What do you think about the charge that atheists are arrogant about their lack of belief? I have to admit, I hear that a lot, and for myself, I cannot deny it. I DO consider myself intellectually superior to someone who deludes themselves with magical thinking. We (in this group) have all shrugged off thousands of years of superstition to see reality for what it is, so isn't a little bit of arrogance understandable?

I am new to this site, so please forgive me if I posted this incorrectly. Also, I hope it is clear that I am not flaming or trolling; I am truly curious about what others think on this subject.

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Oh, religious people are absolutely arrogant; I won't argue with you on that! I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I have always thought that having a child who believes would be one of the most painful things I could experience.

I know I would! I am spectacularly bad at keeping my opinions to myself, and religion is especially offensive to me. 5 little Christian soldiers... eeek!

Oh, the service will probably be a bible-thumping, jesus freak-fest. I feel for you, and I greatly admire your restraint! I certainly agree that a wedding is not the place for debate.

Someone at Austin Cline's old atheist forum had an animated flying pig for a signature-thingy....

That is awesome! Where did you find an atheist charm? I have to have one! I hope it helps you get through the wedding.

You might try evolvefish.com.

Patricia, I have a difficult time with my granddaughters partnered with a Methodist and a Jehova's Witness. Whenever I hear some dogma, if the situation is right, I ask how they know, what is their evidence, are their references valid and reliable. They get disgusted with me to the point of crying. That is irrelevant. I am not their grandmother to tell them everything they do and say is right; my job is to get them to thinking for themselves. 

I have constant exposure to them. Michelle's home is on Laura's property, and she works for her Mom. Laurie lives just a few miles away and comes over almost daily with her nine-month-old daughter, Brooklyn. 

Over the years, Laura and Larry have become much more secular. They don't think god exists, and they don't believe something came from nothing. I use the same questioning with them. I make it a rule never to bring up the subject of the universe not needing a creator with them. I do ask questions as to how they think god would be a more reasonable answer for the existence of the universe. Science seems to be a better and more reliable and valid response. Larry agrees. 

 

Atheists tend to be tentative about formulating their beliefs, and open to readjusting them based on evidence. That in my book is the opposite of arrogance. It's especially distinct from the typical religious arrogance based only on the sort of untested and untestable certainty that religious apologists regularly adhere to and try their best to inflict on their unsuspecting victims, including children.

I agree with you that atheists are "tentative about formulating their beliefs, and open to readjusting them based on evidence" in general, but do you see the second part to be true of their atheism? I feel like atheists are pretty confident in their belief there is no god. I know I am certainly not open to readjusting my lack of faith without absolute, concrete evidence... I have people in my life who regularly try to convert me, and I am open to considering that.

There are a couple of way too huge strings here on whether atheists are "dogmatic" and whether we are "100% sure there's no god." I find such discussions a bit tedious. My motto (stolen from Robert Anton Wilson) is Convictions cause convicts; whatever you believe imprisons you. The real enemy is belief, not religion.

Convictions cause convicts; whatever you believe imprisons you.

Berthold, I like the word play there; it makes clear that unsupported beliefs can harm both believers and those upon whom they inflict their beliefs.

A variation on it helped me: What I don't talk about is how I will be ruled.

The real enemy is belief, not religion.

So true. Two people helped me see a related truth: It's easier to change dogmas than it is to give up the need for a dogma.

An old college friend wrote lo those many years ago a wonderful treatise titled The Theory of the None of the Above. It held that given a question with answer choices 

A. blah

B. blah

C. blah

D. blah

E. None of the above

one should choose not answer E., but none of the above.

I think that's the difference between switching dogmas and giving up the need for dogma. But then giving up the need for dogma is ultimately just another belief (I don't need dogma.) that will imprison you on another level.

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