When I wander around blogs on the Net (and I'm begining to think I see some of you there under different names!) I see lots of apologetics reacting to ... well, pretty much anything with "But he's not a TRUE Christian!"

Beats children in the Lords name: "Not a TRUE Christian!"
Fraud: "Not a TRUE Christian!"
Lies, cheats, steals: "Not a TRUE Christian!"
Says batshit insane things about the end of the world: "Not a TRUE Christian!"

It is VERY disappointing to see it here too.

Has not yet fully deprogrammed, residual magical thinking: "Not a TRUE Atheist!"
Wants to ask questions about the "A" in atheism: "Not a TRUE Atheist!"
Feels good about being distantly related to trees: "Not a TRUE Atheist!"
Disagrees with your atheist/agnostic definition: "Not a TRUE Atheist!"

For craps sake folks, we're on the same team here. We need mutual support & legs up, not screeching matches and put downs. Does it really truly matter if someone here isn't completely at ease with the occassionally scary ideas that atheism entails? Is it REALLY worth starting an argument about?

That sort of behaviour scares people away, it stops people from talking about how they really think and feel and so stops them from analysing those thoughts and feelings and progressing any further with them.

I'm not saying don't argue - I LOVE to argue. But lets argue about things that matter. Whether or not someone is a TRUE atheist (whatever the fuck that means, coz clearly some of us disagree on that) does not matter so long as they are arguing in good faith.

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Comment by Gecko, Seth...brother of Richie! on June 5, 2009 at 7:25pm
I was called a cheeky bastard by Sarah Conner!! The real Sarah Conner not the television impostor!! I can die now:-)
Comment by Mel on June 1, 2009 at 11:06pm
Haha, cheeky bastard :D
Comment by Gecko, Seth...brother of Richie! on June 1, 2009 at 10:56pm

Then there is Dumain! Whom I loath And Feltch whom I would follow into the gate of verbal hell! I love all guns blazing even a little name calling, I just say defend your argument dont back down until its time and you have been slayed.
All questions should be allowed within this realm esp. as someone said earlier for the young. You have proclaimed your self a non-theist. So I will stand with you ultimately,....even Dumain.
Im my opinion we all pretty much agree ith your posting. We need some differing views on it. Cause then the fun really starts! Quick some one email Feltch and Dumain!
Comment by Mel on May 29, 2009 at 6:39pm
Hear Hear!!
Comment by George Ricker on May 29, 2009 at 1:12pm
I also agree. Frankly, the no true atheist logic has always puzzled me. I've always thought not believing in gods was all that was required for one to wear the label "atheist." So god-belief would be the only disqualifier. Unfortunately, some people seem to want to load the word up with more than it's meant to carry.

We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about labels. No doubt they are useful, but only when used properly. The truth of the matter is that we all wear many labels and no one of them describes us adequately. Personally, I think it less important whether someone wears the label "atheist" or "agnostic" or even "theist," and most important how well they wear the label "human being."
Comment by wisp on May 28, 2009 at 10:09pm
I wish there were a thumbs-up button. I agree completely!
Comment by Mel on May 28, 2009 at 9:14pm
It's always interesting seeing what people think you are saying as compared to what YOU think you're saying :D Which is a hazard I should be used to on the internet by now! :D

Things that don't bother me: Arguing. Debate. Arguing loudly. Not being civil (not ideal but then this is the internet as its to be expected). Arguing about all the -isms you care to name. Arguing loudly and un-civily.

But I think to announce nastily that someone isn't an TRUE atheist based on their thoughts or questions and imply that they shouldn't be here as a consequence is unhelpful, not conducive to wide ranging debate, honesty of forum members or building of the group.
Comment by mxyzptlk on May 28, 2009 at 8:18pm
@ Reality Activist:

"The problem is that atheists have different levels of awareness. The more aware one is; the more they are likely to look at the less aware as not being true atheists. The fact is that most atheists in the U.S. may not believe in a god, but they still follow the same irrational value system that the Christian religion promotes."

I don't know if that's a fact or not -- haven't seen the data :)

But your comment about different levels of awareness has interesting implications; the atheist of this year who has attained a certain level of awareness may look like she's not a true atheist with respect to her atheist self five years from now.

You run into a sliding scale of atheism, then, and if that's the case, there'll never be a true atheist.

I heard somewhere the following discussion about atheism: 'If I were taken to a south sea island and shown a totem, and the people of that island said that the totem was their god, I couldn't be an atheist with regard to that totem/god. What the totem/god can accomplish, however, is a completely different question.'

I don't really have a problem with that. If they believe the totem sits there, looks wooden, glares at them, may burn if lit up, sure. If they believe the totem changes the weather and grants them a good catch of cod, nope -- not until I see the totem flying around and manhandling the weather or ushering the cod into their nets.

Then again, they may not think of the totem as a real physical god who manipulates our reality; I have Indian friends who tell me they don't think of Hindu gods in any way like Westerners think of gods, they think of them more in terms of mythic allegories for various states of human experience, consciousness, etc., almost like psychology. I doubt every Indian thinks like this, but from an atheist point of view, I don't quite yet know how to respond to that. It seems a lot more sophisticated, at least.
Comment by Reality Activist on May 28, 2009 at 7:36pm
The problem is that atheists have different levels of awareness. The more aware one is; the more they are likely to look at the less aware as not being true atheists. The fact is that most atheists in the U.S. may not believe in a god, but they still follow the same irrational value system that the Christian religion promotes. In other words, it is easy for many atheists to say that another atheist is not a true atheist because most atheist value systems have been compromised by the Christian subculture that is so much the part of the American culture.

The other issue is that many atheists still have a belief....just not in a god. Many atheists such as the Brights have a problem with leading their lives based on anything that is not part of the natural world. All other so-called atheists do have very irrational beliefs (they may call it a philosophy) and, therefore, ignore many aspects of the natural world.

Unfortunately, many can't differentiate between reality and a belief. Just tell someone that you base your behavior on Evolution and it's proven ramifications and they will tell you that you based your behavior on a belief. This, of course, is nonsense.

The bottom line is that we are not of like minds because we are on different awareness planes and we have different beliefs. If you create a group where the members are not of like-minds, one should expect this type of dissension. It is ridiculous to form groups based on what one doesn't believe. It is much more beneficial to form groups based on people who have the same basis for behavior.

Believers also have this problem because once a fantasy starts parading around like it is reality then many will change the fantasy to suit their own needs. The end result is that the fantasy multiplies with different versions.
Comment by Angie Jackson on May 28, 2009 at 6:35pm
I'm a fairly new atheist (1 year) and am very inclusive: If you don't believe in a god, you're in my club. Even Ralliens, although they have to sit in the corner and put away the chairs at the end of the meeting. Seriously though, everything else is up for debate (Debate is FUN!) How we raise our kids (or whether we have them, and how many if we do), pro-choice/pro-life, liberal/conservative, belief in supernatural, connectedness with nature, rationalism, intellectual elitism, secular humanism, etc. etc. There are lots and lots of "isms" we can each adopt. One of the things that bugs me most about Christianity (when I was in and now) is that they don't agree on anything, but CLAIM to. They all claim they're the only "True" christians. One of the things I like best about atheists is that we are all so damn different. We hold a common belief on ONE issue. As Monty Python told us in Life of Brian, "You are all individuals!"



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