A page on Facebook posted a link to this photo today:
Naturally, a little argument ensued. People were complaining about how Jesus was shown here (obviously), and other people fired back that it was true, etc. you know the drill. Anyway, someone said they were getting tired of seeing "atheist shit" on the page, and asked what was wrong if you just believe in God, and you're not using it for money or power, or whatever. I told him and anyone else listening that since the religious get to post things about what they believe and how they think, then nonbelievers should have the right to express their thoughts as well. Another person came in and told me that this was not an opinion, this was simply trolling, and if he insulted my beliefs I'd get mad. I told him it really should not be a big deal.
I come back an hour or so later and a few more people have responded. The previous person posted as well. He said, "But it's really offensive saying that someone important to someone's faith is a myth. I hear atheists and agnostics talk about how Christians should be more tolerant of other people's beliefs, but when it comes to our beliefs, they're usually very intolerant. If I even mention how I believe homosexuality is a choice and how I believe it's wrong, they start cursing at me and calling me bigoted."
Now, I am quite through dealing with the people on that thread, as they will only drive me insane. But how could I explain? Christians hate on atheists and other beliefs quite often. They still ask that we respect them, but how? How can someone expect me to respect their disrespect?
Many theists have double standards. Here's a quote from a thread I made on another forum:
Is it me, or am I noticing a pattern?
If a Christian challenges an atheist's point of view, it's for the atheist's benefit and the morally good thing to do. If an atheist challenges a Christian's point of view, it's elitist and taken personally.
If a Christian hasn't seen the world, it's okay to still believe in god since it's all about faith. If an atheist hasn't seen the world and the universe, he has no right to suggest that god doesn't exist.
If a Christian makes a stance in a non-Christian setting by wanting to be unique, it's an act of faith and bravery. If an atheist makes a stance in a religious setting, it's an annoying act of rebellion by a group that doesn't matter and who just wants to cause trouble.
If you wear a shirt to a public place with bible verses, mentioning of god and/or Jesus, or anything promoting Christianity, you will be praised. If you wear a non-offensive shirt suggesting that god isn't real or possibly a shirt promoting Islam, you might be asked to remove it or even leave.
Go to almost any public place except for restaurants and you'll find a bible or several. Put a Qur'an, Popul Vuh, or a copy of The God Delusion there, and chances are it will be in a dumpster next morning.
At least this is how it seems in the US, especially in the bible belt. It could be the confirmation bias, but atheists in general seem to frequently be held to different standards. Have you had any experiences where you were treated differently for not being a part of the majority religious view? I know that not all Christians and atheists act like those portrayed in my examples and that Christians may feel this way as well (it's okay to demand proof for god's existence but not for god's non-existence). The reason I use the term Christians and not theists is because I live in a predominately Christian area and haven't experienced this with people of other religious views, but feel to reply regardless of what you believe.
Unfortunately, it's taken personally for a reason: that the believer so incorporates their beliefs into themselves that They ARE Their Beliefs, and to insult the belief is to insult the believer, indeed, likely all believers, in their eyes. Their skin is thus made thin by this presupposition, and their intolerance amplified by their numbers.
Not all christians are like this, but the more fundamentalist the believer, the more likely that the above holds. Expecting such people to hear counterarguments to their beliefs is tantamount to expecting a pig to fly without benefit of a plane and pilot. Nota Bene.
loren Miller.....You constantly say that not all Christians are like this, well of course there are exceptions to the rule, but exceptions they are..
Just callin' 'em as I see 'em, Charles. The two JW's who came to my door the other day tried to open with the tired old line about "do you think that all this creation came from nothing or was there an intelligence behind its creation?" I countered briefly with Lawrence Krauss (which, no great surprise, neither of them had ever heard of) and his hypothesis of a universe from nothing. They didn't press their position once they realized that they were outstripped in their meager knowledge of science. The exchange was entirely polite and actually fairly good-humored ... but at the same time, I have no particular interest in having to defend my atheism every time some hotshot believer shows up at my door. At some point or other, I will simply have to say, "Enough is enough."
Those two were polite enough, but repeated attempts to put forward an agenda which I plainly am not buying into will try both my patience and their welcome. I will let them know that with as much decorum as I can manage, but the message will be delivered when and if it is necessary.
Loren Miller...JW are one of the most harmless cults, trying to argue with a person of religion is like arguing with a child...
Like this is something I don't already know? And actually, I disagree - each time when my JW visitors realized they were outmatched, they backed off. Most kids wouldn't. Granted, I fully expect them back at one point or another, and eventually, I will simply have to inform them that they and their ill-conceived beliefs are no longer welcome. Whether I do so politely or less so will be entirely up to THEM.
While the JW's have no apparently political agenda that I know of, there remains the dominionists, who are at the extreme other end of the spectrum. I note with interest their association with the likes of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin and follow their activities mostly by way of Rachel Tabachnick's website, Talk To Action. My sense is that the dominionists want to slip their BS in under the radar. Insofar as it is possible, I won't let 'em ... and will resort to the Paul Revere / Israel Bissell number if necessary to prevent 'em!
Loren Miller....You forgot the Tea Party which is the Religious Right RE-branded. BTW I can prove it so don't give me opinion on this one...The Republican Party is their tool....
Well, considering that all of the above-mentioned persons court the TEA Party, I thought mentioning them was redundant. Honestly, I don't care which is whose tool. I intend to watch 'em both like the proverbial hawk and scream bloody to the appropriate parties when and where necessary.
Loren......You'd better join the revolution and do something constructive with your life........Instead of accepting your fate..
"Accepting my fate"?!? And just where do you get from the above that I'm resigned to ANYTHING, least of all the bible-thumping brigade! Know this, bro: I will do what it takes, including arming myself, when and if the time comes, and anyone who is foolish enough to want to muck with me will upset his life insurance agent no end!
The Christians peck away at the people who are not sure whether to believe in God or not. They demonize the competition (namely atheists, islamists, and all other religions). So, as devils, what can we do? I say hide the fact that you call yourself an atheist long enough to earn their respect. Then only let it be known that you do not believe in God. The Christians cannot believe anyone would willingly be an atheist, so they prefer to believe that someone who does not believe in God can still be swayed. That leaves the door open for a free exchange of ideas. Show them that asking questions is a good thing.
Are you suggesting we somehow stay in the closet, and hide what we truly are? And, further allow the "demonization" of yourself in the hope that you'll ultimately be able to have a rational conversation with them (which will turn out to be "maybe yes, maybe no")? This strikes me as being rather disingenuous. Quite frankly, I'm not ashamed of who I am. And, I've yet to meet a theist who is ashamed of who he/she is.
As I stated in an earlier posting, I'm not out there trying to convert anyone. I don't approach people and say, "Hey, do you believe in god? Really, you do? That makes you a freaking idiot!" It would be the height of rude, ill mannered and boorish behavior to do so. The same as it is the height of rude, ill mannered and boorish behavior to try and convert me to one of any number of their cults.
Now, if a theist opens that door, my first response is, "I'm an atheist." It's an honest, up front expression of who I am. I'm not hiding behind semantics, or doing anything to gull them into a false sense that they can sway me to accept their particular cult. Nor, am I doing anything to get them to engage me in conversation in the hopes of doing some grand conversion of their belief system. If they wish to continue the conversation, in a polite and respectful manner, I'll be glad to spring for the first cup of coffee or first beer. I've actually had these conversations, including with ministers. And, I think they left with a better understanding of who I am and why I reject their religion. And, we still are friendly with each other.
On the other hand, those that want to demonize, knock your socks off. I have nothing to hide, am not going to mislead people, and am certainly not ashamed of my complete, total, and utter rejection of their supernatural belief system.