A Christian friend made me feel like we've come a long way

Sapient's picture

I played golf today with my favorite Christian golfing partner.  I said something like "and if you think I'm a non-conformist with my atheism..."  and he cut me off and said "I don't think you're non-conforming, I see you like most other people.  Almost everyone is atheist now." The numbers don't necessarily back his claim, but his perception is that most people are atheist.  This certainly wouldn't have been the case in our discussions 10 years ago.  

We came to a point of agreement that the majority of Americans don't practice religion actively.  Maybe we're products of the sights and relationships we have in our liberal Philadelphia area.  I suppose our perception might be different if we lived in the bible belt.  Thankfully, we don't.  

It feels damn good to know I played a role in getting us this far.  Hopefully you have done enough to feel the same way.  

 

- Brian Sapient


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digitalbeachbum's picture

I find that the number of

I find that the number of republicans who are religious are dwindling. There was an article (forget where I saw it) but they were talking about how elected officals don't like to lose votes; so they don't announce it.

Yet, the old people are dying off a little more every day (the old school people like my parents) and they will eventually give way to a new generation of atheists who don't care what other people think.

You might not see it now but we are the people opening the doors for those generations to come.

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

-Scott Adams

Brian37's picture

I grew up in the DC suburbs.

I grew up in the DC suburbs. But even back when I was a kid you were kinda expected to have some sort of belief, even if generic or liberal. But Brian, I have lived in Lyncburg Va, and now in southern North Carolina, and yes, it is very different.

I am expected to keep my mouth shut. They know I am an atheist, but when I even politely question them I get "I respect your atheism"(bullshit), "So respect my right to believe what I want", which is a passive aggressive way to say "I want your submission" like a token, back of the bus type thing.

 

Even with such, it still is much different than it was in 01, especially on the internet and in worldwide news. There is tons more atheist websites and orgs, and tons of stories in the news you can find on the internet about atheists. The punter for the Raiders will be speaking at next year's American Atheist convention.

 

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

Atheistextremist's picture

This mutual respect thing

 

Brian37 wrote:

I am expected to keep my mouth shut. They know I am an atheist, but when I even politely question them I get "I respect your atheism"(bullshit), "So respect my right to believe what I want", which is a passive aggressive way to say "I want your submission" like a token, back of the bus type thing.

 

pretends that christian (and islamic) doctrines don't villify the infidel. In truth there's no comparison. One side actively denigrates the other as morally corrupt on the basis of no proof. The other side's attempts to point this out are viewed as trampling on the believers' freedom to be bigoted. 

I hope more people don't believe. But I have too many weirdly conservative, pathologically altruistic (oh the muslims are lovely!),  or thoughtlessly deistic friends to feel confident. Further, as we continue to destroy the planetary systems that support us I can't escape the feeling that religious whackjobs are the ones who will be best suited to exploit the ruination that lies in wait for the global application of 10 billion inherently self-serving human moralities. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

harleysportster's picture

Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

 

pretends that christian (and islamic) doctrines don't villify the infidel. In truth there's no comparison. One side actively denigrates the other as morally corrupt on the basis of no proof. The other side's attempts to point this out are viewed as trampling on the believers' freedom to be bigoted.

Totally agree with that observation.

Atheistextremist wrote:

I hope more people don't believe. But I have too many weirdly conservative, pathologically altruistic (oh the muslims are lovely!),  or thoughtlessly deistic friends to feel confident. Further, as we continue to destroy the planetary systems that support us I can't escape the feeling that religious whackjobs are the ones who will be best suited to exploit the ruination that lies in wait for the global application of 10 billion inherently self-serving human moralities. 

 

Totally agree with that one as well. I encounter a lot of people that have  the : "I am not religious but I believe in god" tagline or one that really pisses me off for NO apparent reason : "I am spiritual but not religious" which is a horseshit term spawned by AA groups and such. 

What this boils down to is people that are still holding out some sort of hope for a deity while simultaneously affording themselves the opportunity to reject all of the fascist principles of the three major religions. 

Now, that having been said, I don't really care that people feel that way (although you can not tell by my above comments) but it does irk me when people with that attitude act haughty towards Atheism. 

Do I think the god meme will ever go away ? Probably not.

The best that we can hope for is that the stranglehold of more fascist religious type dogmas will eventually lose their hold. 

Some of the deist/spiritualist types are more accepting towards atheists than others. 

Perhaps the reasoning for it is not having centuries of massacres/ holy wars and inquisitions to back up their claims. 

Someone (forget who) once said :All you have to do is convince some fanatic that he has god on his side and anything is possible. 

While that might be a variation of Russell's famous quote, I like the phrasing of it better. 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

harleysportster's picture

By the way I do have to add

 By the way, I do have to add that online communities like this one has gone a long way towards solving the problem. 

The fact that we are no longer cut off in our isolated communities and amongst the rest of the world and now have a voice, has helped alot. 

If I had been an Atheist in the days before places like this had existed. I would have probably had to have written an organization, got a newsletter  and simply checked out books at the library.

Discussion boards like these have helped things tremendously. 

I used to be somewhat hesitant to debate theists and really unable to do so without just simply resorting to : "fuck your religion" and "fuck your god" kind of responses. Which caused me to lose the debate and let them hide behind their smug arrogance and prove their assertions of "see we knew you were just angry at god" bunk.

NOW, because of sites like this, I really can hold my own with them and am not afraid to defend my right to rational thought and skepticism. I am willing to debate anyone on the matter of religion and such. 

Keep up the good work guys. 

I feel that my IQ has actually gone up a couple of points since I have been here.

 Not only do I have good solid debating points, but I have also had guiding teachers that have pointed me towards books and research that has enabled me to create some independent arguments of my own. 

ROCK ON ! 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Brian37's picture

What's wrong with "fuck you"

What's wrong with "fuck you" and "fuck your religion"? Mind you I don't use that as a blanket tactic in all debates. But people like Jean Calvin who argued that God allowed 13.000 Japanese to die in a tsunami as a threat to America to find God, what would you have me say to such vile crap?

 

That and things like homophobia and even gender roles in religion which deny girls educations and force them into marriages?

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

harleysportster's picture

Brian37 wrote:What's wrong

Brian37 wrote:

What's wrong with "fuck you" and "fuck your religion"? Mind you I don't use that as a blanket tactic in all debates. But people like Jean Calvin who argued that God allowed 13.000 Japanese to die in a tsunami as a threat to America to find God, what would you have me say to such vile crap?

 

That and things like homophobia and even gender roles in religion which deny girls educations and force them into marriages?

What I meant, is that before I really delved into some of the posts and readings on here, the retarded theist arguments (something from nothing, if man came from apes, etc.) was just something that I never really addressed and always felt a bit inadequate about it.

Now, when someone says : "So you believe something came from nothing." with this big smirk on their face, they get a big shock when I reply without thinking :

"I do not believe that I have ever asserted that something came from nothing. But you will have to be more specific as to whether you are referring to the Universe or abiogenesis. Now, for one to claim that because all of the questions have not been answered somehow proves that god exists is a logical fallacy. You are automatically leaping to an assertion that what is unproven somehow validates your claim." 

(I generally lose them after the first sentence).  Smiling 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Atheistextremist's picture

I agree Harley

 

harleysportster wrote:

By the way, I do have to add that online communities like this one has gone a long way towards solving the problem. 

The fact that we are no longer cut off in our isolated communities and amongst the rest of the world and now have a voice, has helped alot. 

If I had been an Atheist in the days before places like this had existed. I would have probably had to have written an organization, got a newsletter  and simply checked out books at the library.

Discussion boards like these have helped things tremendously. 

 

But the trouble is, online communities aren't limited to our sort of generally open thinking.

Groups of believers are out there, drowning each other in motivation bias. 

http://www.ummah.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?10-Ummah-Lounge

Sites like this one, for instance. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

Brian37's picture

Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

harleysportster wrote:

By the way, I do have to add that online communities like this one has gone a long way towards solving the problem. 

The fact that we are no longer cut off in our isolated communities and amongst the rest of the world and now have a voice, has helped alot. 

If I had been an Atheist in the days before places like this had existed. I would have probably had to have written an organization, got a newsletter  and simply checked out books at the library.

Discussion boards like these have helped things tremendously. 

 

But the trouble is, online communities aren't limited to our sort of generally open thinking.

Groups of believers are out there, drowning each other in motivation bias. 

http://www.ummah.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?10-Ummah-Lounge

Sites like this one, for instance. 

 

 

So? That is a growing minority. Younger generations do not have the bigoted baggage to the same level my generation and my parents generation has.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

iwbiek's picture

Brian37 wrote: So? That is

Brian37 wrote:

 

So? That is a growing minority. Younger generations do not have the bigoted baggage to the same level my generation and my parents generation has.

 

yup, folks in the late 18th/early 19th centuries probably said the same thing.  then came the great awakening.  fact of the matter is, every era's zeitgeist produces its own reaction.  the rationalism of the 18th century gave way to the romanticism of the 19th.  all it takes is some hard times and a couple young fanatics--or even simply the ennui that accompanies conformism--and the very ideology you hate will spring up overnight like mushrooms.

religion ain't goin' nowhere, except maybe into a recession.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen

Vastet's picture

The world wars and the cold

The world wars and the cold war were huge for theists.

But it'll take more than hard times to completely reverse the trend. The internet let the cat out of the bag. As long as a easy and free way of communicating ideas and knowledge remains, religion will have a very hard time growing. At this point, they are hamstrung. They can limp along indefinitely, and if the opportunity arises they can and will jump on it. But as long as they don't find a way to destroy the internet, they are stuck in a rut.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

iwbiek's picture

we'll see.  history has a

we'll see.  history has a surprising way of introducing x-factors no one even dreamed of.  i've just read too many writers throughout history confidently trumpeting the "death" of certain ideologies that are still alive and well.

also, i don't know brian's friend, so i can't speak for him, but i know when i was a christian, i would have definitely said something like, "oh, you're not a nonconformist at all," but i would have meant it as a snide, backhanded insult.  because back then i thoyght that's why most people became atheists: to be "different."

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen

Kapkao's picture

Quote:I suppose our

Quote:
I suppose our perception might be different if we lived in the bible belt.  Thankfully, we don't.

Hey, I resemble that remark!

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)