The Double Standard: Outspoken Atheists verses Outspoken Religious

Quoted from Alternet.org:

“Debates over faith often leave non-believers holding the bag: look like a jerk or leave the debate unfinished and apparently concede defeat.

The only thing that would make atheism a true article of faith would be if atheists said, “Nothing you could possibly say, nothing I could possibly see or experience, no evidence you could possibly provide me, could ever convince me that my atheism was wrong. My belief in the non-existence of God is an a priori assumption; it is unshakable, as constant as the Northern Star.” And I have yet to encounter an atheist who says that.

Finally—and maybe most crucially of all:

When we speak out in any way about our atheism—and when we continue to organize, and to make ourselves and our ideas more visible and vocal, and to generally turn ourselves into a serious movement for social change—we are accused of being hostile, fanatical, rude, evangelical, bigoted and extremist.

But if we don’t speak out, if we don’t organize, if we don’t forge ourselves into a powerful and visible movement…then the bigotry and misinformation and discrimination against us will continue unabated.

Why this is untrue and unfair: We really can’t win on this one. Even the most mild forms of atheist activism and visibility result in believers accusing us of disrespect, intolerance and forcing our beliefs on others. If we do something as mild and unthreatening as putting up bus ads saying “You can be good without God” or “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone,” you can bet good money that plenty of believers will get worked up about how those terrible atheists are insulting Christians and other believers. The purest act of visibility—the simple act of standing up and saying out loud, “Atheists exist and are good people”—is treated as another example of the offensive, dogmatic, in-your-face extremism of the atheist movement.”

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  • Bob

    your beliefs are just that. beliefs. you think yours are special because they are yours, just like everyone else.

  • Sjdeluca

    Very good commentary about the need to be an outspoken athiest.

    Here is a poem based on my recent conversation with a “born again” believer:

    A CONVERSATION

    A fallen aspen leaf,
    dull green, drying, fading, dying,
    contains a gasp of brilliant chlorophyll,
    a finely painted leave within a leaf.

    My friend declares it a celestial sign,
    a miracle, dropped intentionally,
    as proof of Everlasting Life.

    I say the Great Creator is too busy
    to monitor our daily walks
    and toss this symbol of redemption.
    Lately He’s been whipping winter and water,
    unleashing floods in Minot,
    tornadoes in Joplin,
    tsumanis in Japan.
    I say that if you praise the Lord for beauty
    you must also hold Him liable
    for this ungodly despruction.

    The subject changes now
    to Little leage, the tournament
    her son’s team wants to win.
    She’ll pray for that.

    I say that orchestrating all those victories
    and defeats must be a supernatural headache.
    Think of picking all the winners and losers
    on this planet, T-ball to World Series.
    And that’s just baseball.
    Think about the global game of Famine and Plenty.
    While you’re thinking,
    think about the wars.

    So many contests on this spinning ball
    we call the Earth. I’m pretty sure
    the Almighty has not been on our trail
    playing with aspen leaves.

    My friend is saddened by my lack of faith
    but she will pray for my salvation.

    I will look for another walkling partner.
    Or not. Maybe I will go alone
    and learn to relish nature’s random gifts
    in blessed silence.

    - Sara DeLuca (a.k.a. Peachtree Grandma)

  • Anonymous

    Sara, what a great poem to illustrate the irony in an “All-Powerful” god. It must require a lot of energy for those who trust in an omnipotent god to justify his absence in great things. While he is missing when the child dies of starvation or the baby is drown in a Tsunami, he is supposed to be helping a lady’s son win his T-ball game… seems like this god has is priorities backwards. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Bob, As an atheist I don’t hold a set of beliefs. Rather, I am asserting that there is no evidence to support god-claims. In the same way, I am an a-fairiest. I assert that there is no evidence to support fairy claims. I don’t think my beliefs are special or better than other just because they are mine. I do, however think that in America where it is still illegal to be an atheist and hold public office in some states that those of us who number 16% of the population (a large minority) should stand up for our right to voice our opinion without being punished politically or socially. We have valid concern for a nation that is lopsidedly religious.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    This works both ways you know.

    There are no double-standards, people just look at themselves like victims. Everyone get’s offended. You get offended by Nativity scenes, we get offended by bus ads. You get offended when people talk about their religion, and we get offended when you talk about atheism. We all feel threatened by these things.

    I always felt like religion and atheism is something people can choose to follow. Though you do hear arguments about how kids are brainwashed into believing in God, but most of the time I’ve found out that the people saying this were also ‘brainwashed’, or came from a religious family. So the ‘brainwashing’ argument is a little stupid. I mean are we supposed to believe that kids who are ‘brainwashed’ wouldn’t have the ability to think for and decide for themselves? The people who make this argument obviously broke free, so why not the rest of the world?

    What about the double standard for schools? It’s wrong to teach religion in public schools, but it’s ok to teach children of faith and children who live in religious families about how God had nothing to do with the creation of life or the planet. Sure it’s ‘science’ and according to a lot of people it’s not ‘science-fiction’ so why is that ok?

    You know it’s funny, but in reality there aren’t a lot of double standards. People read stories or see videos about how one is being treated unfairly so they believe the entire world is like that. Hell there are days where I think no one believes in God anymore and then there are days I think everyone does. You’re just feeling sorry for yourselves.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    This is a hypocritical poem. That’s what I find amusing about a lot of people like yourselves. Usually you damn others for their beliefs while at the same time they damn you for your lack of belief.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    There you go. You ‘stereotypically’ lump everyone together. Not everyone stands by praying and hoping God fixes a problem, some people get out and actually try to fix that problem knowing that God will help them.

    And not everyone who believes in God believes that there is a greater reason behind someones death. Yes there are SOME who believe that way and there are SOME who don’t.

    You have a very narrow and stereotypical view of God and God’s followers, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You want to know why people believe bad things happen in this world? Because if God went around and made the world such a cheery place for everyone to live in, then no one would know what to be grateful for and no one would do anything for themselves.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    You want to know why people care if the president believes in God or not? Because when people are put in charge they don’t want their president to offend another country by dismissing God. When you dismiss God, you’re not dismissing just one religion you’re dismissing them all. All of them are fake and all of them are unnecessary.

    And being an atheist isn’t against the law. I think it’s funny you should say this because we can’t even set up a nativity scene on government property…. I mean talk about fairy tales…

  • http://liberatedmind.com LiberatedMind.com

    Do your own research but here is a starting point.

    “In the United States, seven state constitutions officially include religious tests that would effectively prevent atheists from holding public office”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheophobia#United_States

  • Anonymous

    Poking fun at those who believe in fairy tales is not damning them… I think that would require setting up a place to damn them to :) Humor is the means by which humanity is able to free itself from fear, from authority.

  • Anonymous

    My comment does not lump everyone together. Go back and read it again “for those who trust in an…” Your little secret is fascinating. How do you know this? Did your god tell you? Isn’t heaven exactly what you described the earth is not? A cheery place for everyone to live in? If people will be there longer than they are here, it seems like they will be ungrateful and lazy in heaven, according to your secret information on why earth isn’t a great place to live.

  • Anonymous

    To your first point: If someone believes in the christian god, they are atheistic towards all other gods. If you believe in the christian god, you are atheistic towards Zeus, Buddah, Mithra, Allah, and on and on. Atheism just takes that one step further and is atheistic towards YOUR god (whatever that might be). Atheism is simply a response to a god claim that has no evidence to support it. Most people are atheists when it comes to fairies, santa clause, bigfoot, etc. You might call people who don’t think there is evidence for fairies Afairiests.

    To answer your point about politics:
    In states like Oklahoma there are still active laws on the books that state that someone who does profess faith in a god cannot hold office or testify in court. These laws haven’t been enforced because they are unconstitutional, but the sentiment still holds true in many areas of the USA today. It is difficult to be elected for office unless you profess unsupported belief in a bronze age god.

    Setting up a nativity scene on government owned land would be a public display from the government in support of one religion over other religions.

    The first amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Erecting a religious scene of any branch or flavor of religion would cross the boundary of government establishing that religion as the favored one. If a group of druids wanted to erect a Triple Goddess symbol on the front lawn of the courtyard, atheists would take issue with that as well, as it is the government displaying favoritism towards one religion.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    1. First of all you’re lack of knowledge is astounding! Christian God? There is no Christian God, Catholic God or Jewish God. We all believe in the same God. Our beliefs are just different.

    You know I would keep going, but it’s obvious that you didn’t read or comprehend one thing that I said. When I said ‘if being an atheist is against the law why can’t we erect nativity scenes on public property’. I said that because even if atheists had a problem with it they would be arrested on the spot. You seemed to simply ignore that and post whatever the hell you just posted.

    And don’t thank me for posting. I was hoping someone who posted would know what they were talking about, but you obviously don’t. Your first comment about believing in a ‘Christian God’ proves that. If you knew SO much about anything you would know that Christians, Catholics and Jews believe in the same God. You didn’t so I question your knowledge in everything else you just posted.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    My little secret goes by a name. It’s called common sense! Belief in God or not, if you were given everything for nothing. If you had no struggles in your life you would become fat and dependent on everyone else but yourself.

    And heaven and earth are two different places. Earth is the place of struggles and heaven is a final reward. You obviously don’t know the difference. Even atheists who use their brains can tell you that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    And of course you lumped everyone together. I re-read your brown-nosing comment and of course you were lumping everyone together. You’re just like grandma up there with the pathetic poem. You’re both ignorant and you have a superiority complex.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    You can damn them to the DMV, but were not exactly talking about poking fun now are we? No… You’re show off your superiority. Same with Grandma here. She and you both feel you’re superior to those who believe in God. Look at this poorly written poem. She’s thumbing her nose down at her friend because of her beliefs. And you’re calling them fairy tales.

    If you can’t prove it it doesn’t exist, right? Well what about evolution. Which I’m yet to see any shred of evidence proving it’s real (and don’t give me any excuses as to why we haven’t found any evidence that proves it’s real either.) What about the big bang theory? Spontaneous life? What about any of that?

    None of these theories have been proven either and I can see my beliefs from your view point too. You see God as a fairy tale and not a theory. You’re actually very close minded. More than me that’s for sure.

  • Anonymous

    You come across very bitter and condescending. You also assume that those who do not think exactly as you do are not intelligent.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XA4KUMXJCXOZ2NQFHT7DERYLSY Jordan

    And you sound like the type of person who assumes you know someone. You assume I treat everyone the same way I treat you and grandma here. I know plenty of people who think differently from me and I show them the same amount of respect as someone who would believe the same way as me.

    I think you’re a moron for completely different reasons.

  • Anonymous

    Well, it is a shame you feel you can speak disrespectfully to those who hold a different opinion than you, as you have demonstrated in your comments posted on this page. People with your attitude usually do not come to a conversation with an open mind as you have shown, which makes engaging you in conversation pointless and time wasting. The entire point of a discussion and debate is to gain a better understanding of someone else’s views, broaden your understanding of a subject matter and widen your knowledge on the topic of discussion. You have made clear this is not your goal here.