Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
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08-09-2011, 11:47 PM
Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
So you're here. Cruising the forum. Another disgruntled skeptic. Reading posts, formulating pithy replies in your head. What else is there? I asked myself that a while back. I realized that steaming down to my husband's studio & ranting, was, while satisfying, not the kind of far-reaching action I really wanted. So I started a blog. Which is barely going, I mean it's a new blog, (it's been a busy summer of travel) but it's aimed at encouraging parents to teach skeptical thinking to their kids as they face the wall of products, media, & ideas in current life, & I hope it'll be useful & worthwhile in the fall, now that school has started & I'm back on my writing schedule.

Also I now post things on FB that link to articles about that silly Rick Perry, various anti-religious tidbits, & the like, & I have become much more forward at talking religion vs. secular views.

At this point, I'm sure the majority of my husband's family, which includes 2 speechwriters for Bush, & one prominent member of the Discovery Institute, know my views. These are people I will eventually share family property with. Equally aware are various of my own highly religious Alabama relatives, some of whom have not spoken to me for some time. On the other hand, the southern uncle with the most education now speaks to me more. Also I am in some kind of passive aggressive FB quote off with a distant cousin. I post something about teaching ID being wrong, & she posts something about how we shouldn't buy pepsi since they put the pledge on the can but left out "under god." And of course I deal with the parents of my son's classmates, some of whom seem energized into a welcoming chattiness by my increasing comfort in stating my views, while others tend to gaze into the far distance when I'm in the vicinity.

I am beginning to understand that being more vocal, actually putting my thoughts out there in the hopes of helping reach a tipping point, will have consequences I cannot anticipate. But like those who do podcasts & other blogs, I feel I must marry my thoughts with action, otherwise it is just masturbation. (I was going to say something else, but I'm feeling good about that metaphor just now so I'm going with it.) (Speaking of crotch related things, I'm watching The Daily Show on the other screen & there's this weird commercial with some institute staffed entirely by supermodel thin women. However you can tell they are serous scientists because they are all wearing white jumpsuits. They stare with great seriousness at a wad of cotton, which will be magically smoothed into a panty liner by the end of the commercial. Very trippy.)

I understand that not everyone can give a face to their beliefs in their daily life. But I am coming to think that if you can, I mean without actually destroying your life, your family, losing your job, or other absurd consequence, then you should find some way to try to influence public thought.

Where are you in your personal journey toward putting yourself out there? Do you think you could or should do more? What do you do now? Where are you on the subtle/obnoxious scale? Do you feel you are held back by potential damage if people know your views?

Every time you say you don't believe, Jesus rips the wings off a fairy. -
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09-09-2011, 01:40 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I don't have those problems, everybody knows I am one of those military atheists, but nobody really cares. There are couple of normal and intelligent friends that are either atheists or agnostics with whom I can speak about religions and history of human kind, others just don't care about the subject, I can try to talk about that, but soon they tell me I am a stupid atheist and to stop telling them about my anti-religion ideas, it is their tradition. So then I stop and I don't try to push it, there is no point, I can see when somebody is indoctrinated enough... My mother, on the other hand, thinks I should not talk so openly about it, because "I don't know what will I believe tomorrow", meaning, she still thinks my atheism is some whim, something I follow today, but who knows what will I do tomorrow. My father has no opinion at all, my grandmother does not know that I truly don't believe, but we bash the Church (as an institution) together and she is 91 years old and born and raised as a Christian. When my 91 year old grandmother sees what has happened with Christianity and Roman-Catholic church, then we have nothing more to discus. My aunt also joins us in bashing the Church and she still goes to church every Sunday, or most of Sundays at least.

So I'm good, pretty safe for me to speak my mind, although I always speak carefully because I don't want to just scream "IT ALL SUCKS", I want people to actually hear what I want to say, so I try to explain in a polite voice. Preaching atheism is like preaching religion, you need to know how to brainwash (or un-brainwash) people and do it masked, otherwise, they see it as an attack on their beliefs and you just lost the battle.

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I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
-Hunter S. Thompson
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09-09-2011, 02:09 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I don't walk the talk because I'm not confident in what I believe. I *want* to walk the talk, though. I want to say all sorts of stuff to my religious friends and family who I feel are being harmed...but I refrain because I don't feel I know enough about my own beliefs to really say anything useful to them.

Plus, I'm terrified of getting into a heated discussion and not being able to hold my own. lol

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.

- Carl Sagan
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09-09-2011, 06:20 AM (This post was last modified: 09-09-2011 06:25 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
Not a problem for me. Canada is still relatively tolerant, even out here in the boonies. In fact, the circles in which i move - refugees from the big city - are more likely to be Wicca or Druid or something equally silly and harmless.

We are surrounded by old farming stock and their old xtian heritage - the damn fools who elect conservative governments. Fortunately, they're not all the same church - makes it harder to form mobs. I've met some very decent xtians, actually; the kind who protest war and inhumanity, who go to help out in disaster areas, who risk themselves for their principles. I have to respect that - and people like that also respect others.

PS Zaika - You don't need so much confidence to ask questions. The same ones that raised your own doubts. Asked innocently, just one (plus whatever necessary corollaries) at a time, and wait patiently while they tangle themselves in unreason.... They don't, though, do they? Mostly, it's a pat, unthinking, automatic response. Still, could be worth a shot. My favourite question is: How many dogs were on Noah's Ark? (What did they look like? How come there are so many kinds now?)

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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09-09-2011, 06:40 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I have been advocating LGBT issues for a while. I'm very vocal about things, though I am not someone who will discuss every mention of religion. People know who I am and generally think I'm honest =p. I have lost enough opportunities due to not being confused as a christian but I've never wanted christian opportunities anyway.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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09-09-2011, 07:37 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I used to belong to a group protesting the wars. We did it for years.

Recently I moved to another Parish:

Priest to congregation: "Everybody in this Parish will die some day"
Man in back giggles.
Priest to man: "What's so funny?"
Man: I am from another Parish"

I feel I have done my share and it is not my problem any more. Sad, but I am busy preparing for the journey. There is a still a lot to do that I don't want to leave undone.
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09-09-2011, 08:30 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
What it is, Evil Momma!

In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry wrote a heart-wrenching play called A Raisin in the Sun about a black Chicago family trying to retain their dignity under crushing pressures. The family eventually decided to move to an all-white neighbourhood in a time when black families who did so were being bombed. The local community group got together and offered to buy their house at a profit to prevent them from moving. In the climax, after losing all of the family's money in a scheme gone horribly wrong, Walter told Lindner:
Quote:...we have decided to move into our house - because my father - my father - he earned it for us, brick by brick. We don't want to make trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that's all we got to say about that. We don't want your money.

When you're gay, you're faced with an option. Do I live in the closet and hide it, or do I live openly? It's an odd position to be in. Do I let people know who I actually am? The consensus seems to be that it's better to live in the open. I think that I would agree with that.

I was a vegan for a very long time. A lot of meat eaters I knew disliked vegans because they were often shitting on them for eating meat. We used to call the in-yo-face kind, veganazis. I always said, "hey, man, you do what you do and I'm gonna do what I do." If asked, I would be more than happy to explain why I believed what I believed and I never felt the need to shit on someone else’s choice. I also wouldn’t accept anyone shitting on me for making mine.

Advocacy can be very important. Would the civil rights movement have accomplished what it did without Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and The Black Panther Party? Would whaling be banned in so many countries without Greenpeace?

For myself, I think the important part of walking the walk is full acceptance of who you are. That way, you can live your life in whatever way you see fit and walk down the street with your head up. You don't have to over-compensate and be a hyper-version of yourself and you don't have to get in other people's faces and tell them why they're such shit for not making the same choices you have. You can just be you. And when you live within a context where what makes you you is not widely accepted, it's the best thing you can do because it exposes people to the irresistible force of experienced truth. That is to say, they are exposed to what is, rather than what is assumed/reported. This doesn't mean you can't be an activist. It just means that the average person can't be a professional activist, so they should just be themselves. Openly. And if you do want to be an advocate, it comes from a grounded place of self-acceptance. I think MLK had a simple message. I’m black, I have value and I’m going to act that way. I invite you to do the same.

In thinking about this, I realised that the cultural context of the United States is much different than what I'm used to. Canada is a multicultural place. So there's always room for any cultural group. The United States has always relied on the melting pot. That is to say, there is a single American identity. And it is an identity that many groups over time have fought tooth and nail to be in control of. Since there is only one identity, to find room, you must either control defining it or have the ear of those who control defining it. I think it has a lot to do with why American politics is so polarised. There can only be one answer at any one time. So you're either in the definition, or you're Un-American. Right now, I think that being a Christian is a very strong part of the national identity, for many reasons; not the least of which being the perception that the US is in a fight to the death with Islam. All of this is to say that there is less room for Atheists, or for anyone with an alternative view for that matter. Well perhaps the US would benefit from people dropping the classic struggle to control the definition of American? Perhaps people should just do their own thing?

And I gotta say, Evil Momma, I agree that putting yourself out there will pay dividends. It's been truthful from I'm black and I'm proud to be the change you want to see in the world. But if you're not walking around with an Atheist sandwich board or picketing churches, if you're just living your life, openly, proudly, I don't think you're just masturbating.

Anyhoo, for myself, I am what I am and I never let anyone tell me I'm wrong simply because I've made different choices. Fuck em if they can't take a joke.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

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09-09-2011, 09:35 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
Oh, yes, I am quite vocal on my FB page; Twitter and other Internet forums. I've been "out" as an atheist secular humanist for many years and have no qualms about sharing my views whenever and wherever the subject comes up and it is appropriate to do so. I am also a voracious reader and spend the first 6 hours of each day reading and writing on the topics of religion and politics.

I think my approach often irks my christian family members but I do my best to use the tactic "attack the message but not the messenger" ( i.e. no name calling or stereotyping personal insults). I respect them as people by letting them know I will be posting articles and messages supporting topics and viewpoints they may not agree with and may often find offensive. But I balance that posts showing the depths with which I care for them.

Posting our views to those we know is important in that it helps stop others from demonizing or dehumanizing us for being atheist. We must continually remind them that we are living, breathing, feeling, thinking, loving, caring, vulnerable human beings - the same as they are. We are not "satan's disciples" or "evil incarnate" or "those soulless/godless idiots" or "God haters" or any of a 1000 other dehumanizing terms. We are the children of "Eve", the same as they are, and they must never be allowed to forget that fact.

We must keep their focus on the issues while allowing our (and their) humanity to shine forth as bright as the Sun.
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09-09-2011, 10:08 AM
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I'm not really much of an advocate for whatever the "cause" is supposed to be. I don't pretend I believe in god, I don't deny I'm an atheist and I don't hide it, but I also don't throw it in peoples' faces anymore than I want their beliefs thrown in mine. If someone asks, I'll answer. If someone proselytizes to me, I'll counter. Otherwise, live and let live. What do I care what people believe? You want to believe we were all created when some giant turtle sneezed .... or whatever? Have it.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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09-09-2011, 02:13 PM (This post was last modified: 09-09-2011 02:22 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Do you walk the talk? If so how? if not, why?
I am confident that reason will prevail sooner or later with or without me. So fuck it. I've got better things to do than be cannon fodder for the last death throes of religion and irrationality. I mean it's in its death throes. Prudent idea is to get the fuck out of the way and let it die of it's own accord. Don't see any reason I need to be in the demolition zone.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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