Are some people just too stupid...

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Are some people just too stupid...

...to be atheists. Every day, as much as I have tried to dissuade myself of this notion, I fear that there is a widening gap between a largely ignorant majority and a knowledgeable minority, and that gap comes down to just how strictly we separate facts from opinions and beliefs.

 

NO MORE MR. FUCKING NICE FTD HERE. I no longer respect ANY belief. I respect two things: facts, and people. I have friends who irrationally believe in gods and other supernatural phenomenon, but I respect THEM and NOT their beliefs. Beliefs merit absolutely NO respect independent of factual evidence to support their credence. That's it. No more. I'm not going to be politically correct ever again. The next time a theist asks me, after I try to avoid an obnoxious argument usually with a person too stupid to understand evolutionary theory, if even though I don't believe, I respect other peoples' beliefs, I'm going to say NO. I respect people. I respect facts. I do not respect beliefs on their own merit, for on their own they have none.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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Sorry, it's the presumptions

Sorry, it's the presumptions theists make about atheists that made me need to vent. Been dealing with an annoying "happy Christian" at work. One of those people who doesn't realize those who choose to distinguish between facts and beliefs might not necessarily value happiness above all, and is constantly asking me obnoxious questions whose answers, quite frankly, I don't want to address on the job.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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FulltimeDefendent

FulltimeDefendent wrote:

...to be atheists. Every day, as much as I have tried to dissuade myself of this notion, I fear that there is a widening gap between a largely ignorant majority and a knowledgeable minority, and that gap comes down to just how strictly we separate facts from opinions and beliefs.

 

NO MORE MR. FUCKING NICE FTD HERE. I no longer respect ANY belief. I respect two things: facts, and people. I have friends who irrationally believe in gods and other supernatural phenomenon, but I respect THEM and NOT their beliefs. Beliefs merit absolutely NO respect independent of factual evidence to support their credence. That's it. No more. I'm not going to be politically correct ever again. The next time a theist asks me, after I try to avoid an obnoxious argument usually with a person too stupid to understand evolutionary theory, if even though I don't believe, I respect other peoples' beliefs, I'm going to say NO. I respect people. I respect facts. I do not respect beliefs on their own merit, for on their own they have none.

 

Here! Here! Well said.


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enzoconti

enzoconti wrote:

FulltimeDefendent wrote:

...to be atheists. Every day, as much as I have tried to dissuade myself of this notion, I fear that there is a widening gap between a largely ignorant majority and a knowledgeable minority, and that gap comes down to just how strictly we separate facts from opinions and beliefs.

 

NO MORE MR. FUCKING NICE FTD HERE. I no longer respect ANY belief. I respect two things: facts, and people. I have friends who irrationally believe in gods and other supernatural phenomenon, but I respect THEM and NOT their beliefs. Beliefs merit absolutely NO respect independent of factual evidence to support their credence. That's it. No more. I'm not going to be politically correct ever again. The next time a theist asks me, after I try to avoid an obnoxious argument usually with a person too stupid to understand evolutionary theory, if even though I don't believe, I respect other peoples' beliefs, I'm going to say NO. I respect people. I respect facts. I do not respect beliefs on their own merit, for on their own they have none.

 

Here! Here! Well said.

 

I think my new tactic of dealing with theists is this:

 

"I'm sorry, we just don't speak the same language. If you can phrase your dialog in secular terms that do not require faith to have relevance, maybe we can talk, but the language your entire ideology is simply so useless to me. It's not that I don't understand it, it's just that I live in the real world."

It seemed to work on my co-worker.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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I hear ya !

  I agree, and for the most part, I am so irritated by christian co-workers.  I have very little tolerance for them.  Actually I think most of my co-workers know that I am Atheist and they just leave me alone, religiously speaking that is.


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I know how you feel. It is

I know how you feel. It is very hard for me to nod and smile, feigning interest when friends share their beliefs. It gives me a detached feeling from them, like if I admit I'm atheist they'll look down upon me somehow.

Which is one thing that annoys me about religion. It's so one-sided.

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

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I actually when I first

I actually when I first heard the term "The Collective Unconscious" (which is actually a very irrational concept) thought it referred to the fact that the average person is so stupid they may as well be unconscius.

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I always show courtesy and

I always show courtesy and respect to the person while I tell them they believe in complete bullshit. I have no respect for beliefs in myths and legends as real and refuse to give their belief the power of legitimacy. I have had enough of people telling me God Bless or expressing their delusions of deities. Enough already. Several years ago I reached the point of openly criticizing the belief in Christianity and will not allow assumptions to be made of inclusion in their ignorant position. Prove it with facts or please go talk to yourself elsewhere.

On Easter Sunday 2 years ago I was in a 7-11 buying a drink and this guy in front of me hands me this handout from Northwood Church in Longwood Florida where Joel Hunter is the pastor, he's the guy that turned down the job of leading the Christian coalition of America. Anyway, this guy is just so hopped up after being filled with BS from Joel Hunter he is evangelizing to people in line  in 7-11s. I was in no mood for this as I had just discovered a restaurant was stealing electricity from one of my stores (illegally wired into my meter). So this guy is all Jesus filled and happy. He hands me the flyer saying have you been saved? I told him, not anymore since I learned God was even less real than Santa. He then says, so you are an atheist now and you have lost your way. I said no, actually I have found my way to reason and I wish that you too could be fortunate enough to have the peace and tranquility that comes with understanding. I handed him his flyer back as he told me he would pray for me to reawaken to Jesus. I told him, sir I wish that someday you realize how you have wasted your life on beliefs of the ignorant. After this he just paid for his stuff and left.

I sometimes have to suppress my desire to tell the religious pushers they are fucking stupid, but I use the learned practice of years of marriage where you tell the wife, no the dress doesn't make you look fat.

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I deal with people

I deal with people differently depending on the situation. For my close friends it's not a problem. They know I'm an atheist and they don't look down on me for it, and they understand my ever-evolving personal philosophy even if they don't agree with every detail. For people I have to work with, I just make it clear that I'm not interested in talking about religion. If it comes up, they find out why in big clear letters. For random people on the street handing out pamphlets I am simply rude or callous because I usually don't have time to be a smartass. Usually I say something like "I have no interest in religion," or simply, an emphatic No and a shrug of exaggerated bewilderment, but if I have the time I fuck with them. If they follow me and try to evangelize, I take out my cell phone and threaten to call the police.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I always show courtesy and respect to the person while I tell them they believe in complete bullshit. I have no respect for beliefs in myths and legends as real and refuse to give their belief the power of legitimacy. I have had enough of people telling me God Bless or expressing their delusions of deities. Enough already. Several years ago I reached the point of openly criticizing the belief in Christianity and will not allow assumptions to be made of inclusion in their ignorant position. Prove it with facts or please go talk to yourself elsewhere.

On Easter Sunday 2 years ago I was in a 7-11 buying a drink and this guy in front of me hands me this handout from Northwood Church in Longwood Florida where Joel Hunter is the pastor, he's the guy that turned down the job of leading the Christian coalition of America. Anyway, this guy is just so hopped up after being filled with BS from Joel Hunter he is evangelizing to people in line  in 7-11s. I was in no mood for this as I had just discovered a restaurant was stealing electricity from one of my stores (illegally wired into my meter). So this guy is all Jesus filled and happy. He hands me the flyer saying have you been saved? I told him, not anymore since I learned God was even less real than Santa. He then says, so you are an atheist now and you have lost your way. I said no, actually I have found my way to reason and I wish that you too could be fortunate enough to have the peace and tranquility that comes with understanding. I handed him his flyer back as he told me he would pray for me to reawaken to Jesus. I told him, sir I wish that someday you realize how you have wasted your life on beliefs of the ignorant. After this he just paid for his stuff and left.

I sometimes have to suppress my desire to tell the religious pushers they are fucking stupid, but I use the learned practice of years of marriage where you tell the wife, no the dress doesn't make you look fat.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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And I don't mean to sound

And I don't mean to sound "objective-er than thou" but I don't even respect my own beliefs. I try to subject them to intense scrutiny and test them and see if they hold up to reality and if they don't I change them. For example. I am no longer:

A socialist, a primitivist, an anarchist, a pagan, a jew, etc... See, I don't respect my own beliefs unless they hold up against the same standard.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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I have lived in societies

I have lived in societies where too forceful a contradiction of someone else's religious belief can have serious personal consequences, and sometimes violent ones. In the USA social ostracization was the usual weapon of choice of so-called "christians", which in some localities meant that one simply had to move out to keep alive since work dried up (VERY quickly in Wapakaneto, Ohio, as I recall, where I was targeted by a local megalomaniac preacher in a most vindictive fashion). I quickly learnt that to survive without committing professional suicide in a white christian-dominated society like the USA it paid one to establish contact relatively quickly with jewish and black quasi-networks, both of whom have an ethos of working supportively for their members in the face of what amounts to blatant and harshly inflicted discrimination.

In muslim countries, just as a point of comparison, I never experienced anything but total respect for my atheistic views and, if it impacted on my professional life it was so subliminally as to be invisible. I never lost earning ability in any case.

In Europe the issue hardly arises, yet it has been in Europe that I have had the hairiest experiences - once in the UK where I fell foul of a group of young white males with what could best be described as a very warped world view involving white supremacy, an invisible master in the sky, and Britons' role in eliminating Jews, blacks, Irish people (me) and various other offences to god, as they thought. Another time in Germany another christian in a bar decided to defend Jesus's honour with a broken bottle.

I suppose my point is that there is no "one response fits all" when it comes to talking to irrational people. One really has to gauge not only one's environment when one opens one's mouth, but also just how deranged are the irrational people one talks to.

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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:he

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
he told me he would pray for me to reawaken to Jesus.

God I hate that. When people tell me they will "pray for me", I usually tell them "thanks, I'll think for YOU".

 

 

 


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I'm currently stuck in my

I'm currently stuck in my homeland, so it has a side effect that I'm not really bloated with anyone's beliefs presented to me, there's simply not enough pointless theistic discussion around, so I think I can always find a time for a little chat with theists.

I meet a "good" theist (like an overall good man or woman except of their theism, typically a non-fundie) then I can for example discuss the darker sides of Bible a bit. Of course, good theist rejects them, and just like everyone else except of really fucked up people. I agree with that - we come to a conclusion that we're both good people, so why the hell it matters under what faiths we're good? It shows that I completely don't care about formal statement of faith (in anyone's particular church), when hypothetical omniscient God knows it well enough already and recognizes good people among all and none faiths. I can of course add some entertaining philosophy, which is based on exposing illogical stuff in faith. RRS has this topic covered very well.

If such a theist would become really tough, I can always show a bit of my occult knowledge. (I'm such a bit New-Ageish person) Occultism is the study of hidden or non-obvious wisdom, and in these times it has an undeserved meaning of something evil. Really, dunno why, it's like believing in existence of "mad scientists" from cartoons.  While atheists prefers to claim and prove that God doesn't exist, occultism is similar to rational reasoning, but it's mostly on the mystic field, infiltrated behind religion's rear. Theist can think that atheist doesn't just understand the concept of faith when he rejects it, he can not be so sure in a case of occultist. Here is much more probable, that occultist doesn't agree with faith because he understands it too well. For example, in occultism there is a concept of egregor. An occultist can show an opinion, that theist's God is a very annoying kind of demonic entity created by centuries of concentrated Christianic faith, which influences minds of the believers towards being greater bible-thumpers and generally puppets of the faith.
For Christians, occultism is not only real, but very evil, directly from Satan (as anything what digs deeper in their doctrines) so such an example repels them very effectively, I think.
 
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Boon Docks wrote:  I agree,

Boon Docks wrote:

  I agree, and for the most part, I am so irritated by christian co-workers.  I have very little tolerance for them.  Actually I think most of my co-workers know that I am Atheist and they just leave me alone, religiously speaking that is.

 

As soon as they know.... your fucked, I made the mistake of telling one person when they asked me what I believed in. Now everyone is trying to get me fired, if I loose my job I am going to sue on the grounds that I am being discriminated against. I didn't even say anything negative all I said was " I don't believe in a personal god an the notion is preposterous to me." I also said everyone is free to believe whatever they want, but apparently that wasn't enough.


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KathieG

KathieG wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:
he told me he would pray for me to reawaken to Jesus.

God I hate that. When people tell me they will "pray for me", I usually tell them "thanks, I'll think for YOU".

 

 

 

Nice, I like that answer.

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MMMM let me think !!

  ...  Are some people just too stupid ?...  Is this a trick question...  Maybe one I should think about before responding ?  And Kathie G has the correct answer although I really don't think these idiots will understand.  


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The truth, as I see it:The

The truth, as I see it:

The vast majority of people are average or below average intelligence. As someone capable of thinking for yourself, you're part of a minority group. Get used to being frustrated by everyone else. Atheists are typically not members of the average intelligence level because it takes an uncommon mind to break out of mob mentality. Of course this isn't always true. I've met atheists completely ignorant as to why they shouldn't believe. So the problem is not people are too stupid to be atheist, they're too stupid period. All we can do is know this, identify these people, and realize they're simply incapable of our level of thought. It's certainly not the most comforting thought but it's the truth as I see it.

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Statistically the vast

Statistically the vast majority of people cannot be average or below average intelligence.


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pyrokidd wrote:The truth, as

pyrokidd wrote:

The truth, as I see it:

The vast majority of people are average or below average intelligence. As someone capable of thinking for yourself, you're part of a minority group. Get used to being frustrated by everyone else. Atheists are typically not members of the average intelligence level because it takes an uncommon mind to break out of mob mentality. Of course this isn't always true. I've met atheists completely ignorant as to why they shouldn't believe. So the problem is not people are too stupid to be atheist, they're too stupid period. All we can do is know this, identify these people, and realize they're simply incapable of our level of thought. It's certainly not the most comforting thought but it's the truth as I see it.

 

I'd like to point out that in Denmark, people are as stupid (and as smart) as everywhere else. And pretty much everyone here is atheist. I'll grant all you American atheists that you are probably smarter than your peers, since you are atheists, and thinking about, and questioning stupid things that everyone in your society, including you, is taught, may require above average intelligence.

 

But I don't think some people are too stupid to be atheist, since I've met lots of stupid people here in Denmark, and as I've said before, I've met only a handful of theists face to face in my life (and, coinsidently, neither of them where stupid).

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Are some people too stupid

Are some people too stupid to be atheists?

Not in the way you mean.  Some of the mental hardwiring we get in childhood is too strong to ever be rewired.  For instance, think of any women you might know who were sexually molested as a child.  Statistically speaking, you show me such a woman, and I'll show you a woman with sexual problems.  It's not a pretty reality, but it's true.  The same thing goes for religious indoctrination and education.  By the time we're twenty(ish) most of our thinking circuits are hardwired.  That is to say we're not going to get much smarter.   We may attain more knowledge, but our IQ scores are unlikely to go up.

My observation is that many people have a hardwired reality in which certain logical fallacies cannot be overcome.  For many theists, it's the god of the gaps.  For others, it's the presupposition of God.  Still others simply cannot understand or accept the fact that faith is just bad science and that there is no way to gain knowledge except through empiricism.

This is why I think indoctrinating children is so harmful.  They don't yet have the mental capacity to overcome brainwashing, and they won't develop it if they're brainwashed thoroughly.

I don't think it takes much intelligence at all to be an atheist.  It just takes the thought, "Gee, that sounds made up."  You show me a very unintelligent adult who was raised with an empirical rationalist model of the universe, and I'll show you someone who is probably not going to be swayed by religion.  It's not a hard worldview to understand.  It's just really, really difficult to convince someone to believe it after they've already formed their own worldview.

To answer the obvious question -- some people do leave religion, and that's because their worldview was not so thorough that it kept them from thinking critically when they were presented with evidence that theism is a false belief.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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MattShizzle

MattShizzle wrote:

Statistically the vast majority of people cannot be average or below average intelligence.

What the hell?

Statistically, I think they have to be. Average is defined by what most people approximately are, and of course there will always be those that are less than average. This leaves a small minority that could be considered significantly smarter than average. 

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I think he means either that

I think he means either that someone must be above, at, or below average intelligence, but not more than one; or he means that most people are of average intelligence and only a minority are below-average.

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If you are talking about

If you are talking about exact average half of all people will be above, half below. Standard bell curve. Most people are in the average range or below, though I still wouldn't call it "a vast majority."

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Venting

      At  work and other places when irritated,  I tell any religio to take their leap of faith and leap  out  a high rise window;  but do not worry their faith in god will keep them alive.        The next day I ask them point blank why they didn't trust in their own god enough to  "leap"; funny how I never hear  about their god again from them.  

      Or it could be my bulk  (6'2" 240) or my voice  (3 octave operatic baritone) that tells them to keep the eff out of my face.

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Getting back to the OP, I

Getting back to the OP, I think what atheists HAVE to be is patient, very very patient, and especially in an environment where they are the not only a minority but one that is challenged directly and indirectly to justify their stance - and even then are expected to risk reprimand and disadvantage for doing so.

 

But that does not mean they have to be submissive - the opposite in fact. I'll explain:

 

This site, and the radio show it is based around, is a typical case in point. It invites debate and argument face to face with theists, who then come up with "arguments" that can basically be boiled down into one statement "I am right because I say so". There is no evidence, merely assertion after assertion without a proof in sight. The atheist is obliged to counter this however with proofs and counter-arguments based on those proofs - a stricture from which the theist excuses himself or herself but which the atheist must conform to, which the atheists to their credit normally do.

 

The result is tedium. To a recently "deprogrammed" person who is hearing this exchange for the first time it might hold extraordinary interest and meaning (about the only unassailable reason for continuing), but to the arguer against theism it is bound to become monotonous and frustratingly so. In fact I firmly believe that this is recognised by the theists and constitutes a part of their willingness to engage in debate. There are so few atheist spokespeople, and so many theist, that attrition alone (they think) will defeat the atheist opposition. While this might be crediting some individual theists with more strategic intelligence than they're actually capable of, they are as a class such past masters at controlling public perception and opinion that the strategy is not even something they think about. They just do it because it has always worked.

 

It leaves the atheist spokesperson with an obvious choice - give up through boredom at demolishing the same non-arguments repeatedly with little or no effect publicly or persevere with countering irrationality publicly until a measurable effect can at last be detected. This latter choice requires intelligence and not a little stubborness, but most of all it requires a great great deal of patience.

 

Which reminds me - on behalf of rational people everywhere a vote of thanks to the core team here for showing thus far that they share all three of those essential qualities. I have many criticisms I could level concerning opportunities missed on your shows (at least the ones I've heard) and how in other ways you shoot yourselves in the foot sometimes when tackling some of these people, but they would be trite to make in the context of the extremely valuable function you have voluntarily taken responsibility for exercising in a sick society that requires it.

 

The OP here expressed a view that he himself has opted for a "zero tolerance" approach towards theist stupidity, and I for one am living proof that this approach yields dividends too in terms of forcing others to re-evaluate the received crapology that robs them of so much more than it gives them in return. But it is a private approach, one that I needed to adopt to retain my sanity in fact, and I assume the OP feels the same way. However it is not an approach likely to "win friends" in a media sense - to do that requires intelligence and a certain media-savviness (which itself is an extraordinary intelligence of sorts), but most of all patience.

 

Stick with it people.

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Ok, just to finish the

Ok, just to finish the little side-track here:

I was told once by a mental health "professional" that an I.Q. of < 90 is below, 90-110 is considered average, and around 110+ could be considered above average. By those measurements, I figure people with an above average intelligence are the minority. Or you could say something like the top 10% intelligence levels constitute a well-above average intelligence. Obviously a figure like 10% is a small minority. And being part of that minority and dealing with approximately 90% of people being not as smart you would be frustrating. I think that was my original point. Actually, I think atheists are a less than 10% minority in America (it's hard to find good numbers on this though), and not all of those atheists even know why belief is false, they just accept it the same as many theists accept religion. So being a freethinking atheist makes you a itsy-bitsy little minority here, and that's just no fun, unless you just like being against the majority, which I think does account for some professing to be atheists.

My original point was that being a freethinking atheist will always be frustrating, living in a christian society or not.

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pyrokidd wrote: My original

pyrokidd wrote:
My original point was that being a freethinking atheist will always be frustrating, living in a christian society or not.

This is clearly intrue, if you read my previous comment. Being an atheist is not frustrating, when everyone around you is atheist as well. How could it be? (Unless you are frustrated with yourself, because deep down you wish there was a God, and just can't get around to believing it).

 

One might assume that being smarter than everyone else (and atheism does not necessarily have anything to do with that), could be frustrating, but let me just point out that I have an IQ above the 110 mark, that you claim means I'm above average intelligence, and I'm not frustrated with my less intelligent peers.

I'm frustrated and annoyed at self-rightious, judgemental, and generally unpleasant people, and they come in all forms, from the most stupid, to the most smart.

If someone is kind and decent, and open-minded, and respects me, then I like them. That's all it takes.

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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I actually agree with the

I actually agree with the comment that "freethinking" people risk lives of irritation, and indeed other unpleasantness. I'm glad I'm not one myself.

 

A mind that thinks freely, untrammelled by adherence to reason, uninhibited by the desire to remain logical, unable probably to retain the concentration required to explore causality since it retains instead the freedom to wander, must be a terrible burden to bear.

 

Semantics - I love 'em!

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Nikolaj wrote:One might

Nikolaj wrote:

One might assume that being smarter than everyone else (and atheism does not necessarily have anything to do with that), could be frustrating, but let me just point out that I have an IQ above the 110 mark, that you claim means I'm above average intelligence, and I'm not frustrated with my less intelligent peers.

I'm frustrated and annoyed at self-rightious, judgemental, and generally unpleasant people, and they come in all forms, from the most stupid, to the most smart.

Good point. I had to think on it for a minute, but I realized it's not so much "stupid" people as stupid, loud, angry people attempting to enforce their will on others. I think we've got more than our share of those in America. 

Well thanks for making me feel much more optimistic about the world.....

"We are the star things harvesting the star energy"
-Carl Sagan


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peppermint wrote:I know how

peppermint wrote:

I know how you feel. It is very hard for me to nod and smile, feigning interest when friends share their beliefs. It gives me a detached feeling from them, like if I admit I'm atheist they'll look down upon me somehow.

Which is one thing that annoys me about religion. It's so one-sided.

Feel the same way, how can they preach the shit in their fairy tale book yet go around and do the opposite. W/e happened to the christian, love thy neighbor. I guess now its, love thy neighbor unless he isn't a christian. Hypocrites are so fucken annoying. I especially love it when a thiest calls me stupid. Now, I know im not the smartest guy, but I do pride myself in not believing in giants, imaginary friends, magic, virgins giving birth 2000 years ago, Zombies (aka Jesus).

When once asked in the library if I believed in Jesus Christ, I pointed out that zombie novels are in the fiction section.


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stupid

"Stupid" suggests that they don't have the ability to UnLearn (yes that was shamless self promotion)... It very well may be the case, but I still hold out some hope that many have just become paralized by fear.

But yeah...there are a lot of dummies out there.


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Nordmann- I'm curious now,

Nordmann- I'm curious now, which Muslim countries have you lived in? It sounds like you're describing a secular country like Turkey rather than Afghanistan or Malaysia, where I can only imagine that you would have had a very different experience.

 

Nordmann wrote:

I have lived in societies where too forceful a contradiction of someone else's religious belief can have serious personal consequences, and sometimes violent ones. In the USA social ostracization was the usual weapon of choice of so-called "christians", which in some localities meant that one simply had to move out to keep alive since work dried up (VERY quickly in Wapakaneto, Ohio, as I recall, where I was targeted by a local megalomaniac preacher in a most vindictive fashion). I quickly learnt that to survive without committing professional suicide in a white christian-dominated society like the USA it paid one to establish contact relatively quickly with jewish and black quasi-networks, both of whom have an ethos of working supportively for their members in the face of what amounts to blatant and harshly inflicted discrimination.

In muslim countries, just as a point of comparison, I never experienced anything but total respect for my atheistic views and, if it impacted on my professional life it was so subliminally as to be invisible. I never lost earning ability in any case.

In Europe the issue hardly arises, yet it has been in Europe that I have had the hairiest experiences - once in the UK where I fell foul of a group of young white males with what could best be described as a very warped world view involving white supremacy, an invisible master in the sky, and Britons' role in eliminating Jews, blacks, Irish people (me) and various other offences to god, as they thought. Another time in Germany another christian in a bar decided to defend Jesus's honour with a broken bottle.

I suppose my point is that there is no "one response fits all" when it comes to talking to irrational people. One really has to gauge not only one's environment when one opens one's mouth, but also just how deranged are the irrational people one talks to.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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Death Dragoon

Death Dragoon wrote:

peppermint wrote:

I know how you feel. It is very hard for me to nod and smile, feigning interest when friends share their beliefs. It gives me a detached feeling from them, like if I admit I'm atheist they'll look down upon me somehow.

Which is one thing that annoys me about religion. It's so one-sided.

Feel the same way, how can they preach the shit in their fairy tale book yet go around and do the opposite. W/e happened to the christian, love thy neighbor. I guess now its, love thy neighbor unless he isn't a christian. Hypocrites are so fucken annoying. I especially love it when a thiest calls me stupid. Now, I know im not the smartest guy, but I do pride myself in not believing in giants, imaginary friends, magic, virgins giving birth 2000 years ago, Zombies (aka Jesus).


The love that Christians feel for non-Christians (with exceptions, like family members, etc...) isn't real love. I think I talked about this on another post. That's why I always say they subvert the golden rule. If "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" means saving souls and evangelizing, there's clearly a disconnect between us and them, because the Golden Rule translates for me as "Try to respect peoples' privacy." Obviously there's a conflict between these interpretations. I certainly don't go around trying to deconvert people. I just ask that they don't try to convert me, and that they understand that vehement separation of Church and State is something that everyone benefits from.

 

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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Hi FullTimeDefendant Iraq,

Hi FullTimeDefendant

 

Iraq, Dubai, UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and I have frequently visited or had extensive contact with people from others.

 

I'll give you one example which, in light of what has happened since, illustrates my experience best.

 

You might not get the impression from the media, and especially since the whole issue has become embroiled in an extremely violent political mess that few in Iraq could ever have envisaged themselves caught up in even a decade ago, but the Shia/Sunni dichotomy was a popular source of very profound and long-standing philosophical discussion in that country. Now and again it was hijacked by politicians and things could turn nasty (I arrived after the Iran/Iraq war when I believe this was quite common), but that was essentially what it was - a hijack. The vast majority of Iraqis followed the ongoing debate via newspapers, TV programmes etc with the same attentiveness their US counterparts might then have been following LA Law or the NBA. Mullahs on both sides had the same celebrity status as the most respected US TV pundits, and the debates that ensued between them were considered of such importance that the thugs in power never dared take action against any of the leading debaters, even when they were critical of the regime, which they often were even from the Sunni side of the street (old ex-pat joke from Baghdad).

 

This respect for debate extended throughout society - in fact the media version had its origins in that respect too. I could sit in a coffee shop in Baghdad and engage in religious debate with anyone (many seized on such opportunities to practice their English). Local christians too were often roped in, whether they wanted to be or not, simply if some of the muslim sects' representatives felt that they were going to be accused of "winning by numbers". That was a no-no and against the spirit of the debate, which was not to say which side was most right but to discuss the implications of applying diverse ideological opinion to virtually any subject under the sun worth talking about. As an avowed atheist I received huge respect, since they are few and far between in that society. Another nice thing, by the way, was that social class played no role. The garbage collector sat and debated with the local bank manager and both people's views were mutually respected. Rhetorical victories were appreciated (and applauded by the opponent) even if they emanated from the mouth of a beggar.

 

In the Gulf states the situation was much the same but society lacked a ready-made eclectic mix. There, conversations were conducted one-to-one normally, or in larger groups through introduction (which carries cultural obligations regarding how you behave yourself) but I still encountered frequent and genuine curiosity about how I, as an atheist, viewed the world.

 

In Malaysia, or at least in Kuala Lumpur, it was the same too, but there I was restricted to socialising with colleagues and, as their guest accordng to their culture, could have espoused satanism and still have been treated with respect, however forced. But I never - and I mean absolutely never - experienced even the slightest inkling of gratuitous offence being taken by anyone from anything I said. As long as I was respectful of their viewpoint and criticised only its inferences, then they were doubly respectful of mine - and that goes even for the many times I pointed out that their professed religious tenets of toleration and respect meant nevertheless that it was only males who enjoyed the freedom of discourse. No one ever tried to convert me either. The Koran was referred to in inter-muslim dialogue to settle a difference of opinion , but rarely to non-muslims as a vehicle to justify some superiority of viewpoint. Christians could learn a lot from that.

 

 

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Nordmann wrote:Hi

Nordmann wrote:

Hi FullTimeDefendant

 

Iraq, Dubai, UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and I have frequently visited or had extensive contact with people from others.

 

I'll give you one example which, in light of what has happened since, illustrates my experience best.

 

You might not get the impression from the media, and especially since the whole issue has become embroiled in an extremely violent political mess that few in Iraq could ever have envisaged themselves caught up in even a decade ago, but the Shia/Sunni dichotomy was a popular source of very profound and long-standing philosophical discussion in that country. Now and again it was hijacked by politicians and things could turn nasty (I arrived after the Iran/Iraq war when I believe this was quite common), but that was essentially what it was - a hijack. The vast majority of Iraqis followed the ongoing debate via newspapers, TV programmes etc with the same attentiveness their US counterparts might then have been following LA Law or the NBA. Mullahs on both sides had the same celebrity status as the most respected US TV pundits, and the debates that ensued between them were considered of such importance that the thugs in power never dared take action against any of the leading debaters, even when they were critical of the regime, which they often were even from the Sunni side of the street (old ex-pat joke from Baghdad).

 

This respect for debate extended throughout society - in fact the media version had its origins in that respect too. I could sit in a coffee shop in Baghdad and engage in religious debate with anyone (many seized on such opportunities to practice their English). Local christians too were often roped in, whether they wanted to be or not, simply if some of the muslim sects' representatives felt that they were going to be accused of "winning by numbers". That was a no-no and against the spirit of the debate, which was not to say which side was most right but to discuss the implications of applying diverse ideological opinion to virtually any subject under the sun worth talking about. As an avowed atheist I received huge respect, since they are few and far between in that society. Another nice thing, by the way, was that social class played no role. The garbage collector sat and debated with the local bank manager and both people's views were mutually respected. Rhetorical victories were appreciated (and applauded by the opponent) even if they emanated from the mouth of a beggar.

 

In the Gulf states the situation was much the same but society lacked a ready-made eclectic mix. There, conversations were conducted one-to-one normally, or in larger groups through introduction (which carries cultural obligations regarding how you behave yourself) but I still encountered frequent and genuine curiosity about how I, as an atheist, viewed the world.

 

In Malaysia, or at least in Kuala Lumpur, it was the same too, but there I was restricted to socialising with colleagues and, as their guest accordng to their culture, could have espoused satanism and still have been treated with respect, however forced. But I never - and I mean absolutely never - experienced even the slightest inkling of gratuitous offence being taken by anything I said. As long as I was respectful of their viewpoint and criticised only its inferences, then they were doubly respectful of mine - and that goes even for the many times I pointed out that their professed religious tenets of toleration and respect meant nevertheless that it was only males who enjoyed the freedom of discourse. No one ever tried to convert me either. The Koran was referred to in inter-muslim dialogue to settle a difference of opinion , but rarely to non-muslims as a vehicle to justify some superiority of viewpoint. Christians could learn a lot from that.

 

 

 

Thanks! I'm still digesting this, probably going to read over it again a few times. It's very interesting. Much of what you have described, especially the use of the Koran in debate, makes a lot of sense in the context of my (admittedly limited) knowledge of Islam. I've tried to read the entire Koran many times, but I think I am thrown by the language. I do have a copy that is edited by a Muslim, rather than the bastardized western versions. I'm curious what kind of work you do that brought you to these countries. Are you a journalist or some kind of correspondent?

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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IT consultant, doing various

IT consultant, doing various bits and pieces - mostly getting Bill Gates products to work even half-way efficiently.

 

Or, as we liked to joke in Iraq, builder of accounting systems of mass destruction.

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Nordmann wrote:...builder of

Nordmann wrote:

...builder of accounting systems of mass destruction.

 

Yes, I'm rolling on the ground and laughing.

“It is true that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It is equally true that in the land of the blind, the two-eyed man is an enemy of the state, the people, and domestic tranquility… and necessarily so. Someone has to rearrange the furniture.”


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FulltimeDefendent

FulltimeDefendent wrote:

...to be atheists. Every day, as much as I have tried to dissuade myself of this notion, I fear that there is a widening gap between a largely ignorant majority and a knowledgeable minority, and that gap comes down to just how strictly we separate facts from opinions and beliefs.

 

NO MORE MR. FUCKING NICE FTD HERE. I no longer respect ANY belief. I respect two things: facts, and people. I have friends who irrationally believe in gods and other supernatural phenomenon, but I respect THEM and NOT their beliefs. Beliefs merit absolutely NO respect independent of factual evidence to support their credence. That's it. No more. I'm not going to be politically correct ever again. The next time a theist asks me, after I try to avoid an obnoxious argument usually with a person too stupid to understand evolutionary theory, if even though I don't believe, I respect other peoples' beliefs, I'm going to say NO. I respect people. I respect facts. I do not respect beliefs on their own merit, for on their own they have none.

This reminds me of this dumbass, http://www.youtube.com/user/TheProdigyTony48219 , he's so stupid he believes he's smart. He made a video called "Proving Atheists Are Mentally Retard It." Pretty funny. You guys might know this guy as the dude who thought venomfangx disproved evolution and won a nobel prize. Be prepared to hear alot of atheists are stupid motherfuckers, sub-human dipshits, moronic sons of bitches, fucking retards, blah blah blah. Funniest part is he can't even make a coherent sentence to save his life.

When once asked in the library if I believed in Jesus Christ, I pointed out that zombie novels are in the fiction section.