Zealous Atheists are just as bad as zealous christians

I really am turned off by zealous people. Either side of the aisle. However, I really think zealous atheists are the worst kind. They criticize christians of being zealous unenlightened morons. They label christians as all tools of some uber conspiracy to control human thought, while they the enlightened, are open minded liberated thought provoking geniuses. I just roll my eyes.

First, apparently christians hold some piece of personal enligtenment that they believe (as ardently as you dont) is in fact the truth. Instead of labeling THEM as closed minded, why not expand your mind to at the very least appreciatte why christians have chosen (yes, chosen, religion has not perfected the mind control laser yet) their faith.

Second, a lot of atheists will hold true to science. Most people dont realize that science is based on the assumption that the world is rational and comprehensible by human minds. Maybe its not. Maybe even accepting that presumption requires faith. Maybe not though, maybe Im full of crap, but please stop giving lip service to ‘open mindedness’ and let yourself entertain the idea. This doesnt even address some epistemological foundations of science that are perhaps challengable. Understand that the ‘tried and true’ science of 500 years ago is garbage today. In fact the science of 10 years ago has a considerable amount of garbage in it as any scientist will tell you.

Third, the relationship between science and religion is not always contentious. There are times when they even work together. Aristotle might never have been criticized in the west if it werent for the condemnations of 1277. Our calender might still be crap if a pope hadnt fixed it for us. Concepts such as natural law and an ultimate ‘truth’ might not have carried such a weight without science having a birth in medieval chrisendom.

Bottom line, dont be zealous, and dont me hippocritically zealous. There’s really no point in talking to anyone if youre not going to change your mind or theres about something. So either open up or shut up.

PS Im not a christian.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that today’s science will be trashed by future discoveries.

PS I am not an atheist.

It hardly needs mentioning that the opposite of “atheist” isn’t “christian.”

In any event, I try to be polite to bible-thumpers and other religious nuisances, including one loon who tried to use the “letter bag” story on me to disprove evolution (i.e. believing that a fully-evolved creature could form from random genetic material is like assuming a dictionary could be formed by shaking a garbage bag filled with Scrabble tiles). Just smile and nod, smile and nod, don’t make eye contact.

I’ve yet to run into a pushy atheist. I guess I don’t attract them, being an atheist myself.

There certainly are enough pushy atheists on the SDMB.

I would have no problem with atheists if they concentrated on their own beliefs, or lack thereof, and refrained from attacking aspects of American culture that are religiously based.

I don’t think I’ve come across more than a handful of atheists on the SDMB who were pushy enough to warrant considering calling ‘zealous’ - the only good examples I can think of are now banned for being assholes in a broader sense.

Which aspects are those? Call me biased, but most of the ‘aspects’ that draw attention and criticism are things like the judicial system or whether it’s necessary to believe in God to part of the one nation, or having some thousands-of-years-old myth taught in public schools as an acceptible alternative to actual thought.

Unless you mean the blatant attacks on Jack Chick. In which case, what can I say :slight_smile:

as has already been said, !athiest != Christian.

lets put it like this. You don’t see Rabid Athiests blowing up Maternity Wards or shooting paediatricians.

Well, I meant “pushy” in the ring-your doorbell, approach-you-at-the-mall, yap-in-your-ear-on-long-flight sense.

SDMB pushiness is pretty damn trivial, since you can always hit your BACK button, or just scroll past the nuisance.

I’ve made the comment in previous threads that atheist philosophies have killed far more people than religion has. Maybe atheists aren’t blowing up clinics, but some have no problem setting up gulags or concentration camps.

As far as the attacks on American culture I mentioned, they include demanding removal of the Ten Commandments from courthouses, barring all prayer in school even if it is strictly voluntary, opposing Christmas decorations on public property, and attacking the Boy Scouts for actually promoting morality.

Most atheists I know find such things rediculous. Not so the zealous ones.

William F. Buckley Jr. once said that atheism has its own gods, and they are vigorously worshipped.

Because it’s a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. The government is not allowed to promote one religion over others, hence no Nativity scenes on public property. By the same token, the government can’t close down Christian churches. Government is not supposed to be in the religion business. Get a copy of the Constitution and have someone read it to you.

Cite? As long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in school. Or are you just sore because you don’t get to make other people pray the way you want them to?

Violation of the Establishment Clause, again.

People are attacking the Boy Scouts for promoting honesty, thrift, bravery, and loyalty? Oh, you mean that people are angry at the Boy Scouts’ barring gay people and atheists from their ranks. If you equate bigotry with morality, then I suggest that you buy a dictionary and learn the difference.

This is why I get angry.

Christian tell big honkin’ lie.

Atheist refutes it with facts.

Christian whines about “Christian-bashing.”

You know, I used to agree with the OP.

Understand that I am a baptized Catholic. I no longer attend Catholic services, but I believe in God and have no particular problem with the Church at all, and in fact I went to the trouble of taking the Catholic marriage course so Mrs. RickJay and I could be married in a Catholic church; I just choose to believe in my own way. I have generally always been of the belief that people of all faiths, or no faith, are okay, and I’ve always defended religion as being an essentially neutral force. Whenever someone parroted the old cliche “Most wars are caused by religion!” I would always chime in and point out that that is factually incorrect, and would go so far as to say that no wars, really, are caused by religion. I would argue that generally speaking what are presented as religious conflicts really have other causes. I would argue religious people are no worse than atheists.

I’m actually starting to change my mind, though, on a lot of things with respect to this issue.

There are, undoubtedly, some atheists who are dicks about it. The late (I assume) Madalyn Murray O’Hair was a world-class bitch. Getting into people’s faces about their personal beliefs is vulgar and uncivilized. A lady or a gentleman does not do that.

However, the simple, inescapable reality of life as I look around me is that as a group, atheists are NOT pushing their beliefs on others to 1/1,000,000th the extent religious people do. I mean, they are literally not even on the map. It’s the religious zealots who try to present mythology as science and science as mythology. It’s the religious zealots who look upon others as being lesser citizens. It’s the religious zealots who picket fiunerals shrieking “God hates fags!” It’s the religious zealots who blew up the Twin Towers. Its the religious zealots who circulate Chick Tracts. It was a religious zealot major league ballplayer who told Jewish reporters they were going to hell. It’s the religious zealots who try to burn books I want to read. It’s the religious zealots who want to censor what I can watch and listen to. It’s the religious zealots who murder innocent people in the Middle East. It’s the religious zealots who burn people alive in India over the stupidest of reasons. It’s the religious zealots who, to varying degrees, stay in their own little insular communities and only marry each other and exclude people of other faiths and get angry at their kids if they try to marry outside the faith. We get defenses of that right here on the SDMB. And I’m not just talking about Christians. You can throw your Muslims and your Jews and your Hindus and your Sikhs and whatever else right in there with them.

I’ll be quite upfront and honest with you; the behaviour of religious people, more and more, makes me want to fucking puke. No, not all religious folks are like that - indeed, MOST are not. And yes, I know all these sins can be attributed somewhere along the way to secular interests - atheists try to ban porn because they think they’re feminists, Stalin murdered millions, etc. And I don’t like pushy asshole atheists any more than I like pushy assholes of any stripe, but to my mind the pushy asshole atheist problem just isn’t a significant issue.

This stuff seems to be, if not universally, then STRONGLY correlated with religion - so much so that I just see no reason to complain about athiests as a group. Complaining about pushy atheists when religious zealots are so much larger a problem is like complaining about a mosquito bite while you’re being eaten to death by a Sumatran tiger.

From the OP:

If no portion of the world is “rational and comprehensible,” how could you even get out of bed in the morning? Moreover, such a position would fatally challenge any deeply held faith - if one could not trust one’s senses and perceptions, how could one trust one’s beliefs?

Religious rules hold no place in a house of law. The judiciary applies to everyone. Christian rules apply only to Christians.

Well said, RickJay. In fact, all of these responses have been great, in that they’re to the point, logical and un-collounsbury-like. Maybe this thread should be moved to GD?

Does one really choose their beliefs?

I’m an atheist, but not of the active sort. It is not that I believe that there is no god. It is that I don’t believe there is a god. Subtle difference, perhaps.

I can’t reconcile it as a choice. I was raised in a Christian household, baptised and attended a Methodist church regularly. Yet somewhere along the way, I couldn’t accept the Christian truth as Truth. But it wasn’t a choice. Choosing Christianity would have been much easier.

Can you choose to believe in Santa Clause? In unicorns? It seems much more innate than subject to a conscious choice.

Do you find it peculiar that over 90% of religious people choose the religion of their parents?

More direct to the query of the OP, I agree with RickJay when he says:

I just haven’t seen atheists actively looking to proselytize folks. Christians take it as a responsibility.

Sure, on SDMB GD the atheists are just as rabid, as zealous, as the Christians in defending their own beliefs - but that’s the frickin’ purpose of debate!

And one last bone to pick. It is not fair to suggest that someone who opposes mandated prayer in school, the ten commandments on a government building, or any other government adoption of religious principles as an attack on American culture. Just the opposite, in fact. The founding of this country was based on the freedom to worship however one desires without interference from the government. And that the government has no business sponsoring any particular religious views. To suggest otherwise is un-American.

In fact, I offer it as proof of the zealotry of some Christians, whom believe they should be able to impose their beliefs on others. How many times have atheists tried to have the phrase “One must not believe in god” inscribed on government buildings?

Can I pipe in with a related subject?

I used to go to Lousiana State University. At LSU - like most campuses - in front of the Student Union on most days there would be a guy (almost always a male) on a bench yelling at everyone that they are sinners and going to hell. Our particular guy especially targetted women - he apparently felt that God did not want women to be at college and declared that those that were were sluts and whores and so forth.

I can’t think of a single person who was with this guy. I don’t ever recall anyone ever nodding along with him and saying, “You know, he makes a good argument.”

There were also much tamer individuals who would just do the usual kind of yelling about eternal salvation and so forth. Much more the standard Christian line.

Like I said about the fairst guy, I never saw anyone agreeing with him, but I sure saw people yelling back at him. And it drove me insane. I had a friend who I hated to go to the Union with because she ALWAYS had to yell back at them.

Kids, why do you do that? Why do you try to argue with these people? YOU CANNOT WIN. It doesn’t matter what you say, you will accomplish nothing. If these people could be swayed by rhetoric and logical discourse, they wouldn’t be out there in the first place. And what’s worse is, not only do you not counter them, you fuel them by doing this. They want the attention. They want someone to yell back.

When you do this, you aren’t cool. You aren’t shaking his faith. What you’re doing is jerking him off. You two are having a little wank-fest right there in front of everyone. You’re both using the other to feel good about yourself, that you’re either shaking up the heathens or winding up the Christian.

The reason I share this - I realize that, unfortunately, some religions feel they HAVE to witness, to convert others. I wish it weren’t so. If you’re a member of one of those religions, please do what you feel you have to do with respect and care, and please recognize that no means no. However, if you aren’t in one of those religions, please drink a nice tall glass of shut the hell up. Religion or the lack thereof is a personal thing, in my opinion, and not to be strutted around. Showing it off to everyone else, in my opinion, is a tough thing to do and still retain any kind of credibility.

I don’t like having someone else’s religion crammed in my face, but nor do I want the lack of it crammed there either. Your belief system is your belief system. It’s not a product to be sold.

Amen gobear, Amen. And good job clearly pointing out the flaming idiocy of Mr. Moto’s brainless post.

…but now you inserted a jab at another member, that seems less likely.

As to the topic of why atheists may seem overly forward here - or in other circumstances.

My experience is that most believers are oblivious to the number of instances - overt or subtle, that support a belief in the supernatural. In the US most often the J-C God.

It is very frustrating being so marginalized. It is also very frustrating to hear religious folk complaining about being marginalized or threatened, when their core beliefs - the existence in a supernatural being - are actually shared by a considerable majority of the population, and are reflected in countless things as subtle or blatant as our money, our national pledge, invocations and blessings at public events, and so on ad infinitum.

In the bumper sticker arena of debate, I have wondered about the different motivations of folk who choose to express their patriotism over the last year with the term “One nation UNDER GOD” as opposed to “United we stand.” The first does not strike me as a tremendously positive and inclusive statement. Explain to me how I am not to perceive that statement as an intentional slight towards those who reject God. I do not understand such a belief, but I would not suggest that believers are any less worthy citizens.

I think some atheists may be overly strident on these boards, because they have perceived a need to be so silent about their beliefs elsewhere in their lives. In my experience, publicly expressing your atheism is not a way to win friends and influence people. There are many instances in which believers exhibit arying degrees of cliqueishness and pass judgment on others. Maybe part of my feelings derive from jealousy that atheists do not have as big or organized of a clique?

The comparison is skewed. Atheism is (primarily) an absence of belief, and thus does not need to be “pushed” to the extent that religion does.