In one recent discussion, a good lady, Dogly, said this about me:

“It is just that Madhukar seems to be trying to find a common set of beliefs or opinions among us all. I'm trying to convince him that that is impossible.”

Earlier, she had hardly participated in the several discussions posted by me but seems to have observed me from distance, because her observation is accurate.

My reply was obvious:

“I do not, cannot and will not deny that I would be very happy to evolve some commonalities in atheist character,”

I feel most annoyed when an atheist says that ‘atheism is nothing more and nothing less than not believing in god.’ I also find some opposition to me when I say that atheism is an ideal. This may be a result of a fear that calling atheism an ideal will turn it into an ideology, which, indeed, is to be feared! However, there is some difference between an ideal and ideology. To me, atheism is an ideal that every intellectual should try to achieve. Attaining this ideal would be the best proof of an intellectual’s intellectualism. This is supported by the result of a recent discussion that finally seems to have established that atheism is based on knowledge and not on ignorence.

Likewise, I strongly believe that there should be something like an “Atheist Identity” that should distinguish an atheist from the rest of the people, by his character. The religious faithful often try to say that being an atheist is being immoral. Why should anyone try to attach such labels to us? Why should it not be obvious to others that being an atheist gives some good attributes to one’s personality?

Aren’t there enough good qualities that all atheists can posses and that can be attributed to atheism? Whatever be the answer, it will not deter me from finding such a common character.

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Replies to This Discussion

Tony Carroll

So what I' trying to say is that your good qualities will define you, just as your bad qualities. Only hope your good heavily outweighs your bad, as I'm sure they do. Then you will shine by example, and that will be attributed to atheism.

Atheists seem to uthink that renouncing god and religion means renouncing everything that was said to be good. Two persons have given examples of their "adorable" culture. My mother must have been a retrograde person compared to their adorable culture. She not only told me to use any bad word, but, once I received a beating from her for lying!

How can anyone say that this would make a society a bod one? On the contrary I want to ask, will such character not make a society a better place for living? Not uttering a foul word in front of a lady is sexism! Of course, you can always give a bad name to good things to hide your bad character.

Sir, your views supporting character are an oassis in this characterless desert. Many many thanks. I hope it will dawn soon on the  atheists that it is only good to exhibit good character.  

In my experience people's character exists independent of labels and systematization.

Rad Jackson

What you say is correct on a personal level. Communities too need to display some character. Atheist Nexus  calls itself a community. I have often argued that we can not deal with theists without displaying some character. You have put forth your view in a decent manner. Please go through entire earlier discussion and you will easily see that atheists will need to show better character if they have to be able to convince others that their position is not immoral.

"Taking a contrarian position is easy and you have turned it in to an art."

Needle bending irony...

"You keep asking for prooof while your own arguments are without proof and many times are illogical too."

I (and many others) keep backing up my arguments and counter-arguments with substance, justification, real-world examples and reasoning. Here (yet again) you offer a "contrarian position", you do not justify it, you do not point out any errors of reasoning or logic, you just say "no, you're wrong" and that's it, you have yet to address "why" you disagree other than you "don't agree".

"What can be achived in such a discussion? 

Actually, as I've addressed (and you have yet to respond), the authoritarian ideas of subjective conformity of character and exclusion you espouse are not just offensive, they're dictatorial. You've made it clear that you're "annoyed" by world-views other than your own, and you offer nothing but dismissive epithets "good character vs bad character" and closed-minded notions of morality based entirely on subjectivity that seems steeped in elitist classism.

Sound familiar? I've also just tabled a pretty good description of religious fundamentalism.


Wow, either we agree with your narrow ideological and classist subjectivism, or we achieve nothing? 

Let's examine how you deal with dissent, shall we, an ad hoc meta analysis?

  • "we have just had a discussion on this subject that has varified my thinking and I was found to be right. I am not even discussing that isssue here."
  • "you and others have to get away for a moment from set thinking, for a moment, to understand my idea."
  • "I am not looking for any philosophy."
  • "it is me who has any reason to complain, that everybody seems to be attaching some motive to what I say, many find a meaning that is not there and also give advice that is incorrect."
  • "I have maintained my composure despite attempts to disturb me."
At this point I've noticed that a lot of posts are missing/deleted …why?
  • "we may say that atheists should not use foul language, a very simple proposition. Let me repeat that this is only an example, but assuming such a character would make atheism appear only in a better light."
  • "The results of a discussion may prove me to be wrong or right, it does not mattaer ,if the perticipants try to understand the subject and make meaningful comments. Most do not do and only a few do it. It is therefore diffficult to arrive at a correct answer."
  • "However, sometimes, after seeing, irrational and intemperate replies, use of foul words here, I feel that many persons come to A N with a club mentality and that they could be even tipsy when they are replying."
  • "Why should I accept that atheists should deliberately, consciously invite adverse opinions?"
  • "To use any bad word in the presence of a lady is a taboo in our society. Is it bad? Why such a goodness should not be a part of an atheist character?"
  • "I want those persons who give characterlesss replies to understand  that they only strengthen the thought that atheists have to have character."
  • "Of course, you can always give a bad name to good things to hide your bad character."
  • "Please go through entire earlier discussion and you will easily see that atheists will need to show better character if they have to be able to convince others that their position is not immoral."
Atheists are a diverse and complex group, with as many unique qualities beliefs, positions and principles as there are individuals. We share just one thing, one thing only by default. That you don't like what, at its most broad and distilled meaning, what "atheist/atheism" means; is not going to change anything.
Reality is like that, whether theist or atheist, …what one wants it to be, …doesn't matter, reality doesn't care, it just is.


In 1972, when I was 36 years old, I return to college for my sophomore year. I had a terrible time doing all the reading, and keeping up with schedules and statistics was giving me fits. I had already failed one class and was taking it over.  I had three nine-year old children to care for and the responsibilities of an army officer's wife to fulfill, as well. I kept falling behind, getting more and more desperate, and one day a very young man, with dreadlocks sat down beside me in the library. He was a classmate about 19 years old. He asked if he could help me with my studies. We worked together, I got caught up, and completed the required work and earned an A in stats.

I had perceived this young man as a scoundrel, an "unacceptable" person with strange hair; and he was my kindest, compassionate, most thoughtful friend. Now I tend to presume all people with dreadlocks have character such as his.  Both stereotypes are risky.  




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