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fantasy and the atheist.

I have various religious friends. They all known I'm atheist and many of them are pretty awesome. From time to time one of them or an acquaintance who knows what sort of things I enjoy hits me with a question I've a hard time answering in a method that makes them understand.

I am an avid fan of fantasy literature, role playing games both video and board. I enjoy immersing myself in a fantasy world where magic is real and I can have adventures which obviously can never occur in the real world. I also write fantasy literature. I'm also huge into sci fi yet this never seems to mater. They say or pose me with this statement.

"You obviously like the idea of magic and the supernatural. I think these actives are just your way of indulging your belief with out admitting to them."

This statement strikes me as wildly inaccurate. I dunno how to respond with out being extremely rude and blunt about how they are being presumptuous as to my nature when I state otherwise.

Has anyone else ran into this before? How did you respond?

I've played D&D and read comics and pretend to have superpowers when I was a young lad. And even at adulthood, I can appreciate telling/listening to extraordinary, fanciful exotic tales of wonder. The thing is that I have a level of confidence in what I perceive as real and not real. Pretending is nothing like believing and believing in something without good evidence boarders on being delusional. Having a creative, imaginative mind is not allocated to the faithful. Even if you are atheist, most of us have this ability to imagine. What separates atheist from theist is that evidence trumps any magical claim that can not be tested. I'd tell your friends that because you don't have this God delusion, you are less limited in your imagination and free to have ideas unconstrained by some God that may or may not exist.

Studies show that video games appeal to lower educated aggressive adolescents that scored low in academics. The lower educated showed more appreciation for both violent and nonviolent games and spend more time playing them than did the higher educated. The ordinary public does not think of games etc. as "secular" or "Christian" it's the "fundies" that brand anything not put out with a Christian label as "secular". Video games appeal to the masses and that includes theists. Theists do not have a problem with video games. Christian interests have figured that out; theists are the biggest video game fans. That's why Christian enterprises want a piece of this very lucrative field, and they have Christian versions that ape most of the well-known video games out there. What they have been doing seems to be consistently flopping, because they are not creative.

One of their sensations was the game Left Behind: Eternal Forces. It was supposed to ride on the coattails of the incredibly boring failure of a movie with awesome special effects (crumpled clothes) by the same title. The theme of the game is that the fundamentalist nuts left the world forever in the "Rapture" and everyone else was "left behind" to fight off evil. Is that what they call imaginativeness? Even though the first game was absolutely astonishingly awful they did a second one. Although, I don't think it is imaginative, I tend to think the notion of "Rapture" is an awesome one. Imagine how great the world would be without god-fearing lunatics.

Religion is a thought stopping process and the people involved in it are not awesome. Theists are indoctrinated with the concept that their opinions transcend any others in all fields, no matter how uneducated the theists are. They dispute informed opinions that contradict what they are force fed daily. That's the major reason that theist's views are the primary source of strife. I don't know of "any" theists who would even consider listening to why science and religion don't mix, or even consider what atheists or even scholars would have to say about their shallow beliefs, but they do want everyone to listen to their arguments. "How can you doubt gods word"? Their proof that there is a god - and it is his word - is the bible.

Since theists have extreme prejudice against atheists, and their views, atheist's friends are usually people that they have something in common with. Atheists are more interested in reality than virtual reality, and are more interested in discovering what might really be possible in the universe. Isaac Asimov is generally regarded as one of the "big three" among science fiction writers: the three greatest and most influential science fiction writers in the history of the genre. The other two are Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein. Isaac Asimov never believed in God or an afterlife. Asimov was opposed to those known as Evangelical Christians. Asimov felt that they were narrow-minded "fundamentalist", bible-toting bigots, responsible for most of the world's ills. Asimov was a strong proponent of scientific reasoning who adamantly opposed creationists, religious zealots and pseudoscience. Asimov dismissed Evangelicals as anti-intellectual and dangerous. He likened their mentality to the burning of the library of Alexandria. For a long time he described himself as an agnostic, but later said he was an atheist. Asimov believed "there's enough evidence for us to think that a big bang took place. But there is no evidence whatsoever to suppose that a superhuman being said, "Let it be."

In short, this is a theist agenda, and a consistent theme. Add there is no realization of any atheist's perspective (totally oblivious.) Atheists do not believe in god period - anyone who thinks that there may be a god is not an atheist. If atheists wanted to be with theists they would be theists. "Birds of a feather flock together", how many crows do you see flying with eagles? If you work at it, it may dawn on you, who knows?

"If atheists wanted to be with theists they would be theists. "Birds of a feather flock together", how many crows do you see flying with eagles?"

To bad we are not birds and you'd have to have a bird brain to think that just because someone is a theist or believes in fairy tales or aliens or whatever choice of belief someone may have then as an atheist you can't be their friend. Its not cool to make this claim and to suggest that Jeremy or I or any atheist who has non-atheist friends are somehow wrong for have these friends is a pretty messed up thing to say or believe. Relationships are not solely made based on religion. If you have a problem with a particular religious sect, that's your deal. Don't be putting it on us atheist that doesn't mind having a few drinks with our theist buddies.

Atheists who are not indulgent of theists do ruffle their feathers. I should have said, "I don't seek a personal relationship with god or the nut cases that have one." I can't imagine discussing anything with people that irrational. Their conventional wisdom is that atheists should be amicable while theists insult them. Theist present little pearls of wisdom all the time like, "atheists don't believe in god so that they can do wrong." However, I don't know how they came to that conclusion since belief in god has never stopped theists from doing wrong.

Since scientist and intellectuals support the atheist positions theists tar and feather them with the same brush. Theist contempt is obvious when reading their warnings about materialistic "godless" scientists and intellectuals, but at the heart of religious beliefs lies a deeply anti-intellectual hub. Theists always accuse atheists, intellectuals and scientists of being belligerent when expressing their views. Theists always believe the atheists should be nice and gentle when expressing their views, but the theists can be as offensive or uncivil as they please since they are 'upright' and atheists are not. An atheist totally unaware of any of this is very strange indeed.

All atheists believe that there is no evidence for the theist claims and they do not believe in any god/gods. They do not make any distinctions about which religion they do not believe in. There are no strong and weak concerning atheists. There are no other kinds of atheists. Anything else is something else. Atheists know things based on the facts. Atheists do not believe in god/gods for the same reason that they do not believe in Zeus. Atheists know that there is no god therefore a god hypothesis serves no purpose in their lives. And Atheists are not willing to make concessions.

People who cannot be indoctrinated are not desirable to theists for all kinds of reasons. Theists are taught not to accept people who do not think and believe as they do, and they are taught that it is their duty to indoctrinate everyone on earth with superstitious stupidity. Atheists do not believe in the theist legends, miracles or religious dogma.

Out of all possible perspectives, atheist and theist are among those people who have the least in common. I definitely do not have any meaningful relationships with theists because there is no common ground in the first place. The disparity between atheists and theists is huge, and theists are not considerate or reasonable. The only way anyone can have a relationship with theists is to agree with them. Listening to an alternative view goes against what theists are all about, and that is where the problem is, and is why atheists are not having friendly respectful dialogue with theists. Theists have been influenced to dispute atheism as something evil, and theists don't listen to any other opinion. Atheists have escaped religious indoctrination by not being exposed to it and resisting it.

You are extremely inarticulate; maybe it's the result of drinking with theist buddies.

I apologize for my articulation. If it wasn't clear to you what I was saying, then let me say it another way. You are a smug little bitch and you probably think that your attitude toward theists is justified. I am an atheist not like you. I am an atheist because I don't believe that there is a god, simply because there's no evidence for one. You sir are an atheist for the same reasons, but you're an asshole about it. You do not speak for all atheists. Do you really believe that the first thing people talk about is what religion they belong to? Not the best way to make friends. So your standard for making friends is if they believe what you believe. Okay dude, you make friends your way and I'll make friends my way.

I'm not an atheist simply because there is no physical evidence that god exists. It is much more than that. I don't believe in god because the evidence for a god is non-existent. It is not even close; there is no evidence of god, and being blackmailed to support religion is extortion. Theists claim it is a good thing to believe things without any evidence. And they say atheists are dishonest. Religious people have the same responsibility, as anyone else to prove what they say is true, because truth is very important to atheists. I find it revolting when perfect strangers claim they love me because of their religion or that their god loves me. I am very discriminating about who and what I choose to love. It is important to theists to be able to proselytize their ignorance to those who do not agree with them, and that is one of their top priorities, as well as, attacking them. The deliberate hate campaigns of theists against atheists have resulted in making atheists the most despised and mistrusted minority group in America. Atheists, and other minorities, are misrepresented and vilified by theists who act in ways harmful to them without any regard for their rights. Theists have continuously tried to spread fear campaigns against these minorities. One of the popular defenses of theist bigotry is to contend that "godless" people are spreading harmful ideas around. Yes, the atheists, humanists and other non-theists want to have a voice in this debate the same as theists who want to dominate public opinion with old guard sponsored propaganda campaigns. Theist interests want to maintain the present situation by not allowing atheists the same freedom of speech, as theists do want to have. Theists want to bar atheists from the media or any debate, because theists are fearful of an educated public making rational decisions based on facts. Theists must be afraid of atheists exposing the inconstancies in theist beliefs, because if the facts were widely known they would lose credibility. In other words the real message of other minority groups should be stopped because many Evangelicals know that it would expose a great deal of duplicity. Theists work constantly to spread their ignorance throughout the world, but they do not want any other message to be available to the poor undereducated people that are being bleed. It's not the false claim of the theists that atheists and agnostics are trying to infiltrate Christian Churches to spread "godlessness" that really scares Evangelicals; it is simply atheists or anyone presenting them with the facts. Atheists don't care if theists change their position; that would be something with a very low priority on the list of what is important to atheists. Atheists, intellectual, scholars and secularist want to get the facts out into the open, and most theists don't want that. What is their problem if the theists have the truth on their side?

Theist need to spend as much time supporting and defending their own positions rationally, as atheists have.

Theists believe that people should just respect them because of their beliefs, and theists believe that atheists should be disrespected because of their lack of belief. Nobody has to respect anyone who has not earned it. Atheists don't go out of their way to insult theists because atheists don't think that is their "god" given right. Most atheists don't even converse with theists because they know theists react with extraordinary voraciousness when anyone expresses opinions that fly in the face of their beliefs, and theist don't think anyone has the right to dispute their faith when they are trying to force it on them.

Atheists and other like-minded people are far more interested in promoting secularism than forming alliances with people who have an agenda that they do not support.

You are making a claim that is telling other atheist how they should go about their life. You are also making statements that you have deemed true for yourself and that it should also be true for others. Then you criticize someone for the kinds of friends they have without any clue what kind of people these friends are. You make broad assertions about how all theists behave and also broad assertions about how atheists should behave. Atheists are usually skeptical about people making claims and especially when applying it to a general population. I understand that you are specifically addressing a particular religious extremist group in America and I agree with you that they are a problem. But I disagree with you that all theists or anyone that believes in some supernatural power behave in a manner that you have described. You made a statement criticizing an atheist for having friends that happen to be theist. No one asserted a specific religion but you automatically put all theists in this fundie extremist camp that is oppressing your world. What you're claiming is very specific to a particular religious group and should not apply to all theists. So, would you like to reframe your statement or do you really believe that all theists are out to get you.

Would it be better to know your enemy and what makes them tick. Who knows, you may feel some sympathy and have some compassion for the ones that have been indoctrinated into that way of thinking. Maybe you might possibly befriend one and get them to escape from their brainwashing. Am I still inarticulate because I don't know how I can make it any clearer for you? But maybe you don't really care about anyone and too angry to show any theist any respect. So much pain, just let it go.

Leysin,

You seem to be having enormous difficulty understanding that most atheists are looking for relationships with people they have something in common with. That is of the utmost importance to atheists because there are not that many, and atheists value these friends above any other relationships. There is nothing more important to people than to have associations with those who feel the same as they do on all kinds of issues. Most atheists disagree with theists on many levels, and theists do think it is important to know a person's religious affiliations. That is why usually one of the first things theist ask someone they just meet is, "what church do you go to?"

It is very important to have friends that have experienced the discrimination and mistreatment that is prevalent in a country that is dominated by theists like America. In some European countries the attitude towards atheists are not as extreme because there are more atheists.

Theists believe that they have to prove that their beliefs are credible and the only way they feel that they can do that is by disparaging those who do not believe as they do. They think that they prove "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness" by working against people that they conspire to destroy, and they call that god's will.

I guess you are cursing atheists because you are one of the rare atheists who have not experienced the wrath of theists.

I understand that there are extremists in any group with passionate views. I do not condone anyone that forces their beliefs on others and I am against those groups that use their popularity, political, or financial powers to push their values. I've seen these kinds of groups that go waving dead fetus posters while I was attend college and I've even sat thru movie night at some church that my cousin asked me to attend with her. I did this because I cared about my cousin and she asked me, not to covert me, but to share time with a family member that wasn't going to judged her because she was some Jesus Freak. At no point have I ever been tempted to join or convert. And of course I expressed my concerns to her and gave her all the logical reasons why I disagreed with her beliefs, but at the end we are still family and agree to disagree. People that have this level of faith is very difficult to reason with. That is why so many ex-theists take years to make that transformation.

Maybe I don't understand what you mean when you refer to a "theist". When I say "theist", I mean anyone that has a belief in some God. Not all theists are determining to convert you. How many Jews do you know are going door to door to convince you to go to their temple? Or a Buddhist monk asking you for donations. I use the term "theist" to cover anyone that has belief in a God or supernatural being. I've come across people that believes in a God, but don't practice any specific doctrine or ones that say they believe in a God, but don't go to church because they disagree with the church's teachings or people who believes but keeps their beliefs to themselves. They are still believers so that is why I would label them as "theist". But you and the person before you are using "theist" to refer to a certain religious group that from your experience are invasive in this country. I don't have those kinds of friends and I don't want friends like that. I also don't believe I am that rare. The person that started this thread has theist friends. And some of my atheist friends also have friends that say they have a belief in a God. I have a friend who is Hindu and is probably the funniest guy I know. I also have a friend who is Muslim and cooks awesome Turkish food for us. So, I'm sorry that your world view is limited to a small group of discriminating assholes that are hell bent on converting you.

I'm just trying to infuse some sense into the conversation. Not all theists act the way you generalize them to be. And when someone asks me if I go to church, I say I don't because I'm an atheist. And you know what, they usually walk away, but I would prefer that we can have a healthy civilized conversation about it. NOT... "You believe in God? You are banned from my world and I should not have anything to do with you." To me, a person that has only friends that believe exactly what they believe is rare. Usually, you'll hear about these people when some cult does something crazy and gets on the news.

I'm speaking honestly here and you claim that you do not associate or would consider being friends with someone because they happen to believe in a God. To me that is unbelievable or you're just being disingenuous. Do you not work with people that go to church that you don't know about? Or what about all the people that you come across on a routine basis? I can't imagine that you about asking people about their religious beliefs before interacting with them. Do you not shop at a place where the owner or others customers might happen to believe in a God or do you only do business at atheist only buildings? I'm not saying that you have to be friends with everyone or play nice at all times. But to put out a claim that if you are a theist then you act this way and if you are an atheist you must act this way. How many atheists do you know and how many do you have to know before you can say that most atheists are looking for relationships with people they have something in common with? Couldn't your statement be applied to any group? For example, I can make a statement, "sports fans usually hang out with other sports fans". But is it rational to say that because you like watching sports all the people you associate with must also like sports? You are making a similar claim and that to me is absurd. You can't possibly have evidence supporting this. And also I am not cursing all atheists just the ones who makes absurd generalizations about people and how they should act. All your arguments are based on speculations, generalizations and exaggerations. And you call yourself an atheist?

Leysin,

Nobody really cares what your friends are, but the remarks made about the atheists who disagree with you are nonsensical. Generally speaking theists are very hostile toward atheists or non-believers. They cannot accept the fact that some people reject fairy tales. People do have the right to describe experiences that do not support another person's assertions. You brought it up, and you have brought it up before. It seems to be beyond you to acknowledge what the atheists are describing concerning the behavior of theists toward non-believers, although you can hear the anti-atheist nonsense on many religious broadcasts every Sunday. The views being expressed about the prejudices against atheists do reflect the reality of the situation. The fact that you watched a Christian movie you didn't agree with, and then discussed your disagreements with your theist friend that you agreed to go with afterwards, does not mean a thing. You are saying that you did a thing that you didn't agree with out of respect for the other person, and that defies reason. I would consider it rude for someone to expect me to go watch a movie full of religious prevarication for my recreation. There are plenty of things that people can do with their relatives or friends that do not create problems for either party. Your examples of what you think atheists should be willing to do to accommodate theists, on this and other threads, shows a lack of awareness of the fact that atheists are not willing to make those kinds of concessions, and nobody should expect them to. Nor does the examples you gave of interactions with people who may or may not be theists constitute a relationship. Many atheists would say that most theists are overbearing and very domineering with their opinions wherever you encounter them- if they know you are a non-believer. And they do look for any opportunity to force their opinions on non-believers. What you are saying sounds like a rave review for a book that really sucks from the author's agent. I simply believe that you are not writing from the perspective of an atheist. Most of us either left religion or never had one, and find participating in something that we do not believe in totally unnecessary. I would not agree to go to an activity with a person who firmly believes things that I don't, and then express antipathy after I participated, it makes no sense. I would make it clear that I didn't want to go and suggest another type of excursion. If any further explanation were called for I would tell them right then how I felt. I thoroughly understand avoiding people and activities that one is not comfortable with. Respecting people does not involve allowing them to walk all over you or impose their preferences on you. If I don't respect myself enough to do that why would anyone else? The atheists were expressing the reality of theist attitudes- not only toward atheists, but other minority religions.

You left out one very important group that never forces their ideas on anyone: atheists. Two of those that you mentioned do have extremists and are involved in a religious nationalistic war with each other. Religious strife affects the whole world. That's what religion does; it creates problems and has never solved anything. Many theists take the attitude that they are entitled to respect, which really means allowing theist to impose their dogma on you. I don't consider any atheist overbearing because they don't allow them to do it.

There are atheists who have left religion behind and those who never had one. Those who left religion did so because they didn't believe it, and it just won't work for theists to speculate on all kinds of other reason for people being atheists, like, "Atheists just want to do wrong," or "they just don't know Jesus," etc.

People who find that something is spurious and don't keep trying to make it the "truth" are called atheists, and they don't spend any more time on it, period. They also don't spend a lot of time on the subject since it is pretty meaningless to an atheist. There is so much work that needs to be done by atheists, humanists and like-minded people, on important relevant issues, that I can't imagine them spending any time on things that they don't believe in. Especially since I think that religion is one of the things that needs to go in order to have a better world. Religion is about getting all the answers when you are dead; it's not about living and learning. I do have an entirely different perspective on things from yours, and maybe that's because you just don't understand.

Rational Atheist,

All that you have said I completely agree with, but it doesn't seem like you understood my disagreement. Doesntpassthesmelltest made a comment saying, "Birds of a feather flock together, how many crows do you see flying with eagles?" This comment seems to be addressing the fact that Jeremy said he had various religious friends. By making this comment, doesntpassthesmelltest seems to be implying that there is something wrong with an atheist who has friends that happens to be religious. I'm sorry to correct you, but it was doesntpassthesmelltest that made the statement and I just responded to it. And as you said, I've discussed this same issue before, so I'm pretty confident about where I stand about this one issue that seems to often come up on this forum. So, I made a comment addressing this issue.

I understand the grievances that atheists have against religious atrocities and religious extremism because I have the same grievances. But that is not the issue. Jeremy is asking how he can respond to a question that was posed by his religious friend. You and doesntpassthesmelltest only response to Jeremy's question is that he shouldn't have friends who are religious and atheist are people that don't associate with such people. And both of you go on a tangent about how theist are oppressing atheist. No one is disputing that there are elements of oppression from certain theist groups. I acknowledge that there are certain elements of religion that go about taking power and at the same time imposing those powers on others that go against them. Totally, absolutely those people should be stopped and challenged and shame for what they do. But I'm not referring to those people. Not every theist is out to convert everyone and not every theist goes around imposing their beliefs on others. This is not an attempt to defend any theist belief or stifle the good work done to advocate Reason or Secularity. But I do acknowledge that not everyone who believes in God are out to get me because I meet people everyday and rarely a discussion breaks out about what God I should believe in or how I am going to hell. Most of the time talking to people, it's about the whether or how a football team did last night.

In general, in most social interactions people try to avoid debates about religion in order to have commonality. What you are saying is that atheists can never have any commonality with theists in anyway whatsoever. You are so sure about your atheist view that you assume that all atheists must feel the way you do and if they don't, they must not be an atheist. I do not agree with this assertion and to me this is what you are saying when you generalize how an atheist should think and act. So I ask you, how are we to fine civility when 80% of the world population has some belief in archaic views of reality. How do we have healthy debates about this issue without resorting to name calling and backhanded remarks? If you can not accept the fact that not everyone you meet has religion on their mind than you are the one that just don't understand.

Leysin,

I have been reading this web page for some time and I believe that the theists are mostly (xians) but not all of them. I think the atheists received far more hostility than they were dishing out from the time they first started this message board. The atheists have pointed out the "believers" lack of skills and education when it was very apparent, and the "believers" had been telling the atheists that they didn't understand the issue as well as they did. However, the atheists have invariably proven them wrong.

Another reason for the theists or (xians) hostility is because they do not think atheist's ideas should be heard. Some of the "believers" described it as a war on this message board, which stems from their banal indoctrination. It's a war on evil. They are far angrier, less educated, and in many instances a bit wobbly, and that is exactly what you find in the general population. It's not a few isolated cases in America where theists have reacted with extreme anger if atheists are given the same privilege to tell the truth as theists are getting to spread equivocations.

Many theists do misrepresent who the true antagonists are; it's never theists. They claim that atheists are just angry at everything including God. It's one of the dumbest accusations against atheists, "their just angry at God." A person who does not believe in God is angry with Him. Is that possible? Wouldn't they have to believe in God to be angry with Him? Atheists are very reasonable, sociable people, but they will respond if someone attempts to vilify and dominate them.

On the other hand you have to wonder what "people of faith" are so worried about, since everything is slanted in favor of the believer, "the" media deals with "faith" as an exalted sacred cow. So, the believers have a world wide propaganda machine that has a boundary for information. This is very important when you are brainwashing people. They can build certain people up and tear other people down, and they can avoid telling the truth (however they want) by simply ignoring the facts. America's "press" is rated below most technically advanced countries in the world because our media is controlled by corporate interests, and those interest know what religion can do for human exploitation. These interests are striving to maintain control in a number of ways. They give them an enemy that they blame for all the evil in the world, for instance atheists - and it works, as well as, it explains why nothing is getting any better. We also have the ever-loving bad ass enemy, which we need to be fearful of and go to war with. How else can an ideology based on groundless claims survive. Still they do have to control what people think with anti-thought propaganda and censorship. Those who are too dim to see through all the religious and patriotic propaganda are good candidates for an obedient servant assisting the "emperors who has no clothes."

On the other hand, what is indisputable is that there is a huge amount of anger seething and fuming among people of faith. All theists may not be angry and hostile toward atheists, but it is mostly the better educated, who are far less fervent and small in number. They are not in the majority. A great number of theists are incredibly hostile to non-belief and there is plenty of evidence for this. A campaign to get god into the government, schools and etc. Whenever any public figure speaks out against this to oppose the encroachment of religion, and defends the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, that person is targeted and is attacked with barnyard, asinine tactics. It is apparent, believers lash out with furious and disproportionate rage and hatred when they are challenged or opposed in any way.

I have seen all of the senseless accusations, and the poorly educated foolish remarks made against the atheists on this message board by people with (various pseudonyms) that describe "believers." The aim of these smear campaigns has been to belittle atheists, because these believers never have any real arguments for their nonsense.

They can not prevail in an argument with the facts against the atheists so they attack the persons. However, the believers are becoming aware of the fact that there are more people than ever that disbelieve their poppycock. That's why they now want to talk to the non-believers that they have been attacking, and accusing of trying to infiltrate their churches. I was told that believers try to infiltrate and overwhelm non-believer groups, and that they have been doing that for a very long time.

If someone is only encountering non-intrusive "believers" they need to be informed that there are plenty of them that do not have any sense of civilities when they encounter non-believers. I've been waylaid on many occasions, and when I let them know I wasn't interested they were very rude and hostile, even though they were on my porch. In addition, much of the time they already know whose not interested.

The reason that atheists and other non-believers have no chance at all with people involved in religion is because it has a much darker and deeper-rooted hold on a person. They think that they have a personal relationship with god, their "imaginary friend." They are specially privileged people with a "daddy" that looks after them day and night. Someone who has spent a lifetime believing they are special does not want to become just another ordinary human being; they cannot comprehend the reality. And the brainwashed are pretty much a lost cause, because they react violently when you threaten their beliefs or the people responsible for their brainwashing. Religion works through persistent brainwashing along with heavy dose of fear and control. The ever-present allegedly evil world that was created by the allegedly awesome and all-good god is not a problem for these brainwashed boobs. Evangelicals are well paid to think up fascination reason for contradictions. I'm not saying that the brainwashed clientele are allowed to ask questions - but just in case someone thinks about this crap - that's highly unlikely - but the clergy does have an answer for them, even if it is a shallow answer.

I'm sure it's hard for them to admit that they have spent their lives studying the bible, praying and giving - only to find out that all of it was a complete waste of time and money. They are the one's living a life without any real purpose and they have actually missed the opportunity to ever know what is real or worth knowing about life. That's why the concept of non-belief is so infuriating to them.

Atheists want what everyone wants; to live our lives, to make our own decisions about what we give credence to, free from harassment. Atheists are peaceful, content people when "believers" are not harassing them or trying to convert them, treating them as inferiors, or trying to take their civil rights away.

I guess you didn't notice the remark that every poll taken indicates that in America atheists are the most hated group. So, after someone gives a laundry of reason for the incompatibility between theists and atheists - it is a distortion for anyone to conclude, "it's only because they are theists that we don't gel." The facts do indicate that what you described as your experiences are not the norm. Also, it doesn't mean it's not true simply because you have never experienced anything like that. The attitudes and conduct of theists is why some people avoid them. Atheists have written about family members becoming hostile towards them because they can't accept them if they don't have a "faith", because it is well known that in many cases they have been trained to turn their backs on anyone who defects. I think it was explained implicitly why some people don't fly with believers, but they never said that anyone else couldn't. If you want to comment on my remarks that's fine, but don't try to make your reply a lot of conjecture about what someone else said, because I do think you have things backass-wards.

Rational Atheist,

The portrayal of religious types as the underdog is what I find astounding. There are very good reasons why atheists/skeptics have problems with them, and the atheists/skeptics are not the instigators, and it's not a few of them that deliberately offend atheists. It seems to me that many of these "martyrs" believe that they have the right to insult atheists/skeptics, and atheists/skeptics should accept it as just another one of their saintly privileges.

Most atheists/skeptics don't feel the need to spread any message or proselytize and propagandize constantly. Most people come to their own conclusions about religion without anyone helping them to do it. The atheists/skeptics should be there to support other atheists since there is such an extreme level of hostility and discrimination against them in this country.

Other than that the atheists/skeptics should be trying to gain access to the media in order to inform interested people about issues that affect skeptics, and little known "truths" concerning religion. Those who want to be more informed really do learn more about the subject of religion. Most skeptics are very well informed about religion - they could teach it better than most of the Evangelicals. I don't have a problem listening to debates with intelligent educated people, but most debates pit the atheists against complete fools that simply don't listen to why they are wrong, and just keep talking.

Intelligent people are less likely to believe in god; even if they don't say that out loud for fear of the consequences, but that is why they don't cause cynics trouble. Educated people know the mythology behind religion and do not take it seriously, and that's another reason they don't cause trouble for cynics. Anyone who knows the history knows that there is plenty of doubt involved in religion period. It is my highly educated opinion that the stupid wankers that oppose evolution, the big bang theory and...well... anything that isn't biblical, don't make very interesting company. They pretend to know what God had in mind concerning everyone's life, but they don't know their butt from a hole in the ground. They have never contributed a single intelligent thought to any conversation that I have ever had with a one of them. From my experiences they don't have much on their dysfunctional brains. There is no way that I want to "fellowship" with any spirit filled wacko.

Rational Atheist

Are you still saying that atheist and theist are not allowed to be friends? You still went off on another tangent without really addressing how it is possible that an atheist and a theist could possibly get along. You said a lot and contradicted yourself in the process. First you say that "believers" lack the skill and education and do everything they can to undermine the rights of atheist. Then you concede in saying, "All theists may not be angry and hostile toward atheists, but it is mostly the better educated, who are far less fervent and small in number." You are finally admitting that there are theists amongst us that are not doing anything against atheist, even with the condescending jab at their expense. But then you say that they are small in number and that my experience with non-antagonistic theist is not the norm. You also say that a great number of theists are incredibly hostile to non-believers and there is plenty of evidence for this. What evidence and what incredible hostility are you referring to? I don't think yelling at you and calling you names would warrant the "incredible hostility" you believe it to be. Better watch your back or some theist is going to call you a heathen. You make it seem like atheists are being brutally beaten everyday and that it goes unreported. Could this be a conspiracy with the media not reporting all this hostile acts against atheist? I don't believe Jeremy or I got the memo that war has been declared with our God fearing friends. But I think if I were to be attacked; it would probably be for money rather than my atheism.

You actually believe everything a poll says about how people actually think. I didn't realize how hated a person I am, but now after hearing about some survey saying how are the most hated group I should make some changes right. And if atheists are such a small minority and the theists is so dominating, then who is fighting for our rights not to believe. Could you absolutely say that it is only atheist that value separation of church and state? I don't go that far and I don't think anyone would be justified making that claim. You seem like you have a distorted view of the world where atheist and theist are at war with one another. I wouldn't say we are at war. I describe it more as a disagreement amongst passionate people. And I admire your passion for defending your atheist views. But they are your views and still you want to insist that all atheists act this way and all theist act this way. Your failure to admit that a theist and an atheist can form a friendship says more about your anger and hatred than the huge amount of anger seething and fuming among people of faith.

Maybe you need to get out more and see the world. Maybe talk to the people you are so angry at. When I say talk to them, I mean talk to them not about God or what they believe, but some other interest. Not all believers listen to Christian rock. If you're attitude is with a closed fist instead of an open hand, you're no better than the fundies you despise.

Nobody ever said anything about what anyone could be a friend with. My depictions of the problems with theists in my opinion were slightly understated. The distortions about what has been expressed; along with the inability to conceive of a theists that would be rude and hostile to an atheists, and the inability to accept what someone else surmised says plenty.

What others and myself said is why we were not interested in relationships with theists. Other people have different descriptions of the issues and it's their right, but in no way does that prevent or prohibit anyone who wants to befriend a theist. It appears that you are looking for a reason to be incensed over what was said. A theist made the comment it is a war - not the atheists. I stated the facts very clearly.

Your distortions didn't vaguely resemble what I said, and atheists do not misconstrue their own situation in that manner. I do know many people without a belief that have experienced exactly what was described to some degree, and I have read some stories that are far grimmer than what was written. The only thing I didn't like concerning what I wrote about these canards is that I didn't explain what is at stake.

There has been a relentless, determined and successful campaign by some Christians to put its supporters on the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court. Whole books have been written about this describing this issue in detail.

The judge who wrote the decision in the Dover case decided that intelligent design is a religious notion and that it was not science. He ruled against teaching intelligent design in science classes, and that the Dover school board had violated the constitution. The movie "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" ends with the judge revealing how some Dover citizens threatened his life because he ruled against the ID position.

We have a Constitution and a bill of rights to protect the few sane people from the mob. Separation of church and state is under threat (and there is plenty of proof) because of the people who are on fire for god that are out in force to get their beliefs into everything. They are very vicious towards anyone who does not agree with them, and they are not the fun loving chaps that you are trying to make them out to be.

Rational Atheist says, "Nobody ever said anything about what anyone could be a friend with."

So when doesntpassthesmelltest said "Atheists do not believe in god period - anyone who thinks that there may be a god is not an atheist. If atheists wanted to be with theists they would be theists. "Birds of a feather flock together", how many crows do you see flying with eagles?"

To me this is a critique about Jeremy saying that he has various religious friends. My objection is that why is doesntpassthesmelltest criticizing an atheist for having religious friends? So I do believe that doesntpassthesmelltest brought up the question why an atheist is friends with theist. The reason I say this is I am disturbed by what doesntpassthesmelltest said about "If atheists wanted to be with theists they would be theists." Do you not see the problem? And I don't think this is a personal claim because doesntpassthesmelltest is using atheists (plural) and theists (plural) and generalizing an action based on doesntpassthesmelltest's own experience.

Just from Jeremy's opening thread, there was no reason that Jeremy's religious friends are anyway connected to Christian fundamentalist or had an agenda. From what I can attest he makes no reference to Christianity or any particular religious group. They just simply asked Jeremy a question about his atheism that he didn't have a sure answer to. Rather than provide an answer, doesntpassthesmelltest and others after started ranted about how theist are oppressing atheist. As an atheist, I know and understand the hardships discrimination that we face, so to me hearing the same old complaints is like a broken record. But, I am not trying to undermine reasonable objections atheists have against religious tyranny, so feel free to vent your frustrations. I am just trying to interject a sense of focus, where believers that do not behave in this way and keep their beliefs to themselves are not attributed to the atrocious acts done by these maniacs. Again and again, I've gave examples of theists who do not impose their beliefs. Theists are the people you work with, the people that you meet on a daily basis going to the mall or groceries. Theist could be your neighbors. They live amongst us with fairly little aggression toward what belief others choose to be. This is the norm that I experience, not the constant onslaught or aggression you seem to be describing. Yes, there is a small fringe part of American society that are making it impossible for atheists to live peacefully, but we also have many theist that understand the value of Separation of Church and State in which their stance has nothing to do with atheism. They too understand the value of choice and I finally have a theist President that I can trust to protect my values. The judge that ruled over the Dover trial, did you not want to mention that the Judge was a theist and also a conservative Republican appointed by George W. Bush? How could that be, a theist acting on the behalf of secularism and protecting not only the rights of believers, but also atheists. I'm sure that all the treats made by those bible maniacs did not make the Judge become an atheist. This war that you claim that the theists have declared doesn't seem to be resonating with other theists. I believe the fight against religious fanatics is not as dire as you have perceived it to be. I believe it's the religious foundation that is in fear of collapse, so not to burst your bubble but not all of us atheist live in constant fear that our rights are going to be taken. Plus, I have my theist, friends to protect my rights to not believe. You choose not to have friends that are theist, which is your choice. But to me someone has criticized an atheist for having theist friends and it was not me who start it. You can make claims that America is on its way to a theocracy, but that doesn't make it true. You can make assertions and if - then statements, but no way do you have evidence for this claim. Yes, there will be challenges for the advancement of secularism and reason, but you don't have to use scare tactics.

While many of our experiences have been different from yours, I will at least extend the benefit of the doubt to you, and believe you when you say that you don't have a problem cavorting with xians.

I certainly would not make any assumptions about any of the other individuals, or their experiences. They are not talking about what you have experienced they are talking about their own experiences, and I have seen xians described in much more nauseating details on other blogs. This is what they have learned over the years by observing the individuals' behavior toward atheists, so, the information is very revealing.

Your reasoning is based on fantasy and your ability to discern actuality doesn't look too promising either. Xians do hold resentments and harbor huge amounts of prejudices and hostilities toward atheists. Furthermore, it is a big deal to most atheists, and they don't want to fit in with people who look down own them for mind numbing pretentious reason. Do you really expect your delusional and incoherent ramblings to be taken seriously? Do you fantasize that your tantrums and fits could possibly change actuality? There not worth the electricity used to send them.

Most religions give people a false sense of security, superiority and confidence that they don't merit, and they are not intellectuals. I mean, as long as you are content, nobody cares what kinds of people you hang out with, but other people have their reasons for avoiding them. If they say water seeks it's own level, or something like that, it means they don't feel comfortable with that crowd. They have as much right to say that as you do to say that they make perfect companions. Remember that it's all in how people think.

My experiences with xians confirms my belief that they do not want to listen to anything that disputes their beliefs, but they do expect you to listen to them "witnessing." Why should anyone listen to them? And they do expect you to listen. I don't waste my time like a moron going out with someone who has a totally different position, and coming back with no recognition whatsoever? Xians don't want to talk with people; they want people to listen to them talk. If they know where someone stands, and that they are not going to be converted, they don't have any interest in them. If I were hanging out with people like that I would resent all the hours I've wasted doing nothing instead of doing something that would make a difference. I don't want to sit back like a worthless twerp and contribute nothing worthwhile to change this hypocritical society. Although doing nothing is so much easier. We have made ourselves a cruel and stupid world, and there are more superstitious people than ever waiting for "the pie in the sky." They expect the almighty to take us out of this deplorable mess that we have made of the earth, and zap us into heaven. Instead of making the earth the kind of place that it should be.

Rather than just making claims, all of the other areas of study are expected to prove them. Xians do make claims, except they don't feel they should have to prove them, or be subjected to the same kind of examinations that any other subject would be. Scientific theory is not based on things that can not be confirmed. Science has proven evolution and that a big bang did occur. Science is not compatible with religion; it is a false statement. There is no proof of a creator or any reason to believe that a creator is the first cause. I don't pursue friendships with xians either. You don't have to look much further than religious indoctrination to explain why so little progress has been made, and why so many people are notably unhappy. Many of us have a problem with xians, and large numbers of them are crackpots who despise knowledge.

The numbers of xians are dropping in the most advanced countries in the world, more than ever before, and that makes xians feel threatened and more dangerous. Their aspirations to combine religion and government stem from this insecurity. There is no doubt about that, or the fact that they want to be puffed up as though being uninformed is cooler than being educated. Xians are not the majority because they are the most appealing people; but no intelligent human would ever mate with them. Nevertheless, they do outnumber us, which should give logical peoples an incentive to unite.

The atheists probably don't deserve your brilliance anyway, and all of that wishful thinking and huge imagination here, but everyone has to be somewhere - right?

Albert,

You seem to be more focused with what Christian are doing and have done, when it is not only Christians that are defined as theists. I seem to have explained this in my earlier responses. When someone says that they would not associate themselves with theist, I assume that they are talking about anyone that believes in a God and then describe theist as this one particular fundamental Christian group that's causing all the controversy in America. Not everyone that believes in God behaves like Christians fundamentalist, so to attribute this experience to all theists is not right. It's your own personal observation but you can't make a claim that because this is how you have experienced their behavior it must be true for all theists. Maybe instead of saying all theists are being hostile toward atheists, be more specific of which group is doing what and to whom would be more truthful. You have an opinion about a group of people that you don't agree with and you say why should anyone listen to them? Because not every word that comes out of their mouths is about God. I just had a talk today with a theist friend about his garden and not once did he mention a word about religion. I think you are living in your own fantasy world.

If we expect theist not to make broad assertion about what atheist believe or do, I think us atheist should also not make broad assertions and claims to describe what believers believe and how they behave. You say "our experience", what do you mean by "our". Do you just mean the atheist group that you know or do you mean the Atheist Experience? I'm just one of millions of atheist, but I don't claim to speak for all of them. I only speak for myself. You say that my reasoning is based on "fantasy". But when I say that I have theist friends, I actually have theist friends and I get along with them same as I would get along with anyone else that threats me with respect.

With out a doubt he was referring to the people who were talking about their experiences on this thread, and he said that. You must have missed it somehow, but you always seem to miss the point. But first let's paused for some extra nuttiness, and things that nobody said so that I can muster up an argument.

Bigotry and intolerance is just about all any religion has to offer; it's all bad. That is what I think. The fact is atheists do not believe in anyone's supernatural being. So, why would I believe in any religious indoctrination? It is an absolute falsehood that any religion makes any civilization better.

I just read a study on religion and society that substantiates a contrary relationship between any religion and societal health, which shows that the more religious a country is the worse. Much higher rates of violent crime, and other undesirable conditions. Religion is totally unnecessary and does nothing useful for society. It is just one great big waste of time and talking to anyone involved in it doesn't appeal to me.

I have encountered plenty of individuals that were not atheists when I attended atheist groups for lectures and events all over the country. They usually are the first ones that start trying to talk to you. I just tell them what I think of their palaver and leave them with their mouths hanging open.

By Sam Harris December 24, 2006 The Los Angeles Times

"SEVERAL POLLS indicate that the term "atheism" has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect impediment to a career in politics (in a way that being black, Muslim or homosexual is not). According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 37% of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president."

You should read the whole article because it describes the bigotry against atheists that is not based on fact but prejudice.

I know that campaigns against atheists are certainly coming from the advocates for religion and a lot of the shit storms are being stirred up by conservative fundamentalists.

Hi Jeremy,

Yes. I sure have run into that before.

At first it was a natural question on the part of my friends. Then, over time, while in the company of the safety of my good friends, I casually told them that they are mistaken that I "subconsciously believe" as they suggested.

Then, over time, my good friends emailed me less and less. My good friends called me less and less. My good friends invited me over less and less... until less and less they were too busy to come over, until now I have no friends at all.

That's how they handled it for me. Good luck with your various religious friends!

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