Just read Rook's book blog on Amazon, about the direction of the atheist movement.

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Just read Rook's book blog on Amazon, about the direction of the atheist movement.

I love Rook and I hope there is no bad blood between the "camps" as media has been pointing out lately.

However, Rook is wrong in that atheists should be polite all the time. I think what politically correct people in general miss, be they believers or atheists is TIME PLACE AND CONTEXT.

As humans, we do not expect to walk out of our houses and be punched in the face, or at least we don't want that to happen. I GET THAT, but that doesn't mean that people who take opposite positions are incapable of verbally duking it out without taking it personally.

Rook has the same concern we do about absurd claims being made. But just like there is more than one way to slice bread, people have different comfort levels on how they discuss things. I myself don't mind the blasphemy even when my believing friends aim it at me. I want to know where they stand, without censorship, so that I can make a solid argument in opposition. I refuse to demand that they don't hurt my feelings or name call. WHY? because what one person calls being "offended" another person merely may see as an observation.

The slippery slope of taboos is that we could, BOTH SIDES, end up being silenced.

If atheists demand that believers not equate us to Hitler, then they could use the same "dont offend me" tactic to silence us from merely saing "Jesus did not preform magic tricks".

Rook's library tactic IS VALID and should not be abandon, but to say that believers cant handle blasphemy is a blanket statement and does not give them credit . Just because one person cant handle the boxing ring doesn't mean that all people should avoid it or that all people cant handle it.

I am more afraid of taboos than I am of blasphemy. I have had plenty of believers, whom I love, whom CAN and do separate the issue of them, the person, and the separate issue of what they claim.

Just like neither Christians or atheists should collectively bow to the Taliban because of their insecurities, BOTH atheists and Christians in the west DO NOT HAVE TO FEAR blasphemy either. WHAT WE CAN agree on, and I hope Rook understands this, is that WE are all individuals, BOTH SIDES, and we all have different views and we should not be subject to "one size fits all".

Certainly there would be situations where the library setting should be used. But if, for example, a believer comes here and wants to debate us, and doesn't take "you are full of shit" personally, why should they, or we, not do what we mutually enter into?

EXAMPLE, I watched the video of Hitchens on Fox after Jerry Falwell's death. Hannity invited him on. What the fuck did Hannity expect? He knew Hitchens position long before he invited him on. Hannity wanted Hitchens to lie to him which is irrational.

HOWEVER, in another video, ironically on FOX, Hitchens And  well known believer verbally brawled without taking it personally and neither expected the other to lie about their position or sugar coat it.

THE FIRST was unreasonable. The second was reasonable because both agreed to it.

I do hope Rook understands this. I hope his book does well, and WE DO need him to be the "good cop". But being polite in every situation does not always work and the verbal smack down is not an absolute either. TIME PLACE AND CONTEXT have everything to do with it.

Taboos are what Stalin and the Dark Ages promote.

I read a letter from Jefferson to John Adams. In that letter Jefferson was responding to the complaining about the "mudslinging" Adams was complaining about. Jefferson, in much more eloquent words, bitch slapped him for demanding that people should "respect" their elected officials. He simply said, well if WE "respected" the king we would not have escaped his tyranny. He basically said, "That is the price of living in a free society, you are not always going to hear things you like".

Seriously Rook, we've had a president being Bush Sr, say atheists shouldn't be allowed to be citizens? Why should we be polite about such an ignorant statement? Should blacks have always been polite in protesting separate bathrooms or sitting at the back of the bus?

I AGREE ROOK that both believers and atheists have one planet to share.  But I think far too many people, including you, have forgotten the difference between a person, and what the person claims.

NOT EVEN THE ISSUE OF RELIGION, my mother growing up sometimes said to me, "Knock it off, you are being stupid", Did that mean she hated me? She certainly didn't use that tactic all the time, but there were times where that was the only thing that grabbed my attention.

Rook, if the library is where you are most comfortable, go for it, we need you there. But I, like even many believers, LIKE jumping into the verbal ring and DO NOT take it personally.

It is not all or nothing Rook. I don't think you give enough believers credit for knowing the difference between, "You are full of shit(REGARDING THIS CLAIM) and "I hate you". The only difference between us Rook, is our choice of words, but our message is the same. God belief is irrational, but NEITHER OF US, neither you or I hate believers, we merely hate what they claim.

WE are on the same side. But I think you underestimate the ability of humans to blaspheme each other without killing each other. OUR western society has grown to do that more and more and we are better of with that protection of dissent than without it. Wouldn't it be nice if the worst humans had to fear was being offended?

 

 

 

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Brian overall, it was nice

Brian overall, it was nice to read your piece, just wanted to hit some points...

 

Brian37 wrote:

I love Rook and I hope there is no bad blood between the "camps" as media has been pointing out lately.

For your information Brian, anyone who says this is extremely far from the mark, where did you see it?  Rook and I are talking on the phone (often) about the same sorts of friend stuff we talked about before we considered the idea of an RRS.  Girls, work, life, stress, etc... in fact he called me last night to confide in me about personal shit.  

 

Quote:
However, Rook is wrong in that atheists should be polite all the time.

Duh. I don't even bother with him, something else happened to him... I think it's the desire to be sought after in academia, I really don't know.  Or maybe he just wanted an in to sell more books, some controversy about his lack of controversy maybe?  Maybe he got tired of the pussy footed atheists whining about his fervent manner, and gave in?  If there are real reasons that differ from what is obvious I'm not sure I'll ever know, because I don't care to challenge him on them.  To me he's a friend now, not a partner in atheist activism, that's what's important to him and I, and that's why it sounds ridiculous to say there is bad blood between us.

He did however agree (last night) that one day there would be a reunion show with Yellow5, Rook, and myself... and that it could be 5 years away but that it's definitely gonna happen.

 

Quote:
I do hope Rook understands this. I hope his book does well, and WE DO need him to be the "good cop".

No we don't.  In the "needs" department I'd posit that humanity "needs" him to be the bad cop he always was again.

 

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well here are my thoughts on

well here are my thoughts on the matter, i don't disagree with you but i don't fully agree either.

Brian37 wrote:

 

As humans, we do not expect to walk out of our houses and be punched in the face, or at least we don't want that to happen. I GET THAT, but that doesn't mean that people who take opposite positions are incapable of verbally duking it out without taking it personally.

 

Now that is wishful thinking. If it is in a civilised tone then yes it can happen but the moment insults are thrown (as "duking" suggests) towards things people care about people will take it personally.

 

let me use an example from your sig (bad example but i have no clue what you care about)

 

"Please also considering donating to Low Country Lab Rescue (dog rescue) at this link"

 

If I didn't want to do this and wanted you to not donate either i could take 2 approaches

 

1)

With all the human suffering in the world I feel my money and yours would be of more use donating to orphanages to give kids a good education and to help break the poverty cycle they are traped in. As Animals do not have the same "awareness" humans have the human would benefit more than the dog would. etc etc etc blah blah blah

 

that is nice and polite and i don't think you would hace a serious objection to me donating to an orphanage over  the Low Country Lab Rescue. That is certianly not "duking" it out.

2)

Dogs are whiny smelling creatures that shit in your garden, humans are more important, fuck them dogs. My money is better spent supporting orphanages.

 

That is blasphmy in "dog terms". while both say the same thing which as a "dog lover" (assuming you are) which would you be more reseptive to? Insulting things people care about is a surefire way to get them not to listen. I mean if you are calling god a twat and the person cares about the whole god thing yeah its going to work out well....

 

now im not saying don't discuss sensitive topics but there is no reason to be rude while doing it. Sometimes it cannot be avoided i accept that but there is no need to be more insulting than is nessicary which blasphemy can be. Im not saying never say an unpolite word but the polite words are to be prefered.

 

here is an example

 

Brian37 wrote:

Seriously Rook, we've had a president being Bush Sr, say atheists shouldn't be allowed to be citizens? Why should we be polite about such an ignorant statement? Should blacks have always been polite in protesting separate bathrooms or sitting at the back of the bus?

you should be polite because someone has to break the cycle. There is a huge differance between the to things. But to certian extent yes black people should of been polite when it was required expessially while in dicussions with the people who could give them what they wanted.  In several cases to my knowledge they were. "I have a dream" or "fuck them oppresive mutherfuckers" both perfectly valid i guess i'l let you judge which is better.

 

Most people just want to get on with there lifes in the way they see fit, to whos benefit is it to disrupt that? Why would you want that? People are capable of making their own desicions. why would you want to live in a perfectly rational world anyway? 

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I for one, 100% agree with

I for one, 100% agree with Rook. He doesn't want atheists simply pissing on crosses or burning down churches, because what will happen? The media will portray atheists as angry teens who piss on crosses and burn down churches.

 

How could we complian about the media saying atheists piss on crosses or burn down churches when atheists are actually pissing on crosses and burning down churches?

 

Now I know Brian37 will be the first to speak out and condemn the atheists that do that, however he shouldn't have to condemn it, because it shouldn't happen in the first place.

 

I also agree that we shouldn't hold back on saying something because it may offend somebody, but we shouldn't say something just because we think it will offend somebody there should be a message in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Great post, Brian37! I agree

Great post, Brian37! I agree completely. Rook's rejection of Blasphemy Day seemed a little knee-jerk to me. I and others pointed out that it's more about unapologetically standing up for freedom of speech than it is about offending people for no other reason than that we can.

PZ Myers got a lot of flak for desecrating a communion wafer, but in my opinion, his critics do not sufficiently take into account his reasons for doing so (he was protesting the mistreatment, harassment, and death threats towards a student who had taken a communion wafer back to the pews to show his non-Catholic friend).

There has been a recent up-surge of criticism against 'new atheists', who I think are more appropriately labeled unapologetic atheists.

One clear voice in support of unapologetic atheism is Ophelia Benson, who co-authored a book titled Does God Hate Women?. She recently discussed one of the critics of unapologetic atheism here: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/notesarchive.php?id=2969

Read the comments to that post. Also, you might want to read the original blog post that she's responding to: http://kazez.blogspot.com/2009/10/other-peoples-icons.html

I think that the debate they had there was really getting to the core issues of the question of how snarky is too snarky, and what's really wrong with snark in the first place?

I responded with a comment further promoting the idea of 'unapologetic atheism'. I think it is a good summary of the debate, and the unapologetic position on it. Here's my reply:

Quote:
Matt Penfold wrote: "I think this is all that might be said to be new about the "new" atheists. We refuse to accept that religious beliefs should not be criticised in the way we would criticise political beliefs. It is understandable that religious people might be upset by that, but it is not good reason to carry on treating religion with kid gloves."

Benjamin Nelson wrote: "I suggested something like "making norms explicit". This can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, once we make the norms explicit, there's a moratorium on hostility, at least while we think it through. On the other hand, it doesn't apply to this case. The new atheists have said: "we've thought it through -- we've tried the way of NOMA, and it has led to all these disgusting and avoidable consequences, and we find it unacceptable"."

Ophelia Benson wrote: "The thing about 'new' atheism and the idea that religion should not get extra deference - yes, and that's my view and I've been saying so with tedious regularity for years. ... We think all this extra sensitivity is itself a problem, in all kinds of ways - not least the infantilization effect. We think believers would mostly benefit from toughening up."

Eric McDonald wrote: "But the claim that we have a prima facie duty not to do this is, that is, not to offend the religious sanctities of other people, is, I suggest, a power play on the part of the religious people concerned, a demand for respect foe ideas or symbols for which other people have a right to express not only criticism but even condemnation. "

Cam wrote: "Consider the kiss-in. Shocking behavior, especially at the time, right? Polite people would do no such thing. But of course the point is to demonstrate the opinion that kissing someone of the same sex is fine. The kiss-in says, "Your sensitivity is not okay and we will not accommodate it. Here we are, not accommodating it. So you'd better re-evaluate, because your discomfort is not our problem.""

I would like to suggest that all of these comments point to an underlying position, the position of the so-called 'new atheists', which I think is more accurately summed up by one word: Unapologetic.

The idea is simple. We have done nothing wrong, and so we have nothing to apologize for. (Please see my post promoting the usage of the word 'unapologetic' at http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/18586 )

Jean Kazez is saying that we've done something wrong. We have supposedly violated an unwritten rule, a 'prima facie duty', to avoid hurting others' sensibilities. At least, she directly states that she fears/believes that PZ has transgressed this duty without adequate consideration. However, she states that it is merely a prima facie duty, and so could easily be overcome by having a better reason to break the rule. The implication is that we do not, in fact, have these better reasons. Why else bring up this idea of prima facie duties in the first place, if she doesn't think we have not considered them enough to have good reasons to overcome them?

The unapologetic position is this: Yes, we've considered the prima facie duties, and we believe that, all things considered, we are taking the right action. All things considered, it is right to criticize religion, including religious sensitivities themselves, even if we risk hurting people's feelings on this issue. All things considered, we have not done anything wrong, and so we have nothing to apologize for.

I believe this is the core of the unapologetic vs. accommodationist issue. The accommodationists fall on the other side: They think that, all things considered, we are wrong to criticize religion, precisely because we might hurt people's feelings. They see it as counter-productive. If you hurt people's feelings, all sorts of bad things could happen: Those people might not side with you on evolution, they might entrench themselves in a more-fundamentalist position, making it even harder to convince them of anything.

The accommodationists' critiques of the unapologetics are along the lines of: Don't you see all the possible negative consequences of hurting people's feelings? Geez! It's like you don't even consider people's feelings at all. (Hence Jean Kazez' proto-argument that she thinks PZ has not considered the prima facie duties.)

But we *have* considered people's feelings. And we *do* feel that we have sufficient justification to be unapologetic atheists.

We were silent before, and look where that got us. The situation did not improve, and things in many ways got worse. Other prima facie duties gained more relevance and urgency than the duty to avoid hurting feelings.

Been there, done that, as they say. Instead of remaining apologetic about people's overblown religious sensitivities, we now see that it is those sensitivities themselves, and the resulting environment of lack of criticism that they foster, that are a big part of the problem. It is excessive respect for those sensitivities that accounts for the persistence of dangerous religious ideas, which should long ago have been laughed into marginalization.

And so, we have given up on apologies. We have chosen to become unapologetic in our criticism of religion. And we maintain that we have done nothing wrong, and are not doing anything wrong, in being openly critical of religion.

Furthermore, we have the defence of "innocent until proven guilty". If the religionists and the accommodationists insist that we are doing something wrong in our open criticism, then it is up to them to prove it.

There is a reason why prima facie duties are not, and should not become, enforced by law. It is their very triviality, the fact that there are so many good reasons to break them, and that there are so many competing and contradictory duties, that it is not enough to claim someone has broken one duty to show that they are acting in the wrong. Everybody breaks prima facie duties all the time, every day, in simple daily life. There are too many exceptions to these rules to hold them up as a damning indictment of someone's considered actions.

What about all the other prima facie duties? The duty to be honest, to speak truth to power, to confront dangerous ideas, to help people break out of mental prisons, to stand up for freedom of speech?

The one thing I think all of us unapologetic atheists can agree on is that there is currently a taboo, or double-standard, against criticism of religion. And I think we can all get behind a defence of our unapologetic atheism by arguing that there is an overriding prima facie duty to challenge unreasonable and dangerous taboos. That competing duty is enough to throw Jean Kazez' argument out the window; for her argument rests on the idea that there are no other competing duties against the one about hurting peoples' feelings. Her argument is simply that, all other things being equal, it's better not to hurt people's feelings. But all other things are not equal. People's feelings are not the only consideration here. There are many other competing considerations. And in the grand scheme of things, people's feelings are frankly small potatoes compared to the motivations we have for being unapologetic in our criticisms of religion.

Consider that PZ Myers was very reluctant to even go through with the cracker desecration. At first, he just wrote a blog post about the incident and that was that. But then things escalated, and he felt compelled to go a step further.

Consider further that PZ took the time and consideration to include pages from the Quran and pages from the God Delusion. This was not an act of 'glee' in offending people. He tried to make it clear that there was a message attached to his action, and the message was: This taboo of religious sensitivity needs to be challenged and put into context; hurt feelings are no defence for death threats and harassment.

Consider also that over-sensitive people can literally be offended by *anything*. For some religious people, the mere existence of atheists is offensive. Should we all kill ourselves out of deference to their sensitivity? Clearly not.

There is no case to be made for a human right to *not* be offended. Even Kazez did not attempt to make such a case.

And so I repeat: We have done nothing wrong, and we have nothing to apologize for.

I would finally like to suggest that we should collectively promote the term 'unapologetic atheist' to replace 'new atheist'. The latter has become a dumping ground for uninformed recycling of old anti-atheist stereotypes. Please read my post arguing in favour of the word 'unapologetic' here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/18586
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I think "wanting to live in

I think "wanting to live in a perfectly rational world" is not remotely what Brian had in mind, just objecting strongly to the default respect 'required' by society in general to be given to some very irrational beliefs, such as infinite creator beings.

And showing explicitly by example the level of 'respect' we feel they deserve, while observing "TIME, PLACE and CONTEXT" as Brian said, such as not getting into a confrontation at a funeral. Something that doesn't bother fringe 'Christian' groups like Fred Phelps and his fanatically homophobic Westboro Baptist Church.

I have certainly experienced the effect on a friend of an expression from me of frustration and annoyance at some pet idea of his (not involving religion), which was certainly less than polite. I worried after that episode that I might have lost him as a friend, but next time I saw him he was just as friendly as usual, and seemed to have at least re-considered the idea I so strongly objected to.

Sometimes that honest expression of frustration, even employing some 'potty mouth' words, especially from someone they have found generally friendly and intelligent, will shake the believer up enough to re-examine their beliefs, where a polite expression of non-belief, which they may already know about you, can more easily be glossed over.

Hell, even the Bible has Jesus giving vent to frustration and over-reaction, such as with the money-changers in the Temple, or cursing the fig tree, which could be pointed out to believers who react strongly to such 'lack of self-control'.

EDIT: If any such abuse comes across as something consciously designed to offend, rather than an honest reaction to extreme frustration, I would agree that it is more likely to have the undesired effects that people worry about.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:I for

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I for one, 100% agree with Rook. He doesn't want atheists simply pissing on crosses or burning down churches, because what will happen? The media will portray atheists as angry teens who piss on crosses and burn down churches.

How could we complian about the media saying atheists piss on crosses or burn down churches when atheists are actually pissing on crosses and burning down churches?

Now I know Brian37 will be the first to speak out and condemn the atheists that do that, however he shouldn't have to condemn it, because it shouldn't happen in the first place.

I also agree that we shouldn't hold back on saying something because it may offend somebody, but we shouldn't say something just because we think it will offend somebody there should be a message in it.

I'm 100% behind every word you just said Pineapple, thought I should point that out as it doesn't happen every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:I think

BobSpence1 wrote:

I think "wanting to live in a perfectly rational world" is not remotely what Brian had in mind, just objecting strongly to the default respect 'required' by society in general to be given to the some very irrational beliefs, such as infinite creator beings.

oops call it an obscure tangent in my thinking. Not related to brains comment. happens from time to time when i forget what im writing about.

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Sapient wrote:Brian overall,

Sapient wrote:

Brian overall, it was nice to read your piece, just wanted to hit some points...

 

Brian37 wrote:

I love Rook and I hope there is no bad blood between the "camps" as media has been pointing out lately.

For your information Brian, anyone who says this is extremely far from the mark, where did you see it?  Rook and I are talking on the phone (often) about the same sorts of friend stuff we talked about before we considered the idea of an RRS.  Girls, work, life, stress, etc... in fact he called me last night to confide in me about personal shit.  

 

Quote:
However, Rook is wrong in that atheists should be polite all the time.

Duh. I don't even bother with him, something else happened to him... I think it's the desire to be sought after in academia, I really don't know.  Or maybe he just wanted an in to sell more books, some controversy about his lack of controversy maybe?  Maybe he got tired of the pussy footed atheists whining about his fervent manner, and gave in?  If there are real reasons that differ from what is obvious I'm not sure I'll ever know, because I don't care to challenge him on them.  To me he's a friend now, not a partner in atheist activism, that's what's important to him and I, and that's why it sounds ridiculous to say there is bad blood between us.

He did however agree (last night) that one day there would be a reunion show with Yellow5, Rook, and myself... and that it could be 5 years away but that it's definitely gonna happen.

 

Quote:
I do hope Rook understands this. I hope his book does well, and WE DO need him to be the "good cop".

No we don't.  In the "needs" department I'd posit that humanity "needs" him to be the bad cop he always was again.

 

I really am out of the loop in this. I am glad to know that there is no bad blood. But without knowing the details, I do know in many cases, in life, parting is messy and not always amicable. I guess because of the outside stories unrelated to RRS the stories of the "atheist divide" that have played out in the media in recent days, got to my subconscious.

I google "atheist" and then hit "news" on a daily basis. A couple of stories, of late, have been about some atheists disagreeing with tactics. I guess the absence of seeing you guys together in the homepage graphics got to me. This misunderstanding is on my part. Rook is a smart guy and I am glad that the parting has nothing to do with "bad blood".

 

 

 

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:I think

BobSpence1 wrote:

I think "wanting to live in a perfectly rational world" is not remotely what Brian had in mind, just objecting strongly to the default respect 'required' by society in general to be given to some very irrational beliefs, such as infinite creator beings.

And showing explicitly by example the level of 'respect' we feel they deserve, while observing "TIME, PLACE and CONTEXT" as Brian said, such as not getting into a confrontation at a funeral. Something that doesn't bother fringe 'Christian' groups like Fred Phelps and his fanatically homophobic Westboro Baptist Church.

I have certainly experienced the effect on a friend of an expression from me of frustration and annoyance at some pet idea of his (not involving religion), which was certainly less than polite. I worried after that episode that I might have lost him as a friend, but next time I saw him he was just as friendly as usual, and seemed to have at least re-considered the idea I so strongly objected to.

Sometimes that honest expression of frustration, even employing some 'potty mouth' words, especially from someone they have found generally friendly and intelligent, will shake the believer up enough to re-examine their beliefs, where a polite expression of non-belief, which they may already know about you, can more easily be glossed over.

Hell, even the Bible has Jesus giving vent to frustration and over-reaction, such as with the money-changers in the Temple, or cursing the fig tree, which could be pointed out to believers who react strongly to such 'lack of self-control'.

EDIT: If any such abuse comes across as something consciously designed to offend, rather than an honest reaction to extreme frustration, I would agree that it is more likely to have the undesired effects that people worry about.

DON'T YOU DARE SPEAK FOR ME! If I want to offend cat lovers by barbecuing cats I WILL!

(note to self: Did I think that, or type it?)

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:I for

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I for one, 100% agree with Rook. He doesn't want atheists simply pissing on crosses or burning down churches, because what will happen? The media will portray atheists as angry teens who piss on crosses and burn down churches.

 

How could we complian about the media saying atheists piss on crosses or burn down churches when atheists are actually pissing on crosses and burning down churches?

 

Now I know Brian37 will be the first to speak out and condemn the atheists that do that, however he shouldn't have to condemn it, because it shouldn't happen in the first place.

 

I also agree that we shouldn't hold back on saying something because it may offend somebody, but we shouldn't say something just because we think it will offend somebody there should be a message in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn't an atheist who literally put a cross in a jar of piss and then photographed it. IT was a Christian who was making a statement about how his religion was being turned into garbage. It wasn't an atheist who took Elephant dung and made a painting of Mary out of it. Same reason, different artist.

BUT even if it was an atheist doing these things, we should not simply blaspheme to say "Fuck you" for the sake of merely saying "fuck you". The Danish Cartoonist who depicted Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, was not saying, "I hate all Muslims". He was not saying, " All Muslims are scum". He was merely criticizing those Muslims who use violence as a political tool, pointing out that it is hypocritical to call it a "religion of peace" and then blow people up.

Criticism isn't always as pretty as op ed about a restaurante or movie. Sometimes you need to stick the mirror in the face of the person flinging dung to show them what dung is.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Wonderist
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BobSpence1 wrote:Hell, even

BobSpence1 wrote:

Hell, even the Bible has Jesus giving vent to frustration and over-reaction, such as with the money-changers in the Temple, or cursing the fig tree, which could be pointed out to believers who react strongly to such 'lack of self-control'.

Lack of self-control? No way, dude! That fig tree totally deserved it!

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THE HORROR

Brian37 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I think "wanting to live in a perfectly rational world" is not remotely what Brian had in mind, just objecting strongly to the default respect 'required' by society in general to be given to some very irrational beliefs, such as infinite creator beings.

And showing explicitly by example the level of 'respect' we feel they deserve, while observing "TIME, PLACE and CONTEXT" as Brian said, such as not getting into a confrontation at a funeral. Something that doesn't bother fringe 'Christian' groups like Fred Phelps and his fanatically homophobic Westboro Baptist Church.

I have certainly experienced the effect on a friend of an expression from me of frustration and annoyance at some pet idea of his (not involving religion), which was certainly less than polite. I worried after that episode that I might have lost him as a friend, but next time I saw him he was just as friendly as usual, and seemed to have at least re-considered the idea I so strongly objected to.

Sometimes that honest expression of frustration, even employing some 'potty mouth' words, especially from someone they have found generally friendly and intelligent, will shake the believer up enough to re-examine their beliefs, where a polite expression of non-belief, which they may already know about you, can more easily be glossed over.

Hell, even the Bible has Jesus giving vent to frustration and over-reaction, such as with the money-changers in the Temple, or cursing the fig tree, which could be pointed out to believers who react strongly to such 'lack of self-control'.

EDIT: If any such abuse comes across as something consciously designed to offend, rather than an honest reaction to extreme frustration, I would agree that it is more likely to have the undesired effects that people worry about.

DON'T YOU DARE SPEAK FOR ME! If I want to offend cat lovers by barbecuing cats I WILL!

(note to self: Did I think that, or type it?)

D:>

Theism is why we can't have nice things.