—Recent Immigrant 12.5
—Hispanic 7.6
—Jew 7.4
—Asian American 7.0
—African American 4.6
—White American 2.2
I Would Disapprove if My Child Wanted to Marry a Member of This Group
—Atheist 47.6
—Muslim 33.5
—African American 27.2
—Asian American 18.5
—Hispanic 18.5
—Jew 11.8
—Conservative Christian 6.9
—White 2.3
Source: American Mosaic Project Survey, 2003.
-Atheists, rapists top list of people religious believers distrust the most, UBC study finds (http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Atheists+rapists+list+people+religious+believers+d istrust+most+study+finds/5794699/story.html - broken link)
-Mother Jones: Faith in the System
-About.com: Gallup Polls & Other Surveys on American Attitudes Towards Atheists
-Gallup: Some Americans Reluctant to Vote for Mormon, 72-Year-Old Presidential Candidates
(thumbnail)
Notice that last one... 53% of US-Americans would not vote for an atheist who was running for president.

I hope all of this provides a little perspective...

--------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Interestingly, many jews are often Jewish by culture and atheist by default. (Not true of the Orthodox, but certainly of Reform Jews).

THE ATHEIST JEW

Atheist Jews: Judaism Without God
That would include me... sort of... I don't keep Kosher or fast, but I still consider myself a cultural Jew...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
True, but you don't have to attempt to convert people to the same belief. That's what religious people are supposed to do.
No, but I think we can go out of our way to reach out to those "closet atheists" who are afraid to come out because of their familial/social surroundings, and we can go out of our way to ensure we have an equal voice in the public debate (which we don't right now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again... the antidote to religion is knowledge and education. Atheists would go a lot further if they passed out science textbooks instead of doing garbage like this.
Now this I agree with wholeheartedly. As much as I want to see atheism become more accepted, I think it's more important that we stamp out science-denialism crap like Young-Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design, Anti-Anthropocentric Climate Change, Anti-Vaccines, and so on and make science in general cool and exciting as opposed to "nerdy" or "anti-God". I would like nothing more than to wake up one morning to find that the US rallies around science and scientific discoveries as strongly and proudly as it does around Football and Nascar and Baseball.

I'm a musician and studying to be a Cultural Anthropologist (I can't do math to save my life, unfortunately), but nothing would make me happier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
It's not. It's a comment on the mindset of the foaming-at-the-mouth atheists who actually feel the need to spend several thousand dollars to put up such a billboard in the first place.

They decide that since religion isn't literally true, it is all worthless. They "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and forget there is a lot of worthwhile moral tales, timeless wisdom, historical clues and especially valuable human culture in general mixed in with stories of jealous angry gods, worldwide floods and magic carpenters.

Atheists don't need to fight to bring religion down, they need to work on moving society's perspective upward... and that is best done by example, not preaching.
Honestly, specifically with regards to the Bible, I'm all for "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". I've read the Bible numerous times: different Christian versions, the Torah in Biblical Hebrew and the New Testament in Ancient Greek... In fact, I read from the Torah (in Hebrew) just about every Saturday night at the synagogue my dad is a Hazzan in (out of respect for him and the synagogue... and yeah, he, as well as the other clergy, are fully aware that I'm an atheist... they've yet to show signs that they care, which I find to be quite a relief).

I hate the Bible. I hate it with a passion. To see it relegated to museums as a cultural/anthropological curiosity of the past, and nothing more, would be, in my estimation, a wonderful thing. It would, IMO, liberate the world from many (NOT ALL, but many) of it's current social problems.

I really don't think the Bible can teach humanity any positive morality that we weren't already well aware of thousands of years previously. And the stories it uses to claim moral teachings!

One thing that always angered me was how Christians and Jews alike have turned the story of Noah's Ark into a children's story. Teaching what, might I ask? Be good and obey your masters or we'll drown you?!? Yes, what a lovely bit of moral teaching.

And before it's said, the only real difference between the Old and New Testament is that the NT is a hell of a lot more subtle about the angry god and his ridiculous "rules" (the NT claims that Jesus said that he was there to break up families, after all)... at least while Jesus is alive. But once he dies, it's blatant OT wrath and anger all over again... almost as if that part with Jesus never actually happened.

The Bible is not a nice book. It is a giant compendium of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, fundamentalism, and just good, all-around blatant bigotry. So I say, with the Bible, let's go ahead and throw the baby out with the bathwater. In fact, let's throw the baby out first, then throw the bathwater out after it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baystater View Post
I think the above sign is the type I find more important to put up. The reason is that I personally think that is much more important at this point to support those of use that are either atheist or agnostics who are afraid and/or feel alone in "coming out."
I have to agree with you here. The most important thing is that we let those cowering in the corner of the atheist closet know that it's okay... they aren't alone, and there are people and resources available to help them in whatever they need.

Quote:
Lastly while I know this billboard is going to be controversial in general and I know the Northeast is far more religious than the rest of the country thinks. I don't think it going to be an absolute lighting rod like it would be in other parts of the country. But that's just my 2 cents.
Oh, there are tons of churches and such in the Northeastern US, but the overall level of religiosity is not that high... at least, not compared to the South, which is known as the "Bible Belt" for a reason...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
If it's supposed to be private and personal, why put it out there on a billboard? Especially one that is patently obnoxious.
American Atheists have always been patently obnoxious. When they went after the "Seven in Heaven Way" and the "World Trade Center Cross", I was one of the most vocal critics against these actions you could find. I'm all for fighting against government-sponsored religious intrusion into the social sphere, but we have to pick our battles wisely, as well, and neither of these were battles worth fighting. I also felt that AA's suggestion of a replacement symbol (the atom) was incredibly stupid...

Though I have to admit, when David Silverman made the comment he did in referring to the World Trade Center Cross ("The WTC Cross has become a Christian icon. It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn't be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3000 people from dying in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross."), I could not have agreed more. I first heard about it on The Daily Show, and Jon Stewart's reaction to it kind of... angered me. Why is it "insulting" to point out that God seems more interested in putting up crosses than he is in actually saving people's lives? And how is it that no one but atheists actually recognize that?

When the Chilean miners who got trapped in that mine shaft were rescued, many of them thanked God for their rescue. Why didn't one of them question God as to why he let them get trapped down their in the first place?

I always found it strange... and a bit intellectually insulting... that God can never lose. God can never do anything wrong. Joe is saved from a fire. "THANK YOU, GOD!" Joe's best friend, parents, wife, two children, and cat die in that same fire. "It's all part of God's plan" or "God works in mysterious ways". Is Joe ever going to turn around and say "why the hell did God let them die? Why didn't he save them? Why didn't he take me, too?"

No. He's not. Because, for believers, God can't lose. And this is a huge part of the problem.

Quote:
As I said earlier, my atheism isn't an "ism" at all, because that implies a group thought process. I personally decided that I do not believe there is a god or any other higher power. I find it strange when atheists band together in a similar group to typical religions. It defeats the purpose in my mind, and almost proves that we as humans need group acceptance to live a normal life, which is likely one of the reasons religions are so prominent throughout human history in the first place.
I believe I linked to and quoted some information above that showed why we need to band together.

As per your remark about group acceptance, of course you're right. It stems from our evolution as a social species. We survive better in groups. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, isolation is not survivable on evolutionary terms for our species. We have to group together. This is probably the biggest reason why religion still dominates.

And what's more, it means that, even if we come to a point in the future where faith has all but disappeared and atheism is the norm, people will most likely group under different atheistic philosophies, such as Naturalism, Secular Humanism, Existentialism, Objectivism, Logical Positivism, Skepticism, Rationalism, Freethinkers, etc, as well as other secular philosophies that are neither theistic nor atheistic (these is usually political/social in nature), such as Democratism, Feminism, Socialism, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Communism, Cynicism, Nihilism, etc...

What will likely keep them from fighting each other, unlike religions, is the overlap... it's incredibly easy to adopt a large grouping of "atheist and secular philosophies" because of how similar they all are (for example: I consider myself a freethinker, a Secular Humanist, a Skeptic, a Rationalist, a Naturalist, a Feminist, a Liberal Libertarian [of the Steiner-Vallentyne variety], and somewhat of a Cynic), and, more importantly, because none have tenets demanding that they're right and everyone else is wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
My point is exactly that: atheism shouldn't be a rebellion against religion. Posting obnoxious billboards and the act of pooling money together for that goal most definitely IS a rebellion against religion.
But when religion is so engrained that Denzel Washington can associate us with sociopaths and no one bats an eyelid is why we need a rebellion against religion, IMO... or at the very least, a rebellion against the status quo that says atheists are untrustworthy.

Quote:
Becoming friends because of common interests is one thing, but forming a group which takes on properties of a typical religious organization just seems ironic to me in context to atheism. I personally would never 'attend' an atheist gathering. If I was looking for that sort of validation, I'd go to church.
So I take it you won't be attending the Reason Rally?

Last edited by NateHevens; 03-08-2012 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:51 PM
 
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I'm still against the sign...because it's inaccurate. Not everybody thinks its a myth. Therefore, any difference between "Why do atheists hate America," and "You know its a myth, and you have a choice," is subjective. I do not merely think it's a poor use of funds. I am against the sign.

Last edited by Clintone; 03-08-2012 at 04:29 PM..
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
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I don't have a problem with this type of thing because it's a drop in the bucket compared to all the religious stuff we are bombared with on a daily basis in this country...
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NooYowkur81 View Post
I don't have a problem with this type of thing because it's a drop in the bucket compared to all the religious stuff we are bombared with on a daily basis in this country...
It makes us look like we're not going to metaphorically stand in the back of the bus anymore...which is good...but it also makes us look dumb...which is bad, particularly for a group whos members usually state that their beliefs are found through reason.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Staten Island, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I strongly disagree with this, because there's a huge social stigma against atheists in our society. Atheists are widely considered to be immoral, hedonistic, a threat to the nation, Satanic or simply lacking a "soul," whatever that means. We are very much an outcaste to much of society.
You are an outcast to churches. Unless you have some interest in attending church, I still don't see how this affects "us". Can anyone find a single law - local or otherwise - which negatively impacts someone due to their disbelief?

I hate using anecdotes, but my wife and I both come from strongly religious families. Even being surrounded by people who pray everyday and believe that her and I are going to hell, I still never encounter anything more than a random snide comment every so often.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Staten Island, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHevens View Post
But when religion is so engrained that Denzel Washington can associate us with sociopaths and no one bats an eyelid is why we need a rebellion against religion, IMO... or at the very least, a rebellion against the status quo that says atheists are untrustworthy.

So I take it you won't be attending the Reason Rally?
I'm not blowing off your entire post, because I did find some of it interesting and thought provoking, but I just don't have the time right now to respond to it all.

But, seriously, who cares what Denzel Washington says? He's an actor. I don't listen to actors when they tell me who to vote for, so I certainly am not going to listen to them when they belittle me for not believing in god. If I ever meet Denzel Washington and he calls me a sociopath, I'll tell him he's a ***** for not serving his country in war like I did, sound like a good trade off?
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Bronx
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I hope they put one up in Mott Haven section of the Bronx about questioning Catholicism and Priest buggery! As for that billboard in Brooklyn, I dont blame them, Im sure many Jews have questioned thier faiths for the past three thouosand years. In Brooklyn faith plays an important for many communities, if you go to African American parts of Brooklyn you find Southern Baptist churches taht are staple of the community, go to Jewish parts and synogogue plays an intergral part for residents. Go to south Brooklyn and you run into Catholic areas where Church plays its part among residents like Italians, Baltics, IRish, Hispanics etc. Go to Afro Anglo Caribbean part of Brooklyn and you find evanglical, penacostal aswell as Anglican churches are part of the communites fabric. Only in gentrified Brooklyn you wont see faith that play a major role in peoples lives only money does. A good thing that the faithful of New York are very tolarent. I cant say the same for the religious south dominated by Anglo White and African Americans who both would love to lynch an Athiest upon seeing one. Also shame on Steve Harvey for saying women should only date a guy who believes in god, watch taht god beliving guy leave you single again with 2 kids and one on the way.

Last edited by Bronxguyanese; 03-08-2012 at 06:57 PM..
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