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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think that atheists, who mock people who believe in God, are being hypocritical?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26838 points ) February 7th, 2013

I’m constantly seeing some atheists demand that Christians leave them alone, and to respect the fact that they don’t believe in God. Yet those same atheists don’t hesitate to turn around and insult the Christians. Both sides are dead wrong to insult the other.
What is the point and why do they do it?

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58 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t know what I believe, but I regret so bad when I criticize someone else’s beliefs. I try not to do it but I have done it.

Blondesjon's avatar

Yes. <insert diety/abyss of choice> save me from Evangelical fucking anything.

josie's avatar

There is no God and I know it.
If somebody believes otherwise, I do not care.
Unless they take their mystical traditions to Washington DC and try to make it public policy (both parties do this by the way)
In which case, I object.
Maybe that is what you are talking about?

ninjacolin's avatar

Meh everyone’s an idiot sometimes.

Bellatrix's avatar

To answer your title question, I don’t believe atheists are being hypocritical if they mock someone who believes in God. It isn’t polite but it isn’t hypocritical.

Whether an atheist (or theist) is right or wrong to demand people do not argue or preach to them depends on who made the initial contact. If I am in my garden and people of any religion want to come to talk to me and are pushy about it, I am within my rights to say ‘go away’ very forcefully.

If I begin the interaction with the theist, then I can’t really complain if they argue back.

I don’t think it’s necessary for either side to mock or insult.

I absolutely agree with @Josie in relation to separation of church and State.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@josie… No. Some people deserved to be slapped down! What I’m talking about are personal attacks….“If you believe in some invisible know-it-all then you’re an idiot.” That kind of thing.

philosopher's avatar

I am an Agnostic.
I believe everyone has a right to believe what they choose. No one has the right to attempt to force others to follow their beliefs.
I fear those who would like to make America a Theocracy.
I think religion helps some people face difficulties.
I wish I believed in God. I do pray.
Throughout History religion has been used to create wars by corrupt leaders.
I believe Science should be our Guide in the 21 Century.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There is a real problem with your question.

I am an atheist. But I absolutely don’t mock people who believe differently. For you to equate atheists with mockers – as if you must be one if you are the other – is offensive to me, and wrong.

josie's avatar

@Dutchess_III
Oh.
Well in that case I don’t really have an answer.
But to be fair, it isn’t just atheists. As Fluther demonstrates, there are plenty of people who are of the opinion that if somebody does not embrace collectivism, statism, and the current president, they must be an idiot.
It never really stops.

poisonedantidote's avatar

To be a hypocrite, you need to be guilty of an action that you yourself publicly condemn.

If you tell someone to not keep on knocking on your door with their religion, and then mock them too, there is no hypocritical conflict. If on the other hand, you told them to stop mocking you, and that mocking is bad, and then turn round and mock them, then you would be a hypocrite.

But seriously, what are you supposed to do?

I come to your door, I ask you if you have a few spare minutes to talk about my unproven and unsupported belief in batman and goblins, what do you seriously do?

“Oh hello, welcome to my humble dwelling oh wise bringer of wisdom, please come in. ... Honey, could you cancel all my appointments, something very important just happened, it is time to be serious, we have a wise visitor who has come to grace us with the secrets of life, come, gather the children, lets not hurt the feelings of this wise teacher.”

If only they could see some how, how silly it all really is. It is really not mockery to say it is silly, I know they don’t like it, I know that it offends them, but really, it is just like if they were offended because you did not share their belief in batman, and it is just really hard, to see another human being, who shares the same reality that you live in, off of their heads believing it all.

josie's avatar

@poisonedantidote
That’s a good answer

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
tom_g's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “I’m constantly seeing some atheists demand that Christians leave them alone, and to respect the fact that they don’t believe in God. Yet those same atheists don’t hesitate to turn around and insult the Christians. Both sides are dead wrong to insult the other. ”

No, you don’t. You are likely hearing atheists who want public policy left alone – to maintain proper church/state separation, etc. There is a difference, and it matters. Arguing for the absence of religion in government means that everyone – all religions and people without – can practice and believe what they want.

When atheists speak of challenges growing up in the west’s version of Saudi Arabia (USA), we’re not complaining about individual christians who hold strong opinions. I want religious belief to be on the table. Mock me. Argue with me. Destroy my arguments with a passion. Just don’t claim special status or immunity. There is an unspoken rule – even among many nonbelievers – that religious belief is immune to criticism and mockery. Even those progressives who are fighting to keep us from turning into some shit-hole theocracy will give credence to the idea that religious belief is off-limits. If belief didn’t inform our actions, then they might have a case.

In summary, if I believe that a belief is dangerous to me and my children – and it happens to be absurd – then direct analysis and mockery are just as much as an option as any other dangerous absurdity.

Shippy's avatar

I don’t know why it matters what anyone believes in. It’s a personal thing.

Sunny2's avatar

Is it human nature to be suspicious of something different from what we know to be true? There may be no proof that what we believe is true, but we believe it. Any attack on our belief system is just because the other person doesn’t accept the gift of believing what we believe. Works both ways whichever side we’re on. Antagonistic comments aren’t going to get anybody anywhere. Do we all have to think in lockstep? It’ll never happen. Any thing that is inspired by personal belief will have its detractors. Might as well have fights over what’s the best color to paint your house. (I think they all agreed on that one in Greece, but I don’t know of any other place.)

Bellatrix's avatar

@Shippy it matters if people (atheist or theist) try to force their beliefs onto other people or to influence government policy based on their religious beliefs. As long as people keep their beliefs ‘personal’ I agree that it shouldn’t matter to anyone.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

If athiests make fun of Christians for their beliefs, I think they are immature and at that point give them no more consideration, so I wouldn’t know if they are hypocrytical.

If I run across a Christian evangelical who insists on pushing their mythology on me, I can get pretty nasty about it if they persist and they usually don’t try it twice. I know where the books are, I don’t need some asshole to tell me how much he adores Jesus and why.

I find most Christians have missed the point completely. Metaphorically, they prostrate themselves slavishly before their Christ, but blow right past the message in his teaching. Their chauvinism disgusts me—the very idea that anyone who does not accept the Rabbi Jesus’ as the son of God are condemned to spend eternity in a burning lake of fire, in other words, people who refuse to slavishly prostrate themselves before their Lord with them can go to hell—makes me sick. It’s the message, dammit, not the messenger. He said that we are all children of God. And those idiots on TV who beg listeners for money and tell them Jesus will bless them with material wealth in return, well, I just want to release the lions. And don’t get me started on those Christian organizations which have attempted time and again, especially since Reagan, to convert the US into a theocracy. I don’t make fun of them, I just don’t like them at all.

Then there are the many other Christians who quietly pursue their belief without bothering others, or attempting to subvert the government to their own beliefs, and earnestly try to live the teachings of Christ not for material or future reward, but for the spiritual reward, their own spiritual health, as an example to others, and as a way to leave this a better place. I really, really like those people.

glacial's avatar

What @poisonedantidote said. It’s not hypocritical to say “don’t knock on my door” and then to be honest when they do. If I were knocking on their door, it would be. But I’m not.

fundevogel's avatar

Honestly I don’t think this is an issue of atheist vs theist. It’s douche vs non douche and they come in all stripes. Go lurk in the comments section of a few of the atheist or religious channels on youtube for a bit and you’ll find all the douches (atheist and theist) you never wanted to meet.

And that’s why I’m here and not there. Though, to be clear not everyone over there is a shit-slinging moron, just way more than I’ll put up with.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think each side mocks the other because they feel persecuted for their beliefs. However, you can’t really say the effect comes from exactly symmetrical sides. Christianity is a pretty big deal in this country, has lots of influence, the president can’t be an atheist, etc. and so even if atheists insult Christians and Christians insult atheists, Christians still ‘matter’ more than other religions (and far more than those that don’t have a religion or very specifically want nothing to do with religion) in this country.

Mariah's avatar

I think they justify it with the “oppressed minority” card which, while true, is no reason to be nasty.

glacial's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Eh, I’ve never felt persecuted or oppressed for being an atheist. I do tend to mock Christianity because I’ve been in that world and experienced a lot of hypocrisy from people who think that any behaviour is approved as long as they’re wearing an “I’m pious, ask me how” badge. But, having grown up some since those days, I also get that not all Christians are like that, and I can separate mocking the religion from mocking the people.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

It is hard to respect the view of another person when they seriously believe in Santa Claus or the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy, and are over the age of 8. I have tried, and I do bite my tongue, but my mind is screaming “seriously? You believe this crap?”

That is why I think the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is so brilliant. If you can preach that religion to your Christian friends with a straight face, I can guarantee that they will mock you. They don’t seem to realize that, to us, their view is just as totally insane as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I do think it’s hypocritical but most people here don’t really seem to be arguing per se, they just want the right to NOT hear about God/ religion.

There is absolutely nothing in me that wants to argue with people that believe differently from me, I don’t get off on it. I won’t try to convert or subvert you, but my vote is my vote and in America I will vote for what I believe. I do think it’s blatent disrespect for anyone to try to change the way I vote for THEIR purposes regardless of the issue.

Although I do admit that I discussed this with my mom last night, and we’re trying to wrap our Christian heads around the fact that anyone’s children should be subjected to church teachings in a public school. I would resent them teaching my child that God doesn’t exist so how can we say it’s okay to teach their children that He does. I’m struggling with it.

rojo's avatar

Yes, somewhat, sometimes. And I think many folks on both sides do not realize or recogize or, in the worst case, care about their hypocrisy.

It is one of those subjects that inflames emotions and that tends to override civility and courtesy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@glacial Thank you, I can appreciate that! :) Please know that we Christians realize that as well and detest the idiots as much as you do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

These are some really good answers, guys.
My main point is, in ANY situation, it’s OK to disagree with someone, but it’s not OK to insult them.
As @fundevogel said, it’s a matter, really, of individual people and their attitudes. If an atheist insults Christians he does that because of who he is. If that same atheist were a Christian, he or she would be insulting atheists. Some people are just nasty, period.

Judi's avatar

@KNOWITALL , I am also a Christian. It makes me happy when you say that you struggle with the idea of prayer in school. It means you are thinking and not just “drinking the koolaide.
That is EXACTLY why I don’t want prayer in school. There are so many Christian denominations, not to mention non Christian and atheist families in our diverse country. Whose version of God to we use? Do we have public school teachers telling Catholic and Lutheran kids that their baptism isn’t valid because. They were babies? Where does it stop?
I think we let parents and churches teach our children to pray and let out teachers focus on reading, writing, math, history…...

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Judi I have never just drank the Kool-Aid, which is why it’s so interesting that so many people have called me names and railed on me so much. :)

From bible study at AOG churches, etc.. with my friends to converting to another religion that was seen as ’‘the devil’ in my family (Catholics worship Mary!)

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL What I never understood is why religious people would want religion in public for exactly the reason @Judi mentions. Even if Christians don’t care at all what the atheists and minority religions say, if they feel America is a Christian nation, still, whose version of the Christian bible are we going to use? Do we base it on majority population in the community? Mormon in Salt Lake City, Utah? Catholic in Boston, Massachusettes? Baptist in Tupelo, Mississippi? Years ago I saw a minister addressing this on CSpan and he was on the side of keeping public school secular to allow parents to be the main influence of religion for their children at young ages. I was happy to see him talking about it. Glad to hear the same discussion is still going on within the Christian community.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie The thing is that we can only have the luxury of thinking about these kinds of things when they are brought up in civilized conversation.

Remember my God Question and the argument that proceeded it, it took all those posts and emotions, and that one little sentence is all it took to help me understand. Same with Congress frankly.

Judi's avatar

@KNOWITALL, I hope you didn’t think I was accusing you of drinking the kool-aid. I just know that a lot of Christians just follow what their religious and political leaders says is it without bothering to think it through themselves.

burntbonez's avatar

Oh come on. There’s nothing wrong with hurling a good epithet or two around. And since religion is about as unprovable a thing as you can find, why not throw insults at each other? There’s nothing better we can do. ;-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Judi Not at all. Most of us have been raised on our beliefs, so sometimes we do tend to rely on our teachings until questioned.

I love God, I’m not ashamed, but my God encourages questions, seriously.

@burntbonez Oh Burney, it’s too late in the day to rev me up, babe. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You HAVE to keep religion out of schools! It’s the separation of church and state. It’s the law.
That argument about “taking prayer out of the schools” is a curious one. Prayers were never IN the schools, that I knew of. We certainly never prayed in school, growing up.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III We got around that by having a Prayer Club in our area schools, which is all voluntary. God always finds a way, legal or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s what I tell people who feel prayer is being removed. That where there was prayer in school it was breaking the law. That is why it gets taken out when challenged.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@KNOWITALL You know, when I was subbing, many, many times I found CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe series of books on the reading book shelf. :)

Right @JLeslie but prayer has never BEEN in school. You can’t remove something that wasn’t there in the first place.

And I so agree with your discussions. I was a born-again Christian, but I always felt that school and church should be completely separate.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III My mom and I were pretty poor, but she scraped up enough to send me to private kindergarten, it wasn’t even our religion, it was AOG. Should be a no-brainer. We have all kinds of parochial schools in my area, so it’s not much of a local issue at all.

I think they mean like The Pledge of Allegiance/ One Nation Under God.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think it has been in some parts of the country. Before football games, and I assume in some schools during class time. I don’t know for sure the last one. I know people here complain about Christmas being taken away from the kids. A friend of my family talks about when she moved to FL her kids came home from school singing Jesus Loves Me and she could not believe it.

@KNOWITALL I don’t think so. They mean prayer when they say prayer, the pledge is something else.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I found this in wikipedia. Very interesting.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie We never prayed in public schools, so I have no idea what you feel needs to change then. Please explain sometime.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I wasn’t saying you did. I am just saying I thought it was happening in areas of the country in the past. The wikipedia link seems to support that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Come to think of it, I think they did pray at sporting events and graduations and stuff. I don’t feel that’s the same thing as “praying in the schools,” though. Interesting link, JLeslie.

rojo's avatar

@JLeslie I think a key sentence in the article you referenced is “Thus, anyone is allowed to pray in schools in the United States, as long as it is not officially sponsored by the school and it does not disrupt others from doing their work.” And from this perspective, I never had a problem with it except when they insisted upon beginning pep rallies, programs and graduations with a prayer particularly when everyone was expected to participate. I never disrupted though and still don’t.
If other members of our extended family, lets say, feel the need to offer up a prayer to some diety or another I stand quietly to the side while they go through the appropriate ritual. I have made a conscious choice not to be rude and continue what I am doing because it is obviously important to them. It is not worth the headaches to try to explain or and as long as I do not have to physically participate, all is cool. Most rational people are ok with this.
I do not understand why there are those who feel the need to require everyone to participate in something that is obviously personal in nature. I probably never will.

I have often heard, and requoted, the old saw that “As long as there are tests there will be prayer in schools.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good answer, rojo. That’s another thing…the kids CAN pray in school if they want to. So I still don’t understand the Christian argument about prayer in school.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I think you have it right. Each side wants to feel smarter than the other. BTW, I love your hair.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s it in a nutshell….each side wants to feel smarter than the other, but since they are insecure in their own intelligence they have to mock and insult the other, believing it makes them (the other) look stupid, and themselves smart.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III @rojo I have no problem with a child praying. Pray before they eat lunch, excuse themselves to do daily prayer if they are Muslim, bow their heads in prayer before sports, all fine.

It does get tricky when students “organize” prayer. Organize prayer before class starts. I think it can exclude other children or put pressure on children to join. In Utah they can take religion for school credit, but the class is next to school property, not on school property. I am actually ok with that. It is optional, and there is not pressure from what I can tell, as it is an offered class just like taking Home Ec.

JLeslie's avatar

I forgot to add, the religious right says children can’t pray in school because they want people to believe that to make things more adversarial and increase votes for their political candidates. Lies are made up and told for votes all the time. The lies are passed along because people believe the lies, they aren’t knowingly lying, they think it is the truth.

Paradox25's avatar

Obviously certain viewpoints alone will be considered offensive to some people regardless of how they’re presented. Not everybody who thinks it is likely a supreme creator exists does so out of faith alone, but many pseudosceptics seem to have their ‘logic’ drowned out by their own intellectual superiority when they proclaim that their nontheism is the only viewpoint that a critical thinker could rationally support.

choreplay's avatar

Yes, both sides need to continuously examine themselves, not to apply a double standard.

tinyfaery's avatar

Everyone needs a good mocking now and again. I’d like to think it keeps us on our toes. Plus, some jokes just cannot be glossed over.

mattbrowne's avatar

Mocking is frowned upon in most ethical frameworks, religious or not. Many atheists support humanism, but sometimes forget to walk the talk. The same is true for Christians sometimes, of course.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@mattbrowne That’s the thing that I have the most problem with, especially here on fluther. Regardless of religion or politics, I think treating each other with love and kindness should always remain the priority.

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