Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
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07-04-2012, 11:24 PM
Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
Listening to this Podcast something has come to my attention. It seems like a lot of people quickly defer when it comes to being atheist that they do not want to be "preachy" atheists or pushy ones. It bothers me. Here's my perspective on Evangelistic Atheism.

I was bothered by preachy evangelistic Christians when I was a teenager because I had no self-confidence in my beliefs. I didn't know the material all that well, I really hadn't figured out all the hows and whys... I was basically still figuring out why Christianity felt so wrong, and because of that and did not like my beliefs to be challenged. These days I am much more well-versed in the material and what I believe, and I rarely hesitate when challenged regardless the setting to defend my beliefs or to argue against someone else's. I have been called a "militant" atheist or an evangelistic one. I get the argument that I'm being "just as evangelistic as the Christians are," which is frustrating because I really don't care about that but they seem to think it's a big point they've won when they make that comparison.

The thing is, their preaching isn't the thing that has bothered me since I grew out of being that vulnerable teenager. It has been their irrational logic (if you can even call it that), their inability to confront their conditioning, and their complete ignorance on the material they are so reverent about, and the flagrant dismissal of facts and science and history that doesn't converge with their beliefs. When you believe you are right, you believe you are right for a reason (or you should). It's human nature to argue when people don't seem to understand things you know or believe to be true. You want them to understand and stop being misinformed. In the case of Christianity, spreading the Word is kind of a big deal, so the fervent ones rarely miss a chance if they think they can convert you. If you're not willing to argue that point of view, it's usually because you don't feel confident in it. These days, I actually prefer the confrontational Christians because at least they believe they have real, rational reasons for what they believe. They're not going along with the flow out of fear and herd mentality, which is exactly what is happening when you meet these meek, deferential Christians.

The reason the latter bothers me is because they have a vote. And their vote is often for utter CRAP; birth control bans and anti-homosexuality laws and more pointless wars. And if they could be arsed to come out of their shell and be induced into these arguments, there's a chance they'd realize what they think is utter poppycock. In a way, these moderate Christians are actually the most difficult to sway, because they are the least likely to accept the challenge of thinking for themselves. These are the most likely types to talk about you behind your back in condescension while smiling at you to your face and pretending they don't mind what you believe at all. They do it because they like the drama, and they like being part of what they perceive as the "in crowd" of the conflict. AKA "herd" mentality. These are the ones most likely to invoke Christian Privilege philosophy when it comes to conflicts like playing Christian music at work or the "it's not hurting anyone" argument about Christian posters at school.

Growing up as an atheist in the Bible Belt, that has been my experience. I would like to hear what other people think and how to combat the situation.
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08-04-2012, 02:02 AM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
Hallo! Welcome!

What you have said is spot on and beautifully expressed. Congratulations! I'm impressed!
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08-04-2012, 06:23 AM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
This is one thing I don`t really understand. What would an atheist preach??
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08-04-2012, 07:06 AM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
Sceptical and critical thinking skills, perhaps? The benefits of a secular society for believers and non-believers alike?
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08-04-2012, 11:22 AM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
(08-04-2012 06:23 AM)TheDream Wrote:  This is one thing I don`t really understand. What would an atheist preach??
The facts, reality, science, critical thinking, how to use logic. I do this every time I cross the path of a religious person and they speak to me. I don't hide behind the whole "if that's what you want to believe" BS. That's a cop out and lazy way to handle things.

To the OP, I agree with you completely. Many atheists are still in apologetic mode and think it's ok to settle for religious people just doing their own thing. The problem is this, it doesn't just stop there. Each time a believer steps in a voting booth they vote their beliefs and silly superstitions. This voting does affect each and every person within the reach of a proposed law. We need to speak about these issues daily. Stamp out the illogical arguments where they stand. Side stepping the issue with apologetics only spits in the face of logic. Many people disagree with my approach on these forums. The funny thing is, my wife and I don't have to approach people anymore. We are approached with questions about our atheism and they listen. My openness and boldness at school has brought out another who does not believe or is at a tipping point. It's eye opening that they don't have to be scared. They see me standing my ground against the nonsense and they are coming out.

The guy that came out as a nonbeliever told me the other day, "It's nice that I finally have someone to talk to about this stuff."

That statement made me proud to be outward with my atheism. I'm getting all kinds of fun discussions during our breaks about evolution now. I talk about evolution as a fact and shoot down their illogical arguments constantly. People ask me some crazy things, I'll have to save/write down these questions just so you guys can truly see the lack of education on these matters. But that won't matter until you see it first hand, that's when it truly sinks in and you know you have to be vocal about it all.

Thanks OP, good to hear more and more are leaving the sidelines to get involved.

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08-04-2012, 11:32 AM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
Sorry, I don't see shoving my atheism down someone's throat any differently than them shoving religion down my throat. You can call that lazy if you want. I call that the golden rule - if I'm going to moan about people doing that shit to me, then I damn well am not gonna do the same to anyone else.

If *they* come after me, then I'm perfectly happy to shoot them down.

Of course each to his own - I happen to be less militant.
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08-04-2012, 11:54 AM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2012 12:01 PM by Clint Barnett.)
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
(08-04-2012 11:32 AM)morondog Wrote:  Sorry, I don't see shoving my atheism down someone's throat any differently than them shoving religion down my throat. You can call that lazy if you want. I call that the golden rule - if I'm going to moan about people doing that shit to me, then I damn well am not gonna do the same to anyone else.

If *they* come after me, then I'm perfectly happy to shoot them down.

Of course each to his own - I happen to be less militant.
Well unfortunately there is a difference between shoving something down someones throat and actually telling them the facts. What's sad is you only saw part of the post and didn't even respond to the part where they are shoving down your throat each time they vote. I would say, meh it's ok, but unfortunately that's the reason the hill is so steep to climb for atheists.

Your golden rule also has some implications that make it quite flawed.
After thinking about a second, do you realize the golden rule would apply here for you?

If you were being lied to constantly and misinformed, wouldn't you want someone to inform you of the fallacy because do unto others as you would have them do unto you? I think you haven't thought out the fullness of that rule. It applies simply to this case as well.

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08-04-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
You have a vote too, isn't that great? Every time you use your vote there you are shoving your beliefs down other people's throats? Democracy is not perfect but people have the right to cast their votes how they choose. You think that the first step of getting those votes used how you want them is to attack people's religion - I disagree.

I don't have a problem with Dawkins or any of those guys, I think they do great stuff. I have a problem with a guy who doesn't care what another guy thinks just says "well, let me tell you the truth / the facts / whatever".

You can live your life how you like, tell me how to live mine or what to think I'll push back - that so hard to understand? It means I will happily stand against anyone trying to push their religious shit on me or other people - e.g. through laws, voting etc. It also means if some tool tries to legislate e.g. not allowing people to wear their headscarf which regardless of logic is important to them I will stand against that too.

Of course I am in favour of science education and critical thought being taught, but I prefer to let people's own curiosity drive them.
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08-04-2012, 01:09 PM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
(08-04-2012 12:58 PM)morondog Wrote:  You have a vote too, isn't that great? Every time you use your vote there you are shoving your beliefs down other people's throats? Democracy is not perfect but people have the right to cast their votes how they choose. You think that the first step of getting those votes used how you want them is to attack people's religion - I disagree.

I don't have a problem with Dawkins or any of those guys, I think they do great stuff. I have a problem with a guy who doesn't care what another guy thinks just says "well, let me tell you the truth / the facts / whatever".

You can live your life how you like, tell me how to live mine or what to think I'll push back - that so hard to understand? It means I will happily stand against anyone trying to push their religious shit on me or other people - e.g. through laws, voting etc. It also means if some tool tries to legislate e.g. not allowing people to wear their headscarf which regardless of logic is important to them I will stand against that too.

Of course I am in favour of science education and critical thought being taught, but I prefer to let people's own curiosity drive them.
Thank you for pointing out the obvious about votes, there is a difference in facts and beliefs.

You said, "You think that the first step of getting those votes used how you want them is to attack people's religion." Improper interpretation is a bummer. Don't assume to think you have a clue of what I think. You have the right to sit on the sidelines, I prefer not to. Smile

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08-04-2012, 01:51 PM
RE: Controversy: Evangelism and the Militant Atheist
(08-04-2012 01:09 PM)Clint Barnett Wrote:  Don't assume to think you have a clue of what I think.
Fair. Sorry for that.
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