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Militant Atheists

July 3, 2009

Militant Atheist
-noun

  1. an atheist who opens their mouth.

Atheists are often criticized for being militant. I really don’t think the theists calling us militant really understand what a religious militant is. For example:

Militant Muslimwtc attack

This is a militant Muslim. Notice the large weapon with a high firing rate, mask, and serious amount of ammunition? Not to mention his buddy with the RPG behind him. Also notice the twin towers after having two passenger jets slammed into them.

Militant ChristianOklahoma City Bombing

This is a militant Christian. Notice the FBI building blown to shreds?

militant-atheist-2

militant-atheist-blog

Now for the worst of them all, a militant atheist! These terrible monsters go around blogging about religion and the separation of church and state! Notice all of the carnage and blood and clearly militant actions?! Yeah, me neither.

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62 Comments
  1. July 3, 2009 7:34 am

    Jee, who’s that last guy, he looks like a right tree-hugger…

    • July 3, 2009 11:26 am

      :P

  2. Doug Indeap permalink
    July 3, 2009 9:34 am

    Good point, well put.

  3. July 3, 2009 11:42 am

    I don’t know, that blog looks like it just might erode my morals and make me go out and do terrible things to people.

  4. Mark permalink
    July 4, 2009 9:35 pm

    Very good points made via the pics. Sometimes pics say it best, at least for me.
    Kidding aside, that was a well constructed argument.

  5. Schevus permalink
    July 5, 2009 11:41 am

    I find your lack of proper formatting disturbing..

    – Schev

    • July 5, 2009 2:44 pm

      eh?

      • Schevus permalink
        July 5, 2009 9:40 pm

        The last pic in your post is too large

        • July 5, 2009 9:48 pm

          Oh right, whatevs..

        • S.S. permalink
          August 10, 2009 7:54 am

          You know … that makes you a communist reptilian I think. I hear they’re REALLY millitant and often lack proper formatting.

  6. godlesspaladin permalink
    July 6, 2009 12:07 am

    The first 2 guys look like kittens compared to the evil monster in the last one! ^_~

  7. duhsciple permalink
    July 7, 2009 4:30 pm

    The bottom photograph should be a picture of Stalin the Militant Atheist.

    You compared the “worst” of two faith traditions with the “best” of the atheist tradition :)

    And that’s not fair ;)

    • July 7, 2009 5:08 pm

      I was using these images to illustrate that what people like to call a militant atheist is not actually a militant at all. There is a stark difference between a blogger and a bomber.

      BTW: Stalin would better be called a militant anti-theist. There is a vast difference between not having a religion and being opposed to religion. Not to say that I’m not an anti-theist, I am, but I’m not a militant anti-theist either.

      Also thanks for saying I’m the best! Flattery will get you everywhere.

  8. duhsciple permalink
    July 7, 2009 6:53 pm

    Mr. Fragment,

    I agree that we (people of faith) unfairly label public atheists with the label “militant”. That, to me, indicates a lack of trust on our part. We are not confident enough for others to disagree or challenge what we believe.

    I hope you understand that I was both trying to be funny and genuinely complimenting you by suggesting a change of photo at the bottom.

    My serious point for everyone no matter what faith, non-faith, or anti-faith position we take is that we not compare our “best” arguments with the “worst” arguments of those we are challenging or debating or disagreeing with.

    And, for further thought, is there ever a time when the word “militant” is a positive word? Are there things worth being “militant” for? How can one be “militant” in a way that does not do violence or harm to another? I hope that I am “militant” for a Way that loves friend, foe, and creation for the advancing of life for all. Unfortunately, I often fall short of this.

    Thanks for the conversation. Peace, salaam, shalom.

    • July 7, 2009 8:33 pm

      Please, call me Sisyphus.
      I understood and agree with your points. However, I would suggest calling yourself passionate instead of militant. Redefining terms muddies up the conversation, don’t you think?

    • S.S. permalink
      August 10, 2009 8:07 am

      Let us viait one of my favorite books (which, in my opinion, should be left in every motel and hotel room):

      La Dictionaire —

      Militant: Fighting or warring. 2. Having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause. –mil·i·tant n. A fighting, warring, or aggressive person or party.

      In comparison:

      Passionate: 1. Capable of, having, or dominated by powerful emotions. 2. Wrathful by temperament; choleric. 3. Marked by strong sexual desire; amorous or lustful. 4. Showing or expressing strong emotion; ardent. 5. Arising from or marked by passion.

      So let’s go with passionate #1 and leave out militant altogether. Anything taken to the extreme is rarely good because even extreme passion, I surmise, becomes militant.

      It seriously concerns me to see religions people, christians in particular, going about saying they’re ‘warriors for god’ or ‘taking the sword up for god/truth’. Even more concerning are the “spiritual leaders” fanning the flames of these extremist ‘god-warriors’.

      Then again, what I’ve described could be christine, muslim or fill in the blank __________________.

      And if you doubt the definition of militant just take a gander at thesaurus:

      • extremist
      • fanatic
      • radical
      • rebel
      • revolutionary
      • zealot
      • combatant
      • belligerent
      • brawler
      • fighter
      • soldier
      • warrior
      • contender
      • legionnaire
      • quarrelsome
      • combative
      • aggressive
      • litigious
      • pugnacious
      • truculent
      • bellicose
      • belligerent
      • combative
      • hawkish
      • pugnacious

      Are most of these really the concepts religious people want associated with them? If so, those picutres above speak a thousand words as to where it will likely lead them …

      • duhsciple permalink
        August 10, 2009 6:31 pm

        Poor in Spirit
        Peacemaker
        Merciful
        Humble
        Willing to suffer for what is right
        Enemy Lover
        Non-violent resister against evil
        Passionate (willing to suffer for peace)
        Opposite of apathetic (unwilling to suffer for peace)
        Table fellowship with the outcast, the despised, the leper
        Willing to endure cross, but never to inflict cross

  9. July 8, 2009 7:00 am

    “Mr.Fragment -”
    “Please, call me Sisyphus.”

    ROFLMAO

  10. July 8, 2009 7:55 am

    Stalin was a militant Communist. The fact that he was an atheist is incidental. Communism is equivalent to a religion for most practical purposes.

    • atheistwar permalink
      July 8, 2009 8:52 am

      I read your blog post on this subject. I can’t say it’s an original thought, hardly anything ever is but it is clearly written. For the sake of argument, in the same manner, the fact that Hitler was a Christian would be incidental then. So why do a large percentage of militant atheists insist on impugning Christianity. Not saying that you do but if you do, why the double standard?

      • July 8, 2009 4:26 pm

        in the same manner, the fact that Hitler was a Christian would be incidental then.

        Not so. Christianity is a belief in a specific set of myths and values and therefore implies commonalities among those who identify with it. Atheism is merely the absence of a specific belief and implies no such commonalities. The two cases are not analogous. I made this distinction fairly clear in the linked posting.

    • Rob permalink
      July 9, 2009 12:34 pm

      Instead of redefining terms and making Communism out to be a pseudo-religion, we need to identify the root of the problem, common to Christianity and Islam, Communism and Fascism. That problem is a dogmatic, black and white sort of world view. When people allow the dogmatic tenets of their particular belief structure, be it religious or secular, to override their common sense, we see this militancy arise. This is, however, not to give a free pass to religion, Communism, Nazism, or any of them. There are certainly belief systems that promote these destructive patterns of thought and behavior far more efficiently than others, and this needs to be recognized and dealt with properly.

    • August 6, 2009 5:03 am

      You mean like capitalism? Now THERE are some irrational nut-jobs.

  11. atheistwar permalink
    July 8, 2009 8:37 am

    The definition of militant in relation to it’s use as an adjective fits some atheists correctly in my opinion.

    “Having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause” – American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

    “aggressively active (as in a cause)” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    You don’t actually have to go around physically attacking or killing people in order to be “militant” about something.

    • Ray permalink
      July 8, 2009 11:05 am

      I think you’ll find that people tend to become “militant” (according to the “non-physically-attacking” definition) at some point in any debate when their opponents continually employ exasparating non-sequitures. You can observe this in any discussion, whether it’s about mundane personal stuff, politics or “theism vs. atheism”. When you speak to people and most of the reaction is completely irrational, there’s a good chance of you getting more aggressive and combative in your own argumentation. This is nothing specific to atheists; everyone does it. It’s just that for many theists, it’s a lot more convenient to call their opponents “militant” in order to discredit them (usually when theists run out of arguments), than to remain civil and proceed with logic and evidence.

      It’s a really inexpensive (as in cheap) way to react when confronted with uncomfortable facts.

      It doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve heard refreshingly sophisticated theologians who don’t resort to this cheap trick; when a debate has really reached a dead end, they will politely agree to disagree with their opponent, without stooping to low blows.

      • atheistwar permalink
        July 8, 2009 2:06 pm

        I don’t disagree that non-atheists can be militant in expressing their views and being proponents. I was just countering the argument that employed a narrowing of the definition in order to exclude atheists as a group, per the perspective of the atheist.

        You state, “It’s just that for many theists, it’s a lot more convenient to call their opponents “militant” in order to discredit them (usually when theists run out of arguments), than to remain civil and proceed with logic and evidence.”

        I would say that from my experience it’s the exact opposite and say that for many atheists, it’s not only convenient at some point in the debate, it’s normally the starting point.

    • S.S. permalink
      August 10, 2009 8:18 am

      Interesting. I have never had an atheist come knocking at my door, flyers in hand, trying to enlighten me. Nor have I driven by a house or business sporting a billboard with messages to not find god or how no belief is the one and only true way; that Carl Sagan gave his life for me and I should show my gratefulness by giving money to my favorite athiest organization.

      I my experience, Atheists remain silte until pushed to respond. Such as hearing and reading constantly how this is a nation founded by christians and in christian beliefs. Or that the founding fathers were all good, god-fearing christians.

      Athiests usually don’t let these un-truths (okay, lies) go unchallenged and it is after they rise up and object that they are labeled ‘militant’ and if push comes to shove they will stand their ground not because they are being combative but resolute in not letting a repeated lie mask itself as truth.

      There is a saying: Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

      Washington never chopped down a cherry tree and Columbus wasn’t a very nice man and the earth is not flat …

    • Rishel permalink
      November 4, 2009 10:58 pm

      Having grown up Christian, I just have to say something. I think it’s ridiculous and illogical for anyone to think, much less believe, that atheists are a real problem in this world of so many problems. I think it’s very easy to see why many don’t believe in a higher power, when so much heartache, abuse, violence and destruction exists everywhere on a personal level. It’s very difficult to believe that Our Father would want this for His children, let them endure it, and judge them harshly for finding some solace and happiness among the garbage. If that’s the God you love, you deserve it. I love God very much. I would never suffer on purpose, or teach my children to do so.

      We know what we’re doing isn’t right, because it doesn’t feel good. Why would our Father want us to be miserable? Some level of hedonism is not terrible, but necessary to the happiness of not just your mind and body but your very soul. So, it is a destructive act to deny yourself pleasure and happiness in the name of God. When I hear people say they will suffer for their God, I think, “Wow. How misled.” That’s like saying you have to suffer for your Dad.

      The ONLY headaches I’ve experienced from religious zealots, militants, fundamentalists, etc. has been from Christians. From interrupting my family’s meal at a restaurant (so long our food is cold and the establishment closed), to ringing my doorbell at 6am without cease until we answered the door and proceeding to tell us we’re going to Hell. I do believe somewhere in their Holy Scriptures it plainly tells it’s sheep not to judge, lest they be judged… always the most overlooked lesson.

      In my experience, and I’m no youngster, there are no Pagan door-to-door schemes to sell magazines warning us about the end of the world. There are no atheists motivated to ride bicycles in black pants and white, button-down shirts, and the gayest helmets EVER to tell you the good news recorded on secret, golden plates that no one has ever seen and are written in Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics– a language entirely unknown to exist aside from these plates. I’ve never been to a synagogue where they made me leave because I wasn’t wearing my Sunday best or excommunicated people for being gay. No war was ever fought in the name of Wicca (though millions were erroneously tortured in creatively devious ways, molested, raped, sodomized, and burned alive by so-called Christians purging witchcraft– but they were really just taking land and money from single or widowed women and people who were different while trying to present a legal pretense to do so.) So, where is all the hate-mongering coming from? Atheists, you say? I have to go laugh, now.

    • Rishel permalink
      November 4, 2009 11:08 pm

      By the way, if you go to someone else’s personal website, and proceed to post arguments on said website against that person’s beliefs, which of you is displaying acts of militancy?

  12. Ray permalink
    July 8, 2009 6:31 pm

    I would say that from my experience it’s the exact opposite and say that for many atheists, it’s not only convenient at some point in the debate, it’s normally the starting point.

    Remember that atheists have individual personalities and, therefore, different capacities for patience, varying personal ways of behaviour, different levels of knowledge, etc. So there’s nothing that prevents an atheist from being an asshole who goes into battle mode fore the sake of going into battle mode. But, this applies to any other group, too, which neutralizes your observation and as such doesn’t say anything useful about atheists in particular.

    Apart from that, the other obvious explanation for many atheists’ seemingly “aggressive” style is that they have to deal with a whole bag of irrational assumptions and claims that theists hold, right from the beginning. Theists often don’t understand that the burden of proof lies with them. Atheists are acutely aware that for this reason, the conversation/discussion/debate does not have a balanced basis. So we tend to cut to the chase immediately in a very focused way, as a neccessary method of plowing through the opponent’s load of obscure assumptions (that we’ve encountered a thousand times before and most of which have been debunked long ago). I understand that this display of unapologetic impatience with myths and unsubstantiated claims may come across as “militant”, especially to someone who’s used to living in a vacuum where their views about reality are usually never challenged in such a manner.

    • atheistwar permalink
      July 9, 2009 9:12 am

      “But, this applies to any other group, too, which neutralizes your observation and as such doesn’t say anything useful about atheists in particular.”

      That would then also apply to the original observation that you made, since my personal observation was simply the same but about a different “many”.

      “Apart from that, the other obvious explanation for many atheists’ seemingly “aggressive” style is that they have to deal with a whole bag of irrational assumptions and claims that theists hold, right from the beginning.”

      That’s no different than the viewpoint from the other perspective. Which in my opinion is still a rationalization to be belligerent.

      “Theists often don’t understand that the burden of proof lies with them. Atheists are acutely aware that for this reason, the conversation/discussion/debate does not have a balanced basis.”

      Even if generally true the majority of time, I fail to see how that logically justifies shedding the norms of civil discourse.

      “(that we’ve encountered a thousand times before and most of which have been debunked long ago).”

      Based on “your” judgement. My experience on the exchange of ideas with others is a pattern of debunking the debunks and having to correct the mischaracterizations that others believe to be accurate. We have to remember that people continue to be born and new people reach a level in their life where they want to debate and give their point of view on a variety of matters for a variety of reasons.

      “I understand that this display of unapologetic impatience with myths and unsubstantiated claims may come across as “militant”, especially to someone who’s used to living in a vacuum where their views about reality are usually never challenged in such a manner.”

      From my experience I would say that the difficulty in being challenged is not by others ‘cutting to the chase’, it’s in the vitriol that accompanies it. There are different ways people express it during debates, whether on the internet or in some other forum. Some simply use abusive and vulgar language while others have turned it into an art form by hiding their barrage of insults through indirect means. It’s a cheap trick to start off any debate by declaring an opponents ideas as being unintelligent, insane and unethical to hold. Nevertheless it’s unfortunately one of many tactics that are standard operating procedure that people will have to deal with and adapt.

      • Ray permalink
        July 9, 2009 10:34 am

        To clarify: I agree that “shedding the norms of civil discourse” (which is one interpretation or form of being militant), as you put it, is unhelpful and childish. I already stated that I don’t condone that. Of course it’s silly if some atheists approach religious people as if they were automatically stupid and unethical.

        But I was trying to explain that theists often use a second interpretation of atheists being “militant”, i.e. when atheists confront them with uncomfortable points.

        “Apart from that, the other obvious explanation for many atheists’ seemingly “aggressive” style is that they have to deal with a whole bag of irrational assumptions and claims that theists hold, right from the beginning.”

        That’s no different than the viewpoint from the other perspective. Which in my opinion is still a rationalization to be belligerent.

        I would say it is different: Theism comes with a bunch of assumptions that it can’t prove to others. Atheism does not, for the simple reason that it’s characterized by a lack of supernatural beliefs (and a belief is an unprovable assumption that one clings to). Rather, its approach is one of open questioning and a good dose of healthy skepticism when it comes to the type of claims theists make. This is clearly not the same as being armed with specific assumptions. Theists who are convinced of the truth of their claims usually don’t see this discrepancy and therefore might wonder why atheists are so adamant about clearing up these assumptions in order to actually get the conversation onto an equal footing first. Only from there can one go on in any meaningful manner.

        To use a classic analogy I’m sure you’ve come across before: If someone wanted to talk to you about the nature of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and its plans for the world, you’d be in the exact same boat. Isn’t it likely that you’d get pretty terse after a while if the Unicorn follower consistently couldn’t produce any convincing evidence that it even exists and would confront you with a complex construct of claims that only apparently verify each other in a circular way but are not verifiable objectively? You have to understand that while this example might seem ridiculous and exaggerated to you, it’s the exact same situation we find ourselves in.

        I guess this is a major problem in other areas of discourse, too. It’s difficult to step outside the worldview one takes for granted and to realize that, objectively, other people have no imperative to take yours for granted.

        • atheistwar permalink
          July 9, 2009 4:19 pm

          “But I was trying to explain that theists often use a second interpretation of atheists being “militant”, i.e. when atheists confront them with uncomfortable points.”

          Ok. I will still disagree. From my experience I can’t ever recall any theist declaring an atheist as being militant or something to that effect, due to skeptical questioning. Again, from my experience it’s always related in scope to the hostility that comes across by how things are said and the verbage chosen.

          “I would say it is different:”

          I was only saying that the ‘viewpoint’ from the other perspective is no different. The criteria may be different or similar, which I am not putting forth an assertion either way but the starting point is just as polarized. That would still not give theists justification to be disrespectful. Therefore I reject that as being a valid excuse for the atheist as well.

          “I guess this is a major problem in other areas of discourse, too. It’s difficult to step outside the worldview one takes for granted and to realize that, objectively, other people have no imperative to take yours for granted.”

          I agree.

  13. duhsciple permalink
    July 9, 2009 11:13 am

    I’ll call you Sisphus! Peace.

  14. notepple permalink
    July 24, 2009 3:29 pm

    Fuck yes man! I would really like to know what the largest murder by an atheist was. It probably isn’t comparable to the hundreds of years of religious conflict.

  15. July 24, 2009 5:59 pm

    check out 35,000 young theists in NOLA this week, working to help the city rebuild, motivating by their worship and faith

    please count this when you’re counting the other things

    http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Ministry/Youth-Ministry/Youth-Gathering.aspx

    launch the player 7:30 pm (east) tonight friday and tomorrow saturday

    • July 24, 2009 6:37 pm

      I think Steven Weinberg said it best: “With or without [religion] you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”

      • atheistwar permalink
        September 26, 2009 11:18 am

        “But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”

        So what’s the reason why good atheists do evil things?

  16. duhsciple permalink
    July 25, 2009 8:46 am

    Dear cyberspace friend, Sisyphus,

    There is good theism and good atheism.

    There is evil theism and evil atheism.

    As a person of faith, I obviously support good theism. And, if it is a choice between evil theism and good atheism, I support the latter over the former.

    Meanwhile, I note an error in my previous note. There are 37,000 Lutheran youth in New Orleans for the week (Wednesday to Sunday) with the primary focus on service. The theme is “Jesus, Justice and Jazz.”

    Finally, I think that in honesty atheist believers should count the good that is done by the faith community. My congregation sent two teams to Biloxi, MS, following Hurricane Katrina, not to mention the 25 that are part of the 37,000 in New Orleans this week. Three times a year we take our rotation along with other congregations, delivering meals to homeless folk in a nearby city. I would add more examples, except for the fact that Jesus says, “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” although is also, as I’m sure you would note, if you are in favor of a wooden consistency, said, “let your light shine before others so that people might know what God is really like.”

    And in conclusion (never believe a person of faith when he says “finally”-hahaha) As far as needing religion for good people to do evil, I would correct that to say that ideology (including both religious and non-religious versions) causes good people to do evil.

    Duh!

    • S.S. permalink
      August 10, 2009 8:29 am

      Evil is purely a religious concept, as is sin. Without much incentive to ‘be good’ the p.r. team had to come with something so viola – original sin and much later, hell. Can’t get the blind sheep to do what they’re told by having just one stick, two are needed. One with a carrot and another as a whip.

      Organized religion has some things over atheism in that they’re, yes, orgainzed. In being a large, even if fragmented among the many factions (baptist, lutheran, methodist etc.), group much can be done and as with any orgnanization, should be done. Church groups do good, but that in no way stands as proof of a god, only proof that people want to do good and therefore find a way.

      Kudos to this group you mentioned and had they gathered under the banner of “Humans for Humanity” with no religious ties, they’d be doing the same work with the same outcome. Or, would they ….

      …. some need religion as a reason; that is fine. Atheist just leave out the religion and go right for the reason.

      • atheistwar permalink
        September 26, 2009 11:19 am

        “Evil is purely a religious concept, as is sin.”

        So there is no action that can be wrong?

  17. duhsciple permalink
    July 25, 2009 11:15 am

    Update: my group of 25 just cleared out the debris from a lot in New Orleans today, almost 4 years after Hurricane Katrina, enabling a woman to move into her home for the first time since the storm. Our group is a collection of strangers blessing a complete stranger.

    Make no mistake, this is a vital faith statement:
    Blessed people, bless people
    Loved people, love people
    Graced people, grace people

    From my perspective, there is an Energy or a Source, generating these acts of love.

    Finally, I confess that among people of faith there has, in history, been abuse. And hurt people, hurt people. Hated people, hate people

    So… in conclusion… I advocate for the Jesus Way, blessing instead of cursing, loving enemies and not just the people who are nice to you. That’s the Way I am
    trying to live, too.

    Lastly, thanks for the conversation!

    Duh

    • S.S. permalink
      August 10, 2009 8:39 am

      And what do you think you’d be doing if, just for arguments sake, you lacked a belief in this particular branch of religion, or any god. Would you not do good things, not love the unloved, not help the helpless?

      I have actually heard christians say (to me):

      “I don’t know what I’d do without god, he is the only thing keeping me on the straight and narrow.”

      “Why, without [god/bible] what would stop me from murdering and raping!”

      Frightening that people could advocate their minds and morals to an unseen being so completely.

      If you want and need to do good, be moral then why not just *be* that? Not that I object to your aligning yourself with a group of like-minded people and have a religious faith. I applaud that you are doing what many only talk about … I put forth that you do not need a god nor religion to do anything you are now doing but rather, it is a choice and your good deeds have far more to do with you and who you are than with whatever organization with whom you are affliated.

      • atheistwar permalink
        September 26, 2009 11:25 am

        Did you not say. “Evil is purely a religious concept, as is sin”?

        If evil is purely a religious concept, as is sin (not that there is a difference), then how is “good” or not doing good not a religious concept?

        You and others simply cherry pick certain things as just being invalid constructs.

  18. July 30, 2009 11:00 pm

    SWORN TESTIMONY: AFTER READING THIS BLOG I RAN AN OLD LADY OVER, FED A STRAY DOG TO SOME HOMELESS PEOPLE, AND RAPED A BABY.

    i lost jesus and with him all my morals. ):

    • atheistwar permalink
      September 26, 2009 11:27 am

      You did feed some homeless people, so you have some more losing to do.

  19. duhsciple permalink
    July 31, 2009 5:08 am

    hahaha, Alexa, may the rest of your day be a little more aligned with the moral axis of the universe :)

  20. duhsciple permalink
    November 6, 2009 8:39 pm

    Check out Robert Wright’s book “The Evolution of God”

    Even though he is not a theist like me, I agree with much of his argument. See especially the chapter on the “moral imagination.”

    Here is my 2 cent summary:

    *History is increasing the number of non-zero-sum (win-win) relationships
    *We are hard wired from hunter-gatherer times to distinguish between zero-sum (win-lose) and non-zero-sum (win-win) situations
    *When we are under threat, religion tends to be intolerant
    *When there are partners across religious cultures with whom we can do business, religion tends to be more open
    *This pattern holds in sacred texts as they deal with facts on the ground
    *This pattern holds true for human history: threat breeds hostility, common goals/needs breeds appreciation

    I suggest that theists, non-theists, atheists, and agnostics should now see themselves in the midst of non-zero-sum situations (win-win). Where there are conflicts related to faith, belief, practice, and history, the current world situation demands that we have an increased moral imagination in order to work together for common salvation (personal wholeness + planetary wholeness)

    We need to support mutual recognition the humanity of the other.

    We need to listen with appreciation to the other.

    At times, I demonstrate disrespect towards atheist views when I have felt dissed, even though I find large areas of agreement. With some here, I can say that I do not support any justification of mass murder or genocide. It is evil and wrong and sinful (in my terms) period. If any theist friends plan or commit or dream of such acts, I condemn them! And should an atheist leader catalyze genocide, that leader stands condemned.

    Meanwhile, we have positive possibilities to work towards, regardless of our non/faith or a/theism. We need millions of leaders working towards global reconciliation across cultures, not to mention the need to address emerging climate crises.

    I suggest that we leave the ego games of winning/losing debates about God’s non/existence aside because we have work to do together. There is a moral axis of the universe that will push us towards chaos if we fail to live in harmony. Yet if we are aligned with this axis, we will move forward toward a kind of individual-social-global salvation (= wholeness)

    • Ray permalink
      November 7, 2009 10:55 am

      … I can say that I do not support any justification of mass murder or genocide. It is evil and wrong and sinful (in my terms) period. If any theist friends plan or commit or dream of such acts, I condemn them! And should an atheist leader catalyze genocide, that leader stands condemned.

      That cracked me up :) Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to hear you condemn genocide and mass murder, but the grandiose formulation you used is unintentionally funny as hell.

      Yes, “global reconciliation across cultures” is a noble goal, we do have problems on this planet that go beyond winning/losing debates. But don’t forget that for most atheists, criticizing theism/religion is not simply an ego game; the subject has a real-world background relevant to daily life, affecting people directly. If religions kept to themselves and didn’t try to impose their beliefs on others, we wouldn’t need to have this debate in the first place.

      And ultimately, debates/views don’t change the truth. Reality is what it is, regardless of what you and I think. Nobody can make a 100% complete and correct statement about the final facts, of course. The difference is, some of us at least take an approach based on probabilities instead of blidn, unsubstantiated beliefs.

      • duhsciple permalink
        November 7, 2009 1:12 pm

        Okay, in the win-lose on God debate. You win. You can laugh all you want at clueless people such as myself. I am glad I’m increasing the feel good neurotransmitters in your body/brain.

        You can have 100% of the evidence. I concede, “I am funny as hell” (which, as you know, doesn’t exist except for billions on this planet as I type). I am hilarious simply because I am a theist and make stupid arguments.

        Now that YOU HAVE WON and I have clearly lost… How might we work together to reduce the population of “hell” right here on earth, right now? How might we prevent Malthusian expansion of “hell”?

        Quite frankly… the people I admire people based on whether they are doing something “grandiose” like ending hunger, fighting for the health of the ecosystem, advocating & putting their lives on the line to end war (regardless of whether it’s caused by economics, politics, or religion). I don’t base my admiration for others on whether they are theists or not.

        I am sorry that so many theists have tried to shove faith down your throat. I beg you to read the “Evolution of God” book. The author agrees with you. He’s not an idiot theist like me. Yet he is an idealist like me. And we will not survive unless we have a radical increase in humanity’s moral imagination. WE D0 have to get into alignment with the “moral axis of the universe” or there will be increased suffering and evil and hell.

        If your goal is being right, you can wash your hands of people. If your goal is love, then you can’t write people off. I concede the former on behalf of the latter.

        • Ray permalink
          November 7, 2009 6:43 pm

          dushsciple, please chill :) I wasn’t laughing at you or calling you an idiot or clueless etc. Believe it or not, you sound like someone I’d enjoy having a chat with over a couple of beers, regardless of any differring opinions we might have. What I meant was: Your formulation (see the part I quoted) sounded grandiose, or dramatic, if you like. Sort of like, “I hereby announce that I shall now proceed to go to the bathroom.” That’s all I found funny. Not in a mean way, and not to belittle your actual statement itself, so relax. My goal is not being right for its own sake, although I will defend the values I cherish, such as individual liberty, freedom from coercion (whether religious or political) and the right to let science explore freely for our benefit without being hindered by certain people’s subjective views about morals. I’m not interested in being the winner of arguments just so I can feel good about myself. I stopped doing that somewhere in my teens, which I hope is a natural progression for an adult.

          Again, I’m not putting you into the idiot category automatically just because you’re a theist. And I know that hundreds of millions of people on this planet have a pretty shitty life each day. I know there’s hunger, oppression, war, etc. As I said before, I know we’re all facing common problems, including balancing our energy needs with preserving a volatile environment. It’s not that I don’t care about this stuff; we definitely need to solve these problems, and, as you say, it would be easier if we could cooperate across cultural boundaries.

          That’s all fine and dandy, but my point is those are real-world issues and it does not really matter who wins an argument. Not all theists shove their beliefs down others’ throats. I know that too. Most people around me are theists and I get along fine with most of them. I love a few of them. Nothing particularly astonishing.

          But on a bigger scale, the fact is that there are unneccessary problems caused by theists or theistic groups who in a very real way influence public life negatively. Some well-known examples:

          Creationists trying to replace knowledge with bullshit in schools. This is, unfortunately, not only limited to the U.S. anymore
          Certain jokers in Rome actively adding to the AIDS problem in Africa and general population explosion especially in regions that are poor and overpopulated as it is
          Religious lobbies preventing forms of scientific, especially medical, research that have high chances of solving existing problems or at least lessening the very real suffering of millions on this planet.
          Theists who try to introduce their brand of religious ideas (or have already successfully done so) into legislation, where it is definitely out of place in a mordern democracy

          Those are just a few reasons skeptics/atheists/freethinkers (and even a small number of quite reasonable religious individuals) take a stand against these destructive patterns of religion. It’s not an ego game. As anyone can see, looking at the issues I mentioned.

          The original topic deals with the labeling of atheists criticism as “militant”. In the face of the issues at hand, that’s simply disingenuous. A calculated move to discredit valid points. That’s what we’re against and why we argue.

          I can’t comment on the “Evolution of God” book. It sounds interesting, although phrases like “getting into alignment with the moral axis of the universe” smack of esoteric babble at first impression. But I’ll following your suggestion and get hold of a copy.

  21. November 9, 2009 9:34 pm

    Hey asshole go have sex with a turkey. Fuck you.

    • November 9, 2009 9:43 pm

      I don’t hate Atheists i just hate fuckfaced retard Atheist who blame that bombing on Christians. You a fucking retard, obvously those people where no Christians. So go fucking fuck your fucking fuckface, fuck.

      • Ray permalink
        November 9, 2009 10:48 pm

        So go fucking fuck your fucking fuckface, fuck.

        “So”, “go” and “your” are sadly breaking your masterpiece of alliteration. It was almost perfect, such a shame.

        Here’s mine: Ten tasty, tender turkeys take turns tickling twelve topless, tripping tarts’ tits ‘tween timeless tree trunks.

  22. duhsciple permalink
    November 10, 2009 7:19 am

    Conversation over an online thread is sometimes challenging for me. I cannot see facial expressions or note tone of voice or other cues as to the other person’s meaning. I’ll try to chill.

    I get that many theists do embarrassing things which have public consequences that are not good. There are many things that other theists do that drive me nuts, demonstrating that we see G-d, the sacred, the divine differently.

    My definition of the babble, “moral axis of the universe”… there is an evolutionary benefit to “loving the neighbor” and the more widely you expand the definition of “neighbor” the better for our species and our planet. Wright argues for this from a materialist viewpoint, leaving open a materialist understanding of “god” or “G-d”.

    In terms of the original post… I am again influenced by Wright’s book. The early Jesus movement was quite non-violent because to practice violence would have been suicidal to the movement. When the movement gained political power, this attitude towards violence changed. In a similar way, I don’t think atheists have real, organized, community, political power. So it is extremely unlikely there will be cells of “violent, militant atheists.” It is not evolutionarily advantageous for there to be “militant atheists.” However, I have noticed when people go from being “oppressed” to being “Pharaoh” attitudes and justifications toward violence often change, including, sadly for me, the Jesus movement.

    Finally, I REALLY don’t get the whole deal about having intercourse with turkeys. Where does that fit in the conversation? What is that suggestion attempting to accomplish? I’m not prude so I have a follow up question. How is that funny? Once again, I end up with… duh… huh?

    • Ray permalink
      November 10, 2009 9:55 am

      duhsciple, thanks for the clarifications. As I said, I’ve put the book on my reading list, from your summary it sounds like the author is taking a sensible approach. And don’t worry about the online-thread-difficulties, that’s one of the classic problems with virtual communication.

      As for the turkey intercourse interlude — I’m just as clueless as to what it’s got to do with this issue. I guess xD up there needed to vent his sexual preferences somehow. Another classic use of anonymous Internet communication.

  23. November 10, 2009 8:53 pm

    Because all Atheists like have sex with turkeys. Though I will give you credit you are very literate.

    • November 13, 2009 4:47 am

      I considered banning you, but instead I’ll leave you up here to once again show the level cognizance the average theist can vomit up. I’m sure your dad bought you a new NASCAR hat for such clever remarks.

  24. November 13, 2009 2:58 pm

    Below are a variety of TED talks, most NOT by theist Christians (my particular tribe), that I really appreciated… Duh!

  25. mike c. permalink
    March 10, 2010 3:51 pm

    I know this is a very old post and I’m way late to this discussion, however I thought I would point out that Timothy McVeigh was not motivated by his religion when bombing that building. He may not have actually been a Christian in any real practicing sense. Wiki even points out that he is quoted as saying “Science is my religion”. His motivation was almost purely anti-government and he never backed off that point of view. There are many other examples of Christian terrorism that you could have used (Crusades come to mind) that would carry equal weight. Anyway, the point you were going for was well made.

  26. March 11, 2010 5:35 pm

    Since commenting long ago, I read somewhere that McVeigh was deeply disturbed by the violence he experienced in Iraq. Apparently, he had some writings where he wanted to wake people up to the horror happening in the war. His solution to get America’s attention was his terrorist act. It seems that one reason for acts of terror is communication, people who don’t feel heard in any other way. Of course, this is no justification. It does help with understanding. I read about this in the book, probably not very popular with this site, “Jesus for President” (hahaha!) Shane Claiborne, one of the authors, is a radical (as opposed to conservative) Christian. And he is radical. He went to Baghdad in the early days of the Iraq war and hung out with our “enemies” in the areas being bombed.

    Perhaps we should look at other factors besides faith or non-faith to account for terrorism and violence.

    See also Reza Aslan’s excellent book on “Cosmic War” (I forget the subtitle).

    Regardless of your faith or non-faith, blessings to all. Duh

  27. Zar permalink
    June 5, 2010 6:21 pm

    Isn’t the use of Timothy McVeigh Invalid? I’d say it was, and for two reasons.

    1: McVeigns Religious beleifs did not actually play into hios bombing of the Oklahma City Building.

    If Stalin was a Militant Communist which makes his Ahteism incedental, then how woudl mcVeigns Christainity not be Incedental?

    Considerign that Stalins COmmunism was explicitly rooted in Dialetic Materialism and was inhernalty Ahtiestic, and this Ahtiestoic worldview was clealry the motivatign Factor, one can’t reasonably argue that his Atheism was really all that Incedental. If you do, then McVieg’s Christain Terrorism popularised by Dan Barker makes less sense, given that he didn’t even blow up a building in the name of Christainity, or an ideology related to Christainity. He was attempting to Fooster a Revolution in the United States to protest expansion of Federal Government COntrol, and a loss of Liberty.

    In cotnrast, Stalin coudl be considered as a Killer int he name of Ahtiems far more eaisly than McVeign can for CHristainity given that Stalins motivation was roote din a beleif system that was iNherantly Ahtiestic, whilst McViegns wasnt.

    WHich brigns me to my second problem.

    2: McVeign wasnot a Christain. I know that Dan Barker wrote that he was a “Christian Terrorist’, but McVirgn was a self declared Agnostic and had been for years prior to the Oklahoma City Bombing.

    Barker is just beign DIshonest as usual by claimign he was a CHristain Terrorist, and htis is based on The fact that he was raised a Catolic, and later, before his Execution some five or so years later recieved Last Rites.

    However, durign the actual Bombing of he Oklahoma City Building, McVeign was an Avowed Agnostic. He did not subscribe to Chrisyainity.

    So if McVeign counts as a “Militant Christain”, this new revelaiton must mean he was actually a Militant Agnostic who blew up the Oklahoma City Building int he name of Agnostism.

    Of coruse, if you accept he was an Agnsotic you’ll Stalinise him and say “It doesn’t matter if he was an Agnsotic, because he didn’t blow up the building int he name of Agnostism so it doesnt count.”

    I know, I’ve had htis talk before. Several Atheists Ive spoken to said McVeign was a Christain Terrorist and use dhim to show how bad Christaisn are, and by extension Relgiion in general, but especially Christainity.

    Few admit he was an Agnoatic even when you shpw evidence.

    WHen they do, they just change their tune. Somehow him beign an Agnostic doesnt prov anyhting, because he didn’t commit the Bombings in the ame of Agnostism. It doesnt count.

    But it DID Count when it was assumed that he was a Christain If he’s a Christain, it proves he is a CHrisyain Terrorist whose motivation lay in Christainity thus showing how Violent Chirstainity is. If hes an Agnsotic it means nothing.

    Much like Stalin beign an Ahtiest is incednetal.

    I find this sort of Arguing rather dishonest. Of coruse Athiesm looks better than Theism when you refuse to accept that any of the bad peopel in History who were Athiests did anythign in the name of Ahtiems and thus say it doesnt count, while puttign every nutcase who kills anyoen and happens ot belong to a THeistic Tradition into a position to represent just how Dangeorus said beleif can be. Your using tewo compeltley different standards. Hekc, a CHristain can kill people in a Government buolding int he name of Americas FOundign Principles and claim Obama is a COmmunist out to desotry America, and the fac thtat he’s a Chrisyin will prove hes a “CHristyaon Terrorist” and his CHristain Faith was the motivation. Meanwhile, is a Group of Atheistss rouned up a bunch of innocent CHurhcgoers and shot them in the head because they can’t tolerate beleif in God, it still woudln’t be “Killing int he name of Ahtiesm” because “Its a nonbeleif”.

    Come off it.

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