Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
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18-09-2016, 05:25 AM
Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
Hi everyone, I'm new on this forum and actually did not expect I would ever have reason to post something. I am an atheist living in Belgium, which is a very secular country (one of the few where you can legally get euthanasia), so I never experienced being an atheist as something special. I am your typical armchair atheist and armchair skeptic and besides trying to inform anti-vaxxers (I'm a physician) I don't really engage people. I assumed that most of my friends were also atheists.

I was very surprised then by two episodes of discussions I had with good friends of mine. In one instance I declared that religiosity would be a deal breaker for me in a romantic relationship. My secular friends were quite shocked, saying that I was being unreasonable and intolerant. Even though they were not religious, they still seemed to take offence to my statement, which I still don't understand.

Another instance happende just yesterday at a birthday party of another good friend. We were discussing morality and right and wrong. One of my friends is a buddhist and I questioned the need to subject to and worship a person (because he agreed that the Buddha is not a god). I merely stated that to me even the highest guru or monk was still just a fallible human. While the entire discussion was very civil, I could feel that my friend was offended, and the other friends listening all came to his aid. It quickly turned into a "science is also a religion" and "science can also be evil" kind of argument, which even another scientist agreed to. At no point did I say that buddhism or other religions are evil, but I did question their morality and promoted skeptical thinking. While we were laughing and joking about christianity before, suddenly they were defending all religion against science. It was weird, because I didn't even bring up science as an argument.

I am so baffled by the offence that was taken to my statement and questioning that I actually feel guilty for having said them. I started questioning myself, if whether I might have been too rude or too harsh at some point. I have also subscribed to TTA at Facebook, but I don't dare to post there because then my friends might be able to see it.

If i get this kind of reactions in a very secular country, where religion really doesn't play such an important role in day to day life, I can only imagine what it would be like in countries like the USA.

Anyway, your thoughts are very welcome and thanks a lot for reading!
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18-09-2016, 06:52 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
By definition, your statement is a prejudice. That's probably it. I feel the same way, but it's still a prejudice.

In related news, if you hate Gwyneth Paltrow, we cannot be friends. Yeah, it's just one of those things...

Makes me think perhaps you're just too honest? There are things, lines, if you will, that must not be crossed; things that must not be spoken of; not because of censorship, nor the conception that "faith is sacred," beyond debate, but because of context.

The simplicity of the statement "I ain't interested in a faith-head" still speaks of a conclusion not justified by observation. When love finds you, you're either gonna deal or you're gonna suffer. I mean, my god's a total whack job....

Avoid such sweeping generalizations in the future, is my advice. Wink

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18-09-2016, 06:56 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
Hello! Big Grin

Hug
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18-09-2016, 07:27 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
(18-09-2016 06:52 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  By definition, your statement is a prejudice. That's probably it. I feel the same way, but it's still a prejudice.

In related news, if you hate Gwyneth Paltrow, we cannot be friends. Yeah, it's just one of those things...

Makes me think perhaps you're just too honest? There are things, lines, if you will, that must not be crossed; things that must not be spoken of; not because of censorship, nor the conception that "faith is sacred," beyond debate, but because of context.

The simplicity of the statement "I ain't interested in a faith-head" still speaks of a conclusion not justified by observation. When love finds you, you're either gonna deal or you're gonna suffer. I mean, my god's a total whack job....

Avoid such sweeping generalizations in the future, is my advice. Wink

Thanks for responding!

I can see how you could come to the conclusion that me thinking religiosity is a deal breaker is a prejudice. I haven't looked at it that way before, so it's interesting to consider this point of view. However, when my friends say that crooked teeth, living too far from their city or being a soccer-nut are their deal breakers, I don't see why mine is worse, except maybe religion is just more off limits?

Thanks again for your response, I shall chew on your comment for a bit longer. Smile

@ Peebothuhul: thanks for the hug! Smile
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18-09-2016, 07:45 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
(18-09-2016 07:27 AM)Ankeltje86 Wrote:  I haven't looked at it that way before, so it's interesting to consider this point of view. However, when my friends say that crooked teeth, living too far from their city or being a soccer-nut are their deal breakers, I don't see why mine is worse, except maybe religion is just more off limits?

Tradition is a bitch. Social tradition is that we do not question the faith of another. Hopefully in the future such ignorance will be paved over; however, that future is not today. Undecided

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18-09-2016, 07:51 AM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2016 07:55 AM by Zeff.)
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
Prejudice implies something negative or unbalanced opinion...
noun
1.
preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
"English prejudice against foreigners"
synonyms: preconceived idea, preconception, preconceived notion; prejudgement
"male prejudices about women"
2.
LAW
harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement.
"prejudice resulting from delay in the institution of the proceedings"
synonyms: detriment, harm, disadvantage, damage, injury, hurt, impairment, loss
"without prejudice to the interests of other countries"
verb
1.
give rise to prejudice in (someone); make biased.
"the statement might prejudice the jury"
synonyms: bias, influence, sway, predispose, make biased, make partial, make partisan, colour, poison, jaundice, warp, twist, slant, distort; rareprepossess
"it was felt that the article would prejudice the jury"
2.
LAW
cause harm to (a state of affairs).
"delay is likely to prejudice the child's welfare"
synonyms: damage, be detrimental to, be prejudicial to, be disadvantageous to, injure, harm, hurt, mar, spoil, impair, undermine, be deleterious to, hinder, compromise, drive a nail into the coffin of
"this could prejudice his chances of victory in the November election"

So, I see no proof of prejudice. It would be wrong to discriminate against people but in personal relationships it makes perfect sense to disbar people whose views or behavior prevent being so close. It seems to me that prejudice is a mis-characterization.

As for not crossing lines, people naturally get defensive when they think they have something wrong (like a firm, long-held opinion) that is threatened. Challenging beliefs seems perfectly healthy to me. It depends on whether one wishes to be liked or be frank. Some people think avoiding expressing a point of view is nice, others value candor more so I find it depends on the personalities involved and what (if any) is the aim of the conversation. Reticence isn't nice if the honest aim is to find out someone's views, whether they feel offended by a question or not. People are sometimes offended by the wrong things....
http://65.media.tumblr.com/cc7ad289cd413...o1_500.jpg
as they may only notice if someone is 'brave' enough to suggest. Reactions and relationships can be managed with the 'right' manner and approach too, of course.
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18-09-2016, 08:00 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
My first and third wives were believers. They knew I was atheistic before we started dating, so there was no "big reveal" there. And in both cases we lived in a politely neutral household.
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18-09-2016, 09:31 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
I see nothing that could offend reasonable person in what you said.

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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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18-09-2016, 10:29 AM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2016 10:33 AM by cactus.)
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
I wouldn't want to be married to a person who had any hesitations about me being an atheist, or felt sorry for me in any way because of it. If a person met those criteria, but still believed in some vague deism or whatever, I wouldn't really mind too much.

However, if this person reserved any space in their mind for the possibility that the doctrine of hell is a real thing, that would be an absolute deal breaker for me. No one can both love their atheist friends as they are, and simultaneously believe that non-believers will be punished for eternity. Anyone who claims that they can is either lying about how convinced they really are, or lying about how much they care about you.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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18-09-2016, 10:52 AM
RE: Surprised by offence taken by expressing an atheist/skeptic view
Greetings, Ankeltje.

Sometimes it is not what one says but the way that one says it! It is possible to make a preference sound like a prejudice.

With regards to science: science has no morals, it is only the practioners and those who apply it that posses those. The same investigations gave us poisons that both kill and cure, nuclear weapons and nuclear medicine etc. etc. etc.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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