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Hey, Evangelical Atheists - Just Shut Up Please

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by KingCheetah, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    Evangelical Reddit Atheists please take note.
    _____

    Hey Atheists, Just Shut Up Please

    A week ago, Salon published a story I wrote about returning to a Creationist museum my parents took me to when I was very young. The article was not mean-spirited or contemptuous; it was mostly about an atheist looking back honestly and nonjudgmentally at his religious past and religious family. I was just trying to talk about Christianity without adopting the tone of offended arrogance that so many non-Christians use when they’re discussing fundamentalists. To be clear: I wasn’t defending Creationists; I just didn’t want to be a giant dick.

    Of course, plenty of other people were willing to be giant dicks. As soon as the piece was published, the comments section erupted in overwrought, hoity-toity, exasperating rhetoric, as people made fun of Creationists for being ignorant and blamed the people I mentioned in the articles for everything evil done in the name of Christianity.

    Here are a few choice quotes:

    “I hear Betty and Barney are especially lifelike in their display.”

    “It is certainly interesting that while George Bush claimed (incorrectly, I believe) they hate us for our freedoms, large swathes of the US population are actually just as primitive in their thinking as the simplest tribesmen in the mountains of Afghanistan and are held there by a wealthy priesthood class who exploit their gullability. [sic]”

    “It's a dangerous thing to show respect to beliefs and ideas that don't deserve it. For example, Christianity. Christianity is not only responsible for the murder of millions of people over the centuries, it's responsible for children being killed by ‘faith-healing’ today.” [He then linked to his website, because why not?]

    Never mind that I wasn’t exposing Christianity or even endorsing it—if you say something as mild as “Hey, here are some Christians practicing their faith; that’s not really a bad thing” you’ll get mobbed by a group of people who are quickly becoming the most annoying demographic on the internet. I speak of a subtype of militant atheists who I’ll call the “Reddit Atheists.” These are the folks who have, ironically, adopted the attitudes of hardcore evangelicals who try to convert strangers on subway platforms—it’s not enough for them that they don’t believe in God, they want to make sure you don’t believe in God either. Just by being themselves, they make the best case against humanism.

    If you want to find out why I call these guys Reddit Atheists, take a brief dip into the atheism subreddit. It is a place entirely defined by bitter, faux-enlightened young people sharing “thought-provoking” images about the horrific evils of religion (in practice, pretty much just Christianity) and congratulating each other for being “enlightened.” The site was originally intended to be a place where people talk about atheistic ideas, but as is Reddit’s depressing trend, it soon devolved into a swampy mess of endless, banal clichés, memes, and general anti-intellectualism. It actually rivals Creationism in terms of having a narrow worldview. They’ve actually had a campaign where they would write “once upon a time” on the first page of every Bible they found in hotels, which is probably the lamest form of vandalism ever.

    Reddit Atheism isn’t about philosophy or even adult conversation; it’s about getting riled up into a frothing-at-the-mouth ideological stupor so you can feel guiltlessly self-righteous for the rest of the day. In all of my trips to r/atheism, I’ve never seen anyone post anything written in a measured tone. If you need more proof, take a look at these fine examples of even-keeled insight. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I don’t think Ludwig Feuerbach would be proud.

    But listen, I totally get it. If I were 15 when r/atheism was around, I’d probably live in this dark corner of the internet. When you hit that phase where you’re just starting to read grown-up stuff and you become convinced everyone else is a moron, it’s really easy to hate organized religion with a passion and assume that people with faith have just failed to think things through. Then you grow up a little bit by becoming more self-aware and maybe getting away from some of the more odious religious people you knew as a kid—eventually, you get to a place where you can hear someone say, “I’ll pray for you” and simply say, “Thank you,” instead of being a total **** about it. That is, unless you end up making a career out of “debating” religious people, a la Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. (By the way, what is more arrogant than assuming someone can be reasoned into abandoning their faith?)

    Defining your life by volatile antitheism—in other words, clinging to something you don’t believe in—isn’t just annoying, it’s actually pretty backward, and, in some cases, culturally malignant. For a demographic that spits a lot of game about equality and mobility, they sure love lording their “intellect” over anyone who dares to think differently. The atheism subreddit gets off on feeling superior to other people; it’s not about ideas or truth, they’d rather thrive on that faux-scholar buzz. That’s why Dawkins is their fire-and-brimstone pin-up boy. That’s why they screencap Facebook updates from their religious “friends” so they can laugh at all the plebeians from their pretty little perch. There’s no respect or pragmatism, just bottomless, never-ending hate.

    At a certain point you have to ask: Has hate ever led to anything progressive? Do the Reddit Atheists actually think they’re changing the world? Judging by their arrogance I wouldn’t doubt it. There’s an effective way to spread knowledge, and this isn’t it. Obviously the r/atheism brotherhood is mostly harmless, but I think I speak for everyone else in the world when I say: Guys, shut the **** up for a second, please. Whatever problem you think you’re solving by your ****ty rage comics and rants, you’re not.

    link
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    What do you mean?

    Evangelism is ass American as apple pie...

    Pay attention to me!
     
  3. Dave_78

    Dave_78 Member

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    I don't even visit reddit but this article was r****ded. How the **** can atheists not come off as arrogant when we are dealing with people who think a talking snake tricked a woman made from a rib into eating fruit from a magic tree?
     
    3 people like this.
  4. dylan

    dylan Contributing Member

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    While I certainly agree that evangelical atheists can be just as irritating and disrespectful as any evangelical group, I think think the author shows a lack of awareness with this sentence. I would imagine that neither Dawkins nor Hitchens have (or had in Hitchens' case) ever gone into a public debate assuming that they will reason the opponent into abandoning their faith. Just like Obama is not going to debate Romney intending to change Romney's mind (and of course vice versa), the debate is intended to educate and convince viewers of the event.
     
  5. Apps

    Apps Member

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    I am not a creationist, I am not religious, I firmly believe in evolution, and even I agree that the people on Reddit are some of the most insufferably arrogant douches on the internet. For a site that lauds itself as being a home of intelligent and reasonable debate, I have gotten into some arguments there (sad, I know) that actually make me cherish this forum.
     
  6. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member
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    Repped with elan.
     
  7. thegreekdbag

    thegreekdbag Member

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    Arrogance in general is disgusting. One of the only characteristics that makes my blood boil. Not one of us is as smart as we think we are. None of us have all of the answers. Arrogant atheists, believers, et cetera are all just as awful.
     
  8. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Don't visit r/atheism.
    There are some rational atheists in that subreddit, but most of them hate religion like ATW and Izakdavid13 despise radical Muslims.

    That being said, atheists wouldn't have to go to extreme lengths of religious people just kept to themselves and stopped trying to convert people to their imaginary sky god. You have a right to believe it, but let others decide for themselves if they want to believe in that or not.

    What's horrible is that kids are subject to religious teachings from their parents--the ultimate and assumed infallible source of credibility for a child--to believe in religion at a young age. Religion lives to this day not because its real, but because its passed down from generation to generation and taught as such a young age that it becomes hardened into a sort of universal truth.

    At the end of the day I'm not asking for religious to be abolished; I'm asking for a laissez faire approach to religion and atheism. Stop forcing others to believe in what you believe and keep to yourself. Thankfully, at least in the Western World, the power for religious figures to exert their influence on everyone has diminished significantly.
     
  9. thegreekdbag

    thegreekdbag Member

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    Some people won't ever stop forcing others to believe in what they believe. They won't ever keep to themselves. They see the other side of the argument as "uneducated" and "moronic". They are very prideful and arrogant. They are "called" to "educate" these "imbeciles".
     
  10. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    Dawkins and Hitchens are the worst representatives of atheism. They rely on condescension and verbal gotchas to rouse audiences that share their particular biases and eliminate the ostensible reason for holding those debates.... dialogue and understanding.

    Dawkins even admits that he's beyond changing religious people's minds and resorts to insults and criticism to embarrass his opposition into repentance.

    Hell, when I think of obnoxious atheist 'Evangelists', I imagine them clutching their God Delusions and God is Not Greats and recite passages verbatim as the ultimate debating trump cards. Later on, with the opposition undeterred, they recite a further passage as if the point was lost to the layman.

    These Apostles will even have a mean streak and will pick up "The Professor's" snide snarkiness... because you know Dawkins was masterful enough to use it on his adversaries while subtly clue you in with a wink and nod...
     
  11. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    I prefer Neil DeGrasse Tyson... as does most of Reddit. :p
     
  12. Apps

    Apps Member

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    The funny thing is, it wasn't even on r/atheism. The whole site in general seems to attract a large number of people who have a hyper-idealized notion of their own intelligence. I'm not saying that I, or really anyone else in the world, am exempt from that folly either, but it just seems to be extra hypocritical given how many pats-on-the-back those guys are always giving each other/themselves. I guess I was only so taken aback because the site was painted to me as this haven of intellectualism, when it seems like little more than another internet circle-jerk of one-upism, made-up stories, and mob-mentality. :confused:

    ...and frankly, you can get that anywhere on the internet. That said, I treat the site like a zoo now. Fun to watch the exhibits, but not so fun to jump into the cage.
     
  13. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    We don't have centuries worth of heavily edited literature, contrived, well-funded bureaucracies or government-sanctioned tributes as you guys do; so I think we can be pardoned a little extra impassioned discourse.
     
  14. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    "WE HAVE TO BE ARROGANT BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID!!"

    lol

    By now I've learned that everyone who is unpromptedly and vigilantly trying to convert you to one part of their overall ideology is generally arrogant, regardless of which ideology they follow, even if they don't call it an ideology.

    IMO only shocking experiences can correct arrogance after a certain age.
     
  15. CourtOfDreams

    CourtOfDreams Member

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    I am agnostic, I have never met a person agnostic/atheistic, that has tried to "convert" someone of a faith to their way of thinking, without being asked about "what they believe in" and "why". When that question does come up, I personally, have been very understanding of the reasons org. religion has benefits on a society as a whole(I was raised a Pentecostal Christian) .
    But I am almost 30 (kinda old I know), don't do the "reddit" or "facebook" so maybe I am less/more jaded/naive to the goings on of what is going on.

    It would suck to have a Christian/Jew/Muslim/Atheist tell me I am wrong. That is why I don't open my mouth about such subjects unless asked about, in a situation I feel comfortable sharing such personally info.(I guess you guys are that situation)

    I don't post in the DD much and I know everyone here is an "intellectual", so please don't judge me for my bad punctuation and grammar.
     
  16. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    No problems with your post, but I'm curious on how you describe an intellectual.

    I saw someone say the same thing in another thread and I want to know what it means to different people.
     
  17. Brandyon

    Brandyon Member

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    People confuse religion, with the general sense of "I'm right because the leap in logic I chose to accept assures me that I'm right," that many organized religions perpetuate.

    In reality, its simply groups of individuals who's ego have become so overconfident, they become something we are calling "Evangelical" here. It's the point where people become confident in something we have no proven answer to. I'll address both the atheists, and the religious.

    The problem with these evangelical atheists is that they start off well, and then screw it up. Our understanding of this world is developing faster than it ever has, but that doesn't mean that we don't quickly face the unknown in life. It's become commonplace for people to simple apply Occam's razor from here, and go on thinking that they have found the best available answer. Only the fact is that it isn't an answer. Making fewer assumptions validates NOTHING. The theory of relativity could be undone with one significant breakthrough that we can't be certain does or doesn't exist.

    Evangelical theists are piled on ad nauseum, so I won't go on about em. I only wish that more would realize that faith is by definition a conscious leap in logic to explain the otherwise illogical. It is therefore, by definition, a theory. Faith, not truth.

    Theist, atheist, agnostic... whatever. Individuals on bother sides just need to stop forcing leaps of logic they chose to accept on one another. When these things get put aside, people can actually work together on issues that actually are truths like overpopulation, erosion of topsoil, famine, poverty, etc...
     
  18. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    Militant-ism is a standard response to oppression.
     
  19. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Sounds pretty spot on . . .and this thread seems to prove as much . . .

    Serious Questions: What exactly do Atheist beleive? or Is it all based on what they DON'T BELIEVE?

    Rocket River
     
  20. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost clean your room bucko
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    r/atheism's content is really lame. I went there for a while hoping to find papers, lectures, book reviews, etc. But it's basically a hovel of people trying to make themselves feel better about the crappy situation in life that is being an atheist amongst a whole f***ton of religious people. It really is the ultimate circlejerk, and for reddit, that's saying something. But people, especially the downtrodden, need that. The a**holes, well, they're everywhere, and people are not less persuaded to being one if they feel they're being shat on.

    As for the author, that's a pretty epic troll job. Kick the hornets nest of the internet to generate traffic. Brilliant. I'm sure it is working like a charm. Hell, it even found its way to our little corner of the internets. Moar ad clicks for the ad god.

    My feelings on the content can be summed up by the following...

    Here's why people are a**holes about religion:

    Here's why the author wrote this article:

     

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