Should Atheists be Defensive?

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Hitch's picture
Should Atheists be Defensive?

Religious people are on the offensive all the time. And it has served them very well.

Should atheists stay non-violent? or reply aggressively?

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Algebe's picture
@Hitch: Should atheists stay

@Hitch: Should atheists stay non-violent? or reply aggressively?

I have a strong sense of empathy. Before I could willfully inflict violence or pain on others, I'd need to repress my empathy by taking on a religion.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
There are militant atheists.

There are militant atheists. That's what they're for.

Hitch's picture
@Algebe: I am not talking

@Algebe: I am not talking physical aggression. Only ideological

Algebe's picture
@Hitch:

@Hitch:

You said "Should atheists stay non-violent?", so I assumed you were also talking about physical aggression.

As far as ideological aggression is concerned, bring it on.

Cognostic's picture
About what? A Christian /

About what? A Christian / Muslim says I will go to hell. I don;t believe that? Against what would I be defending myself? On the other hand, I have no problem being offended. "What the fk is wrong with you? You believe in eternal torture for people who do not agree with you? You are a fking monster!!!"

I can certainly be offended and more people should be offended.

Hitch's picture
@Cognostic

@Cognostic
I agree, all ideas are subject to debate and criticism.
What i am saying is that atheists are put in a lot of danger (life, status, property etc) by the religious in the name of their own ideas. To obtain one's rights, fundamental rights, to survive, it is necessary to be offensive so as to deter.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
In the legal world, That

In the legal world, That question would be considered leading because it is designed for the answer to lead to a yes.

I don't condone violence without a strong reason, but I will say by way of common sense that if anyone is attacked, they should defend if able.

Cognostic's picture
Best Answer: Occasionally.

Best Answer: Occasionally. Choose your battles wisely. As you stated, "Atheists are put in a lot of danger by the religious. (Loss of jobs, loss of family, isolation, ridicule, violation of fundamental rights.) I could not agree more. I work in a counseling agency and the office manager is a die hard Christian who does Christian therapy. She actually attempts to bring God into her therapy sessions and cure people with prayer. I would love to call her on her crap, report her to the ethics boards, and have her license removed. Fact is, some of the students who happen to be religious, like her. Some don't, and tell me about it. (How I know some of the things I know. Sessions are private.) I need my job. I like my job. Working for a university is a great way to live one's life. So.... I just release my alter ego here. He he he, Best Answer: "Occasionally."

Hitch's picture
@Cognostic

@Cognostic
I concur to your point "Choose your battles wisely"
That is why individual struggles should be avoided as much as possible.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: OP

Re: OP

(Before reading any other replies...)

Personally, I'm a big fan of "live and let live." As far as I am concerned, it is none of my business what another person or group believes as long as they do not harm me or others, and as long as they do not try to force their beliefs on me. To each his own. I'm not the one living that person's life. However, if somebody tries to harm me or my loved ones or other innocent people, or if they try to force their beliefs on myself or my loved ones...... Well, let's just say that individual or group would be WISHING for only simple aggression from me. Ironically, I truly do not like violence. I would much rather avoid it if at all possible, and I will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid it. On the flip side of that coin, though, I am no stranger to using violence, and I do have a great capacity for it. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary.

Like I said, I have no more right forcing MY views on others any more than they have a right to force THEIRS on me. Sadly (and disturbingly), a vast majority of religious zealots are not able to grasp that concept for some odd reason.

Spectre of Marxism's picture
> As far as I am concerned,

> As far as I am concerned, it is none of my business what another person or group believes as long as they do not harm me or others, and as long as they do not try to force their beliefs on me

This is a noble sentiment, but the problem with Christians and Muslims is that for them forcing their views on you is not only a Heavenly Dictate but, beyond that, its a moral duty to save you from hellfire and/or something that can relieve them of sin-burder if they successfully "bring another one to the fold". Multiple verses either encourage or outright command them to this. They fundamentally cannot "live and let live"; Deists could, conceivably, but not the Abrahamic gang.

Tin-Man's picture
@Spectre Re: "...but the

@Spectre Re: "...but the problem with Christians and Muslims is that for them forcing their views on you is not only a Heavenly Dictate but, beyond that,..."

I agree with you wholeheartedly on that, my good man. That is why I am careful to add my little disclaimer of, "...as long as they do not try to harm me or force their beliefs on me..." Basically, if they don't bother me or my loved ones (directly), I will not bother them. However, like you said, most theists simply do not see things in that manner. Unfortunately (and annoyingly), there is little to nothing I can do about the general world-wide spread of their influence. If they come "knocking on my door" directly, though, I am more than willing and able to defend and deter. Interestingly enough, it was only after joining this site that I began to learn just how caustic and cancerous the major religions have become. Disturbing, to say the least... *shudder*...

arakish's picture
@ Tin-Man

@ Tin-Man

Just like you, my philosophy of life begins and ends with "live and let live."

My Philosophy Of Life, the ONE and ONLY True Truth

  • Live and Let Live.
  • Leave me alone, I shall leave you alone.
  • Mess with me and mine… Just don’t… The results won’t be pretty.
  • Want to be friendly? We can be friends.
  • Want to be belligerent? We’ll probably be enemies.
  • Respect the Right of ALL persons to have whatever beliefs they wish to have, even if contradictory to your beliefs.
  • Wish to discuss beliefs? We can discuss them.
  • Do not force your beliefs onto others.
  • Force your beliefs onto me, we are enemies.
  • Mind your own business and affairs.
  • Allow others tend to theirs.
  • Live and Let Live.

“He with long nose, tends to get it chopped off.” — RF Runyan (Arakish's father)

rmfr

Spectre of Marxism's picture
> [should atheists] reply

> [should atheists] reply aggressively?

Absolutely. The current new coming of theism, riding on the wave of the New Right, largely goes on unopposed. Or, if it is opposed, it is not effectively opposed. Bring back the League of Militant Godless!

Да здравствует Союз Воинствующих Безбожников!

arakish's picture
Should Atheists be Defensive?

Should Atheists be Defensive?

Yes. I have spent over 50 years "turning the other cheek" and tolerating the offensiveness of religion. No more.

Should atheists stay non-violent?

I may get violent with my words, but that is about it. Now, if a Religious Absolutist attempted to take over my house and force their religion upon me, well... Let's just say I have a very big back yard visited by coyotes, wolves, and bears...

or reply aggressively?

I shall always be aggressive in my attempts to annihilate the harm of religion. I have nothing against philosophical beliefs, just religious ones. And remember this: Not only am I an Atheist. I am also an Anti-Theist. And an Anti-Religionist. I am a Soul Haunter. I publicly argue passionately against any religion. I publicly question any religion. I publicly laugh at any religion. I publicly shame any religion. I publicly resist any religion. I publicly defile any religion.

If we ain't defensive and aggressive with our stand, then we shall fall forever.

rmfr

David Killens's picture
Obviously there is a

Obviously there is a disagreement between both camps. Let us first examine what theists are doing.

In some places, going open on being an atheist is a death sentence. Even in more liberal countries theists openly wage war on atheists. They have their missionaries, they have well-funded television channels broadcasting their message on a 24/7 basis. Make no mistake, for some religious organizations, it is open war on atheists.

I will never condone violence, to quote Hari Seldon "violence is the last resort of the incompetent". But atheism needs to take a firm stand when confronted. We need to hold our ground with strong and rational arguments, delivered not with aggression but strong assertions backed up by empirical evidence.

it is not the typical stance of atheists to go out like missionaries, but when they come at us (and it seems this is the pattern) we need to hold our ground and be willing to trade punch for punch.

Why? Because religion is now a cancer of all societies and needs to be reduced, it has to have it's political strength clipped, and all religions must be held accountable for the horrors and deception they practice.

Hitch's picture
Lets examine the consequences

Lets examine the consequences of staying defensive.
>>First, the theists take charge of the situation and since they have an enormous influence in every sphere, they can wage a very effective campaign against atheists. What do i mean? ....Atheists are cornered. You lose job, reputation, fundamental rights etc. It is a death sentence in muslim countries to come out as an atheist.
>> Second, the theists can never let you be (@Spectre Re:). Hitchens puts it this way ( Because God cares for you). Muslims and Christians cannot just let you have your own beliefs. They have to force their views on you. Thats it. If you stay defensive to that, then it is inevitable, theists will interfere in your life, they will kill, they will justify violence in god's name.
>> Third, all monotheistic religions tend to form a society based on laws and principles dating back thousands of years. They are very persistent in this view. To them, the "Golden Age" should come again is more preferable. Islam is very determined in this line.

Excuse my English!

arakish's picture
Hitch: "Excuse my English!"

Hitch: "Excuse my English!"

What is wrong with it?

rmfr

Fallen's picture
As I see it, religion will

As I see it, religion will come under increasing pressure as the world moves toward an understanding of reality.

When I was a religious zealot, the hostility of people that didn't believe actually served as affirmation of my faith, and that what I was doing was the right thing. I was taught to expect opposition.

Religion will become more moderate as time goes on and our knowledge increases. The fanatics will oppose the change but it is inevitable.

We don't need to be violent or aggressive; Faith is inversely proportional to knowledge about reality. We just need to study, test, debate, discover like we are already doing. A lie can fight viciously against, but cannot prevail against truth.

Cognostic's picture
Interesting.... Religion

Interesting.... Religion will become more moderate? I am imagining Religious Wars. Nothing moderate at all. Thinking religion will fall without a fight is not realistic. Atheism may just be the glue that binds Christianity together in a united front. The pendulum swings one way and then it swings the other. There is a massive population of ignorance out there in the world.

I think religions may polarize and attempt to control the government. I am real unhappy about the new religious initiatives by Trump. There is going to be some blow-back.

Fallen's picture
I'm not saying there will be

I'm not saying there will be no fight. I just doubt that religion would be able to throw us back in the dark ages again. Then again I could be underestimating the level of ignorance you are talking about. Well, I hope mankind is smarter or the future is rather bleak.

Hitch's picture
@Fallen:

@Fallen:
If terrorism spreads (and it is spreading very fast), religion will obviously be controlling everything. At that point, it will be impossible to fight back.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Hitch - If terrorism spreads.

Hitch - If terrorism spreads...

How could terrorism spread? I mean I guess we could spread it to the Moon, Antarctica, or the bottom of the ocean; but I doubt that is what you mean.

Fallen's picture
I believe the world has

I believe the world has gotten to a point of no return for religion... See my response to Cog. Just my opinion and I accept it could be wrong. I hope I'm not.

Cognostic's picture
75% of the planet is

75% of the planet is currently living in the dark ages. Are you unaware of this?

Fallen's picture
I'm sorry but I don't agree.

I'm sorry but I don't agree. Yes there are people still trapped in the dark but at least today there is light available; at one time people were even denied that. The spread of technology and information is unstoppable. Those that oppose this come under increasing pressure because people want what gods are not delivering.

Yes religion will fight and they are, but its a war of attrition. I can honestly not muster up any significant fear for the future. Even wile fundamentalists have political success, I only see it as birth pangs in the bigger picture.

The bottom line is standing in a circle praying accomplishes nothing above normal probability and it will be apparent to more and more people as time goes on.

Just look at statistics about religious beliefs in the US each year. Many are moving from mainstream religion to just being spiritual. Some are becoming agnostic or atheist etc. Yes it doesn't change by a huge percentage but it is a constant decline. I don't imagine this is due to aggressive atheists. It is surely due to people (including atheists) putting information out there, and people responding in their own time.

Fundamentalists and fanatics are feeling the pressure and will respond; but their answers are unsustainable in a modern world. At least less so than in the dark ages.

Cognostic's picture
Yes, I will not argue with

Yes, I will not argue with statistics. Atheism and non-belief are on the rise. And look at the government. What is happening to "Separation of Church and State?" Fundamentalists and fanatics are feeling the pressure and their responses are no different than they were during the Dark Ages.

Trump just signed an executive order giving religions more power to influence government.

The religious are not going to sit back and allow this to happen. Blow-back is coming. The religions of the world have the money and power to make some serious moves. IMO.

I think we will have to agree that the "Cup is half empty and half full."

Fallen's picture
Yes, I can agree with that.

Yes, I can agree with that. These are troubled times.

Hitch's picture
@Nyarlathotep:

@Nyarlathotep:
By spreading i mean.. More and more countries are falling to fundamentalists. It is very likely that more will fall to terrorism. Terrorism is also spreading to Europe and America.
In the middle east, today, it is like living in a place hundreds of years behind today's modernism. If more countries fall (and it seems they will), then every country will be like middle east.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Hitch - Terrorism is also

Hitch - Terrorism is also spreading to Europe and America.

A cursory review of history would show that terrorism is nothing new for Europe and the US.

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