A common religion debate is that religious people try to shove their beliefs down every ones' throats, which is unwanted, closed-minded, and hypocritical. Yet the most common closed-minded belief shoving type of people I know have invariably been Atheist. And, ironically, half the time what they rant about is how "in-your-face" other religions are.
I have never had atheists knocking on my door to try and convert me, or putting fliers in my mailbox three Christian sects have done that, I also have never had any atheist tell me who I can marry or had atheists prevent life saving treatments in stem cell research or tell a woman what she can do with her body.
But yes there are preachy atheists, generally we call them annoying, on the other hand preachy religious people are #1 way more common #2 Affect my life #3 are simply following the creed they believe in which encourages them to convert others, and that is the main difference, preachy atheists are annoying people who have taken it on themselves to be intrusive, it's much more about their character than their lack of religious belief, religious people on the other hand are simply doing what they are told to do; "Spread the word".
Definitely a fair approach, but lets look beyond the belief that religious people do it because "they're told to". Because while it is common, it is simply untrue case in most cases I'm familiar with.
If you had a belief that you truly believed could impact everyone's lives for the better, do you think it would be a good idea to let the belief just sit in you own mind and do nothing, benefiting nobody? Or would you try to use this to help others or change their mindsets in a way that could help them, no matter if people dislike it along the way?
Compare this to politicians. They have such diverse beliefs and ideas, it seems obvious that one most be right and one must be wrong. Yet, they truly are doing what THEY believe is the best thing for their country, and are doing what is necessary to promote it.
So yes, both sides of this debate have people who get in your face and "shove their beliefs down your throat", but can you really resent them for it if they just want to make a positive difference?
The point I was trying to make when I started this forum and, admittedly, stated horribly, was that it is of no use to anyone to simply argue. It benefits nobody if any religious person(Atheism, Christian, Muslim) is simply yelling the propaganda they've incorporated into their repertoire.
The point (which I believe is superficial in the discussion you and I have started) is I have never heard any other religion complain about having someones beliefs forced down their throat, but it is truly the only thing I have ever heard an Atheist preach about.
But hey, maybe these Atheists I'm worrying about are the minority that are easiest to see and point to and say "Look at the stupid Atheist." In actuality, I wouldn't be surprised to see that the majority of Atheists are reasonable people who have actual reasons for their beliefs beyond "an authority figure told me so."
I urge you to look at other religious folk the same way.
LOL. Yes, I'm sure you believers would like everyone to stop trying to stop believers from shoving their beliefs down our throats. It would then allow you the freedom to shove them down our throats unfettered.
Just thing how wonderful the world would be.
*queue hydrogen bombs*
So, the author of that article takes one scenario and compares it with the centuries of intolerance, bigotry and ignorance religions have exhibited and now it's an "Atheist Recruiting Machine"
Have you been a victim of intolerance, bigotry?
Bigotry, intolerance and ignorance are moot points. Media loves to point at the religious people who are like this (e.g. Westboro Baptist Church) and turn it into a blanket saying "Religious people are intolerant bigots."
But racists, sexists, fools, and pretty much any club you can hit religion with is actually found worldwide, with or without religions involvement.
If you accepted reality, you would never have that problem. The atheist who are "in your face" just can't quite understand how an adult can be easily conned into believing, just as an impressionable child, that an ancient book of magic is based on reality.
Furthermore we see your intrusion into our lives daily. I see court proceeding daily, where witnesses still have to swear on a silly book. "In God We Trust" is still on our money. Sometimes even strangers will tell me that they are going to pray for me. I overhear conversations about God, while using public transportation, constantly, especially in the minority communities.
So, you see, sometimes those rants are just our way of standing up to the bully.
"Bad things happen when good men do nothing"
1) I agree with what you said about swearing on the bible in court. It's pointless, and honestly, carries no real weight in the courtroom. It's just quotidian now.
2) "In God We Trust" on our money, strangers praying for you, and two people having a conversation about religion in a public area are in no way whatsoever bullies to be stood up to.
"To educate a man in mind and not morals, is to educate a menace to society." I guess these are the annoying religious people (meaning Christians AND Atheists) who we are both referring to.
Of course, the majority of atheists never participate in religious discussions at all.
I recall discussing religion but once with an atheist friend -- and I was doing the pushing, since I asked her why she was an atheist.
Internet forums are, thankfully, not representative of society. Hubpages is after all a place people go who want to say something but are having trouble finding a place to say it. No wonder the forums wind up with an inordinate number of opinionated and outspoken people.
On the other hand, several of my religious friends have felt free to proselytize and push their religion on me, and I certainly get knocks on the door from proselytizers of one religion or another several times a year.
You bring up a good point.
I didn't read the article but I think that it's in human nature to be preachy. I have met religious people and atheists alike who were trying to force their beliefs on me. I am open to hearing about other people's belief systems, but if you try to force me to believe what you think, it's not going to work on me. In fact the opposite happens, if someone is preachy around me, or being pushy with something, I tend to shut them out and walk away. I don't like being told what I should think.
I'm not an atheist. I'm an agnostic. I believe that there is something happening after death, but not the cute creation stories made up by different religions. I think that, if it exists, it's much more straightforward than that.
However, I object to the preachy arrogance of people who are dedicated to getting me to believe what they do - or don't. My sister is a fundamentalist Christian, and I spent many years asking her over and over to show some respect for my right to believe as I chose. Finally, I was so fed up with her pushing me and preaching at me and so completely done with her disrespect for my beliefs that I was willing to break contact with her rather than listen to her or argue with her anymore. So I told her that she had a choice - either drop the preaching or lose contact with me. She realized that I was serious, and stopped the preaching.
But why did it have to get to that point? Because it's part of her religion to dog other people and believe that they will go to hell if they don't believe what she does. That's the problem. If you believe in some religions, such as Christianity, you are also taught that you're SAVING the people that you're really annoying to no end. Now that, to me, is institutionalized delusion.
I love this response. It is very well thought out, it is very clear, and it is also very true.
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which are probably some of the main perpetrators as far as gospel proselyting goes. If you scroll up you may see my comment touching lightly on throwing your beliefs at others, and it's even something you said yourself.
However, the perfection of God that religion describes would in no way advocate contention the way that religious people so commonly create. So (as my belief in religion leads me to believe), please do not blame the actual religion for serious negative side effects of this proselytizing, but blame the culture around the religion, and the plain ignorance of the people causing them. This applies to all religion: Christian, Atheism, Hindu, and everything else.
By the way I have never well understood Agnosticism, but it sounds interesting. Would you please explain it further for me?
OK, il Scettico, I'll tell you my personal version of agnosticism, because you have asked, and very politely, as if you really want to know. But just a cautionary note: I am not inviting a long discussion about this topic, or questions based on your religion, or verses quoted. I don't mean to be rude, but I've see that angle used before.
The skepticism in agnosticism has a lot of variations, just as any religion does. Basically, I believe that none of us know for sure what happens, or doesn't happen, after our bodies die. (In general, we know a lot less about the universe than we think we know.) Maybe someday we will know, but currently we don't. I find the idea that we can't measure most of the matter and energy ("dark" matter and energy) in the universe fascinating, and I also find it very interesting that no energy in the universe is ever created or destroyed, but is only changed. So maybe we're approaching some possible discoveries that will add clues to our understanding of what happens after death - if anything. We might just be the biological machines that some people think we are, and end after our bodies stop working enough to maintain life.
However, practicing a religion which makes up creation and history stories is not, for me, a realistic answer, nor is creating and worshiping any deities. To me, that's just looking for imaginary parental figures to shelter us from the hazards of living and dying.
Religion gives comfort to people who can believe in it, so I have no problem with it, as long as I'm allowed to believe as I choose.
Thank you very much for the answer. Just a couple more questions, if you don't mind, and that will be all.
1) Does this essentially mean you choose not to believe anything because there isn't conclusive evidence for any side?
2) Is this Agnosticism in general, or your take on it alone?
1) I don't believe any claims by any religion - or by atheists - because nothing has been proven to my satisfaction. After all, believe is of necessity a personal thing, n'est pas? I was raised by Christians but found that Christianity did not answer my questions satisfactorily. I sought a religion that I could believe in when I was in my twenties. While I learned a lot about different religions, I also realized that they were no more believable for me than Christianity.
2) I don't care about agnosticism in general. My claim to agnosticism would be more of a general definition. Probably a second or third or fourth definition if you looked in a dictionary. It is a personal skepticism due to lack of anything even approaching proof - again, one way or the other.
You obviously have put real thought into your pursuits, which I guess is why I enjoy reading your replies. Thank you very much.
I guess there are as many types of atheists as there are religious. The recent converts to atheism are preachy and boring, I guess since they are enthralled with the arguments we've all already heard. As if they are making intelligent arguments that only a fool couldn't agree with. The recently converted to religion are just as bad. Talking about things they were enjoying yesterday as if you are horrible for not agreeing that they are now sins.
But, most atheists and religious simply think what they want and don't bother anyone about it.
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