Sunday, March 11, 2007

Angry Atheism....

I just finished reading Friendly Atheist » Why I’m Not An Angry Atheist
and figured I would post my 50 cents :)

First let me say I completely agree with most of what was said in his post. Just the other day I was discussing this same issue with my wife. Mostly, about the same topics touched on in his post. What I explained to her, was I try to live my life by example. As a sort of witness to those around me of the christian faith that there can exists a person who can live a good, decent, and completely fulfilled life without the need of religion or god. I try to show (by example) that I take responsibility not only for my success in life, but also in my mistakes. In addition, I freely admit that I can't answer all of life's greatest questions, but that's not really the true issue is it? It's not the answer that really matters, isn't it the journey that is fulfilling? hehe. I also don't claim to know everything, quite the opposite, I admit my ignorance on many subjects. My take is, I might not know about it at this moment... but i can read up on it, or learn about it. Similar to how I do my job, I might not know how to do it, but I know how to get it done. :) One of my old instructors once said, "It's not the answer that you have to remember, It's how you got to the answer that is critical to learn."

Anyway, One point I'd like to make here (and this is only from my personal experience) is it has never been a problem for me to discuss matters of "faith" with those "intelligent" religious persons. The odd part is most of the time, those intelligent ones are the leaders of that particular faith. Pastors, Ministers, Priests, or practically any official leaders are not usually the ones that are difficult to talk to. It's the followers. Those that seem to be incapable of thinking for themselves. Those unable to accept the fact their faith is not believed in by all. These are the ones that seem to be more numerous and almost impossible to talk to. Unfortunately, my parents are such people. In discussions outside of faith they are both very intelligent, but once you cross that line that blurs into matters of morality/religion/faith an almost instant change occurs in both of them whereby they loose or forget all concept of being able to either listen or discuss matters rationally.

For the most part, I understand where this comes from. It seems they feel the foundation of their entire lives are shaken, threatened; The possibility they could be wrong surfaces and forces them to stand firm on what they believe to keep some grasp on their reality. The frustrating part, and probably one of the reasons I tend to focus on the ignorance, is because they put themselves in a situation that is bound to make them look stupid. One of the prime examples is in my previous post about Obama. Another happen tonight when I checked my email and found a message containing an email that was fraudulent. In the subject was "Powerful Letter", and it was another example of believers will accept practically anything when it lines up with their religion whether its true or not they really don't care. Here is a link to the Pam Foster letter, Just reading through it one statement after another seemed to strike a nerve with me. Maybe it was wrong of me, but I did not reply to the sender showing them this was a work of fiction because to them it doesn't matter. They have a goal, and they feel this lines up perfectly with that goal (true or not). The only thing I would accomplish by replying and referencing that it was fake, is they might get embarrassed and feel humiliated. That's certainly not my goal. In all honesty that just seems to easy.

Finally, one of the reasons I began my blog here was to give me a sort of anonymous outlet to release some of the frustrations I encounter on a regular basis. Every situation is different when discussing religion, and when possible I work very hard to communicate effectively and calmly. When the conversation begins the escalate I'll either drop it, or try to find some common ground. Rarely should it ever escalate to a "your wrong, I'm right" confrontation in my opinion. We all have different views and opinions, here I believe some sort of common ground can always be found. Probably just my optimistic outlook towards life though :)


Kilgore Trout said...

yeah, leading by example is a great route, but it only can change peoples minds if they know your an atheist, otherwise people just assume your christian. I think as more and more "normal" people come out and the country realizes how many of us there are we will start to be noticed. As it is now you could be in an elevator with another atheist/agnostic whatever and not even know it. Because unfortunately as it is now the only atheists that anyone sees are the brash arrogant ones that can give us a bad name. It would be like if the only christians that anyone ever saw were the Pentecostals speeching in tongues, it would be very easy to dismiss christians if that was all we saw.

writing a blog can be really fun and cathartic. but just like life, don't take it to seriously.

The only big I disagree with is that when a conversation get to the point of yelling Your wrong, I consider that a denigration of conversation not escalation, emotions have gone way up, but intelligence and usefulness have gone way down.

Have a good one.

Robert said...

That's true, and lately I've been considering making it more know where I stand when it comes to religion. Most people who know me, are not at all surprised when they find out about my lack of beliefs.

I didn’t mean to suggest that I resorted to yelling, it's usually the other way around. I guess what I meant to say was when the other party begins to show signs of defensiveness or anger, I will just change the subject or stop talking all together. I'm a very monotone type of person, yelling is not only non-productive it hurts my throat hehe. Thanks for the comment...