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Atheists are the Most Hated Minority


By canadian - Posted on 12 October 2009

RFO'ers are a very diverse and intelligent bunch and I know that many of you are deeply religious, some are less so, and perhaps there are some like me who are atheists. I posted this in the miscellaneous chit-chat area because it has nothing to do with Obama, but it is nonetheless a cultural issue and I wanted to see how some of you felt about it.

First I should begin with a link that explains the situation for Atheists right now:

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AntiAtheism.htm
I don't know if you have seen this sign that has been making the internet rounds:
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/02/hells_most_wanted.jpg

I had a conversation that was deeply, personally distressing to me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. While commenting on an article that a friend posted, I remarked that I couldn't get into the subject matter because it was a sermon rather than a news article. I simply wasn't interested in reading a sermon disguised as news. My friend who posted the article agreed that it was preachy but we discussed some of the content between us before another woman, a stranger to me, chimed in to give me hell.

It is a very hostile time for non-believers. All one has to do is express an alternate opinion, even a gentle one, and there are people who will launch an attack like none I've ever experienced in my life. I think I started to notice this attitiude a few years ago when I worked as a volunteer for a non-profit organization who was planning an awards banquet. As a member of the executive board, I brought up the notion that perhaps we should not be doing a "public" Christian prayer before the meal. This prayer was not a tradition, it had only begun under the past Mayor. I tried to explain that our community is very diverse and that by doing this, we were sending the message that this non-profit organization supports Christian thought. My argument (if I had been able to finish articulating it) was that as a partly publicly funded (some taxpayer money supported them), non profit organization, we should appear religion neutral. It is perfectly fine to say your prayer before your dinner, but it is another thing to force others to participate. Of course they would tell me (I've heard it before) that non Christians should just hang their heads in respect. I've done that for over 40 years and try as I may to feel included, public prayer still makes me feel like an outcast. But although I am uncomfortable with it, I have quietly just buried my feelings to keep the peace.

This particular conversation about the public prayer turned ugly in 3 seconds flat. What happened next has haunted me for years. I was yelled and screamed at by the most "devout" members of the executive board! Shouted down like I was 5 years old. There could be no rational discussion so long as I was challenging this long held idea that Christians should have the monopoly on public acceptance. The argument was so hate-filled, one man in particular was nearly frothing at the mouth, his neck veins protruding, and his eyes bugged out while he pointed his finger in my face and threatened to boycott the event if prayer was removed. I was sufficiently frightened that I refused to say openly that I was an atheist again for many years.  That night I went home, shattered and cried myself to sleep. It was emotionally wrenching for me, but that man probably thought he was doing God's work. 

Last year I was driving with co-workers from Massachusetts back to Ontario. Because it was such a long drive, we spoke about every imaginable topic. The topics can get pretty raunchy and many deep feelings are revealed on these drives. But when the topic of religion came up, I found myself squirming in my seat, trying to figure out how not to reveal that I am an atheist. I couldn't do it of course because I was pinpointed to engage in the discussion. As soon as I did, I had two of them shouting at me, the other three were quieter but confused by it. The girl who was driving actually began to cry because she "cares about me and doesn't want me to go to hell". I found it interesting that the loudest person in the car was the one who wanted to convince me that evolution is flawed and creationism is fact. To support his claim he drew on something I had never heard of. He said carbon dating was grossly inaccurate. I couldn't research his claims until I got home but it turns out that someone deliberately used an object that could not be carbon dated, and held that up as proof that all carbon dating was inaccurate. 

I ran for Council in my small town and I had to hide my atheism. I won't mention it in public situations and will try to avoid at all costs any converstation about religion. I have relatives who are not aware of my atheism, nor of their own children's, (my cousins are also atheists) because to reveal this would shatter their Mother. The truth is, many of us are in the closet because of the types of extreme reactions I just described. The reality is that every time I turn on the news to see that some poor man has been murdered, the newscaster always says something like "he was a God fearing man" to illustrate that he was moral and good. The word atheist is used to warn and frighten people "Godless, communists". 

Anyhow, back to the original problem that got me on this diatribe. I spoke to this stranger on Facebook who didn't like my comment that an article was too preachy for my tastes. She said she "felt sorry for me", that I am "sad" and "lonely" and "angry". She got all of that from my comment that I didn't enjoy the article. When I challenged her to ask why she thinks I am all those things based on a one-line comment, she said that she feels sorry for atheists because they can't feel real joy. They don't feel a deep awe for the beauty of the world.They aren't bathed in God's love.

The reality is that this attitude is becoming more and more prevalent in some circles. To an outsider looking in, it is frightening, and more than a little threatening. It causes me to think that if we aren't careful, we are just one or two steps away from a Taliban type situation where non-believers will be exposed and punished. We are already seeing a rise in acceptance of this behaviour with the Tea Party folk and Politicians like Michelle Bachmann and Palin, or the myriad of right-wing talking heads who think that public policy should be fashioned from good 'ol biblical principals. 

I have promised myself in the last couple of years, that I would stop being complacent about this type of bigotry. I will call it when I see it, and I won't be meek. Because it is so widely accepted in our cultures, many do not see it for what it is. It is intolerance. And the studies are supporting what I already know to be true, it does exist and it needs to be challenged.

We all have a right to be here.

Thanks for listening. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, I am sorry to hear how people have reacted to you. 

There is a growing number of atheists (it is the fasted growing "spritual choice" in America*) and a growing number of atheists who are willing to directly challange the belief of any of the faithful.  Unfortunately, too many of the latter are not very polite or considerate in their expression.  Many religious people feel very threatened and are lashing out.  Every group that "comes out of the closet" has to deal with this. 

The link below got me curious and I looked up "help groups for atheists" and there is quite a bit of support out there for people who have had to

*http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/26/polls-show-atheists/#

 

Thanks for the link sixteentons,

Nobody should be impolite when it comes to personal beliefs. I don't understand this behaviour.

I didn't realize until just recently that being an atheist is like being Gay. You have us in your family and you may not even know it. I love my relatives regardless of their spiritual beliefs, but I know in some instances, they don't afford me the same consideration. I have one Aunt for instance who thinks anyone who doesn't embrace religion (hers of course) is morally perverted. She would flip out if she knew.

I buried my father in law last year and it was up to me and my husband to figure out what his last wishes were. He was not a religious man but he used to say things like "make sure there is a priest at my funeral... just in case". We thought he was joking, but when it came down to burying him, we had to abide by his wishes. 

The Aunt was livid when she found out that we were planning to cremate him. It's a sin she said. 

But we didn't take our responsibility lightly. We polled friends and family members to figure out what he wanted. Another Aunt (a more reasonable one) was the person who reminded us of the "just in case" comment. So, we hired a priest, bought a casket and buried him. The religious Aunt probably thought we did it because of her pressure, but nothing could be farthest from the truth. We did it because we loved him, and we wanted to be as true to his last wishes as we could be. 

The thing about being an atheist is that it is basically the opposite of a theist. It isn't accurate to say we don't believe in God. More accurately, we just don't have a belief. I have never considered joining a support group because it really doesn't occupy a big part of my life. However, if the current climate continues, I may have to consider it. Thanks for pointing it out that such groups exist. 

 

Regarding the sign: I won't tell you how many of those labels on the sign fit me, but more than one does, LOL! And anyone who says he doesn't fit at least one of those categories is lying about it...  

It causes me to think that if we aren't careful, we are just one or two steps away from a Taliban type situation where non-believers will be exposed and punished.

My fears exactly.

There are so many reactions to your post that I'm not sure where to start, but here I go, keeping in mind that I am a Christian who has no intention of converting anyone.... you have a complete right to your beliefs, just as I have to mine.

  1. The people who you cite as examples perfectly describe what Jesus tried to teach his followers NOT to be... judgemental (among many other adjectives).
  2. The Bible is filled with examples of people who publicly display their religion for show, not as something from the heart.  (And those examples are meant to show how NOT to act...)
  3. No one can judge what's in your heart -- certainly not someone who only "knows" you by electronic comments, so she has no basis to decide whether you're happy or not.

I'm always amazed that the people like the ones you describe are so loud about their religion, however they seem to never have read the book that forms the basis for it.  **shakes head**

 

The "loud" guy in the car I described seemed to know his Bible very well. The other people were less knowledgeable and mostly just pointed to a more spiritual sense of things. I've seen comments on this forum from time to time which accurately describe him. It's one thing to know your religious teachings, it's quite another to live them. He was more concerned about being right than being fair; or even listening to the point of view he was forcing me to explain. I was amused when he peppered me with questions that I would be expected to answer, only to refute them. If any of my answers would stump him, he would rely on falsehoods to try to win his argument.   It can get very tiring very quickly for even the most patient sort. 

You know Kim, I have had all types of friends.  And as someone who grew up in a major city, I have listened to the views of not just Christians, but Muslims (I spent 7 months working in the U.A.E.), Sikhs, Mormons, Buddists, Jews, I had dinner get to know my Jehovah's Witness and Hindu friends better. There are probably more. I enjoy a good friendly discussion so long as there isn't that feeling of being attacked. This is a more recent phenomenom. I'm not sure what's driving it, but there is definitely something going on. 

Did you read any of the Scalia thread? We started a discussion there about agnostics and atheism. And I think it is misunderstood and 'hated' because I think many have the idea that God is needed in order to have proper morality and there is a lot of tradition of Christianity with the Americas. There are a lot of reasons and I think another main one is they get a bad name from a small group of atheists that attack religious things or groups in ridiculous ways (not always). But even then I think that religious are in the majority so fighting for respect of the separation of church and state can be fair and is/can be done properly. Some cross the line obviously, so considering how much of a minority agnostics/atheists are already it suffers more by the not so great actions of some.

Your story and this discussion kind of reminded me of this video. I'm sure these kinds of things are somewhat common or expected so people hide their feelings whether it's an unsure feeling of God's existance or you feel like you are more sure of God not existing.

This video hurts my heart. 

This whole thing (plus the video) reminds me of how lucky I am to have the mother (and father) that I do. She is a devout Catholic  that goes to church every week but I think she is my ideal image of a true Christian. She has goodness in her heart and for everyone no matter how different. She is understanding, thoughtful, and very caring. She is pretty liberal compared to wingnuts too. She knows i'm agnostic and I've always been able to discuss/joke about religion with her (when I say joke, I mean talk about ridiculous things people do in the name of religion).

My father comes from a Jewish background but is pretty much agnostic like me and she has loved and cared for him past the point some more shallow people would have stopped. He had a few minor strokes so he has a bit more trouble with walking and gripping with his hands so it can be a lot of work helping him out.

One last funny thing about my mom is she is a Catholic, married to a man of Jewish decent and she works at a pre-pre school at a Baptist Church. We're from New Jersey and New York. lol ( :

Is that a REAL video, or a play? Harsh! lol Sadly, it wouldn't surprised me if it's real.

There is a prevailing view that morality is tied to a belief in God. That simply isn't accurate.  Jails as they say are full of the faithful.

I hear the same sorts of comments coming from Republicans about Democrats - or visa versa. There is no one group that has the market cornered on family values. Love, acceptance, forgiveness, all of those better human qualities should be a part of us naturally.  My friend in the car last year asked me how I know right from wrong? Can you imagine that? I know right from wrong because if I hurt somebody, I would feel bad. Humans are a social creature. We need to feel like we are accepted within our sub-groups. 

I didn't see that thread SG8970, if you post a link to it, I'd be interested in reading it. I'll try to seach for it too.

Just fyi, I am an atheist because the elders in my family had departed Ireland with the idea that inter-denominational fighting was inherently wrong. The killing-fest in Ireland was enough to make some of those immigrants feel organized religion was dangerous. In Canada, they never discussed it. I guess they left it behind.  I never went to church as a child, we didn't talk about God, and they left it up to me to read, and discover for myself what I wanted to believe. There was neither an anti-religion sentiment, nor a push in the direction of atheism. It wasn't important in my home.

As a sidenote: did anyone see that program "wife swap" (or a similar tv show) where the religious woman was put in an atheist home? She lost her marbles, screaming at them (the devil) to get out of her house. I mean, she really lost it! That was a few years ago, but I now realize that there are some who really, truly feel that atheists are something to be feared, despised, and purged. It completely stuns me when I see that episode! I have to be about one of the most peaceful people you could ever meet but this woman would have tossed me out for the simple fact that I don't believe as she does. 

The Scalia thread was just a few down from this thread. Still fresh. lol

http://www.republicansforobama.org/?q=node/7618

Thanks I read the entire thread.

I'm not amused. :(

I'm a little torn on the cross as a symbol though. If it is true that they wouldn't allow the Buddist symbol, that's very telling. But, for Canadians in particular, a small white cross is an enduring symbol of the War Dead. 

Just out of curiousity, do Americans also associate poppies with Veterans? Is the poem "In Flanders Fields" recited on Memorial Day? (ours is Remembrance Day, Nov 11) It's the saddest and most poignant poem to describe what those crosses represent. 

In Flanders Field

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

 

My friend in the car last year asked me how I know right from wrong?

I wonder what his response would be to the studies that show that chimpanzees have the sense of "fairness"?(www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050212191635.htm).  

 

I saw the a bit of the program wifeswap (how about a husband swap?  I have some major construction I need working on) :))on youtube.  Very twisted.  I really have a hard time believing that it wasn't a set up.

LOL, chimps are pretty smart. I wouldn't dare get into any conversation featuring chimps unless I want to have to dive into that whole evolution/creation argument again. As a sidenote: I have a hard time reading anything about chimps any more. They're intelligent but they punish "outcasts" in the most disgusting and frightening way I have ever seen. 

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~

Here's the link of that Christian woman freaking out at the atheists in her home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpva_iit-8

It could be set up. Perhaps they did something to set her off but when you listen to some of the things she says during the program, it becomes pretty clear that she is frightened of people who don't share her narrow set of beliefs. It would be difficult to be her child. That poor teenager looks embarrassed through much of this show.

After ranting against the forces of the "dark side," Perrin eventually took the $50,000 prize she originally called "tainted" and used it for gastric bypass surgery, which helped her lose 94 pounds. I kid you not.
People seldom "came out" about their lack of faith before the 20th century. Considering you could literally lose your head over it. Seriously, in that video I  thought she was after his head.
First off, thanks for sharing, canadian. I have to admire this sort of courage in the face of harrowing experiences.

I had a mini-rant on Richard Dawkins written up, but I thought better of it. I don't think the people who bullied you are Christians at all (or if they are, they got a lot of explaining to do), and here's why:

I think entire generations of Christians were/are raised thinking they are saved because they follow their parents into church, sing songs with them, and learn the ideology and terminology to earn their pastor's stamp of approval, but never taking to heart the two critical aspects of the gospel. What happens, then, is that the sort of unapologetic display of mouth-foaming abuse you encountered is not treated as sinful anger (which it is), but as a zealous defense of God. Too many sermons on Phineas putting a javelin through an adulterer, and not enough on Jesus writing on the ground in lieu of passing judgment on an adulteress. The idea that compassion for other people means respecting that they are free to believe or not believe, is somehow lost in the message that the world is going to hell.

----

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Well said.
Kind of reminds me of what Gandhi said, "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians. Why can't your Christians try to act like your Christ?"  Ouch!
kudos

I don't think most Christians "hate" atheists.  Most evangelical Christians like myself probably feel sorrow for atheists.  We think how sad it would be not to know the peace and joy that come from knowing Jesus Christ as the savior.

As I stated in another thread, I think one of the reasons atheists might rank as the most hated minority is because the ones that represent that belief in the media have traditionally been very unlikable people like Madeline Murray O'Hare.

I've worked with many "secularists" and "humanists" over the years and most have been fine and decent people.  That being said, I don't think I could ever vote for an "avowed atheist" for public office. 

 

I'm afraid the "Christians hate atheists" is right out there with the "Why do Athiests hate christianity?"  Very very few do.

I don't know why there seems to be a small group (on both sides) that that demands that disagreement has to be based in hate.  Are they just too lazy to think things through?

I am curious by your statement that you would not vote for an avowed atheist.  Are you saying that you can not imagine a situation in which you would agree with enough of an atheists positions (barring that of religion) to believe him to be a good leader, or that even if you agreed with all of his positions (barring that one) you still would not vote for the atheist, even if you felt the opposition was simply inadequate to the job?

 

 

 

there is always the possibility that the studies were leading. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to them. I do prefer to make my own decisons about what constitutes "hatred" towards another group. I can say though that I've felt a difference in the dynamic in recent years. I blame that on the talking heads who want to divide everyone based on geography, religion, political leanings and probably even what breakfast cereal we choose. Hate radio is having a deep effect on people. I wish it would just go away. 

Brandon, really? You wouldn't vote for someone who doesn't believe in God? That doesn't sound very Christian at all.  I would vote for someone who shared my values no matter what God they followed. 

It's not just atheists who have trouble getting elected. Mormons, Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims. You don't see anything remotely intolerant here?

No, I would not vote for someone who didn't believe in God.  It is likely too deep a subject to be able to clearly express why on this board without coming across as intolerant or offensive to those here who are atheists.  

But basically, I would not want someone in a position of public office who did not believe there was some higher power in the universe than man.  That is not to say that atheists don't have morals, but if one doesn't believe in God then they don't believe this line from the Declaration of Independence:  ... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...   

When current politics is concerned that's pretty baseless. Any politician can lie about believing in God to get elected. They can also lie about being God fearing while at the same time they could be morally bankrupt. That's basically saying that as long as the candidate gives you that hope of religion (no matter how false), you might vote for them over someone less religious. I hope that made sense in a respectful way.   

Wow, I'm dumbfounded.

 

Which is why I almost didn't reply, because it is a very deep philosophical issue to a Christian like me and can only come across as intolerant on a board like this even though that is not the intent.

Again, I'm just being 100% honest.  While anyone has the right to run for office and be elected if the citizens vote for them, a belief in a higher power in this universe would be a prerequisite to get my vote. 

There are many religious people I wouldn't vote for Steven like I would have never in a million years supported Pat Robertson when he ran for president.

... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...

That line could mean any number of things. You interpreted it as "God" but it could be "Mother and Father" or "Nature". The founding fathers tried very hard to be inclusive. Smart men they were.

I am disappointed by your answer. Sadly it speaks volumes about the legitimacy of that study. 

I certainly don't believe in discrimination against atheists.  I have hired atheists and have friends who are non believers.  

In the U.S. one should have the right to believe or not believe as they wish.  The part of the study that mentioned denying atheist groups the right to rent the municipal auditorium is something I don't agree with.  I just personally could not vote for someone who didn't believe in some sort of higher power.  

I'm sorry you are disappointed in that position Canadian and I hope we can remain RFO friends, but again I'm just being honest. 

I would not want someone in a position of public office who did not believe there was some higher power in the universe than man.  That is not to say that atheists don't have morals, but if one doesn't believe in God then they don't believe this line from the Declaration of Independence:  ... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights... 

I certainly don't believe in discrimination against atheists.  I have hired atheists and have friends who are non believers.  

I’m sorry but this is just too much like “I’m not prejudiced, but I wouldn’t want one of “them” (insert minority of choice) to marry my sister”. To assume that anyone who doesn’t view the “creator” as you do therefore must reject the constitution is as I see it, the same as “The children are the ones I worry about, they are rejected by both cultures” when the truth is they were really only worried about any children diluting their own family lines, and the social embarrassment.

I appreciate you are trying to be 100% honest, and I know it takes a lot of effort to admit your prejudice (even if you are trying to deny that it is a prejudice). However to not say anything it to imply acceptance. The only way to fight prejudice is to point it out, even in its most civil facades.

When I was in the Navy one of my favorite people happened to be black. She once told me she preferred open bigots, that at least she knew where she stood with them. It was harder to deal with the ones who pretended to accept her but made it clear she would never be good enough to be part of their family. I am learning what she meant.

That you use one of the most important documents in history in the fight against bigotry to support your prejudice is simply irony at it highest.

I don't think it is fair to equate me saying I wouldn't vote for an atheist as being a prejudice like someone who would not vote for a woman or a minority or even someone who was gay.

Atheism is a philosophy of life that could impact one's views on a whole lot of other issues just as me being a Christian shapes my beliefs about the rights of the unborn.

It would be similar to someone saying I would never vote for a candidate who was pro NAFTA no matter what else they might believe or someone who would never vote for someone who didn't believe in evolution. 

That you assume that religion dictates moral views and lack of religion means the person can not share the same values as you do… yes, this is a prejudice in that it is a negative bias formed with out knowledge, but assumed based on limited experience.  That is as much discrimination as if I were to avow I would never vote for a Christian because all Christians are anti-choice on abortion and makes as much sense as saying all African Americans like rap.

As little as a hundred years ago Christians tended to look at all non-Christians as “pagans who worshipped the devil” (some still do). If it wasn’t their god it was the devil and they were all witches practicing ceremonies to bring destruction to everyone else for personal gain through favor from the Christian view of Satan. We have come a long way and today it has become “politically incorrect” to condemn people of other faiths, however it continues to be open season on those who profess no faith. People like me range in our “moral” beliefs as widely as do people of any religious beliefs. I know atheists who are strongly “pro-life” believing all life is of value (all the ones I know also happen to be vegetarians). I also know some Christians who are “anti-choice” in that they believe anyone who can not prove they can support a child should be forced to have an abortion. Many Christians I know are pro choice, believing that God (as they see him) gave people the wisdom and compassion to make a wise choice.

Your example, comparing it to women or gays only supports my argument that it is an unfounded bias, as similar arguments have been used against both groups (women are raised from birth to become loving wives and mothers and therefore can not be trusted to deal with issues involving aggression, and “gays who live their lifestyle openly are obviously not moral people because they were not raised to respect what the bible says”).

The comparison to not voting for someone who doesn’t support NAFTA is a poor comparison. In this case, though it is “single issue” voting at least you would know that issue, not making assumptions. As for refusing to vote for someone who does not believe in evolution, if the candidate advocates banning evolution in classrooms or something similar then I would reject them but to reject them out of hand simply because of a belief and assumptions of what that belief means would be bigoted, it would be on me to ask questions, find out what this meant in regards to the office they are running for. Would it surprise you that quite a few atheists I know do not believe in evolution. No, they don’t believe in creationism either; they just think there’s a different answer, that it’s something we don’t know yet.

So (to late to make a long story short) your choice to declare you would not vote for an atheist based on preconceived assumptions based on a narrow view of experience is prejudice, no less than if I were to declare I would never vote for a Republican because they are all tea baggers. I find it amazing you can hold such a narrow view and after reading so many different views from so many not of faith just on this board.

I hope you don’t take this as an attack, I hope this encourages you to look around, to see we do not all fit the same mold, that we come in as wide a variety of “flavors” as any other group of people. That generalization, to assume we all hold the same views is destructive to not just our culture, but to each of us as individuals. Would you vote for someone just because they go to your church? What if they belong to your church but you know them to be a dishonest person, perhaps someone no one invites over with out hiding all the valuables, or perhaps cleaning out the medicine cabinet?

No, I would not vote for someone just because they go to my church or because they were the same religion as me.  Although, I initially supported Mike Huckabee in the primaries last year and part of his appeal to me was that he was a Baptist minister.  But on further evaluation, I don't think I would support his candidacy in the future.

I've never said that atheists or non believers all think alike or that they can't be moral or hold positions such as being pro life.

However, a non believer would not seek God's guidance nor would they pray. These are prerequisites to hold political office in my belief system.  This is not a prejudice, but  a simple evaluation that someone who does not seek to be guided by God is not someone I could support for elected office.  I want my basketball center to be way over six feet tall, but that doesn't mean I'm prejudiced against short people or think they have no good qualities.

However, a non believer would not seek God's guidance nor would they pray. These are prerequisites to hold political office in my belief system.

So, you're saying you would prefer someone like George W. Bush to anyone who professed non-belief no matter thier stand on the issues?

Remember when David Duke was the Republican nominee for governor in Louisiana.  If I had been a voter in that state and Duke's opponent was an atheist, I would have voted for the atheist.  No way could I have ever voted for a racist like David Duke.  So you could always find an exception to every rule.

 

Ok.  Seriously Brandon???  Thats the BEST exception you could come up with. Personally, I find it disgusting.

I am sitting here trying (without much success I might add) to convince myself that you, Brandon, did not mean for this post to come across sounding as mean-spirited, ugly, intolerant, and degrading tgwards non-believers as it did.

If, however, that was your intention...then, in my opinion, it is because of "christians" like you that are giving us a bad name. 

"I SO voted for Barack Obama!  10/25/08"

"come across sounding as mean-spirited, ugly, intolerant, and degrading tgwards non-believers as it did."

I'm not sure I'm following you Lesley?

I thought the question was, would I ever vote for an atheist in any circumstance as I had previously stated I would not. 

My answer was yes I would and I came up with an example to show there are always exceptions to every rule.

How is that ugly, intolerant or degrading?  

Generally, I would not want someone in a leadership position who does not believe that God is ultimately in charge.  I stand by that position even if you think it gives "christians like me" a bad name.  I'm sorry that you think wanting our leaders to fear and respect the God of the universe is intolerant.

 

 

First, I apologize if MY tone came across ugly or offensive.  Sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain thinks things through completely.  It's something that I am trying to work on. 

But, I don't know Brandon, to say you'd pick an athiest over David Duke (leader of the KKK, Nazi, etc)...well, TO ME thats not saying a whole lot.  We only grow from stretching ourselves, and to me... choosing an athiest over David Duke is NO stretch at all. TO ME, David Duke is scum of the earth and is personification of all that is evil.   No comparison between David Duke and an athiest in my book.  Again, that is MY opinion. 

Here's a question; what if in the political areana, none of the candidates ever revealed anything about their religious beliefs??  Then what would you do?

On a personal level, yes of course, I would want the leader of our country to believe in God.  However, our country is made up of people of ALL religions, all nationalities, all types of people; not JUST Christians.  I would never make a blaket statement saying that I would NEVER vote for an athiest; then qualify my statement by saying I wouldn't vote for an athiest unless he/she was running against a leader of the KKK, or a Nazi. 

Stereotypes are a dangerous, ugly things.  We ALL should be very careful when using them. 

Again, my apologies for coming across so harsh. 

"I SO voted for Barack Obama!  10/25/08"

Thanks for the apology as I did take it as being harsh.  I also find David Duke to be the personification of all that is evil.  

If none of the candidates revealed anything about their religion, then you would have to judge them completely by where they stand on the issues.  But it would be impossible in today's world for us to not know a candidate's religious background.

My point is that I know how much my Christian faith guides every aspect of my life. It is that important to me and I'm not someone who goes to church on Sunday and doesn't think about spiritual matters the rest of the week.  

You have to understand that I find one's spirituality to be such an important part of their life that I can't imagine having someone making important decisions for the whole community who was not seeking God's guidance. 

Of course I understand that, Brandon, as my faith guides my day to day life and actions as well.  We go to church every Sunday and are very involved with outreaches, and serving our church community and our local non-church communities as well. In fact, Friday night I'll be going out with a group from my church on a "Midnight Outreach" to show women in strip clubs and prostitutes (male & female) on the streets that God does love them and that they are not forgotten by Him.  So, trust me when I tell you I understand your passion and your dedication to your faith.

It just makes me a bit uncomfortable when anyone makes blanket statements about what they would or wouldn't do pertaining to certain group of people.   

Maybe stop for a minute and think how you would feel if the tables were turned... that's all I'm trying to say.

"I SO voted for Barack Obama!  10/25/08"

Though it seems to me you are using this example to show you aren’t a bigot I can’t say how happy that makes me, to see that you can consider the individual, not just their religious protestations. I have no problem with a person’s religion being an element of the choice; it bothered me only that you seemed to generalize it with an all or nothing mentality.

I hope this dialog has created some questions in your mind; that you will start looking at us a little deeper, see us as people beyond our spiritual beliefs. See that we really aren’t that different than believers.

"See that we really aren’t that different than believers."

I understand that more clearly than you might think.  

For the past year, I've had to spend 4 hours a week teaching and supervising a group of homeschooled teenagers.  Homeschool around here usually means very conservative religious groups, but this is a group of parents who homeschool their kids because they are not religious and all the private schools in town are religious based.

They call their concept Unschooling.  Don't get me started on what I think about the concept, but the board of directors thought it would be great to get young people involved with the organization so I have no choice in the matter.

My job is to teach them about broadcast communications and music, so the subject of religion doesn't come up much but we've spent enough time together now that they know I'm a believer.  I mentioned church once and they were all like "you go to church?"  They also couldn't wait to show me the website of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  A couple of times, they've asked me questions about my religion and I have answered it, but again that is not my place so I usually answer and get back on track.

The kids and their parents are all fine people despite being non believers.  They live a very different lifestyle than me.  They are all into organic crap and being vegetarians and are of course all liberals.  But the kids are primarily normal teenagers, but there is a little bit of elitism where they think they are better than the typical Tennessee redneck and they are into making fun of fat people.

But really these kids are no different in their interests (soccer, video games, cell phones, facebook, twitter etc.) than the typical church youth group teen or member of young life. 

 

 

Brandon

The basketball analogy is flawed.

A skilled short basketball center can not adequately compete against a skilled tall basketball player.  There is plenty of evidence where that is the case.

When it comes to politcal positions, however there is no evidence to prove that someone who seeks God's guidance is better able to fulfill the obligations of an elected office than one who does not.  This is why I, and I suspect AG and Canadian, find your position prejudicial. That is  prejudism, choosing against someone, not because they are not competant in the area competancy is needed, but because you don't think they measure up in an area completely unrelated to the needs of the job.

But I seriously believe that someone who doesn't seek God's guidance is not competent to be a leader.  The same way, we all think Palin's not thinking it is important to read a newspaper was incompetent to be vice president.

But I seriously believe that someone who doesn't seek God's guidance is not competent to be a leader. 

I understand your belief and that it is strongly felt. And it is not my intent to deny you your right to this belief.

What my intent is is for you to realize that the statement  "someone who doesn't seek God's guidance is not competent to be a leader" lacks any substantiation in fact. 

In my life I've not noticed any difference in the leadership ability or morality or generosity or basic goodness between my friends and acquaintances that are religious and those that are atheist.

Because of my life experiences I can't believe that someone without God's guidance would be incompetant to lead and find it anomalous that an intellegent man such as yourself doesn't seem to see the same qualities between the religious and atheist that I do

Thank you Grandmother, you articulated that far better than I could have.

I never thought I would be in a position to feel like the friend you described, but here I am, feeling exactly like that.

I can assure you that there is nothing about my lack of beliefs that would make me unfit to serve the interests of people who voted for me. I think one of the greatest gifts I have been given is the ability to empathise and it makes it easy for me to listen to, and understand the viewpoints of another person.

The only reason I would not vote for someone is if they were lacking the intelligence and empathy needed to do their job on behalf of all citizens; not just the ones who are like him/her. 

That's not my point. I was saying that in this current political climate anyone can lie about believing or fearing God. There is just no way to know for sure so it's a standard that can be passed easily and never 100% proven true. It's like admitting that some candidates might be lying but as long as they can convince you that they are religious they can easily pass your standard, while a person with a good record and is upfront about being an unsure agnostic would be much more easily passed over by you. They'd almost never have a chance to win you over as a voter because they didn't lie about believing in God. Again, I hope i'm explaining this in a decent manner.  

I understand your point.  I would hope that someone who would lie about something like their faith would be exposed as a phony before the election.  

Living in Tennessee, I doubt very seriously if I will be faced with a candidate that would admit to being an atheist.  As I don't plan on moving to Marin County, California or King County, Washington anytime soon, I doubt if it is a choice I'll have to worry about. 

Well, that's a bald-faced lie, Brandon, and you already "outed" yourself by your claims about atheists, as a "group" in the Scalia thread.

 

What did I say that you think is a lie?  

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power
the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

Hey TC, on a differnet note, I just finished the Lost Symbol. Did you read it yet? It was so good.....

Brandon, there are plenty of studies that do in fact show that Christians hate atheists. It's not a debate. Of course it doesn't represent the view of all Christians but enough of them answered the polls to indicate that there is a deep rooted problem there.

And I know you don't in your heart mean to offend me, but just saying something like you feel sorrow for us, is about as unsettling as a statement could be. Can you imagine if you said you feel sorrow for a black man because he'll never know what it's like to be white?

I derive plenty of joy from life. I've been very lucky in mine to have experiences that many other people couldn't possibly know. Do you know what it's like to sing to 20,000 people? Well, I do. Does that mean I feel sorry for you because you haven't felt the sheer adrenaline and out-of-body surrealism of such a moment? I might say that everyone should be so lucky to have such moments in their lives but I would never be so presumptuous as to think that they don't have moments of equal or even better. The birth of a child, the bonds we form, pride in a job well done, a vacation in an exotic place. Maybe your joy is God. But perhaps, that's you and not your neighbour. My joy is not. Don't feel sorrow for me. 

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