I don't know if it was my atheist position, or other traits. But I was harassed out of a 10 year job. I always performed, I met all measures, was never late, never called in sick, never argued, never turned down a task, there were no complaints against me, and I always met all official and most unofficial expectations. My ideas were taken by others for improvements. But a management group and my work group were rife with malicious gossip against me, discrimination in assignments, isolation, and backstabbing. And other harassment. They made the "trump card" of complaining to upper management that I looked unhappy and might "Go Postal". (Lone male in a female work group - that "going postal" stereotype was the last straw). Not to go into detail, but I finally documented the harassment, demanded and got a transfer, and started over - with continued excellent performance and laborious rebuild of my reputation and career. The American workplace can be brutal. Not everyone can afford to start over, and not everyone has the chance.
It's great to be militant. Maybe when I retire.. :) But to be an unemployed militant atheist is not a good example or strong position to be starting from. I greatly respect the people who are verbal and expressive in their skepticism, critical thinking, and atheism. But it's not an option for me.
Meanwhile I'll keep the piece of petrified wood on my desk and the ginkgo leaves under the blotter that remind me of life's ancient and ongoing presence on earth and that there are some other critical thinkers around.
BY THE WAY! This Mitt Romney for President thing is a BOOOON for conversations about who is CRAZY!
here is a sweet YouTube link: meet the mormons .
Twice today, (after knowing they weren't mormon) I was able to DECIMATE Romney's religion. 2 Catholic sisters, and one Jehova's Wintness, with how dam crazy Mormonism is.
All of your points make sense.
My points are pretty much anathema.
What I am saying is that congeniality trumps reason (please don't shoot me) especially when you are dealing with an unreasonable person.
You're probably thinking my strategy won't influence many people -- I agree with you on that.
But, for what it's worth, it keeps me from grinding my teeth at night.
Your approach is just as necessary as mine.
Best of luck, Eric.
Sir, you hit the ball out of the park. But surely you know that logical arguments are of no avail in debating with someone who has only dogma to rely on? And surely you know that we are all hard-wired to believe and that the 20% of Americans who do not appear insane to the 80% who do, giving in to their primitivity? And surely you know that another 50% of them doubt but go on going to church to socialize. (In this latter regard, I once pointed out to my believing Episcopalean mother that she let the cat out of the bag when she told of having a post-service chat on the front church steps with a federal judge only to have same rudely interrupted by a wealthy parishioner who happened to be an attorney with business before the court. Jesus forgot to tackle such iniquities when he threw the money changers out of the temple.) If you argue evolution to them, they will call it theory as if they were unaware that the thing that keeps their feet on the ground, gravity, is but a theory, too. If you point to your gut, assuming you are male and aging, and complain of an enlarged prostate as evidence of Ignorant Design, they will say if man were perfect he'd be God. And that is the only truth you will get from them, for, you see, Man is the only God there is. That is, only Man has the potential for being God. With Nietzsche, I say religion is the only thing between man and real godhood.
The book, The End of Faith (http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Faith-Religion-Terror/dp/0393327655/), by Sam Harris makes a great plea to end religious moderatism, to end religious tolerance BECAUSE... being tolerant allows the fundamentalist to exist, and in this day of weapons of mass destruction -We're about to find out what happens when extremists get their hands on them.
So "live and let live" wont fly anymore -unless they could pull the religion out of government. We should say something, and we should look down our noses at them.
...being tolerant allows the fundamentalist to exist, and in this day of weapons of mass destruction -We're about to find out what happens when extremists get their hands on them.
This seems to imply that fundamentalists are extremists, prone to acts of terror. Isn't this a sweeping condemnation of a large class of people for acts of a tiny minority? I never liked it when all Atheists were condemned for the acts of a few nasty Atheists. Somehow tolerance for people, apart from their belief, seems to be lost, too. I'd rather look down my nose at fundamentalism, not at the people whose minds are trapped by it.
I could not agree with your statement more Ruth. Sweeping generalizations are never factual.
It's true that I'm making a poor representation of Mr. Harris's point in his book. Let me clarify.
Our goal of being Moderate in this country, being tolerant of ANY and ALL religious beliefs, makes it impossible to say anything about anyone. Which in turn allows the fundamentalist to run rampant. Which in turn allows extremist to exist and proliferate. That in itself is PERFECTLY FINE, religious freedom is fine. ...except now they have the power to kill a whooole lot of people.
There is no better time than THIS SECOND to push back, to say "you're crazy, you're not thinking, and your going to hurt someone". I don't think we need another 20 or so clinics blown up, or a city for that matter before we pull back on the reigns and say Whooooa!
An Extremist IS a Fundamentalist (with a plan).
I agree with religious freedom. The book makes the argument pretty plain. The audio book version is pretty nice too.