‘Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?’

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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23 January 2019 12:24
 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/why-are-americans-still-uncomfortable-with-atheism

“A godless world is as mysterious as one suffused with divinity.”  -  John Gray

(Last sentence in this 4 page New Yorker article):  “All of us, nihilists included, believe something—many things, in fact, about ourselves, the cosmos, and one another. In the end, the most interesting thing about a conscience is how it answers, not whom it answers to.” ?

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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23 January 2019 17:53
 

An interesting read.  I had no idea really of the legal and social restrictions on atheists, even in our current times.

My son who lives in Seattle said that one thing he enjoys about the lifestyle is that religion just doesn’t come up.  So that is one place where atheists are comfortable, though still they make up only 10% of the population.  I notice, however, that he and his girlfriend often discuss LGBTQ rights as well as veganism, social justice, and gender roles.  So they are interested in moral issues outside of established religious traditions. 

It seems to me that atheists can find justification in grounding morality in positive reciprocity.  That is basically The Golden Rule.  Natural and legal consequences in this life can be substituted for supernatural blessings or punishments.  But yeah, it’s a long philosopher’s debate.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 January 2019 09:54
 

An interesting read, but I think it didn’t really address the question. The article really focused on the tiny, intellectual minority, not so much on the citizenry.

My intuitions are that the much of the citizenry is uncomfortable with atheists because:

- We might force them to confront the lies they tell themselves.
- The morals their faith has taught them aren’t actually very moral.

I guess just variations on the idea that their emperor has no clothes.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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28 January 2019 08:15
 

If you guys would quit sacrificing babies it would help.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 January 2019 13:32
 

Do you feel there is something uniquely American about this discomfort? I feel like it’s a broader and more general social issue than that. I feel like my comments make more sense when addressed the global community.

I feel I can speak to this since I spent the first third of my life in a Christian community and experienced this first hand. Otherwise I’d probably abstain because I don’t like assuming the perspective or motive of other persons.

In rough order of emphasis:

1. Pity for the damned
2. Fear for the potential that we will damn someone else.
3. Political opposition on an array of social issues.
4. Anger that we present a generally immoral and ungodly influence on the culture.

That was the arrangement in my former community at any rate. The list tended to reverse its order among older males.

I will add that I don’t find their position irrational. If you take the basic tenets of mainstream Christianity as true this is how you would and should feel. I don’t blame them for it. I respect those who are forthright and consistent about it.

 
SkepticX
 
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28 January 2019 15:41
 
Brick Bungalow - 28 January 2019 01:32 PM

1. Pity for the damned
2. Fear for the potential that we will damn someone else.
3. Political opposition on an array of social issues.
4. Anger that we present a generally immoral and ungodly influence on the culture.


My impression is that Icehorse maybe just unpacked such lists another layer or so ...

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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29 January 2019 23:08
 
SkepticX - 28 January 2019 03:41 PM
Brick Bungalow - 28 January 2019 01:32 PM

1. Pity for the damned
2. Fear for the potential that we will damn someone else.
3. Political opposition on an array of social issues.
4. Anger that we present a generally immoral and ungodly influence on the culture.


My impression is that Icehorse maybe just unpacked such lists another layer or so ...

That could be but I’m explicitly trying to avoid any kind of psycho analysis or assumption of motive and simply convey the reports dry… as I would want them to do in the reverse situation.

 
unsmoked
 
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31 January 2019 11:59
 
Brick Bungalow - 29 January 2019 11:08 PM
SkepticX - 28 January 2019 03:41 PM
Brick Bungalow - 28 January 2019 01:32 PM

1. Pity for the damned
2. Fear for the potential that we will damn someone else.
3. Political opposition on an array of social issues.
4. Anger that we present a generally immoral and ungodly influence on the culture.


My impression is that Icehorse maybe just unpacked such lists another layer or so ...

That could be but I’m explicitly trying to avoid any kind of psycho analysis or assumption of motive and simply convey the reports dry… as I would want them to do in the reverse situation.

https://samharris.org/books/letter-to-a-christian-nation/

Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.The book you are about to read is my response to this emergency… - Sam Harris, 2006

I can’t sign my name to this blurb. As a New York Times best selling author of books about business, my career will evaporate if I endorse a book that challenges the deeply held superstitions and bigotry of the masses. That’s exactly why you should (no, you must) read this angry and honest book right away. As long as science and rational thought are under attack by the misguided yet pious majority, our nation is in jeopardy. I’m scared. You should be too. Please buy two, one for you and one for a friend you care about. - anonymous

  https://samharris.org/books/letter-to-a-christian-nation/  (see quotes by Richard Dawkins and others at this site - a 5-minute read)

If you’ve read a few pages in Brother Mario’s site you know that he isn’t just uncomfortable with atheism.  Harris writes in his ‘Note to the Reader’  (Letter to a Christian Nation)  “The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism.”

 
 
Quadrewple
 
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Quadrewple
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04 February 2019 13:00
 

Atheism isn’t an organization.  Christianity is an organization.  Atheists don’t meet up once a week.  Christians do.

Atheism is not “competing” on the same playing field as religion, because it is only a characteristic of one’s mind - there’s little else you can say about an atheist other than they might skew male.

Americans are uncomfortable with a society which isn’t “Christian-based” because they don’t see the level of grassroots organization to be keeping up with well organized, geographically centralized places where people feel safe, sing songs, behave with reverence, etc.

Sure, you can blame history and emotional sentimentality, but the loss of Christianity and Christian values is a hallmark of the times we’re entering - where no moral appeals can be made, and the only thing that matters is power.  There is nothing above us as humans we must submit to, therefore anything is permissible which goes unopposed by legal means.  It’s like we went from using two sometimes competing filters and institutions (church and state) in regards to ethics to just one.  But then social media emerged, and now the filter is set by the social media companies - who choose what can be said, in what way, etc.

So now we have the state lens, filtered through the social media lens.  In 50 years, we’ll open our eyes and see nothing but haze in front of us.

Well, that’s why I’m uncomfortable with the decline in Christianity here.  It’s not so much about the idea set itself as it is the way its decline interplays with current conditions in society.

 
 
Mr Wayne
 
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20 February 2019 19:22
 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201708/why-religions-support-elites

Why do religious Americans feel comfortable with wealthy elites who corrupt their secular government?
What happened to the land of opportunity?
There is something un-American about our hard-hearted and unequal society.  The masses work so hard to maintain the privileges of those who inherited wealth.  The church always gives the established power its blessings.  The rest of us are supposed to bow our heads in reverence of the billionaires.
Very unamerican.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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21 February 2019 13:07
 
Mr Wayne - 20 February 2019 07:22 PM

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201708/why-religions-support-elites

Why do religious Americans feel comfortable with wealthy elites who corrupt their secular government?
What happened to the land of opportunity?
There is something un-American about our hard-hearted and unequal society.  The masses work so hard to maintain the privileges of those who inherited wealth.  The church always gives the established power its blessings.  The rest of us are supposed to bow our heads in reverence of the billionaires.
Very unamerican.

If we scanned the sermons of the most popular Christian preachers I wonder how often we’d find mention of giving your wealth to the poor, or being kind to your enemies and doing good to those who persecute you?

Mathew 6:19 - “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

 

 
 
proximacentauri
 
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proximacentauri
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24 February 2019 16:04
 

I think Atheists in the US get stereotyped today much like they’ve always been. In a nutshell, the majority of Christians see Atheists as opposed to the morals and values that Christians *think* they espouse. The values that of course ‘Make America Great”. The values Christians fear America is losing. Christians are big on fear and loathing of anything they don’t understand. And they just don’t understand how someone could not believe in ‘God’,...that is of course to say, their ‘God’.

While I think those that identify as “nones” when asked for their religious affiliation in polls are getting more comfortable with the idea of atheism (some of the “nones” I suspect are essentially atheists), I think there is a renewed effort by the religious right and conservatives in general to denigrate and demonize atheists. Atheists simply do not fit-in with their world order.

 

 

 

 
Balfizar1
 
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05 August 2019 05:39
 
EN - 28 January 2019 08:15 AM

If you guys would quit sacrificing babies it would help.

Atheists can be pro-life or pro-choice
perhaps if thiests did not have so much baggage there would be less Atheists.

Dueteronomy 2- 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
Deuteronomy 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
Dueteronomy 9 - 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Deuteronomy 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
1 Samuel 15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
Numbers 31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
Judges 21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
1 Samuel 22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

If you prefer recent examples does Bosnia and Rwanda ring a bell? or the 94 items that the Pope apologized for in Vatican II

Perhaps the high moral ground that you stand on is shaky!

 

[ Edited: 05 August 2019 06:27 by Balfizar1]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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05 August 2019 09:54
 
Balfizar1 - 05 August 2019 05:39 AM
EN - 28 January 2019 08:15 AM

If you guys would quit sacrificing babies it would help.

Atheists can be pro-life or pro-choice
perhaps if thiests did not have so much baggage there would be less Atheists.

Dueteronomy 2- 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
Deuteronomy 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
Dueteronomy 9 - 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Deuteronomy 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
1 Samuel 15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
Numbers 31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
Judges 21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
1 Samuel 22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

If you prefer recent examples does Bosnia and Rwanda ring a bell? or the 94 items that the Pope apologized for in Vatican II

Perhaps the high moral ground that you stand on is shaky!

 

Geez, dude, tune your funny bone. That was a joke.

 
Balfizar1
 
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Balfizar1
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05 August 2019 19:29
 
EN - 05 August 2019 09:54 AM
Balfizar1 - 05 August 2019 05:39 AM
EN - 28 January 2019 08:15 AM

If you guys would quit sacrificing babies it would help.

Atheists can be pro-life or pro-choice
perhaps if thiests did not have so much baggage there would be less Atheists.

Dueteronomy 2- 34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
Deuteronomy 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
Dueteronomy 9 - 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Deuteronomy 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
1 Samuel 15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
Numbers 31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Numbers 31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
Judges 21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.
1 Samuel 22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

If you prefer recent examples does Bosnia and Rwanda ring a bell? or the 94 items that the Pope apologized for in Vatican II

Perhaps the high moral ground that you stand on is shaky!

 

Geez, dude, tune your funny bone. That was a joke.

I don’t find anything amusing about sacrificing babies - especially coming from a christian given their baggage as listed above.