Ability for Self Reflection
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06-12-2013, 10:36 AM
Ability for Self Reflection
I wrote this email to Seth:

Hi Seth,

When I listened to your book, Deconverted, you described 4 types of God-Glass wearing Christians, The feeler, the foot soldier, etc.

I was wondering if perhaps we - as atheists - should do a podcast centering on self reflection. Something we accuse Christians of being unable to reasonably do. And since we can't stand hypocrisy….

In the chatrooms, on the news, and in interactions on a person to person level, I have also noticed that Atheists can also fit into 4 groups. So that I avoid hypocrisy, I will break them down using your 4 categories and applying the concepts and even the same quotes you used in your book.
The Feeler - Just as a christian knows it in their heart that a god exists that loves them, and cares for them, the Atheist Feeler just knows that no god could possibly be good, or care for them if hell (and therefore god) exists. They rationalize - instead of the love of god - but the wrath of a petty, jealous and narcissistic god. They do not spend a lot of time arguing god's existence, rather, focuses more on god's darker side. They argue that it doesn't matter if god exists, they wouldn't worship him anyway. They appeal to logic, common sense, and emotions when applying the crimes of god to that of man. God is unjust, they say, and give examples of the punishment to Lot's wife for her crime vs Lot getting a pass for his daughters. They appeal to the emotions of parents, often asking them what their own child would have to do in order for them to punish their child with never-ending unimaginable pain of 4th degree burns. They try to appeal to the believer on a humanitarian level. They are the counterpart of The [Christian] Feeler.

The Theologian - "This [Atheist] is adept at redirection." He knows as much of the bible as the best biblical scholar and can quote scripture verbatim - from memory- the contradictory passages that do not portray god as a loving being. They attack the scriptural inconsistencies, historical error, and appeal to the cultural influence (zeitgeist) of the times. When speaking to a creationist, they boldly protest that the earth is older than 6,000 years old and point to evidence of evolution and common genetics with other plants and animals. "Thick, superior and condescending. The theologian utter lofty words from a high perch, unimpressed by counter opinions of lesser minds."

The Folklorist - "His antenna is always up. Listening for another piece of proof that god [doesn't] exist [and that we made him up] and then retransmitting that information without bothering to fact-check it." He would read that a book titled Who Invented Jesus was published and then send the link to the book without bothering to even read the book himself. (You even mentioned this on your podcast for this book). The folklorist - in response to Jesus - points to all the other gods that have the same/similar stories. Virgin Birth, Noah's Flood, etc. The folklorist looks for tragic events in which christians thank god for a sole survivor and points to the fact all other 50 people perished as the evidence that god doesn't exist. Ironically, these are typically also people that, although they do not hold a belief in god, do believe that if they wear a particular t-shirt, or sit in a particular seat, their sports team will win the game.

The Foot Soldier - usually an extremely aggressive, hotheaded and strong personality. A fanatic, an extremist and an alarmist, the foot soldier seeks to skewer and vilify all believers in god and god himself. He "flips the conversation 180 degrees….he champions [atheism] from the front lines, instead of the war room." He is dramatic; is quick to exaggerate; applies blanket generalizations to the religious; resorts to personal attacks (e.g., "who are YOU to [claim to know god exists]…"); is somewhat fanatical and "whose tactic is just to use force to keep the [believer] on the defensive." He is the quintessential "Angry Atheist", the charging bull into the china shop if you will. "From his prospective, anyone that dared to [assert god was real] and put [atheism] to the fire, MUST BE delusional, mislead, or sought to be god himself. The foot soldier loved a good fight…"

He uses expressions like "religotard", and insists anyone who isn't on his page is moronic, stupid, or blind to the truth. He files lawsuits against towns for nativity scenes, refuses to stand for the pledge, not because he is unpatriotic but because the word god is in the pledge. He gets his nose bent out of shape when someone wishes him a merry christmas and forcefully elbows his way into conversations with "righteous indignation."
He is the Westboro Baptist of Atheism and is - quite simply - the other side of the fanatical coin.

I wanted to apply our same criticisms of the religious into a mirror, so that we can see ourselves in its reflection. I listen to people like the Foot Soldier and think to myself, "You make me hesitant to say I'm an atheist", which, ironically, I've heard the exact same thing that liberal christians say about fundamentalist christian sects. So perhaps if we can see that we aren't all that different from the religious, we can start to treat each other with a little more compassion. Which, I believe, is what liberal christians feel was jesus's message.

I am a liberal atheist. My goal is not to spread atheism's good news…but rather to show to the world that you can live a good, moral, peaceful, humble, and compassionate life without a belief in god.


~TTA User Cathym112

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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06-12-2013, 10:50 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
Right on, Cathy. It would be cool if he does a podcast on this

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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06-12-2013, 10:50 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
I don't think this post "brings down" atheism. I think it only displays that religious and non-religious have the same way of interacting with eachother. And that doesn't stop me from wanting to debate them.

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06-12-2013, 10:55 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
I'm not saying we shouldn't debate them. I also wasn't bringing down atheism. I just noting the commonalities between atheism and theism in the thought process, the way we relate to each other, etc. The point of the thread was merely an observation and self reflection.

Although personally, I would like to see a little bit more compassion and tolerance. From both sides.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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06-12-2013, 10:57 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
I was also just pointing out that we are hypocritical about being hypocritical. A lot of what we accuse the religious of doing, we are doing the same damn thing, just on the other side of the coin.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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06-12-2013, 11:12 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
(06-12-2013 10:36 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I wrote this email to Seth:

Hi Seth,

When I listened to your book, Deconverted, you described 4 types of God-Glass wearing Christians, The feeler, the foot soldier, etc.

I was wondering if perhaps we - as atheists - should do a podcast centering on self reflection. Something we accuse Christians of being unable to reasonably do. And since we can't stand hypocrisy….

In the chatrooms, on the news, and in interactions on a person to person level, I have also noticed that Atheists can also fit into 4 groups. So that I avoid hypocrisy, I will break them down using your 4 categories and applying the concepts and even the same quotes you used in your book.
The Feeler - Just as a christian knows it in their heart that a god exists that loves them, and cares for them, the Atheist Feeler just knows that no god could possibly be good, or care for them if hell (and therefore god) exists. They rationalize - instead of the love of god - but the wrath of a petty, jealous and narcissistic god. They do not spend a lot of time arguing god's existence, rather, focuses more on god's darker side. They argue that it doesn't matter if god exists, they wouldn't worship him anyway. They appeal to logic, common sense, and emotions when applying the crimes of god to that of man. God is unjust, they say, and give examples of the punishment to Lot's wife for her crime vs Lot getting a pass for his daughters. They appeal to the emotions of parents, often asking them what their own child would have to do in order for them to punish their child with never-ending unimaginable pain of 4th degree burns. They try to appeal to the believer on a humanitarian level. They are the counterpart of The [Christian] Feeler.

The Theologian - "This [Atheist] is adept at redirection." He knows as much of the bible as the best biblical scholar and can quote scripture verbatim - from memory- the contradictory passages that do not portray god as a loving being. They attack the scriptural inconsistencies, historical error, and appeal to the cultural influence (zeitgeist) of the times. When speaking to a creationist, they boldly protest that the earth is older than 6,000 years old and point to evidence of evolution and common genetics with other plants and animals. "Thick, superior and condescending. The theologian utter lofty words from a high perch, unimpressed by counter opinions of lesser minds."

The Folklorist - "His antenna is always up. Listening for another piece of proof that god [doesn't] exist [and that we made him up] and then retransmitting that information without bothering to fact-check it." He would read that a book titled Who Invented Jesus was published and then send the link to the book without bothering to even read the book himself. (You even mentioned this on your podcast for this book). The folklorist - in response to Jesus - points to all the other gods that have the same/similar stories. Virgin Birth, Noah's Flood, etc. The folklorist looks for tragic events in which christians thank god for a sole survivor and points to the fact all other 50 people perished as the evidence that god doesn't exist. Ironically, these are typically also people that, although they do not hold a belief in god, do believe that if they wear a particular t-shirt, or sit in a particular seat, their sports team will win the game.

The Foot Soldier - usually an extremely aggressive, hotheaded and strong personality. A fanatic, an extremist and an alarmist, the foot soldier seeks to skewer and vilify all believers in god and god himself. He "flips the conversation 180 degrees….he champions [atheism] from the front lines, instead of the war room." He is dramatic; is quick to exaggerate; applies blanket generalizations to the religious; resorts to personal attacks (e.g., "who are YOU to [claim to know god exists]…"); is somewhat fanatical and "whose tactic is just to use force to keep the [believer] on the defensive." He is the quintessential "Angry Atheist", the charging bull into the china shop if you will. "From his prospective, anyone that dared to [assert god was real] and put [atheism] to the fire, MUST BE delusional, mislead, or sought to be god himself. The foot soldier loved a good fight…"

He uses expressions like "religotard", and insists anyone who isn't on his page is moronic, stupid, or blind to the truth. He files lawsuits against towns for nativity scenes, refuses to stand for the pledge, not because he is unpatriotic but because the word god is in the pledge. He gets his nose bent out of shape when someone wishes him a merry christmas and forcefully elbows his way into conversations with "righteous indignation."
He is the Westboro Baptist of Atheism and is - quite simply - the other side of the fanatical coin.

I wanted to apply our same criticisms of the religious into a mirror, so that we can see ourselves in its reflection. I listen to people like the Foot Soldier and think to myself, "You make me hesitant to say I'm an atheist", which, ironically, I've heard the exact same thing that liberal christians say about fundamentalist christian sects. So perhaps if we can see that we aren't all that different from the religious, we can start to treat each other with a little more compassion. Which, I believe, is what liberal christians feel was jesus's message.

I am a liberal atheist. My goal is not to spread atheism's good news…but rather to show to the world that you can live a good, moral, peaceful, humble, and compassionate life without a belief in god.


~TTA User Cathym112

I see a bit of me in each of the categories. Just depends on which way the wind blows. Drinking Beverage

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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06-12-2013, 11:19 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
(06-12-2013 10:36 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  I was wondering if perhaps we - as atheists - should do a podcast centering on self reflection. Something we accuse Christians of being unable to reasonably do.

I concur. A fundamental condition of Gwynnite is "make yer own religion." If we don't think where we stand in the environment, we are only environment. A waste of entropy, I'm thinking... Consider

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06-12-2013, 11:49 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
Having heard both sides, another similarity I find is that both sides have fears of persecution. I'm not saying they are unfounded but it might be something inherited in the west from christianity that finds fear/virtue in the perception of being persecuted. Thoughts?

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06-12-2013, 11:53 AM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
I don't think I fit into any of those categories.


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06-12-2013, 12:22 PM
RE: Ability for Self Reflection
(06-12-2013 11:49 AM)djkamilo Wrote:  Having heard both sides, another similarity I find is that both sides have fears of persecution. I'm not saying they are unfounded but it might be something inherited in the west from christianity that finds fear/virtue in the perception of being persecuted. Thoughts?

Perhaps it is inherited from Judaism. Angel

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