Survey: What criticisms or pet peeves do you have about fellow atheists?

I decided to stir the pot a little this morning with something I have been thinking alot about recently for a blog I am planning in the future.

Does anything drive you crazy about fellow atheists?
Any criticisms? Any comments or behavior you would warn against?

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Based on my online experiences, especially with atheists interacting with believers, the two biggest pet peeves personally are

• picking apart arguments until they're unrecognizable and
• name-calling of believers.

Sometimes I accidentally end up engaging in the first one, but usually I'm willing to concede a lesser point, hypothetically speaking, if I can see the discussion is veering away from being interesting. I usually can say "let's accept B for argument's sake. But that still doesn't explain C or D, or the subject we started with." A lot people (both theists and atheists) continue to beat point B to death no matter how minor a point it is. Since we usually feel strongly about what we do or don't believe, it's understandable though.

The name-calling also frustrates me. I criticize and make fun of beliefs, especially when they portray violence or injustice, but I don't call individual people names. It frustrates sometimes me when others do because, even if I think I understand the frustration, I always picture the believer thinking he or she has the higher moral ground because of it (in spite of what I normally view as the lower moral ground in whatever belief they're trying to defend).

I know some things I do and say are frustrating to other non-believers, so these are just what I think.
One of my pet peeves, and this applies in any discussion, is the inclusion of the words "in my book"..
I'm not looking at anyone in particular.. hump :)
Heheheh...sorry bout that.
But hey, if thats the worst that pisses you off, youre to be admired for your taking so much else in stride.
I am bothered by athiests, that seem to think that athiesm comes from a higher power(not a chosen concept), as though the athiest sits above the religious in their humanity. Once you realize both are human understandings, you will realize that both athiests and believers are capable of all human atrocities.

I guess, my peeve would be, the athiests that think they are immune from perpetrating the worst human decisions, just because they are athiests.

Another Pet Peeve, would be that athiests often call their opinions, truths when they are not.

A final Pet Peeve, is that often athiests claim they are the way they are, because they care about humanity, and yet they would willingly brutalize verbally another individual who disagrees with them, in the name of their ideal, truth. Athiests, can and are often cruel to those that don't agree with them. They are sarcastic, vitrolic and smug. kind of like believers really. We aren't that different, because we are all human and capable of the same nonsense.

nicely said. I admire your commitment and activism.
There's a pic somewhere on this site showing the Atheist Commandment.

"Thou shalt not be an asshole"

There may be a greater tendency among atheists to fail in that observance.

And then of course there are the atheists who have all the fine sense of balance of Crusaders and view their opponents (theists or others who disagree with them) as less than human, less deserving, less intelligent, just less. In this, our very own Fundies have become 'the enemy'.
Then there are the Neville Chamberlans of atheist thought. Those who would bend on their knees to avoid offending believers by their non-belief; who fear religionists being "uncomfortable" with their atheism; who have never actively championed defense of our rights by confrontation; those to whom aggressive activism and taking a strong stance is just too disturbing to their fragile sensibilities.

But these same people are happy to reap the benefits that were won for them by those loud mouth activist atheists who for decades fought against religious intrusion into our gov't and schools, who fight to retain our freedoms and keep religiosity from intruding on peoples personal lives. Activist assholes who got blasphemy laws outlaws, who got prayer out of public school, who eliminated religious test to hold public office... who recognise that appeasment of religionists is far worse than the militant defense of our freedoms in a misnomered "Christian nation".

These actvitst "assholes" spend money to support Freedom From Religion Foundation, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and other activist groups who are the watch dogs of our rights as atheists. They write books to encourage confrontation and debate of the theistically impaired. They call the Ray Comforts, and the Falwells, and the Robertsons what they are, loudly and to their face.

These "assholes" stood up to be counted, while the Neville Chamberlan atheists kowtowed to theism, worry about making themselves more acceptable to believers, and condemn those activists who form the narrow line in a culture war between theist ignorance & intolerance toward non-believers and minorities.... and the rest of us.... lest some feelings be hurt.

In this, our very own Uncle Tom / Neville Chamberlain / Judas Goat atheists have become the enemy.

Dromedaryhump, the activists you describe are, for the most part, assertive without being assholes, except perhaps in the eyes of theists who don't like their beliefs being challenged. I don't think Mike was talking about those kinds of atheists. I think he was talking about atheists who are simply spiteful, bigoted, or cruel. Being an atheist does not require this sort of behavior, nor does it prevent it. Conversely, being respectfully assertive does not make one an appeaser. Atheists should make their case forcefully, without being assholes or appeasers. That there are those who can't tell the difference is of little concern.
well, Jason perhaps. But I wont try and guess what Mike's agenda or point is. It's of little concern. I just found it a convenient place to post a pet peeve.

I remember when Christopher Hitchens was being interviewed by Sean Hannity It was soon after Jerry Falwell's death, and he said that if they "gave Falwell's corpse an enema they could bury him in a match box."

Frankly, it made me crack up. I loved it. It was classic. Falwell deserved no respect in life why should he garner it in death. Naturally Hannity went crazy.

Was Hitchens being an asshole, spiteful, cruel? . Maybe... Sure... Ok, and I'm proud as hell of him.

There are atheists who will say that was mean spirited, uncalled for, who will disapprove of the in your face approach of Hitchens. .. and more often than not these are the Uncle Tom atheists I speak of. My position on those people is clear. Fuck 'em.

Hitchens has done more for the atheist active movement than 100,000 coward atheist Chamberlains who would "attend church to make theists more comfortable." ; or who extend respect to any belief because it is a belief. That's appeasement in any thinking person's lexicon.


(PS: Jason: if you didn't consider Madelyn Murry OHare an asshole you are in a minority. Even I considered her an asshole. It was she who helped bring the prayer in school decision to a head with the supreme Court. She was a hideous bitch. The most hated woman in America. Thank Dog for her activist assholism.)
OK, it just seemed like you were reading something into Mike's post. I don't disagree with your position on this, I just wanted to be clear that there's a difference between assholes and "assholes". I couldn't tell from your post whether you meant to refute Mike's.

Hitchens's crack about Falwall made me laugh, too. But then, Falwell was a monster. He didn't deserve any respect, in life or in death. Hitchens does come across as unnecessarily mean sometimes, but for the most part, I wouldn't classify him as an asshole. Madelyn Murry O'Hair, yes. She was a piece of work. She did advance the cause, but I'm sure she could have done so without being an asshole.

But like you, I can't understand atheists who attend church to make others feel comfortable (except maybe for weddings and funerals, where if you want to celebrate the guests of honor, that's where it's happening). If you're just going to church to be nice to someone, you're doing that at the expense of your own beliefs. Why are the beliefs of others more important than your own?
no argument here. we think much a like.

I have (had?) an atheist friend on the net for years who called all theists assholes, simply because of their being theists. I objected, and told him that a theist asshole is one who denies history & science, and seeks to foister his idiocy on others; who seeks to make this a "christian nation", who thinks they have the right to impress their version of morality ("god given" morality) on everyone... whether we want it or not. Those are theist assholes.

He wasn't satisfied with that. To him belief = asshole. Oh well, what are ya gonna do.

To me anyone who is engaged in the fight against imposition of "belief" on all of us (or on a selected minority who become the target of the religionists), using whatever verbal or written means they see fit is the appropriate tact. NOT to convert the fundamentalist assholes, let them believe what fairy tales they like ... but simply to prevent them from succeeding in their objective. It may not always be pretty, may not be kind, but in a culture war where freedom is at stake being an asshole has it's place.

As for Mrs Ohare, I'm not sure she would have been as successful had she been a kinder gentler atheist. We can only speculate. But I do know her style made an impact and you can't argue with the results.

You know what drives me crazy about atheists? They're people. That's sooooo annoying. You know what else? They have opinions. Ugh. The worst ones, though, are the atheists that don't agree with me. They should be locked away. No, hanged... They're evil! Witches! Burn them!!!!

Also, it drives me crazy when atheists ask me what drives me crazy about other atheists as if I have time to think about such things or otherwise care.

-Excerpt from mass hysteria in 60 seconds or less, sub "How to Start a Flame War". (a|n poster, 2009)

Actually Woody, this is a fair question. My honest answer is that hypocrisy drives me crazy and I and my fellow atheists are not immune. I hate having someone else's values shoved down my throat. Any atheist who thinks that they're not capable of such a thing is wrong. I hate assholes. They should FOAD.




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