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Unkind Atheists

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Unkind Atheists

#1 Post by jdc » May 5th, 2009, 2:03 pm

I had someone leave a comment on my blog that included this:
I know you are an atheist( to jdc325) but you should really be more kind to the feelings of the others.
It seems that he/she considers me to be unkind (which may be fair comment), but what surprised me was that they seemed to attribute my perceived unkindness to my being an atheist. Is this a common perception? Is there any evidence that it is true or untrue? Has anyone had similar experiences? Is this the right forum for this thread? So many questions...
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Nirvanam
Posts: 1023
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Re: Unkind Atheists

#2 Post by Nirvanam » May 5th, 2009, 3:04 pm

jdc wrote:I had someone leave a comment on my blog that included this:
I know you are an atheist( to jdc325) but you should really be more kind to the feelings of the others.
It seems that he/she considers me to be unkind (which may be fair comment), but what surprised me was that they seemed to attribute my perceived unkindness to my being an atheist. Is this a common perception? Is there any evidence that it is true or untrue? Has anyone had similar experiences? Is this the right forum for this thread? So many questions...
jdc,
Probably he or she didn't mean that you were unkind to everyone because you were atheist. Just from reading that sentence I think he or she meant that since you are an atheist and you do not believe in religion you should not be unkind to the feelings of religionists...not necessarily everyone else.

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: Unkind Atheists

#3 Post by jdc » May 5th, 2009, 4:26 pm

Thanks for replying Nirvanam. I should have clarified this point - the blog post had nothing at all to do with religion, which is partly why I was so surprised to be criticised for being an unkind atheist. My atheism seemed to me to be utterly irrelevant to the topic being discussed (food supplements being sold as miracle cancer cures over the internet, FWIW).
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Email: 325jdc325 (at) googlemail.com

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grammar king
Posts: 869
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 2:42 am

Re: Unkind Atheists

#4 Post by grammar king » May 5th, 2009, 5:57 pm

I think whoever sent you the comment did mean to equate your atheism with being unkind, it certainly wouldn't be the first time. Several times after doing something nice to a Christian who knows I'm an atheist I've been asked "why do you do good things if you don't believe in God/heaven?"

The inclusion of the word "the others" does muddy the waters a little but even if they are referring specifically to religionists, your atheism still has little to do with it.

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Alan C.
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Unkind Atheists

#5 Post by Alan C. » May 5th, 2009, 6:37 pm

Of course..............Religionists are never unkind to anybody, especially to folk of a different religion.
I sometimes wonder what these folk have between their lugs.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Paolo
Posts: 1474
Joined: September 13th, 2008, 9:15 am

Re: Unkind Atheists

#6 Post by Paolo » May 6th, 2009, 9:10 am

Alan C. wrote:I sometimes wonder what these folk have between their lugs.
The decomposing remnants of a brain that has been decayed by immersion in bullshit for far too long.

Perhaps I'm being unkind...

MedMae
Posts: 167
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 9:46 am

Re: Unkind Atheists

#7 Post by MedMae » May 7th, 2009, 2:16 pm

Paolo wrote: Perhaps I'm being unkind...
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

Lila
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Joined: April 29th, 2009, 9:22 pm

Re: Unkind Atheists

#8 Post by Lila » May 7th, 2009, 9:16 pm

Considering that the blog post had nothing to do with religion at all, then yes, she probably equates atheism with an innate cruelness/immorality. However, if she already believes that, then you pretty much could write poems on how much you love kittens and balloons, and she'd still say you were unkind.
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." Edmund Burke

jdc
Posts: 516
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 9:03 pm

Re: Unkind Atheists

#9 Post by jdc » May 8th, 2009, 5:17 pm

Lila wrote:Considering that the blog post had nothing to do with religion at all, then yes, she probably equates atheism with an innate cruelness/immorality. However, if she already believes that, then you pretty much could write poems on how much you love kittens and balloons, and she'd still say you were unkind.
That's ace Lila. I love the idea of writing poems about how much I love kittens and balloons. Am now seriously tempted to end my next blog post with a poem titled "Ode to a blimp" or somesuch.

Thanks.
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Compassionist
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Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: Unkind Atheists

#10 Post by Compassionist » May 8th, 2009, 10:35 pm

:)

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grammar king
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#11 Post by grammar king » May 9th, 2009, 10:13 am

Compassionist wrote:
grammar king wrote:I think whoever sent you the comment did mean to equate your atheism with being unkind, it certainly wouldn't be the first time. Several times after doing something nice to a Christian who knows I'm an atheist I've been asked "why do you do good things if you don't believe in God/heaven?"

The inclusion of the word "the others" does muddy the waters a little but even if they are referring specifically to religionists, your atheism still has little to do with it.
I agree with you. Religionists can't seem to be able to do good for others without requiring religious approval and heavenly rewards. Perhaps it is because THEY are so selfish (i.e. wanting rewards in the life after death or a better next life in the cycle of reincarnation, as opposed to being truly altruistic) that they find it so hard to think of anyone else being truly altruistic without any desire for rewards in heaven. If you have been to America, you may have seen billboards claiming "Without GOD GOOD is O" which is an excellent summary of the way the theist thinking goes. As far as evidence goes, God is either evil or imaginary! Heaven = Faith + Death. Ironically most religionists cling to life for as long as possible. I would have thought they would be dying to go to heaven a.s.a.p. :) And I won't even begin to quote George Bush Jr. on what he thinks of atheists.
I wouldn't go that far, as a Christian friend on mine said, even demons know God exists. You have to have faith and "act upon it", by which they mean live a good life or spread the gospel message, depends who you ask. But faith is an essential, granted.

Compassionist
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#12 Post by Compassionist » May 9th, 2009, 9:10 pm

:)

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sollythegolly
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#13 Post by sollythegolly » May 9th, 2009, 9:31 pm

It's not really a very surprising reaction, jdc. Frequently, people of a religious persuasion perceive atheists as 'bad people', who are not capable of doing good.

Attitudes like that are brought on by narrow and closed minds. I should just feel a modicum of compassion for the poor person. Perhaps one day they will 'see the light'.
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.........

Compassionist
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#14 Post by Compassionist » May 10th, 2009, 1:26 am

:)

Lila
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#15 Post by Lila » May 10th, 2009, 10:00 am

Compassionist wrote: Unfortunately, most people seem to prefer comforting and self-serving beliefs to evidence and reason and compassion. Hence, we get billboards saying "Without GOD GOOD is O."
O as in the chemical formula for oxygen? :D All Praise Oxygen, for it allows us to breathe!
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." Edmund Burke

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coledavis
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#16 Post by coledavis » May 10th, 2009, 11:39 am

There is a tendency to associate beliefs you don't share (or in this case, lack of them) with coldness. This is especially the case when the cause to be denigrated is a ration one. I have heard similar criticisms made about behaviourists (by freudians and the like).
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Compassionist
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#17 Post by Compassionist » May 10th, 2009, 10:13 pm

:)

Ron Webb
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#18 Post by Ron Webb » May 10th, 2009, 11:07 pm

This is why I avoid the term "atheist" whenever possible. Like it or not, most people associate ethics and morality with religion. If you reject religion, they assume you also reject ethics and morality. On the other hand, the term "humanist" puts the ethical emphasis where it ought to be: on humans, not on God.

Compassionist
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#19 Post by Compassionist » May 10th, 2009, 11:41 pm

:)

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coledavis
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Re: Unkind Atheists

#20 Post by coledavis » May 11th, 2009, 7:31 am

I prefer atheist as I think the compromise encourages woolly ideas such as religion being necessary for decency and compassion. (I should have said rational, rather than ration in my posting by the way - typo.)
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