Am I too extremist / don't "get" religion?

Medievalguy's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: 2007-03-01
User is offlineOffline
Am I too extremist / don't "get" religion?

Ok, this has been on my mind for about two weeks now, but it's really difficult to try and put it in words. I was having a talk with a friend of mine who is atheist (in the sense that she doesn't believe there is a god) and she basically told me that I don't "get" religion. (at least I think thats what she was trying to say, I had a hard time understanding) She believes that it doesn't matter if god exists or not, and feels that religion has many good things to offer (as well as bad when it comes to the big three (ie. xtianity, islam, & judaism)) You see, we realized that our different upbringings had a major effect on how we veiwed religion. I was brought up in a christian home, & was hardcore into it till my mid teens, whereas she was brought up in a more liberal, free environment, with Unitarian Universalists. We also firgured out that we have different meanings for different words. When we say "religion" I usually mean the big three, she usually means her mom's pagan spirit circle. When we say "I tolerate people of X faith" she means she accepts them and the good things they have to bring to the table, whereas I have a more historical meaning for the word "tolerate" ie. I won't put people of X faith in a barn and set it on fire. I just "tolerate" their right to live and hold their ridiculous beliefs, not their beliefs themselves. She made me realize that maybe I am an extremist. I admit, I am extremely angry and spiteful about religion. I get uncomfortable and irritated whenever I think about it. Whenever I hear some theist spuing thier BS it get pissed off. I honestly think faith is a mental disorder, a disease, but she doesn't think it is. (Keep in mind she's an atheist too) I would love to erradicate religion from this earth! She says that I just don't get it, that that's not the point of religion. She points out that yes, the big three and other authoritative religions have a lot of bad things about them, but what about religions like her mom's spirit circle. It's just a group of women who get together and have fun and do pagan things. (They don't do stuff like try and cast spells and what not, at least, I don't think they do) I told her while, yes, her mom's religion isn't as bad as the big three, but I would be if it was a major world religion, and that it is still founded on bunk. I don't want to be a hippocrate and say X and X religions are bad, but Y and Y religions are ok. Yet am I a hippocrate? Here I am raging about other religions pushing their ideas on people, when she points out that I'm doing the same, going around trying to "save" and deconvert people from what I view as foolishness. I think she and I look at religion as a whole in two different ways. She sees the bad and the good, and tries to take just the good. I see the bad and the good, and feel that you can't cherry pick, that in order to get the good, the bad comes along with it. You can't get the "feel good" stuff from faith without the faith. As a result, I feel that the bads outweight the goods and so I dump it all. I told her she might be right, I might be an extremist, but I can't help what I "believe", and ironically I can sympathize with the religious extremists I despise so much.

High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
You are on the far side of

You are on the far side of atheism, to be sure.  The flip side of this is that I believe (and I think I have the data to back it up) that your view is justified.  I think most atheists who take your friend's position literally don't know all the facts about religion.

Food for thought:  I have known a lot of pagans/wiccans/alt-religious people in my life, and I've never, ever seen anything get them more riled up than a militant atheist.  They are absolutely sure that their version of theism is the answer...

(Sound like anyone else we've heard of?)


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

Medievalguy's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: 2007-03-01
User is offlineOffline
The thing that gets me is

The thing that gets me is how they're so layed back about the religion thing, how they feel it doesn't matter what you believe. No granted, I am a live and let live guy (I think) but how can you be like that when crazies fly planes into towers, or blow up clinics, or undermine science in schools? Look around you! My friend does happen to know a good deal about various religions (she goes to her UU church every week were they discuss them) but I feel she's a little "religiously apathetic". It's all about this care free feel good attitude. I just don't get it. Her mom however has never gotten worked up about my militant atheism, but maybe she was just being polite and didn't say anything. I wouldn't want to make her mad, she's a damn good cook! Cool


{edit} : It just occured to me, it's sorta like the "i'm spiritual but not religious" crap. I'm sorry, spirits don't exists. It's just harder to attack that when there is no religion along with it. 

Kevin Khoo
Posts: 10
Joined: 2008-02-04
User is offlineOffline
I know exactly what you're

I know exactly what you're talking about because like you, I myself see it in a very black and white manner. Either you believe there's a Jackass up there or not. Spirits and elementals are just another way of projecting your wants and fears into something mystical and unfathomable; a Jackass.

I had this conversation with a friend who tethers on the edge as well. I did ask him once how he aligns himself and he said that he did not believe there was a God because of the state of the world and horrendous actions of man (on our side of the planet, which is no different than yours.) but he also felt there is a 'higher being' that encourages man to do better. After I pressured him to explain his position he relented with a ; 'Just in case there is a God, I have a choice to believe or not.' Utter nonsense.

Whether they know all facts of the religion or don't I think is beside the point. I think they're just playing it safe which in my POV is worse than a theist. Atleast theist although misguided, delusioned etc. stand for something.

Hambydammit wrote:
Food for thought: I have known a lot of pagans/wiccans/alt-religious people in my life, and I've never, ever seen anything get them more riled up than a militant atheist. They are absolutely sure that their version of theism is the answer...

Most of the time the reason they get riled up is because they envy our resolve to choose a side and stick with it no matter the outcome. Your choice shows how insignificant their safety net of beliefs is. No disrespect to your friend and her family.


ModeratorRRS local affiliate
shelley's picture
Posts: 1859
Joined: 2006-12-26
User is offlineOffline
Medieval Guy - You're

Medieval Guy - You're awesome.  I wouldn't want you to change a bit.  Delusion is delusion... regardless of the flavor.  

If that means you get an extremist label then I'll sit in the corner with you. 

High Level DonorHigh Level ModeratorGold Member
darth_josh's picture
Posts: 2650
Joined: 2006-02-27
User is offlineOffline
Ever since the

Ever since the 'fundamentalist' label came up with regard to 'some' atheists, I have gleefully accepted the label of 'fundamental atheist' because 'on a fundamental basis I lack a belief in god(s)'.

We've already figured out that the fact we don't believe is what causes them to become so defensive. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.