Manipulation tactics...

Crazybassist03
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Manipulation tactics...

Let me just make sure everyone understands where I'm coming from before I even bring up this issue. I am a big fan of the Rational Response Squad. I think it gives freethinkers a great place to see other like minded individuals. Let me also state that I am an atheist. There...

Now on to my real points... There are some things with this website that I find rather extreme and manipulative. Take the Blasphemy Challenge for example. There really is no point to this but to piss people off. This does not allow people to see atheists in a positive light. It makes atheists just seem like a bunch of assholes who want everyone to deconvert. And if you are an atheist, and your goal is mainly deconversion, you are a very unrealistic person. I will get to that later.

The Blasphemy Challenge is, in my opinion, a method of manipulation to form a social bond and loyalty to the cause. This is not a lot of people thinking for themselves. This is a lot of people saying "wow that looks cool/funny, I think I'll make one too." I see a lot of kids making these videos, and it kind of reminds me of the same tactics churches use. "Everyone else is doing it..."

If someone can honestly tell me what is hoped to be gained from the Blasphemy Challenge than a bunch of pissed off Christians that will even further hate and distrust atheists, please tell me.

The second issue I have with the site is its extreme veiws on certain things. Deconversion for example. I'd say my goal as an atheist is not to deconvert people, its to make the people who have different views than me, accept the fact that I have the right to hold them, and give me equal right as them. I have no problem being the minority in a religious world. I have a problem when I'm punished for my views, or when views I don't believe are pushed on me.

It is not realistic to think that masses of people are going to deconvert. Religion, or lack of is a very personal thing. That's why these Blasphemy Challenge videos are such a bad idea. People are starting to make them as a way to express their beliefs, when there is no reason. The only people that care, are the ones who already hold the belief. Debating issues on the other hand is a great tool. Becasue knowledge is gained from a debate. There is no knowledge gained from a Blasphemy challenge video.

But I think I'm done now. And I just want to stress this again: I really like this site, there are just certain things about it that lead me to believe it could have the opposite effect of what we really want to happen.

Please tell me what you think about what I've said...


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While I agree that there

While I agree that there really isn't anything to learn from Blasphemy Challenge videos (not that I think that was it's purpose in the first place), you can pretty clearly infer, just from the banner at the top alone, that the creators of this site and the RRS believe that humanity will be better off without religion, and they obviously try to do what they can to enforce that belief. To add my personal opinion, I think that what they're doing is a good, sound idea, but I believe it's ultimately futile. Obviously even if they manage to get several people a year to embrace free-thinking, that's a success, but I don't think the world as a whole will ever really be ready.

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main


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I'd agree about this

I'd agree about this challenge thing. It seems as arrogant as the religions it's intended to combat. Yet I can't agree that it's an unrealistic goal to try to reconvert people to a natural state. I've not been successful in every attempt I've made by any stretch, but the majority of religious people are only religious because of brainwashing, yet are fully intelligent enough to come out from under the cloud if givin proper opportunity.

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I agree with you in some

I agree with you in some sense Crazy03, and have actually had a similar discussion with some members of this forum.  Your point on the Blasphemy Challenge is very respectable.  I don't think I would go as far to say it’s manipulative, though when I first discovered it, it did remind a lot of what churches do.  However I agree 100% with you when you say it puts Atheism in a negative light, something Atheism does not need.  It is with your second point that we disagree.  I think religion needs to be taken out of this world ASAP.  Everyone can say we have an acceptances of all types of people, and their beliefs, however it only takes one lunatic to gather support and lead a "war" against another group of people.  Now I’m not saying these types of people will completely disappear when religion does.  I'm just saying when we look around at the current world; a lot of the major conflicts have religion in its cause.  I agree that religion should at least be a personal thing, but that of course is not the case in our world today, and I think something must be done, and something will be done.  I think it’s very realistic to hope for the end of religion.  And I am very grateful to the founders of this website, and other promoters of freethinking, critical-thinking, and those that spread the greatness of reason.


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I have to disagree. I'm

I have to disagree. I'm surprised everytime I hear an atheist say we are "being like them" or "we are going too far". I mean we have got to start speaking up. I was so amazed at the young turnout of the Blasphemy videos that it has actually given me some hope that our future may not be heading towards the Dark Ages Part II (some could argue that we are in that era now).

 

I don't believe it's being manipulative at all since we aren't telling lies to get people to fork over a tithe or to get some kind of tax-free church. The more people feel like they can speak about the things that are taboo in this society the more those things won't be so "wrong" in the future. I just can't believe how things have gotten so out of hand in my lifetime- Breastfeeding is considered "indecent" in most parts of America, along with homosexuality and atheism. I would like to see the tables turned for once in my life. The very discussion of evolution with another mother in my son's class makes her squirm. In real life, we would never walk up to someone and say, "Hey, I deny the Holy Spirit." I don't understand why atheists want to bash these videos when there are plenty of other atrocities in the world. I will just rationalize it as boredom, I guess.


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I'm always surprised at the

I'm always surprised at the "arrogant" label. I have yet to be persuaded that it's anything other than a form of projection, which Todangst has documented thoroughly -- Christians project their own faults onto their enemies. The blasphemy challenge is a joke at worst, and a rather clever argument against religion at best. Who is being arrogant? The people who are stating their own views in a slightly humourous way, or the people who are up in arms about the presumptuousness of a few atheists who are tired of the diplomatic immunity enjoyed by religious thought? Is it more arrogant to speak your mind, or to try to stop others from speaking their mind because you believe you are beyond criticism?

 

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Well said.

Well said.


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Vastet wrote:

Vastet wrote:
I'd agree about this challenge thing. It seems as arrogant as the religions it's intended to combat. Yet I can't agree that it's an unrealistic goal to try to reconvert people to a natural state. I've not been successful in every attempt I've made by any stretch, but the majority of religious people are only religious because of brainwashing, yet are fully intelligent enough to come out from under the cloud if givin proper opportunity.

 

Right. It is arrogent like Rosa Parks refusing to give up the front seat of a public bus.

She certainly knew the defiance would piss people off which it did.

In making these videos the ones who do so know full well that it will piss people off. But the intent is not to say, "I hate Christians" as much as it is to demonstrate to OHTER ATHEISTS that it is ok to publically admit that you dont buy social norms, just like Rosa did not buy that she was not good enough to sit at the front of a bus.

You are stuck in the thought that all tactics of social progress always invovle honey and never vinagar. Neither is invalid but you are making the assumption that vinagar never works and we should always use honey.

 

 

 

 

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MarthaSplatterhead

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

I have to disagree. I'm surprised everytime I hear an atheist say we are "being like them" or "we are going too far". I mean we have got to start speaking up. I was so amazed at the young turnout of the Blasphemy videos that it has actually given me some hope that our future may not be heading towards the Dark Ages Part II (some could argue that we are in that era now).

 

I don't believe it's being manipulative at all since we aren't telling lies to get people to fork over a tithe or to get some kind of tax-free church. The more people feel like they can speak about the things that are taboo in this society the more those things won't be so "wrong" in the future. I just can't believe how things have gotten so out of hand in my lifetime- Breastfeeding is considered "indecent" in most parts of America, along with homosexuality and atheism. I would like to see the tables turned for once in my life. The very discussion of evolution with another mother in my son's class makes her squirm. In real life, we would never walk up to someone and say, "Hey, I deny the Holy Spirit." I don't understand why atheists want to bash these videos when there are plenty of other atrocities in the world. I will just rationalize it as boredom, I guess.

The reason I bash the videos is because they accomplish nothing. So you say that what it's accomplishing is showing how it's okay to speak out about atheism. Okay, so make a video that says, "I'm an atheist and I'm proud." Not "The holy ghost can suck my fucking 'O' ring" like some of the people are doing. I mean, it just makes those who hate us, hate us more. And it's almost like we're going backwards in trying to make atheism look like something that is truely decent.

And to address everyone else on the deconversion issue: Deconversion in mass numbers is very unrealistic. So instead of focusing your efforts on bashing religion and deconversion, focus on something more realistic, like how to progress the world for atheists.

Allow me to give an example. There is right now, a nativity scene in front of City Hall in my town. I'm pissed. Now I have two options. I can be rational and take a stand because it is violating the seperation of church and state. Or I can be irrational and start an anti-religious campaign, hoping that these people in city hall will deconvert. Now, the second one is a little illogical for the situation.

The interest of a rational atheist should be to make the world more accepting of atheists, not to make the world more acceptable to fit our views. You people constantly talk about being rational. Well we have to be rational and realize that we're not going to deconvert massive amounts of theists. But we can still make the theists accept us.


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Listen, CrazyB, I get you.

Listen, CrazyB, I get you. I understand what you're saying, and I don't completely disagree with you... but I do disagree enough.

Like others have said, there are different approaches to the "atheist agenda" if it can be said there is such a thing. Some people, like yourself, believe that by being nice enough, we might be able to pursuade theists that we're ok, and some of them might be swayed by our logic. I'm sure you're correct.

There are also those who believe that the Christian Right in America is a machine not so unlike many oppressive regimes in history. They feel that if atheists do not stand up for themselves -- with as loud a voice as possible, they'll get run over. History bears out this view, as atheists, long the silent minority, are currently the most distrusted group in America, despite the fact that most of our great thinkers, scientists, and many of our famous writers and artists were atheists. This happened while atheists stood by and watched, either out of fear or apathy.

These atheists are probably correct in assuming that without some vinegar in the mix, we'll never get anywhere politically.

Here's the thing... it's the Christians who are supposed to be the dogmatic ones. They're the ones who say, "There's only one way to go to heaven. Only one way to be a good person, etc..." Atheists are supposed to be smart enough to realize that there are lots of roads that lead to Little Rock, and as long as you realize you're going to Arkansas, it doesn't matter which road you take.

 

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Ok... a little more to

Ok... a little more to say...

I would love to see you do your own website sponsoring "Kind and Gentle" atheism.  I imagine there are quite a few atheists who would join such a site, and you could probably organize some events, or newsletters, or something, that would be designed to promote the softer side of atheism.

Since there are quite a few atheists who come on this site decrying our tactics, I would hope they'd be willing to pony up resources to help.

I believe, and I bet that most of the people on this board believe, that diversity is a natural part of life and that everyone will not agree with our approach.  I, for one, would support just about any atheist site that was getting good things done, regardless of their tactics.

 

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Brian37 wrote: Vastet

Brian37 wrote:

Vastet wrote:
I'd agree about this challenge thing. It seems as arrogant as the religions it's intended to combat. Yet I can't agree that it's an unrealistic goal to try to reconvert people to a natural state. I've not been successful in every attempt I've made by any stretch, but the majority of religious people are only religious because of brainwashing, yet are fully intelligent enough to come out from under the cloud if givin proper opportunity.

 

Right. It is arrogent like Rosa Parks refusing to give up the front seat of a public bus.

She certainly knew the defiance would piss people off which it did.

In making these videos the ones who do so know full well that it will piss people off. But the intent is not to say, "I hate Christians" as much as it is to demonstrate to OHTER ATHEISTS that it is ok to publically admit that you dont buy social norms, just like Rosa did not buy that she was not good enough to sit at the front of a bus.

You are stuck in the thought that all tactics of social progress always invovle honey and never vinagar. Neither is invalid but you are making the assumption that vinagar never works and we should always use honey.

 

How is pissing people off to the point they don't listen going to work? Rosa Parks is hardly a valid comparison for this situation, especially since her intent wasn't to insult people, it was to claim her rights as a human being. Segregation is against human nature. Religion evolved with us. Education is the key to atheisms victory.

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Vastet, people don't listen

Vastet, people don't listen whether they're pissed off or not. You're certainly aware of that.

The point of the Blasphemy Challenge is not to convert people. It's to raise awareness, to encourage other atheists, and to poke fun at one of the contradictions in the Bible.

Is this furthering the cause of atheism? Maybe, maybe not. What if, because of this stunt, 50,000 atheists "come out of the closet" and start making their views known on a local level? What if it inspires 100,000 atheists? Would 100,000 newly active atheists help the cause of separating church and state politically? Definitely. Would political gains by non-Christians help to make America a place where an atheist might be able to hold office? I'm sure they would.

I'm not sure these things will happen, but I'm sure of this... the people who are going to get pissed at this would get pissed at absolutely ANYTHING that atheists did out in the open. We're not interested in them. We're interested in those who have lived their life under the shadow of religion and never thought about what it would be like to just abandon all pretense of belief. We're after those who have been indoctrinated, but have made it 7/10 of the way to disbelief, but need an extra nudge.

 

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And, actually, Vastet,

And, actually, Vastet, segregation is a natural part of human nature. We evolved in family units, and have always created "In" and "Out" groups. Segregation has been used in ways that were not helpful to promoting a healthy society, but that is not to say it didn't start because of evolutionary advantage.

Religion, like segregation, evolved with us, and so the comparison is perfectly valid. Both segregation and religion have outlived their evolutionary advantages, and both need to be dealt with rationally. Where either harms a society, it should be erradicated.

 

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Let's face it, if people

Let's face it, if people posted messages on Youtube declaring, I'm an atheist, no one would have cared. No news outlet would cover it. Brian Flemming wouldn't have been interviewed by Fox News people. No discussion would have started. The whole point of the challenge was not to "piss people off" but to open the door to disscusion, which it's done thanks to a little shock value. Nobody insulted any Christians in these videos; they simply declared that they don't believe in the holy spirit. And why is it that when Christians declare their denial of scientific reason, no one stands up and attacks them for "pissing people off?" I think you've got your priorities wrong. You got to stop being a good little lapdog , a good little non-theist and be willing to make your voice heard because there are people out there who not only don't know what an "atheist" is, but don't even know people that don't believe in god exist in the world. I've met these people. It is frightening that they can be so ignorant. So yeah, I say bring on the awareness.


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Sadly I've met those people

Sadly I've met those people too.  (Those who don't know about atheism).  I think, crazybassist, that you are representing the views a lot of us have had for too long.  Live and let live, or perhaps, try to reason with christians.  Some indoctrinated-since-birth christians are just looking for someone to say it's okay that they don't believe.  If they hear more support it's easier for them to come out of the delusion. 


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Hambydammit wrote: And,

Hambydammit wrote:

And, actually, Vastet, segregation is a natural part of human nature. We evolved in family units, and have always created "In" and "Out" groups. Segregation has been used in ways that were not helpful to promoting a healthy society, but that is not to say it didn't start because of evolutionary advantage.

Religion, like segregation, evolved with us, and so the comparison is perfectly valid. Both segregation and religion have outlived their evolutionary advantages, and both need to be dealt with rationally. Where either harms a society, it should be erradicated.

 

'

 

Segregation is not in human nature. People are instinctively inclined to fight against it, and have in every instance of it's existance in history. Always coming from both sides no less, the segregated and the segregators. It is similar to religion in that it's usually based on misinformation, and that education will defeat it. But it didn't evolve with us. It's a relatively recent development in our species.

At any rate, I never said the video was a bad idea, I just thought it seemed a bit arrogant in presentation. "Walk up to people on the streets exclaiming your joy that you deny the holy spirit, and how good it makes you feel inside! "

Can you honestly say you'd react well to someone you don't know off the street getting in your face about something? Forgetting of course that christ isn't the only fiction we're ultimately fighting here, just the more prevelant in our society. They could very well agree with you, then invite you to become a Moslem. Sticking out tongue

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Segregation is not in human

Segregation is not in human nature. People are instinctively inclined to fight against it, and have in every instance of it's existance in history. Always coming from both sides no less, the segregated and the segregators. It is similar to religion in that it's usually based on misinformation, and that education will defeat it. But it didn't evolve with us. It's a relatively recent development in our species.

Maybe we're not talking about the same thing. Segregation means separating individuals based on some trait or another. Period. It's not always bad, as we segregate classes based on IQ, allowing the very gifted students to learn at a pace that would be impossible for average to below average students.

Humans have always segregated themselves. In our earliest cultures, we segregated based on family and formed tribal groups. As we grew more numerous, we invented states, countries, etc... and we have pretty much always separated ourselves by race, as it is a very visible indicator of extended family.

The disadvantaged group in a segregated society has always been less than thrilled at their position, but to imply that both sides have fought against it is kind of batty. If that were true, it would have ended centuries ago, since nobody would have wanted it.

In recent history, we have begun to react negatively to some of the more blatant forms of segregation, specifically racial segregation, but clearly, we have always had an "Us and them" element to our cultures.

I'm going to assume you mean something different than what I'm talking about, because history clearly supports the notion that segregation is the norm. In any case, the reason I mentioned it is that the Rosa Parks analogy was a pretty good one. Rosa Parks saw that she was being unjustly discriminated against, and caused a ruckus, which turned out to be a catalyst for the civil rights movement. We atheists would like to create a similar ruckus so that one day we will be able to hold public office and proudly wear our atheist colors in public, metaphorically speaking.

 

 

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Can you honestly say you'd

Can you honestly say you'd react well to someone you don't know off the street getting in your face about something? Forgetting of course that christ isn't the only fiction we're ultimately fighting here, just the more prevelant in our society. They could very well agree with you, then invite you to become a Moslem. Sticking out tongue

As far as I can tell, preachers are the only people who expect others to react well when some unknown person gets in your face about something. As it happens, this challenge is on the internet, where you have to type in the address to go see it. I, for one, don't know any atheists who preach on street corners, and I suspect most people will take the "walk up to people on the street" bit as a jest.  If not, they'll figure it out pretty fast.

I try never to forget that irrationality in all forms is what we're fighting. I agree with you totally there.

Outside of the segregation thing, which I suspect is just a matter of definition, I think we agree on most points, with one exception. I believe that you are correct from a certain perspective, but that doesn't preclude the people doing the challenge from being correct from another perspective! Again... theists are the dogmatic ones. Atheists are supposed to understand that choices are often made between two very similar shades of gray, and that neither choice may be the "perfectly correct" option from all perspectives!

Isn't real free will awesome!

 

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Tribal groups were formed as

Tribal groups were formed as defense and for hunting and gathering effeciency, not to seperate people from one another. If we keep on our current pace we'll be a global community in a few hundred years. Nothing in the formation of civilization has anything to do with segregation. Quite the opposite. Your example regarding school children is also flawed. It's not segregation, it's efficiency. You aren't going to teach a slow kid advanced math at an early age, and you'll bore the hell of a smart kid if the class moves too slowly.

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Bah. You don't get what

Bah. You don't get what I'm saying, but it's ok. You're assigning moral value to an amoral act, and trying to rename things based on their current values, and that's an after the fact conclusion. I understand what you're getting at, and it doesn't really matter to the whole argument, so we can just drop it. It's a tangent, anyway.

 

 

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Morals are subjective, but I

Morals are subjective, but I agree we are getting off topic.

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Well I don't think I can

Well I don't think I can convince anyone. I guess we can just agree to disagree. There are quite a few people who have the same views on it I do. I would hardly call it being a "soft" atheist.


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Crazybassist03 wrote: I

Crazybassist03 wrote:
I guess we can just agree to disagree.

No. I disagree to that.