As an atheist/skeptic/non-believer we’re often made to feel like we’re assholes for stating our views. There is constant pressure on us to just be quiet and stop being “rude” by saying what we think about religion. Now an atheist can be rude or obnoxious or state their views inappropriately. For instance I don’t think a funeral is the place to start a debate about the existence of heaven (unless of course it’s privately and with someone who didn’t know or wasn’t close with the person in the pine box). Logically there’s nothing wrong with it of course and in principle no idea should be off-limits, but a simple cost-benefit analysis reveals that a) you’re probably not going to change their mind and b) you’re going to make someone in a lot of pain feel worse, so I don’t think most atheists would do that. Not for any logical reason, but purely on the grounds of compassion.
An atheist can also be rude in their delivery, ie “omg you moron, you actually believe that”. Being a dick is being a dick no matter what you believe. But we’re admonished to not say what we think even when we’re being very polite and logical. I find myself feeling the need to qualify my remarks all the time, not just to be more logically correct but also to “soften” them for consumption by a religious person. I was just commenting on a blog about the scene with the devil in the movie constantine (very good performance by the way, lucifer was fantastic) and I got a response back along the lines of “yeah the devil really is like that”. I wanted to say “No, he really isn’t. You’d have to exist to be like something and asserting that the devil is like x, y, or z is as ridiculous as asserting that unicorns can run 35 miles per hour. You need proof to claim things like this man, proof I say!”
But instead I said something like “not in my opinion”. And it got me thinking (again) about why is it okay that any religious advocate can state plainly without any qualification or taking into account the beliefs of others or their audience any view (no matter how absurd by the way), and I can’t just say “No, that’s not true”. If I’m being rude by being direct and saying the idea of a god is absurd and unfounded, why isn’t it rude for a religious advocate to be direct and say “there is a god and this is his name and these are his commandments and I’m his best friend and he loves me more than you and you’re going to hell while I’m going to enjoy paradise knowing you’re there”? They’re contradicting my views as much as I’m contradicting theirs, so why is it I’m made to feel I have to qualify my remarks and soften my language and be gentle but religious advocates are never similarly admonished unless they’re crashing funerals or lynching people?
Again I’m not talking about actual rudeness like name calling or insulting each other, just stating one’s view.
If you don’t get what I mean I’ll sum it up:
Religious advocate: There is a god.
Atheist: No there isn’t.
OMG How rude was that atheist just there!
This is also relevant.