I will raise a rather different question...

You've all seen 'em...

You all know at least one...

A poser.

Not to say that there aren't legitimately people who express themselves in a unique way and aren't starving for attention, but unfortunately, there are those will exploit someone's expression of self for attention.

We've all met the people who were "goth" on the outside, but really Chip Smith from America Street on the inside, the "bi" kids who wanted their pictures taken at parties and of course, the holier-than-thou kids who went around telling everyone they were going to burn in hell, but didn't practice a single word that they preached.

But have you ever found a poser atheist? Odd as it is, I have in my life found at least one "atheist" who was a poser. They wanted to be noticed, to be seen and to cause a stir and as they labeled themselves militant with no idea what it really means, in the end acting like general assholes and giving us a bad name. Has anyone else encountered this rare specimen? If so, do share. :)

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Just sounds like an asshole to me, which i have met plenty off. I have not run across someone calling themselves an atheist simply to "rub believers the wrong way".....even so, i would still just call that person an asshole.
Oooh yes but mostly on blogs. I've never kept a list but I might start...you've given me an idea. ;)

The only one I've run into in person was honest in his approach but every single argument or rebuttal he posed started with "well, Dawkins says" or "but Hitchens says" (etc). Certainly fine authors and this cat was definitely well read but when someone can't defend their beliefs in an debate (or argument, as was the case) with their own ideas, much less their own words, I get a little hesitant.

I think social chameleons like this are to be found in most groups to some degree or another. Be it atheists, environmentalists, religious groups...there's always going to be something of a 'herd' effect attracting sheeple, though, I don't think this behavior is always intentional. The issue at hand may be something important to them but they're just not informed. When encountered I think they should be encouraged to educate themselves (if they're willing) or have a talk with those that are informed so they can be more of a positive influence within the group.

I've found this approach fairly effective when approached by christian sheeple, at least where I'm from (up here we don't get many of the deeply insane fundies like other parts of the country). They're obviously passionate about their belief but have been feed nothing but lies and dogmatic slander in regard to atheists. Nothing kills an argument quite like being a calm, nice person and explaining yourself as an adult. :)
I've encountered it online. I'll see someone come into a message board all angry and hoping to get support, and then they'll get reprimanded for being an asshole. Yes, some people decide to be an "atheist?" because they are mad at the world, and they don't even know what it means.
I've encountered one here on A|N. :)

I don't think there's much appeal in being a poser atheist in real life. It isn't going to help anyone win friends or influence people (or some other perilously lame book title).

There are those people who can't discuss their thoughts without citing some reference, but while that is annoying I don't find it disingenuous.
As the term "Atheist" seems to be growing in popularity, I have seen youngsters that pose themselves as atheists, but don't know the meaning. Kids that like to say "oh i hate that" to call attention. Being christianity is still the majority, they call themselves Atheists. They just want to polarize. they'll probably need someone to point them in the right direction. They need to grow up. I've ran into this twice so far. Hopefully as young as they are, they wont make a big ruckus past their small social group.
I've known a couple of people who just like to say they're atheists because it's rebellious. I am in high school right now, after all.
There was a girl a few weeks ago on a forum on another site who delineated the difference between weak and strong atheism as strength of conviction. That is to say weak atheists "are afraid to tear up bibles" out of some misguided trepidation, and strong atheists "have torn up many bibles" and fully reject religion, etc. This has troll written all over it, but she did in fact seem genuine in her disbelief. She definitely seemed like a poseur, and a very misinformed one at that. She was in desperate need of a disambiguation between strong atheism and childish, teen angst-ridden, rebellious antitheism, which I was more than happy to provide of course.
There was a girl a few weeks ago on a forum on another site who delineated the difference between weak and strong atheism as strength of conviction. That is to say weak atheists "are afraid to tear up bibles" out of some misguided trepidation, and strong atheists "have torn up many bibles" and fully reject religion, etc.

I was going to respond to this earlier but forgot. Tearing up bibles is not a sign of a "strong" atheist, it is the sign of a barbarian. While I detest the concept of sacred books, I do believe all books are sacred. Shredding bibles is no different to religious or political book burning. It is everything that is anathema to a freethinker.
Agreed. The bible, and all other religious texts, if taught as allegory, creative fiction, and ultimately mythology, can be very useful as they have cultural and historical value. What if the ancient Greeks 'tore up' their texts when they abandoned belief in the Olympus pantheon? Generations upon generations would have been denied insight into an influential culture. That girl probably tore up bibles out of some painful act of liberation from christianity. You don't crush christian beliefs with senseless destruction, you do it with logic.
This is the problem with labels, and probably one reason why Sam Harris is against the atheist label. First comes the label, then the poser. Its as unstoppable as cheese and mold. The first time this type of thing really sickened me was during the original punk scene. Everything is cool for about 10 seconds, and then the wankers arrive. I'm with Sam on this. Either no label, or one that's accurate but doesn't sound cool on the teenage angst / goth nightclub scene, like post-theological.
Many theists have stated that "Atheists are just posers" to further their arguments against atheism. They just pass atheists off as "rebels" who just say that they don't believe because they are opposed to organized religion. I think these people are so close-minded that they cannot fathom another having a opinion different from their own, or are arrogant enough to think that a sane mind cannot function without the belief in a supreme deity.
I can see that.




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