Most of us are aware, when people are in a group setting, they generally "behave" in a way conducive to positive behavior.  People tend not to take things from others if they know they are being watched.  Religious people, generally speaking, believe that their actions are under constant scrutiny even in the absence of other people. (Excepting the fact that the vast majority of prison inmates commit their crimes despite the eye in the sky watching over them).[i]  One of the drivers for this inherent religious prejudice is the inability to understand how an atheist, not being bound by the belief in a supernatural overseer, could behave according to religious norms - i.e., live their life as though they too were subject to supernatural supervision.

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Comment by Earther on December 2, 2011 at 11:29pm

I think if you are respecting yourself as you are showing respect to others trust will follow as long as the person who you are engaging has a similar point of view in being respectful.  The fact that our beliefs will ultimately lead us there is no guarantees of mutual agreements or respect.  Allowing one to live freely and your self does help.

Comment by Sean Asbury on December 1, 2011 at 7:25pm
Thanks for the comments!

Earther - you're not confusing me. These are good points. My desire, my hope, is to find strategies/ways to engage theists in understanding that 1., atheists are not untrustworthy just because we don't subscribe to the eye in the sky, and 2., we are capable of doing positive things in the absence of a heavenly afterlife.

I'd like to approach this from a position of mutual respect, primarily because without that chances of successful angagement is nil, but mutual respect as starting point often seems to be a bridge to far too.

So I'm looking for
Comment by Earther on December 1, 2011 at 6:44pm

Defining words like prejudice is one thing but defining what you will do is another.  When in conflict or competition with another person or group you innately make decisions, so what will you do?  Is it war or is it peace?  How do you defend yourself when you are confronted with a challenge?  How do you show respect to others and yourself?  These questions are of course retorical.  I think sometimes we can think of civil liberties and rights is a resource like water and oil.  It is not a given whether that is fair or not.  I hope I am not confusing you but I am also quite frustrated with the "bully system of religion".  I feel that trying to ponder and support the separation of church and state in our government and working lives is just what we need to do.  Lately I have been trying to get some responses from AN on the issue of corporal punishment in public schools.  I have not been getting a lot of response and it makes me wonder why.  I thought atheist may have a lot to say about the issue but it has not panned out.  There are currently 19 states in the U.S. that continue to legally hit students in public schools, usually by way of a paddle to the buttocks, and with parental permission.  I am in total dissagreement and have great disgust towards this practice.  Changing the current system thought is quite challenging.

Comment by Larry Dawson on December 1, 2011 at 12:29am

While it would be nice to combat religious prejudice, it can do little. Because religion IS prejudice.

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