Why are atheists so hated in America?

Jacob Cordingley
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Why are atheists so hated in America?

This is something that strikes me as odd. I can think of some explanations for it and for the extreme level of idiotic religiosity in the states. America was founded by enlightenment thinkers many of whom were atheist (they may be morally bankrupt by today's enlightened standards surely, eg the keeping of slaves, but they were intellectual enlightened people nontheless by their own standards). Britain, conversely still has the backward feudal institutions of monarchy and the church-state alliance but it is a place of tolerance and understanding (admittedly a little too much respect is shown for religious beliefs) but atheists, homosexuals, people of all colours are treated equally.

Just wondering why you think this is...


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Why are atheists hated? The

Why are atheists hated? The answer is two-fold.

Reason 1: So christians (Or whoever else gets sucked into the idiotic propaganda) won't feel guilty.

Guy 1:Why jeez, it's so horrable my atheist freind is going to hell, I might feel bad about that.

Guy2:Oh no, that guy might feel bad about his freinds eternal tourment, which would cuase doubt of god's love!

*Goes up to guy 1* 

Guy 2: Did you know atheists (Insert Bodhiharta lie here)?

Guy 1: Why that's horrible...

Reason 2: Lazyness 

...but instead of asking him if he really does this (You know, do some reaserch for once), I'll straight up assume you are right!

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I think the biggest reason

I think the biggest reason we secularists are hated is because believers fear that we may be right. They fear getting into serious discussions about what and why they believe because they don't want to become disillusioned and lose their faith, i.e. identity.

I think to a lesser extent it has to do with the political ideology of neo-conservatism. They equate liberalism and atheism as being synonymous with communism.

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Jacob Cordingley
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Very true. Most American

Very true. Most American conservatives are actually liberals in the sense applied as a political-economic sense anyway. Of course they don't often realise that. I should probably get on with my essay which is on a totally different topic. Bye.


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Wanna know why were

Wanna know why were hated?

Christians are dicks. Simple as that. Well, more like all religions are dicks, even buddists, but the majority is Christians in america, and they have the reddest of necks... 

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That's a bit harsh. Hardcore

That's a bit harsh. Hardcore Christians are in fact dicks. There are nice Christians, who are lovely people. They just happen to be little bit wrong.


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I can't say as I know for

I can't say as I know for certain, but I do suspect it's about power. And the fact that the various churches around the world have been steadily loosing it for centuries. It's getting close to the point where they will have no power at all. And it scares them.

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When someone finds out I'm

When someone finds out I'm an atheist, they often try to give me some kind of theist lecture, or tell me some fallacious argument they heard at church.  I smile and politely explain to them that I've already thought through all of that, and I appreciate their concern for my soul, but I'd rather talk about basketball or something.

Christians, on the other hand, get very defensive, angry, confrontational, or, conversely, run away as fast as possible when their religion is questioned.

The difference?  Someone said it earlier:  They're afraid they may be wrong.

Think of it this way.  Suppose you're a pretty good person, but you're kind of selfish sometimes, and it makes you feel guilty.  If someone comes up to you and says, "You're a horrible person.  You're morally bankrupt and have no redeeming social value whatsoever!"  You're not going to get too upset, or take them very seriously.  (You will probably avoid them, but you won't take their accusation to heart because it's obviously false.)

What if someone came up to you and called you a selfish bastard?  Your first reaction might well be defensiveness, because you may not be a bastard, but you know sometimes you're selfish.

Human nature is that the absurd doesn't bother us, while things that hit close to home do.

 

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This is something that

This is something that strikes me as odd. I can think of some explanations for it and for the extreme level of idiotic religiosity in the states. America was founded by enlightenment thinkers many of whom were atheist (they may be morally bankrupt by today's enlightened standards surely, eg the keeping of slaves, but they were intellectual enlightened people nontheless by their own standards). Britain, conversely still has the backward feudal institutions of monarchy and the church-state alliance but it is a place of tolerance and understanding (admittedly a little too much respect is shown for religious beliefs) but atheists, homosexuals, people of all colours are treated equally.

Just wondering why you think this is...

Well, I am not American. I am British/Canadian. But I will try and answer best as I can.

Firstly, the original settlers on American soil who founded the settlements were the puritans. They were miserly Englishmen famed  for their Orthodoxy that rings distinctly of how we veiw the Amish today. They were extraordinarily revisionist (they wanted to remove the Globe theater...unbelievable) so in no uncertain terms, England told them: Fuck off.

The Puritan settlers built the frontier settlement, and passed their heritage on even as English settlers continued to come. Thus, even before it's conception as a nation, America has always been built on conservative Lutheranism.

American religiosity has experienced remarkable revival since the Cold war. The McCarthy-era Red Scare mindset equated atheism with communism, and portrayed America as a nation of Christian crusaders against the Red evil. It was out of this paranoid time that the Christian right wing was born.

The resurgance of religiosity in the United States that began in the late 90s is an odd phenomenon. I suspect it has to do with the collapse of the USSR and the increasing isolationist policies the US has devoloped. In addition, new scientific discoveries are posing threats to religion, which people are not reacting well to. This was my take on the subject:

I am gravely considered about the situation in parts of the world. From the Middle East to Middle America. We are on the brink of a scientific revolution. From theoretical physics to molecular biology, ancient spiritual questions, ones that once could only be answered by the myth of religion, are being answered by science. Yet instead of embracing this revolution in the interest of peace and progress for all mankind, people from Alabama to Afghanistan are turning inwards and embracing fundamentalism.

The interesting comparison to make is that in Europe, religion has toppled as a social force. In Europe unlike America, church leaders once held direct political power. The Europeans are far more familiar than the Americans of what happens when religion has too much power. I fear the Americans have not taken a lesson from the history across the Atlantic. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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That is a very good

That is a very good explanation. There may also be a point in what Dawkins suggests (but doesn't commit to) when he says that the 'freedom of religious belief' has led to the various religions competing on an almost free market basis to get the biggest flocks. They certainly have a lot of money and power over many minds, not just the big religions but cults like Scientology as well, and get tax breaks too. Perhaps there is no over-riding cause but an unfortunate amalgamation of various causes. I'm actually planning on studying this in one of the first books I'll write when I finally become a doctor of Philosophy. Unfortunately it'll be a while yet seeing as I still have over a year of undergrad left.

 


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Indeed Dawkins is correct

Indeed Dawkins is correct here. When he travelled to the Midwest he noted that "churches compete like gas stations". The whole enterprise has morphed into a sort of hypercapitalist competion for souls.

In Europe they used to do this too. The Catholic Church is an institution for whom the phrase "ill-gotten gains" might have been invented considering how much money they swindled out of their constituency. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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Jacob Cordingley
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Very true. And mentioning

Very true. And mentioning Europe goes back to a point you made before. We Europeans know from history lessons the damage that church and state has done when combined. In Britain much to my distaste they are still legally combined although the church is gradually being separated. A recent House of Lords reform act has been passed to make the House of Lords not only 20% elected but the rest appointed intellectual life-peers where previously there had been a few hereditary peers, twelve law lords (like the supreme court but within the House of Lords which is a weird anomaly) and some lords spiritual who were church leaders. Before 2000 most of the peers were hereditary and now there'll be none. All in all I'm pleased. Ooops I went on a tangent. I guess i was talking about the gradual dismantling of the church and state alliance. Meh.