Let us consider the limitations of anger toward alleged religious entities, whether it's logical error, and the need to get past it to deal with "What After Religion?"

If you want the entire previous discussion go here.

Let's begin with my reply

MADHUKAR, You said "Every atheist here hates Jesus...". I'm an atheist who doesn't "hate Jesus." I have strong negative feelings toward the religious memeplexes which include the Jesus meme. But hatred makes no sense directed toward an information entity. Hatred is a social emotion, suitable for social situations, beings capable of engaging in social exchanges. Memeplexes relate to us as hosts, a substrate upon which to foist reproduction.

In short, it's a logical error to direct hatred, or love for that matter, toward "Jesus" because it buys into one of the tricksof religious memeplexes. It makes as much sense as hating Cinderella or Darth Vader. Let's not shoot ourselves in the head.

Ruth, There is no logical error. There are hundreds of members and I couldn't have counted all but look at the huge response and you will understand what I meant. I do not know what is a memeplex and can't comment on what you say about this and tricks. Ruth, you notice a small error on my post, you suspended a person for an uncalled for quarrel but how is it that you never seriously objected to the hate campaign? And don't try to protect it. I am so upset about many of the atheists here. What are we? Religion haters club? How can a religion hater call himself an atheist and why do we take them softly. Ruth, I have some very bad questions and I too do not mind if I am expelled from atheist nexus. I have stated elsewhwre and I will repeat it here again, that I have a deep pride for my atheism, because I feel that an atheist is an intellectual of high order. I do not like anyone polluting atheism. I had no exposure to westerners before I joined AN. Since our society has received many good things from west, I always thought that the westerners must be modern and refined in thought, but to my utter dismay I have found samples of crudity here. The Americans!!! If America produces so many fake and trolling atheists, America is bound to be religious, what else can happen? Again, I am not talking about every American but I would like meet an atheist from American theists here who can be shown as an example of good atheism to the American public.  

A young man had posted a discusion on a subject 'What after religion". All he got was four answers. I too had posted a similar discussion and I too got only a few responses. I have posted a discussion on how Mahatma Gandhi and an Indian atheist came together and had provided a link to a small booklet. It is a wonderful story in simple language of two great persons, which I felt, every atheist should read, but NOT A SINGLE ATHEISTread the story and posted a reply. There are 243 replies on homosexuality! Homophobia or Homo-obsession?  Most of the atheist here are interested in kitchen gossip. ...

1.  Watch and learn, my friend:  youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE.

2.  Anger and hatred are vocabulary words too often confused.  You can be angry to the nth degree, but you don't have to call it hatred.  Of course, calling it hatred gets a stronger response, so perhaps that is where Stephen is going with this, trying to energize us into doing all we can, with our short time on earth, to make this world a better place.  For that, I applaud him.

3.  Shorter posts garner more readers.  Consider cutting yours into segments, one thought each, when possible.  "Just sayin'..."


Reply by Prog Rock Girl

"Polluting atheism"? This sounds like a religious or totalitarian statement.

It's an elementary fact of life. In any subculture, no matter how much you identify with it, you will soon find people you can't stand, and there are also people in any subculture who are complete jerks.

Some might say you are polluting atheism with residual religious dogma ("if there is a cure for homosexuality we must find it").

Another way to look at the disparity in discussions is one is purely hypothetical, and the other deals with things that are going on in the real world and actually affect real people.


Prog Rock Girl

"Polluting atheism"? This sounds like a religious or totalitarian statement

We seem to be extreme haste to find religioin when we find something with we do not agree. You have made a reference to my discussion about homosexuality in which I could not even ask all my questions. Yet, someone had alresdy started seeing religion in my arguments. There was and is no religion anywhere near me. Polluting is a strong word but my displeasure made me use it. This does not mean I have changed my opinoions a wee bit. There is always something like some goodness in everything. PRG, I am indeed sorry to say that you are not seeing wrong where you should see it. Whatever distinction you make between hate and anger, you will be able to find hate where I am seeing it. Do you see that what I am expressing is my anger and not hate? Isn't it possible to distinguish between the two?

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Replies to This Discussion

I saw that original thread and just had to shake my head about it.  "Hate Jesus?!?"  I wouldn't waste my time, nor I suspect would most if not all the other atheists on this board.

I AM concerned and occasionally upset about the behavior of those who subscribe to the myths of the bible and the cults of personality therein, most notably the carpenter-turned-rabbi who is the focus of the second half of that misguided tome. Myths and superstitions bother me very little, but the irresponsible actions of people who wish to see their hallucinations dominate a culture are a healthy part of the reason why I care to educate myself about atheism and why I am on this board.

To those who would use such blanket generalities, I would remind them that atheists come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and attitudes, and they would be well served to remember that before indulging in such blanket statements.

Loren says "I saw that original thread and just had to shake my head about it.  "Hate Jesus?!?"  I wouldn't waste my time"

My thoughts exactly.

So, MADHUKAR, am I to take your argument to be that because many people respond to a discussion entitles "Why Do Your Dislike Jesus So Much?", therefore there is no logical error in directing hatred toward a probably-mythical being? The corollary of that is, millions of worshipers aren't making a logical error when they direct love toward mythical gods.  I'm sorry, "Many people do it," isn't adequate grounds for me to accept that they're making sense.


Please consider that it would be worth your time to learn the basics of memetics.


You said

I am so upset about many of the atheists here. What are we? Religion haters club? How can a religion hater call himself an atheist and why do we take them softly.

... how is it that you never seriously objected to the hate campaign?


I too am upset about the focus on hating religion here.

I do object to the language of hate, but perhaps you don't hear what I say as forceful because I don't display angry. Did you not hear my objection that hatred of memeplexes is a logical error as a shout, even with the lightening animation?


I "take them softly" because I see anger as a legitimate feeling, and hatred as frustrated anger. I see recognizing this hatred as a step in the enlightenment process. In my own experience, I find myself hating someone only when I've lost my agency, when I feel powerless toward them. I realized that I hated Nixon because I felt powerless as a citizen. I had an episode that lasted a few hours, where I felt hatred toward men, after I'd undergone a Stockholm syndrome conversion and adopted the victim/martyr role. It vanished the moment I regained my authenticity. Hatred was a symptom of helplessness, for me.


I am also greatly concerned about "What After Religion?" Presumably you've read portions of my blog. I really want to focus on building the foundations for emotionally satisfying secular community, instead of than indulging the impulse to reject religion, over and over and over.


I am sorry that our occasional crudity dismayed you so much. Perhaps you had placed modern western thought on a pedestal. Western culture has a great many flaws. We atheists have flaws too. I think it's good to recognize flaws and consider human beings bundles of strengths and weaknesses, deserving of respect as whole persons even though nobody is perfect. Nobody should have to be perfect! Expecting perfection, in my view, reflects hierarchical thinking, where one's self esteem is based on asserting superiority over those "lower" then yourself, and hiding your own weaknesses from everyone, including yourself. I prefer an egalitarian society, where nobody is elevated as perfect. I think we grow by learning about our limitations as well as our strengths.

Memetics helps me to understand how our limitations of thought and feeling are exploited by mind viruses. I think our hatred arises in part from perceived helplessness, a gut feeling we are manipulated by religions and discomfort with our vulnerability. Memetics is an intellectual tool to expose, analyze, and cope with this helplessness, a tool to regain our empowerment.


Ruth, your preference for egalitarian society fits the feminine profile from the groundbreaking research of Deborah Tannen, which she made available to the public in her book, Talking, from 9 to 5.  It focused on methods of communication, both verbal and nonverbal, of men and women in white collar American workplaces.  I think you'd enjoy it.

Apologies for straying off the subject, here, but I like to think this is, in no small part, what Christopher Hitchens meant when he said (and I paraphrase) the way to peace and prosperity is the empowerment of women.  I mean this not in a superiority way but as a way of achieving balance.  One might say the problem with the world, today, is just how out of balance it is.

Ruth, thanks for moving this discussion.  Wise and well done!

Madhukar, take a deep breath, my friend.  You confused Progressive Rock Girl with me.  I'm the one linking anger and hatred or, rather, unlinking the two, actually.

There is one thing I learned from Muslim friends which turns out to be quite useful.  They claim it is a saying from The Prophet, himself:  If you are angry and you are standing, sit down.  If you are angry and you are sitting, lie down.  I've tried it.  It works.  I can offer  rationale based on evolution of physiology, but my point, Madhukar, is that your responses show ever stronger emotion.  It can be useful, but it can also get out of control.  If you take a few minutes, we'll still be here.  Not to worry.


Doc, thank you very much for a friendly advice. If you read that thread fully, I have done my best, two or three times, to stop the type discussion that was going on, in a very friendly manner. Steve is a good and intelligent man and I respect him as such, but I thought that he was getting caried away by the momentum of the discussion. I did just what I thought I should do under the circmstances. Thanks once again.

I'm glad to see your shorter blurb.  My disability makes longer blurbs virtually impossible to follow.   I simply was unable to read your threads fully, so I scanned and picked up what I could.  No wonder advertisers like memes.

Friendly vs. angry:  Do watch Greta Christina's lecture.  She doesn't deliver it in anger, I promise.  In fact, she is able to incorporate humor.  But, she does clarify where the anger comes from, what its risks are, and how overwhelmingly important anger is to making change.

Doc - I'm curious about anger - because I grew up being taught that it was wrong and immoral - and now I have a block against it - I prefer to act on empathy and compassion.....

I was raised to "be nice" because I was a girl, a "young lady", whose reason for existance was to "be nice" enough to land a good husband, give him children, and have a secure and pleasant future.  From your photo, I can see I am older than you, but this indoctrination persists, whether more subtle or not, depending on where you were raised.  The vast majority of our mothers were raised this way, and they tend to raise us the way they, themselves, were reared.

In contrast to girls, boys were allowed anger, frustration, and one-up-manship in the form of competitiveness.  Girls were reared to be followers, chastised if they demonstrated assertiveness and leadership, while boys were raised mirror-opposite.

In this way, men are raised to dominant positions, women to subordinate -- more delicately labeled "supportive" -- roles.

There has been some change, with girls finally getting into team sports, but that is still only a small percentage.

Girls, young ladies, and women who assert themselves and take leadership of situations are still too often called bitches.

Debra Tannen researched this, some 40 years ago (rough estimate) and wrote her results in "Talking, From 9 to 5".  Please, read it.  It will impress you.

I have come to learn that frustration with no out leads to anger.  I think Ruth mentioned this, too.  I have also figured out that this anger can be constructively channeled.  It raises one's adrenalin level, but if you recognize and deal with it, you can use it to focus and enhance your thought process, as your brain works to find a way out.  It gives strength as well as focus, that strength tapping into the instinct to survive.  In this regard, anger can be life-saving, a strong coat of armor against suicide, to say the least.

Anger is neither wrong nor immoral.  Anger turned to useless and/or cruel violence is a problem, as that violence is wrong and immoral.  Do not let anyone make you confuse the two.  If you follow my writings, you may see that the stronger my level of anger, the clearer and stronger my writings, for example.   The pen is mightier than the sword, and the internet is the pen on steroids.

So, please let your angry self out of the closet and into the light of day.  Evolution gave you this gift for a reason.

I too was raised to avoid and deny anger. I agree 100% that anger is a source of strength when channeled constructively, and that we first have to recognize it. Denying our anger is one of the way women are subjugated, and cooperate in their own subjugation. Men are seldom raised with this internal conflict, and "don't get" the problem.

Men are raised to direct anger into competition and conflict. If atheist men vent anger toward the religious, here, as they were taught to vent as boys, it probably feels to them like group bonding. The way a group of boys would cement their bond. I see this as a gender parallel, the problem women "don't get."

Anger toward the religious can easily spill over into hatred when frustration overwhelms men or women. As I see it they have to "recognize and deal with it" (hatred) so "they can use it to focus and enhance ... [their] thought process". This is one reason I prefer not to simply censor hate language but encourage all of us to analyze what's going on when we feel hate, to regain self control. By facing up to the particular helpless frustration which engendered this particular hate, we can defuse it back to anger, which can be constructive. Just talking about our experiences in a nonjudgmental atmosphere can be empowering. To do this we can't put someone down just because he/she feels hate.

I wasn't raised to deny anger; I was simply raised by a VERY angry mother who scared the living shit out of me. So I will admit that I don't deal with anger very well. There were no peace-makers in our family -- my father used to disappear into the garage to work on his Heathkit radios, and my sister and brother used to resolve whatever emotions they were having by bullying and harassing me.

I don't want to put someone down because of the feelings they're having, but having been on the receiving end of so much anger at such a vulnerable age, I do think that the angry ones need to exercise enough control over themselves so that they aren't inadvertently hurting an innocent bystander.

Natalie - agreed :)




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