Atheist groups feeling the need to prove themselves

Bahana
atheist
Bahana's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: 2006-08-04
User is offlineOffline
Atheist groups feeling the need to prove themselves

I've noticed lately that some local Atheist groups are doing things to clean up parks, and other charity work, because they feel the need to prove to Christians, and society, that they are good people. It seems they are just buying into what people say and think they need to address it and change perceptions. I've also had atheists tell me it is not polite to try to argue with Christians. Of course most people on this site probably do not feel that way, but I think confrontation is very important, rather than just keeping your mouth shut and try to prove yourself a moral person to them. Christians may not realize this, but they use their own reason to determine which parts of the Bible to apply to their lives. What do you all think? Is this worth addressing? Should we feel the need to be out there to prove ourselves?


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13396
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Bahana wrote:I've noticed

Bahana wrote:

I've noticed lately that some local Atheist groups are doing things to clean up parks, and other charity work, because they feel the need to prove to Christians, and society, that they are good people. It seems they are just buying into what people say and think they need to address it and change perceptions. I've also had atheists tell me it is not polite to try to argue with Christians. Of course most people on this site probably do not feel that way, but I think confrontation is very important, rather than just keeping your mouth shut and try to prove yourself a moral person to them. Christians may not realize this, but they use their own reason to determine which parts of the Bible to apply to their lives. What do you all think? Is this worth addressing? Should we feel the need to be out there to prove ourselves?

I have this argument with people minorities and even on non religious issues. The reality is that nothing is ever as simple as either/or. Everything you said here would be a case by case thing determined by context.

We don't have to be polite all the time nor do we have to scream all the time. Charity too, why is a group doing it? Are they doing it merely for PR to pull in money, or do they really care?

But with atheists, I wish we didn't have to talk about our charity as individuals or groups, but we do because there is a fallacious stereotype that atheists are not capable of charity. If religion didn't use charity as a marketing tool, atheists wouldn't have to "advertise" either.

 But as far as "proving" yourself in any context, that seems to be an evolutionary thing. A minority in any country in the world is constantly looking to break into the ranks of the mainstream and have to prove themselves to the majority to gain acceptance. It is easier in western cultures that have secular governments, but you still have to do it.

Women and blacks and gays in our history had to prove themselves. And atheists have to as well.

I'd like to see the day, to tweak Martin Luther King's quote, "judge a person, not on their race or religion or national origin, but the content of their actions".

When humans increasingly learn to treat individuals as more important than labels, your argument will no longer be needed because it will no longer be a group trying to prove themselves, but individuals trying to prove themselves.

"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


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
I don't think we should

I don't think we should frame it like that.  We're not proving ourselves, we're being ourselves.  We're simply doing the same things we've already been doing but doing so under the banner of atheism.  I don't think we're doing it because we've bought into the rumor that atheists are bad people, it's because we feel a portion of society has bought into that rumor.  Polls have shown that atheists are not trusted... and therefore not understood.  

There are several parts at work here.  People distrust us in part because they've been told every imaginable negative thing about us.  But people also distrust us because they have a fear of being atheist themselves.  They don't understand it, they can't see relating to it, as they themselves think they need god.   As with multiple parts at work they should be addressed in multiple manners.

Those who have been told that atheists can do no good and believe it as the bible says... can have their delusions/misunderstandings corrected by seeing atheists doing good things.  

Those that misunderstand atheism and can't connect to it need one of their friends to come out to them as an atheist.  One of their "humanist" or "agnostic" friends needs to step up for "atheism" and say something to them.  Or maybe it's a friend of yours Bahana... well go ahead and "confront" them.  Have a conversation about religion, use the socratic method to get them thinking, even if it's just to understand that atheists actually have their own intelligent reasons for believing what they believe... and don't believe.

 

If you're referring to something a little more harsh than conversation about god, I don't see how what Sam Harris said a few years ago will ever change, until religion dies, and it will.

 

 

Q: What is the most likely way that American society, if not the rest of the world, will eventually abandon irrational faith?

Sam Harris: I think this is a war of ideas that has to be fought on a hundred fronts at once. There’s not one piece that is going to trump all others.

But I think we should not underestimate the power of embarrassment. The book Freakonomics briefly discusses the way the Ku Klux Klan lost its subscribers, and the example is instructive. A man named Stetson Kennedy, almost single-handedly it seems, eroded the prestige of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s by joining them and then leaking all of their secret passwords and goofy lingo to the people who were writing “The Adventures of Superman” radio show. Week after week, there were episodes of Superman fighting the Klan, and the real Klan’s mumbo jumbo was put out all over the airwaves for people to laugh at. Kids were playing Superman vs. the Klan on their front lawns. The Klan was humiliated by this, and was made to look foolish; and we went from a world in which the Klan was a legitimate organization with tens of millions of members—many of whom were senators, and even one president—to a world in which there are now something like 5,000 Klansmen. It’s basically a defunct organization.

So public embarrassment is one principle. Once you lift the taboo around criticizing faith and demand that people start talking sense, then the capacity for making religious certitude look stupid will be exploited, and we’ll start laughing at people who believe the things that the Tom DeLays, the Pat Robertsons of the world believe. We’ll laugh at them in a way that will be synonymous with excluding them from our halls of power.

 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:The reality is

Brian37 wrote:

The reality is that nothing is ever as simple as either/or. Everything you said here would be a case by case thing determined by context.

We don't have to be polite all the time nor do we have to scream all the time.

Ditto.

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Lion IRC
Theist
Lion IRC's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: 2011-03-16
User is offlineOffline
Ditto x 2

Yep.

Humans share "something" even if they dont know it.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10334
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Considering a common theist

Considering a common theist tactic is to ask how atheists help people, I don't see a problem with atheists who volunteer promoting themselves as atheists to counter the implied insult to them. It's like atheists in foxholes. They exist. Many theists say they don't, insulting the atheists risking their lives and fighting for the theists and atheists freedom alike.

The only difference between now and a hundred years ago is that the atheists now are more free to declare themselves atheist without fear of reprisal.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
1] It's impossible to do

1] It's impossible to do good in the name of atheism.

 

2] I don't think it's playing into the sterotypes. We need good atheists exposed to quell the steretype. It isn't playing into it. This is known as the contact hypothesis.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:1] It's

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

1] It's impossible to do good in the name of atheism.

Bullshit.

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote:Cpt_pineapple

Sapient wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

1] It's impossible to do good in the name of atheism.

Bullshit.

 

 

It's impossible to do ANYTHING in the name of atheism.  Watch:

 

P1-The premise that there exists at least one god is likely to be [or is] false

 

P2-????

 

C- We should do X.

 

 

Anything an atheist does, good, bad, or neutral relies on another premise other than atheism.

 

Me doing a good deed is not anymore in the name of atheism, then the CPC commiting mass murders in the name of atheism.

 

the action [good deed or bad deed] does not logically follow from P1. It was caused by something else. My human compassion, or the CPC's bid for power, not out of lack of belief.

 

If it does, then Furrycatherder is correct in that atheism can be used to justify bad deeds. But she isn't.

 

 

 

 

 


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
You're talking about logic.

You're talking about logic.  I was talking about how perception equals reality.  If people were always logical, there would be no religion.  The fact is that when atheists do good and use the name "atheism" while doing so, as far as a Christian onlooker is concerned that person just did good in the name of atheism.

"Atheists Helping the Homeless" has had hundreds of extremely positive interactions with people when giving out supplies to the homeless.  It's sparked many conversations, and from being told stories and seeing the videos for myself, it becomes very clear that the perception is that atheists are doing good.  They don't think it's people doing good who happen to be atheists.... they think it's atheists doing good.  

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Sapient wrote:You're talking

Sapient wrote:

You're talking about logic.  I was talking about how perception equals reality.  If people were always logical, there would be no religion.  The fact is that when atheists do good and use the name "atheism" while doing so, as far as a Christian onlooker is concerned that person just did good in the name of atheism.

"Atheists Helping the Homeless" has had hundreds of extremely positive interactions with people when giving out supplies to the homeless.  It's sparked many conversations, and from being told stories and seeing the videos for myself, it becomes very clear that the perception is that atheists are doing good.  They don't think it's people doing good who happen to be atheists.... they think it's atheists doing good.  

 

 

 

 

That's playing into the stereotype and theist's misconceptions about atheism. What else will they think atheists are doing "in the name of atheism"?

 

 

Like I said, we should be trying to show that atheists are as moral as theists, not play into the misconceptions.

 

 

 


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
 Weak.

 Weak.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Jeffrick
High Level DonorRational VIP!SuperfanGold Member
Jeffrick's picture
Posts: 2366
Joined: 2008-03-25
User is offlineOffline
Cpt.P..............

 

 

 

 

 

                    We are NOt "as moral as theists":  since we have no rival atheist sect to hate and dehumanise we ARE in fact "better" then theists.

 

 

 

                   btw I also do not like "....in the name of atheisim."  I do my charitys in the name of decency.   I don't reguard RRS as a charity, since they are NOT a non-profit {but ARE a non-Prophet} organization [according to the IRS].  I send money to RRS because 1) I'm an atheist  &  2) free speach as never been a free ticket; You got to pay for free speach some how, I do it with money;  others have paid with their lives.  Personally I am far too old and too fat to get into a uniform and head to Afghanistan.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
Jeffrick

Jeffrick wrote:

                   btw I also do not like "....in the name of atheisim."
  I think it sucks that atheists feel the need to do good "in the name of atheism" in order to help change the public image of atheists.  I don't "like it" either.  I also don't like needing to have a word atheist to describe me.  I hope for a day where we will no longer need the word atheist, and all good deeds are done simply to do good.    I'd never put a project out with those specific words.  I wouldn't phrase something as to say I am doing good "in the name of atheism."  I was simply responding to the strawman that Pineapple inserted into the thread.          

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Jeffrick wrote:   We are

Jeffrick wrote:

 

  We are NOt "as moral as theists":  since we have no rival atheist sect to hate and dehumanise we ARE in fact "better" then theists.

 

We are as moral as theists. I don`t think not believing in unicorns makes me a better person, just because there isn`t non-unicorn sect to hate and dehumanise.

 

Quote:

btw I also do not like "....in the name of atheisim."  I do my charitys in the name of decency

 

I think there shouldn`t even be a schema to address in the first place. Those types of projects expose atheists that do good, and that`s a good thing.


 

 

 

Quote:

 

                   free speach as never been a free ticket; You got to pay for free speach some how,

 

 

Freedom costs a buck o`five

 

 

 


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5086
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Just as an aside

 

 

theists believe in something that isn't there while atheists don't believe in something that isn't there - the difference seems to relate to arbitrary labels not anything actual.

Theists do things solely in the name of their god - there isn't an actual god they are pleasing. Their beliefs are just mental concepts, same as atheist's unbeliefs.

Atheists could do things in the name of their unbeliefs motivated by other labels like secular humanism, which covers general feelings of empathy that are identical to christian compassion. 

Given atheists are accused of being devoid of christian compassion, practicing secular humanism in the name of the regularly denigrated metaphysical position of atheism seems possible to me.  

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


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13396
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

theists believe in something that isn't there while atheists don't believe in something that isn't there - the difference seems to relate to arbitrary labels not anything actual.

Theists do things solely in the name of their god - there isn't an actual god they are pleasing. Their beliefs are just mental concepts, same as atheist's unbeliefs.

Atheists could do things in the name of their unbeliefs motivated by other labels like secular humanism, which covers general feelings of empathy that are identical to christian compassion. 

Given atheists are accused of being devoid of christian compassion, practicing secular humanism in the name of the regularly denigrated metaphysical position of atheism seems possible to me.  

I don't know if there will ever be a day when the majority of our species puts our common needs first and labels secondary. The idea of utopias in the form of short cut labels needs to stop. Labels only describe positions, the do not reflect the evolutionary behaviors all humans are capable of, both good and bad.

I am an "atheist" but that only address my "off" position on the existence of god/s. It does not predict my good or bad behavior. A human is always more complex than multitude of positions they hold on any given topic.

Our species will always set up clubs and use labels. I would suggest we simply put our common humanity as our top priority and skip the attitude that an individual or a group or a political party or a nation or a religion can set up a "one size fits all" utopia.

I do want to rid the world of god belief, but through reason appeal, blasphemy and debate. Like weening a kid off diapers. You don't beat the child into not pooing. You simply show theme the toilet. When they grow up they learn a better way of doing things and scrap the old ways.

We as a species time after time, especially in the past 200 years, through scrutiny and challenge, have grown and if we never gave up on social norms our species never would have left the caves.

It is my hope for more and more people, that the see, that they give up on old ideas and old myths and value the universal things we all know we can observe side by side and to every day outside the issue of god claims.

We all value our tvs, or cell phones and our doctors. We think it is great when our kids get a college education. We simply do not need, nor can we afford now, to wallow in the past, when we have real threats from our own planet as far as disease and pollution, and even the threat of meteor strikes.

We have far too much in common that we value in the form of the things we use every day that are real, to make up and dwell in the answers of tribal kingships of the past rooted in mythology.

We don't need to believe that the sun is a god to know what it is made of. We don't need an ocean god to study hurricanes. And we don't need to believe in virgin births, ESPECIALLY now that we know what DNA is. And we don't need to refrain from eating during the day just because some ancient tradition demands that we do such for an entire month, to know feeding the poor is a good thing.

The future is a fantastic prospect when it is not deluded by the invention of myths. We grow as a species when we shed them and are constantly held back by them.

 

"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


Louis_Cypher
BloggerSuperfan
Louis_Cypher's picture
Posts: 529
Joined: 2008-03-22
User is offlineOffline
Motivations...

If you do something charitable because you want to, it's a 'moral' act.
If you do something as part of a group to further the aims/image of that group it's a political act...
If you use your group to do good, because you want to, and it furthers the cause of your group it's called a 'win-win'...

2 cents, keep the change...

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.