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Why atheist have a bad reputation


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#1    Magicjax

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:43 PM

I believe atheist have a bad rep because there are very few platforms in which to discuss the issue. Sure, the topic of religion can come up from time to time in our daily lives. You could find ourself sitting at a table in a coffee house or bar and someone makes a comment about religion and if you happen to be an atheist you have just as much right to join in and share you're point of view as much as anyone does. But with the exception of a very few atheist that are known in the public eye. It's not likely that an atheist will talk about it every day. The only exceptions would be the Internet and if there happens to be a group of atheist near by. 

So on the rare occasions or the few venues where it is a topic being discussed we are presented to share our reasons and feelings on the matter. This is a pretty rare thing when you're a minority on an issue. So it's easy to jump right in and take advantage of the opportunity to be heard. 

I admit I do enjoy a good debate when both sides are for the most part respect of each others views. We can agree to disagree but as long as we can still shake hands in the end then it's what I'd call a beneficial use of our time and efforts. 

Now I must be honest though. When I have been in these kinds of debates I'm sorry to say it but it's the religious side that tends to spend more time asking the questions and the atheist spends most of their time answering them or explaining their points. The most common kinds of questions the religious side usefully are "How can…" questions. "How can you be moral without god?", "How can you be happy without god?", "how can you prove there's no god?" just about every discussion or debate I've ever been in or seen on this topic contain these question in some way or another. And the one thats being asks has to explain their point of view and reasoning. 

On the other side of the coin an atheist pretty only has one question. There are many layers to this question but they all boil down to asking, "Why do you believe in god?".  To which there are only a few. True answers to this question. The only real answer they could ever give from a logical stand point is that they where taught to believe in god. Before you jump on me for saying that hear me out. Even if miracles did happen in a paranormal sense. Even if what we call god really did exist. We still wouldn't know about the figure known as god unless someone taught us about it. Gave it a name and a history. Spread the word about it. We would not know about god unless we where taught about it. 

So if you talk to an atheist about religion and they get vocal about it. It's probably because it's a rare opportunity. It's a chance to say, "This is how I feel on this issue and my reason for feeling this way about it". 

What gets me is I read a lot about people saying "the atheist I've meet are ______". No, that's not true. It's the atheist you've talked on the issue of religion. Or the atheist you've read that was talking about religion. It's only when a door opens that allows them to share their views presents itself that they'll vent their thoughts, frustrations, feelings and reasoning. You never know if you're talking to an atheist unless the subject comes up. 

Besides. There's a reason we all know of the term "bible pushers" but never hear the term "atheism pusher". Sure, I'd image a person could talk about it to much.  I even know a guy that i cant stand talking to because all he talks about is football. I like football but enough already. :)  But most arent like that. Sorry to point that out but it's true. And we've got plenty to complain about. I'm not going to repeat all the examples and reasons religion has effected society in harmful ways. Yes, being religious isn't necessarily a bad thing. No, I'm not saying religion makes someone a bad person. And yes I agree that there are just as many good people as there are bad people on both sides of this issue. But truth be told, the religious are far more vocal about it then the non-religious. Far more embedded in society and to often established where it shouldn't be (schools, politics, money, etc…"). 

So, if you ask an atheists point of view on the issue of religion or their lack of religion. If you discuss the issue with them. They're likely going to either decide not to participate at all or they'll use the rare opportunity to share that part of themselves to the fullest. So if it annoys you, if you don't like to learn their reasoning. Then I'd suggest you don't go there unless you can hear them out and consider their views and respect them. 

This is why I come here to this section of UM. It's the I only place I really have to speak my mind on this issue except for those very rare moments in real life.  

Edited by Magicjax, 07 April 2012 - 11:55 PM.

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#2    _Only

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:14 AM

I wish you and others luck in further posts on this thread. I'll watch from behind a barricade.

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#3    ciriuslea

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:24 AM

I don't understand your argument bad reputation..what for and why ? most atheists have rejected religion after it being forced on them from birth, its only when they reach an age or a cognitive level where they begin to ask themselves why they believe in religion and thru whatever answers they conclude god isn't real..most atheists are evolutionists in other words reject the story told by religion and believe what science suggests..I think you know all this but from what I can gather and assume from my own small circle of friends and acquaintances, most are both atheists and religious...that appears to be crazy but for the reasons above they find it hard to let go of the indoctrination from childhood but the intelligent mind wonders about inconsistencies...I have had some good discussions about religion with friends and people I have only just met...I'm an atheist as described above force fed Roman Catholicism from childhood..I find it fascinating that we can be duped by our inability to accept our own mortality


#4    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:25 AM

I think they have a bad reputation because A. they are a minority and B. The ones people hear from are the vocal ones. The same goes for Christians. No one ever hears from your average, every-day Christian, it’s always the ones with the real strong opinions and real strong beliefs. Unfortunately it is usually the few that wreck it for everyone.

I do not buy that atheists do not have places to talk about their beliefs any less than anyone else. There are plenty of groups and the topic of religion comes up very often…I hear something about religion almost every day even though people try not to get into it because it is such a touchy topic. Granted I do generally do more listening than talking. I usually end up talking about Christianity because most just assume I am Christian. I only tell them I do not believe in God if they ask.

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It's only when a door opens that allows them to share their views presents itself that they'll vent their thoughts, frustrations, feelings and reasoning

This is exactly the problem…when they do talk, they vent about frustrations…They come off as angry and hostile.

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Sorry to point that out but it's true. And we've got plenty to complain about. I'm not going to repeat all the examples and reasons religion has effected society in harmful ways.

See here is just the example...You admit you have a lot to complain about. Also your claim that religion has affected society in harmful ways is BS. Has some religion harmed? Of course, but religion also does a lot of good things. There are plenty of things that are not religious that have harmed society, such as capitalism, eugenics, sterilization, racism, slavery, greed, hate, and the list goes on and on. None of those are religious but I have found that atheists do a very good job of linking them to religion…

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So, if you ask an atheists point of view on the issue of religion or their lack of religion. If you discuss the issue with them. They're likely going to either decide not to participate at all or they'll use the rare opportunity to share that part of themselves to the fullest. So if it annoys you, if you don't like to learn their reasoning. Then I'd suggest you don't go there unless you can hear them out and consider their views and respect them.

Same goes for any religious person…if you do not hear what they have to say, don’t ask them. The problem is that there are many vocal atheists trying to push their ideas on people. On campus there are signs for the atheist group. They have a booth that reads “Ask an atheist anything.” This is asking for confrontation. They also have a thing called “hug an atheist.” They go out with their signs and give people hugs to show that they are nice. This is often combined with “atheists are people too.” Yes, people know atheists are people too, they just think they are two-faced because they look for confrontation and then want to hug people. It’s like a Christian talking about how gays are going to hell and then saying that Jesus loves everyone. Everyone gets annoyed by that type of behavior. Obviously that is only a small group that does that but like I said, those are the ones people notice.

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#5    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:28 AM

View Postciriuslea, on 08 April 2012 - 01:24 AM, said:

I don't understand your argument bad reputation..what for and why ? most atheists have rejected religion after it being forced on them from birth, its only when they reach an age or a cognitive level where they begin to ask themselves why they believe in religion and thru whatever answers they conclude god isn't real..most atheists are evolutionists in other words reject the story told by religion and believe what science suggests..I think you know all this but from what I can gather and assume from my own small circle of friends and acquaintances, most are both atheists and religious...that appears to be crazy but for the reasons above they find it hard to let go of the indoctrination from childhood but the intelligent mind wonders about inconsistencies...I have had some good discussions about religion with friends and people I have only just met...I'm an atheist as described above force fed Roman Catholicism from childhood..I find it fascinating that we can be duped by our inability to accept our own mortality

Prepare for the onslaught for suggesting that...

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#6    ciriuslea

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:59 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 08 April 2012 - 01:28 AM, said:

Prepare for the onslaught for suggesting that...
I should have said people I know and from the conversations I've had and not atheists/religious on the whole..as I don't assume to be able to speak for them..I hear it all the time and although its from people who don't really take religion seriously (which is probably 75% of my small circle) they find it hard to drop the Dogma taught from birth even though now lean towards atheism.


#7    Michelle

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:45 AM

I'm an Atheist, and I don't like how the pushy, anti-religious, militant Atheists are. They come out with their campaigns against Christmas every December and I put them right down there with fundamental Christians. It reflects badly on me and I don't appreciate it.

No Atheist likes to be preached and proselytized to, but they don't seem to have a problem shoving their opinion down other people's throats. Of course, not all Atheists are like that.

It would make it a lot easier, on the rest of us, if they would shut the hell up.

Edited by Michelle, 08 April 2012 - 03:57 AM.


#8    Arbenol68

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:13 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 08 April 2012 - 01:25 AM, said:

The problem is that there are many vocal atheists trying to push their ideas on people. On campus there are signs for the atheist group. They have a booth that reads “Ask an atheist anything.”

Yeah. They're just looking for a fight. Why can't they just go round knocking on doors at dinnertime, like normal people do?


#9    ShadowSot

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:24 AM

View PostMichelle, on 08 April 2012 - 03:45 AM, said:

I'm an Atheist, and I don't like how the pushy, anti-religious, militant Atheists are. They come out with their campaigns against Christmas every December and I put them right down there with fundamental Christians. It reflects badly on me and I don't appreciate it.

No Atheist likes to be preached and proselytized to, but they don't seem to have a problem shoving their opinion down other people's throats. Of course, not all Atheists are like that.

It would make it a lot easier, on the rest of us, if they would shut the hell up.
Actually most of the anti Christmas campaigns are orchestrated by pundits. Even Dawkins enjoys Christmas.

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#10    Alienated Being

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:53 AM

I believe that individuals are more prone to the acceptance of differing beliefs in comparison to, say, three hundred years ago. I've never thought of atheists as having a "bad reputation" in general; rather, only when it pertains to interactions with hardcore theists.

Edited by Alienated Being, 08 April 2012 - 04:57 AM.


#11    Timonthy

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:01 AM

I think religious people have a much worse reputation than atheists and it is well deserved.

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#12    and then

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:30 AM

I was raised Southern Baptist.  That's like the shock troops of Christianity :P   In my region of the US it was rare in the '60s and '70s to meet anyone who admitted being Atheist.  So I consequently met almost none as I was growing up.  While my approach to worshiping the God of my understanding has softened as I've aged, I remain strongly fixed in certain aspects of religion and my first few months at UM were trying.  I easily took offense at the folks who were obviously just trying to be insulting about my religious views. Then someone pointed out that the group actually had been taking things pretty easy with me, all things considered.  I started really listening to the (endless) discussions of Atheism vs Theism and have learned a great deal about how Atheists think and why they believe as they do.  I still can't accept the belief that we are all random events coexisting in place and time without purpose but I have learned to respect the people who hold those beliefs and that's a step forward for me.  If I have a complaint about Atheism in general it's that the vocal among them seem to be as evangelical as any Pentecostal. Yet they will not admit they are pushing their views on anyone.  They leave me with a perception of being against something rather than being for anything, if that makes sense.

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#13    _Only

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:53 AM

View PostArbenol68, on 08 April 2012 - 04:13 AM, said:

Yeah. They're just looking for a fight. Why can't they just go round knocking on doors at dinnertime, like normal people do?

Come on, you can accept that all sides of an opinionated issue has its more extreme people, without having to make a "getting even" post.

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#14    _Only

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:01 AM

View Postand then, on 08 April 2012 - 05:30 AM, said:

They leave me with a perception of being against something rather than being for anything, if that makes sense.

That is how I always assumed theists would feel. If I believed in a god, and was trying to discuss it with someone whose only additions to the discussion are how everything I think is wrong, it would be so easy to get angry. Of course, it would be inevitable to ask what they believe in, and their reply is simply, "nothing". Someone who is angry at repeatedly being told that what they believe is wrong with no way to reciprocate logically, because the other side simply doesn't believe in anything, would have to be easily aggravating.

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#15    Arbenol68

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:25 AM

View Post_Only, on 08 April 2012 - 05:53 AM, said:

Come on, you can accept that all sides of an opinionated issue has its more extreme people, without having to make a "getting even" post.

An inane comment deserves an inane response. I know, I should be bigger than that. But I'm not.





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