I sometime read religious boards and it amazes and disappoints me how much religious zealots and atheist have in common – the absolute and righteous certainty that they at the exclusion of others possess knowledge/revelations that makes them the bearers of the truth.   

Recently on a different Atheist discussion board a lady that had just lost her young daughter wrote about her religious experience and of the comfort she receivers from her faith.  She politely shared her heart breaking story and even offered words of kindness.  The replies were predictably brutal and mocking, barely a shred of compassion for a mother that lost her child.  I made my best to present my atheist point of view to this lady but I did so with respect, compassion and understanding.  I also felt ashamed for my fellow atheists.

I see it here too at nexus, the same hubris and arrogance that at times is such that some individuals proclaim that their philosophies are “my own religion” while others are themselves “…my own religion” and their church is “my flesh and blood”.  Does this sound strangely familiar?  I suppose soon we will have Gods among us. 

Before we all get too heady from over indulging in the advantages of having the weight of evidence in our favor, we should remember that pointing out the irrationality of religion is as-easy-as- shooting-fish-in-a-barrel!  The real challenge is offering something better.

We are no better than those that dismiss us and demean us for being atheist if we dismiss and demean them for being believers. The belittling of others only diminishes us and at the very least makes us as misguided as we see theists to be.

It would serve us all well to remember that before presenting our carefully constructed arguments we could show something very simple – respect – and maybe even modesty.

If you believe that logic and reason offers superior guidance than mysticism and religion then BE the example.   

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How bizarre that someone that makes an effort to suggest how atheist might become more affective could be a potential infiltrator.

Maybe you could organize a virtual witch burning for me and anyone else that might be considering expressing a descending or challenging view. You could jump over to one of the evangelical websites and ask how they handle blasphemy in their flock.
Fred, I am under no obligation to display tolerance or understanding to stupidity. The fact that the overwhelming majority of religious nutjobs are stupid, doesn't mean I treat them with contempt because they are religious - I do it because they're stupid. This thread is typhos and worthy of contempt.
I'm sorry did my comments interrupt you from preaching to the choir?
By the way - Fred . . . That wasn't you in that "Just leave Brittany alone" video, was it?

(Sorry Fred, couldn't resist :)
What you describe is one of the ways to make that scarlet A stand for "Asshole". I don't see the need to "bark" at religious people who are not necessarily engaging in an aggressive discussion. The same can be done calmly, in the way a professor, with a red pen, marks all your answers wrong. We can do that, I think. The woman you describe might also be guilty of some arrogance, thinking that her experience entitles her to go and preach non-believers, as if she were so unique. A reprimand was needed, but I don't think a harsh one.

Another issue, maybe more serious, is the image of the angry atheist that is out there. We all know that is just a stereotype, that we non-believers can be as happy as anyone. But if we want to change that view, we will need to sacrifice and do some PR, especially when engaging with others in a "public place", whether it is real or virtual.

Kudos for the thread.
A friend of mine told me a great story about an interaction he had just his week with an evangelical Christian. On a flight from Dublin to NY we sat next to a chatty woman that had just come back from an intensive 3 month bible study.

As they talked he expressed that it was difficult for him to understand how people have a literal interpretation of the bible yet they pick and chose what they wish to follow. He pointed out that Christian often quote scripture about homosexuality being an abomination while the very same passage clearly dictates that one shall not eat pork. Despite what is stated in the bible Christians don’t forgo eating pork. He mostly asked her questions to get her to think or her own. By the time they landed in NY she had changed her mind about gay marriage.

Now, what if John D or Phil, for example, sat next to this young lady instead of my friend? From what they have said so far we would expect that they would likely have ruddily told that she was an idiot for believing such crap. They would have felt very satisfied with themselves and this young woman and anyone within earshot would have thought they were complete jerks.

So there are your choices, which of the two is more worthy of decent and intelligent people?
Fortunately you know what other people know and what they are thinking. The rest of us can only rely on more rudimentary methods like thoughtful arguments that don't insult the people we are having a polite conversation with.
There are all sorts of negative or reprehensible behaviors that can be used as a tool. Murder is one such tool so is intimidation. Their unquestionable effectiveness most often does not justify their use.

I am just as human as you are and I am just as tempted to lash out as anyone else. Still, if we justify being rude then so can others. I think it is goal of good people and reasonable to elevate any discourse to a higher level. I think as atheist we should strive to be the ones to do it.
Ill say this. If I disagree with someone and they are a jackass to me because I don't see things their way, I am very likely to dismiss whatever they are saying without checking into it further. (human nature?) If however, they have a respectful conversation with me and state their opinions without making me feel ignorant (though ignorant about their beliefs I may be) then I am very likely to consider what they say and begin looking into it further. As a matter of a fact it was some very kind, well-put words from a quiet sort of fellow that made me start looking into atheistic views in the first place. I guess it all boils down to your intentions. If your intent is to enhance your view of yourself, then I guess rudeness, ridicule, and talking down to people is the way to go. IF the goal is to promote knowledge and truth then mannerisms that welcome people (oh, say kindness, understanding, ect.) would probably be the most successful. Guess it's all in the intent
Could the author of this post please provide us with the link/s for this discussion that he describes as predictably brutal and mocking replies?
Miguel Fernandes: The replies were predictably brutal and mocking, barely a shred of compassion for a mother that lost her child. I made my best to present my atheist point of view to this lady but I did so with respect, compassion and understanding. I also felt ashamed for my fellow atheists.

I see it here too at nexus, the same hubris and arrogance....

Link please.
On the issue of a link to the discussion that I originally referred to - the answer is NO.

The original discussion took place in a site that requires membership but more importantly I will not blindside those that took part in the discussion by placing all of them in the witness box, most especially a lady that shared an intimate story about losing her daughter.

I think the issue of arrogance and rudeness in atheism is sufficiently well known especially by atheists themselves that it does not require that I publicly shame anyone to make that point.

If it were not an issue it would not come up numerous times on this site and others like it, as many of you have bemoaned, and it would not lead to the splintering of atheists groups.




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