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Magicjax

Why atheist have a bad reputation

39 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

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

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

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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

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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.

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.

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…

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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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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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.

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Posted (edited)

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

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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?

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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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Posted (edited)

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

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

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

That is exactly my point...when people annoy people they get bad reputations.

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Atheists don't have a bad reputation.

Some religious extremists seem to have realised that in a PC world where it's no longer acceptable to hate everyone who is different from you, if you can't paint other faiths as 'evil' because that's bordering on a hate-crime based on belief, you can still get away with 'hating' people who don't 'believe' at all, as atheism isn't a faith or religion.

Add to that the fact that these extremist religions often require blind faith and a total denial of proven science (where it suits them) and you can see how promoting fear of atheism and by extension science (the demonic tool of the atheists!) etc plays to their adgendas.

While remaining an 'acceptable' form of discrimination in todays world, it is a useful tool of oppression and control over the 'flock'.

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Posted (edited)

Yea. Atheist do have a bad reputation. I'm not saying every atheist does but in general it's been labeled the most misunderstood and mistrusted minority in the US. if you want to put this to the test. Tell someone you know that is not an atheist that you're now an atheist. Even if you aren't one. Try to tell someone you are and watch for their reaction.

Some might still be nice enough to not get mad. But most will find it challenging to still respect you. Some would downright disown you as a friend.

But the dislike or distrust will only come if they find out you're an atheist. If you never tell anyone they'll never know. But atheist, or rather the misunderstanding of atheism, has a bad reputation. It's more then just the few outspoken ones. It's the thought of it meaning this person doesn't believe in the god they feel is nessisary to believe in in order to be a good trustworthy person. Anyone that fallows Christianity is taught that you must believe in god or youre set to be punished by god from day one.

I agree there are extremes on both sides of this issue. I feel the best solution to the differences is to just keep their religious views to themselves. I'm reminded of what Morgan Freeman says in this video about racism. A similar tactic could help resolve our religious differences.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2d2szrzvsq&sns=em

Edited by Magicjax

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Posted (edited)

Yea. Atheist do have a bad reputation. I'm not saying every atheist does but in general it's been labeled the most misunderstood and mistrusted minority in the US. if you want to put this to the test. Tell someone you know that is not an atheist that you're now an atheist. Even if you aren't one. Try to tell someone you are and watch for their reaction.

Everybody to whom I've referenced my atheism has been quite accepting of my beliefs. I believe that most would say, "That's your belief". It is only the hardcore theists, in reiteration, that will go overboard with their reactions. Most people simply do not care. This has resulted from the diversity and acceptance of varying beliefs.

Edited by Alienated Being

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Posted (edited)

Atheists over here do not have a bad rep, in fact they rarely get a mention..I guess they keep themselves to themselves.. and no one bothers

But on line... They are given a bad rep by people with mental issues...

EXAMPLES - Like Someone or some people that go as far as to make blogs posts, web sites.. spreading HATE for Atheists

Making claims that atheists do this and do that.. Calling them a religious cult... Saying whatever pops into their minds and they can hop from one site or blog to another to spread this hate....

They will even say things like - "Atheists argue and fight non stop"....."Atheists think they are great with their science books"...."Atheists just hate us because of our beliefs !! " ..When in reality it could be they just hate annoying people that harass them to convert and they argue with the atheists over their faith...can't get anywhere so put it down to hate - they hate us ...!!

Making it look as though they can speak for millions of atheists everywhere... when in reality they may well be only speaking of a few they met...and the few they met most likely told these haters to bugger off lol

Getting obsessed is a sign of a mental problem ..and it can take over ones mind... So a number of people that get obsessed with spreading hate against atheists, I pity them and feel so very sorry for each one ...

Then from what I hear thee are in your face atheists that say and do things that generally p*** off the religious.. But see I view this as tit for tat... that's it... One side V's the other... Heck you would see it on here too...it never seems to end ...

Giving people a bad rep believe or not can also be done by their own kind... I have seen so many Christians give OTHER Christians a bad rep......This is done by promoting hate for everyone else that is not part of their group... People see enough of it, watch protests on the news...read info on their hate sites.. and then lump all Christians together...

Same goes for the outspoken Atheists... So many of them may form a group and chant hate for religion and God... ( which is weird chanting hate for a being they do not believe in ) ..But they are getting at the followers... So what happens? - So many believes will lump these atheists into with the rest...and chant hate back... It never stops

Some believers hate the idea of some atheists who are outspoken and hold the odd rally, promoting books and saying - There is no God.. even sticking up banners.. But what the religious forget is, they do the same... and likely to have done it for longer.. Atheists after all cannot exist without religion..the beliefs in God is what kicked off doubter and turned to Atheism ..... It is easy to forget these things when you have your head filled with nothing but hate ...

Truth is, and how I view it all... Both - Atheists and the religious...

It is not the lack of faith or religious faith that so many hold...no...It is in fact the attitudes pushed out by the persons personalities and how they go about it all -. THE APPROACH ....

If the Atheist OR the Christian is aggressive by nature.. then that is going to cheese people off ...All about the attitude and how it is done..........

Ever hear anyone say - "It is not what you said...it's HOW you said it? " .........Well see, that's it...

The approach is what can mess it up for any of these people ... LOOKING AT BOTH SIDES...and only speaking of some not all..

Aggressive Atheists - I can tolerate an atheist telling me how they believe there cannot be a God.. and listen to their ideas and view points no problem,.... The sec they get cockey and in my face..I am going to get annoyed and feel they are a waste of space and not very intelligent... I ignore a lot of people like that.. Even on line, I skip the annoying posts that just want to argue and drag out a long winded useless argument...I cannot see any reason to get into it with them any further, I let then babble on and I move on.

..I would do the same in real life.. I have seen me stick a pair of head phones in and let them waffle.. only because I never can see any intelligence or reasoning with them so best to pretend they are not there.. Or I just walk away..... They are too stupid to see how annoying they are anyway ..especially when they start yelling - WHY WONT YOU LISTEN TO ME DAMN IT. YOU ARE SO DELUSIONAL !!.<- . I am not going to listen to you because you are an idiot and aggressive ya think?

Aggressive Christians and other religious - Same with believers that want to talk to you about God and their beliefs... the second they show you aggression and argue with you.. using their bible like a weapon to condemn and bash you... You are going to look at that as idiotic aggression and you will shut yourself off from that....... You will not feel they are worth your time..

Especially the ones that preach, getting all preachy up in your face...... Will not listen to your views, just shut it and listen to their preaching.. If you so much as say anything against it.. they chant - YOU HATE US FOR OUR BELIEFS... <-- No I hate aggressiveness and idiot people who cannot shut their mouths and give their butts a chance !!

So in my opinion it is all about the approach used... If I see someone who is obsessed with talking about one kid of thing..and show aggression and hate.. I am not interested, I generally think that perosn is plain stupid and I have no time for them ...

I will listen to the Christian and the Atheist who will listen to me also and things can go smoothly.. It depends on the persons personality...and I seriously beleive it does... If you have a bad personality your faith or lack of faith will not do you any real favours..

CAPS and bold is to lay the emphasis...

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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You must live in an ultra religious area and have a fanatic to the point of fundamental social circle..for them to become mistrusting of you due to your religious beliefs...that's plain crazy and whatever happened to the actual teachings of Christian religion (which I assume that's the community your talking about) ie love they neighbour and so on...you don't need religion to be a good person and live a moral life, what about paedo priests and all the other crimes commited by religious people....come on wake up, this topic is stooopid

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Not living in the States, I can't really say about how "hated" atheists are, though I've read people who say they are the most mistrusted group in America.

But with that said, I'm going to bring up a point made in the opening post about debate and questions. MagicJax, you say that it's the Christians that are always asking the questions to you. In my experience, it's been the opposite. Though not specifically "atheists only", questions are often asked to me:

* Hasn't science disproved God?

* Why does good God allow suffering?

* Don't all religions lead to the same place?

* Why did Jesus die, and why did he need to be resurrected?

* Did Jesus really exist?

* How can you trust a 2000+ year old book?

* Why are there so many different Christian denominations?

* Explain passage x, y, or z?

Any time I get involved in a discussion, it seems questions are always being asked of me, not the other way around. Maybe it's a product of our different culture/society, but I've never been involved in a discussion where someone has asked an atheist "how can you be moral without God", "how can you be happy without God", etc. The list I suggested above is only a short section, but they pretty much cover the most common questions (plus maybe a few I haven't written down - I remember reading an aricle about the Top 15 questions a Christian is going to be asked, and the article states that pretty much every question a non-Christian will ask you will be a variation on one of those 15 questions).

Anyway, that's my experience of things here in Sydney, Australia :tu:

~ Regards,

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I have to say, I don't understand this portrayal of atheists as victims. I've rarely come across theists devoting much time to hating atheists, but I've seen many atheists insult and hate theists for no reason. For example, during a discussion about stem cells an atheist would make irrelevant but hateful remarks about certain theists and their "archaic", "anti-science", "stupid", etc. opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

I don't think atheists have a bad reputation. There are many atheistic religions in Asia and the average person is fine with their followers. It's only the radical atheists that people don't like, but there are exceptions of course; I'm sure many people hate everyone who disagrees with them, whether they're atheist, Muslim, or pagan.

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From my point of view, atheist have a bad rep for the same reasons Pagans have a bad rep, a lack of understanding. We are different from the general population, so we create mistrust by just being different. If you don't like my religion or my lack of it, I don't care. That really seems bug my Abrahamic friends. What floors them is when I say, I don't like yours either, which is why I'm not part of it. So we are even. If they are true friends they let it go and we laugh, if not then, we part ways most of the time. Merry leave, merry part, never meet again. ;)

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That is exactly my point...when people annoy people they get bad reputations.

Hi Hutton. I know what you're saying, but I think your example of atheists setting up an "Ask an Atheist" stall really isn't offensive. It's no more 'in your face' than a billboard advertising a church. I believe it's a complete overreaction to see either example as provocative.

If memory serves (correct me if I'm wrong), I seem to recall you saying that you have had bad experiences with militant atheists (was that you?). It seems to have affected your objectivity.

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