I saw this meme on a FaceBook page and responded by saying the phenomenon described makes it exasperating to say the least. We are pariahs. The Godless have no friends other than fellow atheists and freethinkers. It is easy for believers to say that we are guilty of the "sin" of intellectual pride. (I use quotation marks because "sin" is the church guys' preferred tool of keeping the shorn sheep in line, guilt being the primary driver in any of these silly beliefs.) And what is so wrong with taking pride in one's intellectualism. If I strike a match, I know that it is a chemical reaction of phosphorus, &c., but the believer will tell you that God created the inventor and that if He did not want the match to light, it would not. You cannot argue with dogma, but they've just described our aleatory existence: not God, chance. But if you told a believer the earth exists because of chance, they will tell you you're wrong, unless you mean God and chance are the same.
I may be wrong, but it always seems to me that the resentment believers feel against non-believers is not rooted in our disbelief, but in our refusal to go along with the generally accepted view. They seem afraid that a single dissenting voice will imperil the entire mythological scheme on which they think society is founded. If one person refused to bend his knee to their religion, it might bring down the whole structure of their world.
I agree with you Dr. Clark.
Precisely! Our refusal to go along to get along makes the believers VERY uncomfortable for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we do our work and live our lives and in general manage at least as well as the believers do WITHOUT their god. At some level or other, they recognize this, and I doubt it helps their whole compartmentalization trip. There's also the matter of our not murdering, robbing and raping and a breakneck pace because we supposedly lack their biblical moral code.
Reminding them of the above rubs salt in the wound as well.
I think Allan makes an excellent point. If you are in a conversation with a group of individuals, and the subject of religion comes up, one person may state adherence to the Baptist denomination. Another, the Catholic Church, while others will announce they're Episcopalian, Lutheran, etc. In this context, they all acknowledge they share the overall, agreed upon myth of a man-god who rose from the dead to allow them eternal life. The various and sundry dogmas, creeds, doctrines, precepts, and tenets of the differing sects are never discussed - at least in polite company. To do so would introduce division and dissent into what, at least on the surface, is an unspoken truce not to go back to the internecine strife that was the hallmark of dissent and division not all that long ago.
Then, we walk in like a bull in a china shop, and announce that the emperor has no cloths. And for that matter, neither do the various and sundry princes of their competing camps. They now feel forced to defend the indefensible. Whereas before our gauche pronouncement, the mythology was agreed upon without anyone making waves. And, the requirement of critical thought and the uncomfortable challenge to authority was something they could avoid.
Damn, we're stinkers!!!
Hello. I'm Francis. I'm a yes man. I've been a stinker and not said yes for 18 years now.
The proper response to, "You have no god! You're immoral, sinful, wicked and naughty!" is "Thank you. How kind of you to have noticed." Said with a gentle smile while brushing past them, it will leave them silent or sputtering, either of those is satisfactory.
Sounds like something the late George Sanders might say.
Sounds satisfactory to me. Will try to remember it.
Or you can use the Miss Manners variation--"How kind of you to take an interest." Either one works splendidly with people asking personal questions or passing personal remarks. In a few short years, I can get away with a cane (properly counterweighted with lead) and thwack them in the shin after the comment. "Oh, dear! Did I bump you? I'm so sorry. Bad knees, you know...", I'll burble as I toddle off.
And James, I blame it on far too much Shaw, Shakespeare and Dickens at an impressionable age. :)
Allen, you make a good point. "They seem afraid that a single dissenting voice will imperil the entire mythological scheme on which they think society is founded. If one person refused to bend his knee to their religion, it might bring down the whole structure of their world".
I've found that some theist are frightened when I reveal my atheism. They usually ignore my "confession" or change the subject and rarely question my nonbelief.
My favorites are the especially rabid true believers who deny that we can be sincere. By their breathtakingly arrogant "logic," it requires more faith to "believe in" the big bang, for example, than it does to believe in creationism, ERGO we have faith, ERGO we're not really atheists, QED.
"Deep down in your heart, you know the bible's true..." Is there any more patronizingly annoying phrase than that? Grrrr...