Why are you atheists so negative?

Atheist activism is frequently accused of being overly negative, anti-theist, or that we are trying to shove our views down people’s throats the same way religious people do. These criticisms often come from other atheists.

One of the common accusations is that we’re too negative, like this comment that came to us through Google+

If You would spend half the time you do posting crap against god, and posted things to help give people happy thoughts, you wouldn't have so many pastors up you ass, lol. I am atheist and I'm proud but your posts against god are unessesary and cause more hatred and arguing. can you post more stuff like "restoring faith in humanity" or "giving homeless money" or "what we need to do to save our planet"? you got the followers to make a change man, use it to try to make this world better, please

One of the important things we do is raise awareness of what goes on in religious communities and how atheists are treated around the world. These messages aren’t necessarily positive. Awareness increases acceptance. As gay, bisexual and transgendered people start to come out of the closet and speak up for their rights, many people are listening and sympathizing. The same can be said of any other group that fights injustice.

In addition, Atheist Republic actually does share many positive blog posts about freedom of choice, skepticism, freethought, freedom from oppression, freedom of speech, parenting, atheist community, scientific discovery, and more. We encourage all levels of participation to contribute to the content presented through AR, so we are happy to receive more positive content. But we also believe it’s not wrong to be negative when you’re taking a stand against oppression. 

Another assertion is that when atheists promote their views passionately, they’re just as bad as theists; as someone on Facebook commented in response to this image:

I have never met an atheist who is scared to voice their opinion, Hell they tend to be just as bad as most bible thumpers at shoving their beliefs in peoples faces.

But we don’t have a problem with theists voicing their opinions. In fact, a world in which more people give voice to their opinions and let them compete in the free market of ideas is a better world. It actually seems unreasonable for religious people not to evangelize. If a person believes he can save others from eternal torture, it stands to reason that he should at least try.

We don't fight against believers, we fight religion. As Ricky Gervais explains "I hate cancer, not people who have cancer. This is the same way I feel about religion and the poor people who have it. I care for you too :)

I just happen to believe you don't have to be anti-theist, to be atheist. The world could use a little more peace, tolerance and understanding, and I'd like to think we atheists could lead the way. Not just put up different barriers.

Hatred towards believers is bigotry. But anti-theism is different. Atheists should not be against Muslims and Christians on principle, but there is nothing wrong with speaking against Islam and Christianity and even then, we accept that our criticism isn’t always valid. Disagreeing with one’s view is not the same as being against the people that hold those views. We should allow all atheists to criticize or support religious teachings as they choose; the same way we should allow religious people to criticize atheism, secularism or any other viewpoint or ideology. And we should also welcome counterpoints to these criticisms.

What is wrong with inciting intense dislike of a religion if the activities or teachings of that religion are so outrageous, irrational or abusive of human rights that they deserve to be intensely disliked? - Rowan Atkinson

Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. Books and beliefs don't and aren't. - Ali A. Rizvi

What do you think? Are these accusations valid? Are we too negative, anti-theist, or “just like the religious” when we strongly express our opinions or stand up against oppression? Reply to this email to share your views. We might put them on our website. Please let us know if you wish to remain anonymous.

Extra quotes

The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. - Salman Rushdie

“Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication, and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us --- and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along.” -Carl Sagan

There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get. On the contrary, they tend to be noticeably silly. - H. L. Mencken

“I think people need to understand this very specific point. Ideas are not sacred. They don’t need to be respected. People need to be respected. So we do criticize ideas and institutions... including religious institutions.” — Todd Stiefel

Respect my religion.' -'You mean the one that says that I'm evil and will go to hell forever.' -'Yeah.' -'Pass.' - Chris Krzeminski

The fact that people hold a belief is NOT a sufficient reason to respect that belief. - Richard Dawkins

“Here's the thing though. Even though I can respect someone's right to believe in something I believe is wrong, I cannot respect that belief. It doesn't make sense. I can't respect the belief that 2+2=5. But I can and do respect someone's right to believe that 2+2=5. They can be as bad as they like at maths as far as I'm concerned. As long as their bad maths doesn't affect me obviously.

And so with God. I cannot respect the belief in God. It opposes everything I believe to be true. However, I respect anyone's right to believe in God. And if a regime I was living under outlawed the right to believe in the impossible, the improvable, the illogical or the unprovable, I would speak out and fight for anyone's right to believe in such things, without ever believing in those things myself. Freedom of speech trumps all. As long as those beliefs didn't affect my or anyone else's rights.

Basically it's everyone's right to be wrong.” Ricky Gervaise

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