Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-09-2015, 07:33 AM
Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
How should we frame the discussions of people becoming atheist? It is very important that we NOT frame this in the way that the religious would like it framed.

We need to stop saying that someone "lost their religion."

This is the way that religious groups want their members to see it. They want their members to believe that if they stray from following the religion, that they are losing something. This is particularly powerful to people who are in the religion, but have doubts. Doubters may find the job of holding on to their beliefs to be a big struggle. As you already know, you can't force your self to believe something. So these people have a palpable fear of losing something.

But they don't lose anything. They gain .... something.

If Joe was addicted to cocaine, and then got over the addiction, we would not say "Joe lost his addiction to cocaine." (Maybe if we look around a bit we can help him get it back!) Instead, he recovered from the addiction. But in the case of religion, many people always were religious, so "recovery" is a tricky word.

We might say "Joe is free of his addiction" and we might use the same when talking about people who are free of their religion. e.g. "I gained my freedom from religion when I was xx years old."

We might say that someone "grew out of their religion" which would frame the whole discussion that religion is a step in gaining true consciousness. You don't really gain an understanding of the universe until you move beyond religion. Is that pretentious? I don't know.

Maybe someone "finally let go of religion". As if it was something you cling to even when you know it is not true. Describing it this way might really encourage those on the edge to take the step in the way that "losing something" never will.

One thing I know is we need to stop describing new atheists as people who have recently "lost their religion". It is very negative, particularly to the faithful. It is what the preachers would like us to say. Instead, it needs to be described in a positive, inviting way; one that recognizes the internal and external struggle you have to go through, and the triumph over those. Nothing is lost, and everything is gained.

I had a discussion on this topic with Seth Andrews when he was in San Jose, and unsurprisingly he agrees. He says he has stopped using the term "losing religion" however he did not have a definitive suggestion of what to use in its place. I don't think we have a consensus in the atheist community about how to describe this appropriately.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 10:07 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Welcome, friend, to TTA.

Gained ... freedom.

Simple really.

Thumbsup

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes DLJ's post
12-09-2015, 10:13 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Welcome!

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 10:14 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Good points.

There are, though, a few contexts where losing is positive, such as weight.

I like the term shedding, since religion is so constrictive.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 10:23 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Interesting.

Whenever I hear "we should," the stupid brain goes, "hell, no." So, there's that. Undecided

Welcome. Seth has about fuck-all to do with this forum, by the way. Wink

living word
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 10:50 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
(12-09-2015 10:23 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Interesting.

Whenever I hear "we should," the stupid brain goes, "hell, no." So, there's that. Undecided

Welcome. Seth has about fuck-all to do with this forum, by the way. Wink

...but Gwyneth Paltrow drops by every once in awhile... Laugh out load No

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes jennybee's post
12-09-2015, 10:55 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
(12-09-2015 10:50 AM)jennybee Wrote:  
(12-09-2015 10:23 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Interesting.

Whenever I hear "we should," the stupid brain goes, "hell, no." So, there's that. Undecided

Welcome. Seth has about fuck-all to do with this forum, by the way. Wink

...but Gwyneth Paltrow drops by every once in awhile... Laugh out load No

Angel

I don't know anything about all that.

living word
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes houseofcantor's post
12-09-2015, 11:21 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Welcome,
I don't think I've ever used the term "lost their religion". I think mostly I'll just say a person stopped believing.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 11:33 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
"we should" means "if we are smart we will do this". I am making a big assumption about motivations. Maybe it would be better if I clarified: Those people who are part of the New Atheism movement, and have invested time and effort into it, are not being as effective when they frame the discussion the way the other side wants it.

Damn! I can't really say it without using "should".

It feels like a commandment, but I am trying to say it would be really really smart to frame the discussion our own way.

"I gained my freedom" is simple and direct. However, it sounds trite somehow to me. It would be nice if we could find a way to make it seem to not just breaking away, but a step up at the same time.

"Stopped believing" is a good one. Neutral.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-09-2015, 11:39 AM
RE: Framing the Discussion of becoming an Atheist
Reads like you're an activist looking for a group. This place is more of a chaotic collision. I'm not trying to discourage discussion, I'm just calling it like I see it. As for myself I live in a virtual atheist wonderland, I don't run into many religionists or recovering religionists. Most everybody I know and meet through my circle are all flaming A. Wink

living word
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: