Coddling Religious Folk.

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.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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14 Responses to Coddling Religious Folk.

  1. Thank you, perfect. 

  2. whyzat says:

    I don’t usually mention it because Christians tend to be thin skinned about their christianity, and I don’t like to argue. Sometimes I just give them a “that’s ridiculous,” look.

  3. “There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.” —Daniel Dennet

  4. Ro_ad808 says:

    “Being a dick is being a dick no matter what you believe.”  So true- even Christians can be dicks.   Though I believe, I’m way to gray for most other Christians and am quick to recognize the hypocritical/non-questioning element of faith.  It’s not just Christians though- liberals, conservatives, religious, atheist- any group based around an ideology is quick to take offense to questioning the zeitgeist.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we would be more civil?

  5. locomotiv says:

    religions to me don’t make sense…the fact that they have so many followers boggles my mind..that is why sometimes i say things that would sound rude about them..like why does the pope still exist nowadays ?or are atheists more intelligent than religious people…?or why are so many priests accused of horrible things with children..or how can we say that God exist when we know it does not make sense…or how is it possible to prove something that we know cannot be proven…or how come the pope is so rich and pretends he’s not…or how can so many people just follow because the others follow the sheep dog…that is the pope….

  6. You are not an asshole for stating your atheist views.  You ARE an asshole for embedding autoplay in your page.

  7. If there actually is a devil and he’s anything like the Lucifer portrayed in Constantine, I would hang out with him as often as possible.

  8. I don’t think I do that to my atheist friends, at least I hope I don’t. But I also find myself censoring what I would say if I’m in the presence of atheist friends as opposed to christian friends. Because I think “oh, they’ll think i’m weird, or stupid, or trying to convert them, so I’ll just…not…say what I’m really thinking.” So I think it’s a two-way street. I personally enjoy it when an opinion is stated that doesn’t fit in with everyone else’s, keeps things lively.

  9. SKANLYN says:

    God is absurd and unfounded? Where do you think you came from? Who do you think made this world? Surely you can’t be one of those kooks who thinks a monkey learned to shave one day and suddenly there were humans. And surely you can’t believe that nothingness blew up one day and became the universe. Talk about absurd and unfounded.

  10. Urban_Peril says:

    I woke up this morning and the sun was shining.

  11. Well I think it’s human nature… to get mad at or be offended at something we don’t believe in or that contradicts our own beliefs. It’s only people who don’t care about religion at all where it doesn’t bother them.. Like they aren’t on either side of the fence.. They are just lax about it lol or it doesnt cross their mind lol xD For instance if somebody was totally against anything God, if some random person brought it up they may be annoyed and if somebody was totally in love with God or was very religious they would feel that it’s wrong somebody’s not believing in Godso I think it just “bothers” people to hear something contradict their own beliefs, I thinkt hat’s human nature XD

  12. I admit, I skim read this, but the first three lines are what got me and what I’m replying to. I feel the same way about Christians, myself included. ARGH! Can’t we all just talk honestly with no judgment and no malice regardless of any belief, religious or other. People want to share things, I want to listen. I want to share things, I want to be listened to. Makes it hard when Christians, non-Christians and any other person is rude or obnoxious.
    I feel very hesitant at times to share my opinions because I know people will likely be hostile. I just have to say the word Christian or God and I can get a hostile response. But if anyone says the word atheist or whatever, I’m like cool, tell me more.

Speak yer mind.

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