There’s a number of backlash articles against New Atheists and it’s astonishing to me how little believers understand what atheism is and that lack of understanding does not become an impediment to writing about atheists.
Example 1: 5 things atheists and christians agree on, wildly misses the mark:
Example 2: Convoluted with twisty presumptions
Silly me to think that if you don’t like a group of people, you at least have a clear understanding of them. But then, I should have known better, given how little understanding is demonstrated by some believers towards gay people.
Curiosity and compassion, not just buzzwords, but words to live by.
As a generality, believers – especially the more fundamentalist ones – simply cannot accept that someone else doesn’t beleive, so must cast them as either a rebellious teen regardless of their age or how much of their live has been as an atheist or immoral perverts for rejecting god or worse angry at god, which make no sense, since you’d have to beleive there is a god to be angry at one – they literally do not understand that a person can have access to the same historical and cultural information and arrive at a different conclusion.
Although, I have to say, while we all have the same access to historical and cultural information – believers tend to not be as knowledgeable about history or in particular, the history of their religion. I think this is because for so many centuries, people were not literate and beleivers are conditioned to have other people provide and interpret information – and so don’t tend to seek it out.
Everyone one of us engages in some degree of confirmation bias, but consider that there are no atheist apologists but there are religious ones. Apologists are people who try to smooth off the rougher and more fanatical edges of religion to make it palatable or malleable enough to fit history or our shared reality.
That the religion isn’t enough, but needs this extra social layer of protection and buffering should tip any thinking person off that anything that needs this level of hard sell is not on the level.
So the believers cannot understand rejecting belief, so they have to find some other way to explain how another person looks at the earth, history, so forth and comes to the conclusion that there’s no place for supernatural or deities; and being unable to find fault with their religion, they must place the cause as some defect in the person rejecting their claims.
Which is the sum total of what they understand about athiests – that we reject their claims and they lack the intellectualy curiosity and perhaps confidence in their beleifs, to be curious and find out why – and instead, call non-beleivers names, assign them characteristics and assert that no one is really an atheist.
When, it’s only true that there are no atheists like they understand atheist to mean, because what they think has no relationship to or meaning for actual athiests.
On the flip side, non-believers who have only recently been able to get group support in a meaningful way from other non-believers are tired of fundie believers who are worming their narrow minded ideals into government policy and funding, and people are increasingly tired of being sensitive to religious sensibilities that view mere disagreement as an insult and that people who are religious, rarely restrain themselves from being offensive to their favorite target groups: athiests, gays and believers of other religions.
It’s a little funny, how quickly believers are to take offense when people act towards them in a manner far more mild than they act towards others.
Many of us non-deceivers have come to realize that reason, logic and rational debate doesn’t work on people who have rejected those as their basis for their worldview, so you can’t use those to make an appeal to rationality and reason to a person who has rejected reality, rationality and reason already.
In order to not deal with the cognitive dissonance of what they believe vs realty/non-believers, the believer has to convince themselves that the non-believer is either a willful rebelling child or an immoral demon – neither of which are owed any consideration or grown up response in the believer’s mind – they respond to the child or demon that they think they are dealing with, with childish or demonish behaviour – either name calling (child) or threats and damnation (demon)
What it comes down to is really that it’s the believer who is the intellectual child, clinging to god is no different than clinging to Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.
When reality threatens to crash their wishful.magical thinking world view, believers retreat, casting their fears and aspersions out in the form of childish hatred and the vague threats that they find compelling enough to beleive – it’s only the laziest believers who are convinced by Pascal’s Wager and hellfire threats.
They really do not understand that threats of hell mean nothing to people who don’t beleive. Seriously, no afterlife beliefs means the possibility of a bad afterlife holds no fear. And since bad afterlife threats hold no sway, promised of positive afterlife, is not an inducement, because no afterlife beliefs means any threat or bribe for the afterlife has no impact or emotional pull.
Throughout religious thinking, there’s the idea of shunning and being punitive to people who don’t conform – so the name calling and spewing is a function of that shunning. Shunning isn’t something that just the Amish do – shunning is the same as excommunication. Being kicked out of the group, which, in older times was scary because it would mean death.
But not being part of a religious group no longer means being kicked out of the community or your family. It is no longer a powerful weapon, much the same as being labelled a witch holds no terror because it just means a fight is on, not that anyone will be put to death.
What’s most horrifying, is that the Christians today are seeming increasingly jealous of Islamic people who’s sensibilities are somewhat catered to in that we make an effort to to not offend to prevent mass rioting and looting and killing.
Freedom of speech has a moral limit in that my right to say or express an idea is not more important than other people’s safety and security. As much as the Danish cartoons were legit as an artistic freedom of expression, the cost of the rioting, loss of life and injury, damage to infrastructure, was not advisable.
That Western Christians, knowing that they can’t get away with that rioting conduct, then act like wounded children because we are not willing to coddle their sensibilities anymore.
It’s time we started with taking a cue from the gay/lesbian playbook and start with taking back the word Athiest.