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Trillian's avatar

Why can't we all just get along? (Details inside)

Asked by Trillian (21106points) January 1st, 2011

This question is inspired by this s*#$storm that was stirred up yesterday.
A person of Christian faith asked a question on a point of doctrine. Perdictibly, a couple atheists felt the need to jump in and nay say the entire business. This is unhelpful to the asker. We all know there are atheists. You don’t believe in God. We get it. The asker is not asking you for feedback. Telling the OP that what he believes is bullshit is not even moderately helpful.
You can yammer all day about how not allowing someone to have their delusions can only help a person. To that I wave the bullshit flag. The only thing an answer like this accomplishes is a sense of adversarialness. It’s all about “I’m smart and you’re stupid because you believe all that crap.”
I’ve seen the lame, wornout excuse over and over again; “Well, those darn Christians are always ramming their beliefs down my throat.” Again, I wave the bullshit flag. This is an internet page. Just words on a screen. Since I have been here I have seen no Christian claiming to be the only right one in the room and forcing a poor hapless atheist to say “Uncle”. Quite the opposite.
So, in the interest of peace and goodwill, and the enlightened tolerance that so many liberals claim to have, why not just allow people of the Chistian faith to answer questions about specific points of doctrine? Not general, “Does God exist?” questions, just the specific points that other people of the Christian faith can answer.
How ‘bout it people? We know what the atheists believe, we all know what the Christians believe. Can we refrain fromn starting an argument or belittling someone who does not believe the same way we do?

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

I pretty much stay awas from religious questions on here any more because, fuck it, we all believe what we believe.

woodcutter's avatar

i think when you are in a crowd where the median age is around say, 35 or above those attacks stop. This is a liberal leaning site. What can you really expect?

SavoirFaire's avatar

Did the person ask specifically about what Christian doctrine says, or just a broad question?

Yes, I’ve looked at the link. This is a bit of a rhetorical question.

iamthemob's avatar

” We know what the atheists believe, we all know what the Christians believe.”

I think the above statement is part of the reason why we can’t seem to get along. So much of the disagreement stems from assumptions about the group of beliefs that one holds because he or she states “I am an atheist/Christian.” Regardless of how accurate the assumptions may be generally, they color the way we interact, and act automatically to increase frustration.

For instance, many atheists don’t really believe anything – they admit the possibility of a god, but don’t believe in any of the specific incarnations theists put forward. Many Christians take a gnostic rather than canonical approach to their faith. But often many on both sides will say “atheists claim” or “Christians say” and forget to use the same lens they do to examine their own beliefs to examine those of others.

What’s most important is to ask “What do you mean when you say you’re __________.”

Coloma's avatar

I think, as always, one should focus on the commonalities instead of the differences.

However, easier said than done for many.

Forget belief systems, most people would agree on the most basic premises of any solid philosophies regardless of the ‘God’ dilemma.

Just the facts…as a species we are all happiest when treating ourselves and others with care and respect.

From a purely psychological posistion, to feel the best we can about who we are as people it is mandatory that we keep ourselves to a standard of integrity and decency. Period.

The rest matters not.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If a question is asked in the general section and it pertains to something having to do with a point of one’s religion, I think it’s more helpful if people of the same religion answer because in the question asked, there was no room proposed for discussion of whether god does or doesn’t exist…I agree with you that it was unnecessary for people who don’t believe in any of it to have to step in and provide answers that are not pertinent to that discussion…I, as an atheist and someone who studies religions, didn’t need to answer that q because it isn’t relevant to me and I figure someone around here will be able to answer it better. If the details were somehow more inflammatory or talked about damned souls of atheists of whatnot, that is fair game for a shitstorm, imo. Finally, I take an issue with you and some others on this thread equating liberalism (whatever that means) with necessary atheism and/or necessary obsessive need to meddle in Christian discussions. There is plenty in your detail section that makes someone not want to get along with you, Christianity being the least of your supposed ‘faults’.

coffeenut's avatar

life wouldn’t be very interesting or entertaining if everyone got along with everyone else…

tinyfaery's avatar

Because we are not all the same. And wouldn’t it boring if we were?

iamthemob's avatar

After reading through the details, I’m backing @Simone_De_Beauvoir on her last points regarding the characterization of the acts of the “liberals.”

(1) requesting that people stay out of a thread unless they believe the doctrine/message or whatever of the OP isn’t us all getting along. It’s asking the other side to go away. That’s exactly how we stop from getting along.

(2) Specific points of doctrine are generally based on certain oppressive dogmatic beliefs. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” The point of entering into threads like that is to ensure that damaging ideas are not unmet by criticism. Claiming that these are just words on the internet negates the fact that the internet can be a dangerous tool of propaganda.

m0r60n's avatar

I am tolerant, and I don’t diss Atheists and people of other religion. I can get along with people, unless they are nasty towards me, like a bad attitude. I still try to get along with them though. People are people, no matter what religion or race or gender. :)

DominicX's avatar

I find it mildly entertaining that this question alienates people and does exactly what it criticizes. I agree that those answers were not helpful to the thread, as @Simone_De_Beauvoir pointed out, unless the thread mentioned atheists, there was really no reason to answer the question as an atheist. But to single out “liberals” and generalize them is not helping your cause and really defeats much of what you’re trying to do.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I did not have any part in that question yesterday, however, I have had a little look at it just now.

As you may or may not know, I am an atheist. But, if a christian comes to the site and asks a question about scripture, and I answer it, I will not even mention atheism at all. If for example, they ask: “where in the bible does it say not to eat shellfish”, i will answer by saying “in leviticus, 11:12” and I’ll leave it at that. However, looking at this specific question, as an atheist, the only thing i can really say, is: “there is no god and the communion ritual has zero chance of getting you tortured for an eternity”.

It is to do with the nature of the question, It is opinion based. The question is asking whoever cares to answer what their opinion is. Even if only christians answered that question, it would still only be their opinion. Even if there is scripture you could look up, all you would get is different interpretations (opinions) on the topic. So, as it is asking for opinion, atheists will answer how they will answer.

Asking or wanting atheists to stay away from opinion based questions, is just not a reasonable thing to want in an open forum. It is a form of censureship.

If a christian asks “where in the bible does it say not to eat shellfish” and some atheists says “there is no god, dont worry about it, eat some lobster” then yea, moderate it, it is a totall useless answer. But if it is opinion based, then atheists should be allowed to answer with whatever their real opinion is.

I must say, i find “cant we all get allong” questions a bit creepy, for some reason i always read it as “how can we censure the atheists” or “wouldn’t it be nice if we could get atheists to say what we want them to say”.

Having everyone get along would be for everyone to answer factual questions with facts and opinion based questions with opinions, without excluding or manipulating anyone because their facts or opinions are unwanted.

Maybe we should just have a new section, general, social, metal, and “only for those who will agree with me and give me a nice little stroke”. Or maybe we could just disallow all and any religion/atheism based questions.

EDIT: reading back what i just said, it comes across as a little bitchy, I just want to say that was not the intention. btw… there are over 33.000 denominations of Christianity, i dont think we could “all get allong” even if we limited Christianity questions to just Christians

rooeytoo's avatar

There are some who feel the need to attack anything different. Their egos don’t allow for any beliefs that are not in total agreement with their own.

It is not only in the area of religion that these self proclaimed experts raise their voices.

I guess you just have to say your piece and get out because to reiterate your position ad nauseum is to be a control freak. And if your opinion goes against the majority, duck on the way out.

crisw's avatar

I think it’s important to point out that the person who questioned the moderation on that thread, mattbrowne, is not an atheist.

It isn’t the atheists here trying to turn this into an “us vs. them” debate.

Trillian's avatar

Allow me to reiterate. What I asked for was people to allow for specific doctrinal point related questions to be answered by others of the same faith to answer. I specifically omitted general “Does God exist” questions. How anyone could possilby translate this to “Only say what we want you to say” speaks of an agenda and a refusal to stick to the actual wording of the question. Which was, now that I think about it, predictible.
As was the twisting of my other wording. ”...enlightened tolerance that so many liberals claim to have.”
I guess the Christians on this site can look forward to more of the same. Trill out.

iamthemob's avatar

@crisw – Then it’s also important to point out that mattbrowne is also one of the most, at least from what I’ve seen here on fluther, concerned thinkers in terms of his beliefs regarding religion/god etc. around. He was questioning the moderation because he was responding to a post that was very anti-religious in its tone, and he thought that his response was germane.

Therefore, in that context, it was most likely a reasoned response to something that, in fact, an atheist had “started.” If someone busts into the thread and says, essentially, “This religion is stupid,” does it only become an “us vs. them” debate when someone raises a contrary viewpoint? I really hope not…

@Trillian – Although you seem to be “out,” what you were asking was clear. I think that @poisonedantidote responded well in describing how, as an atheist, he will respond to questions about doctrine, which require only knowledge, and not faith, in the limited manner in which the question was asked. If the question is in the general section, and someone wants to come in and make it about a larger religious issue, that’s within their right – and I would hope that it would be flagged and, if appropriate, moderated out as being non-responsive.

There is no twisting when we say that asking “Please only answer these questions if you share the same beliefs” is the same as asking “Please only say something if you agree with me.” When you limit the people that answer to one group, you limit it to the views that the group shares. So when you ask that only Christians answer questions about Christian doctrine, you are inappropriately asking people to refrain from commenting on something that they have strong beliefs about, potentially.

Censorship can be accomplished by only allowing certain people to speak, or allowing everyone to say only certain things – but in the end it’s all censorship.

snowberry's avatar

A new member may not be aware of the “rules” regarding how to keep out undesireable answers, which sometimes provokes a firestorm that they did not intend. A firestorm is not exactly a gracious welcome for a new user, but what can you expect? It’s certainly happened that way for me before, and I’ve tried to write my question (or answers) in such a way as to prevent flaming, and not succeeded.. The person posting the question is a new (very inexperienced) user, and a minor at that.

gondwanalon's avatar

It is too bad that some folks get upset when they hear the truth about their religion. I was once told to ask the holy ghost with in me for the answers. I don’t know anything about a holy ghost. All I want is some factual answers and they are few and far between in religious discussions. I try to avoid them but Mormons and the Jeho’s keep showing up at my front door. I have legitimate questions and I mean no harm when I ask them. All I want is some valid answers within a matrix of truth.

augustlan's avatar

As one with inside knowledge behind what happened in that thread, I’m going to respond as well as I can while trying not to violate anyone’s privacy.

The answer that a few people flagged for removal was this one, by CyanoticWasp. The mod team really struggled with this one, but in the end we decided that “There is no God, so there can be no damnation” was a valid answer to the question. While it certainly could have been worded in a less caustic way, it didn’t cross the line into a personal attack, so it stayed.

Another member responded to that answer by basically saying “That’s not nice, and we shouldn’t bash people’s beliefs.” While we agree with the sentiment, that response was off-topic, so we removed it. If it had also contained an actual answer to the original question, it would have stayed.

Every response removed after that one was either a reply to the removed answer, or about the removal itself. All of them were off-topic, further derailing the thread.

XOIIO's avatar

Why believe in something that doesn’t exist?

Whoops

LOL jk.

People always need to argue and defend themselves. It’s human nature.

Pandora's avatar

We can’t all get along because some people feel the need to rock someone else’s boat to get attention instead of rocking their own boat. It is called childish behavior. If they haven’t grown up yet than trying to get them to grow up is futile. You’re only going to get a headache from bashing your head against that concrete wall called the human race.
I tried doing that once on fluther and another site. I finally learned, I would get less headaches if I stopped hitting my head against the wall and simply learn to ignore remarks made simply to get a rise out of me. Eventually that worked best. I won’t claim to do it in every situation but I will say it works about 98 percent of the time. It really depends on what mood I’m in.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Since I was the one who made the comment that apparently fired up the storm, I guess it’s incumbent upon me to say a word or two.

I was put off mostly by the questioner’s apparently sincere belief that he was headed for ‘damnation’ because his religious leader had set him up with a concern that he may have been ‘unworthy’ of communion… and he didn’t even know if he might be or not.

It’s not my practice to call ‘bullshit’ on the entire Christian religion, or any other (including Scientology, which routinely gets scathing reviews throughout these pages with nary a peep in its defense of ‘right to exist’). But I got irate at the idea of a ‘religious leader’ setting up a sincere believer with that kind of doubt in his mind. That’s nonsense, always.

I suppose I could have said that better at the time.

Summum's avatar

There are quite a few who try and cause argument and disrespect others beliefs and their personal experience. And it seems they are always the same few who do it and think they know it all and will not except anything they don’t understand or know. Though they think they know it all but they do not. Not only in religion but in science as well.

snowberry's avatar

@Sumum, and let’s put it the other way around too. Though they think they know it all but they do not. Not only in science, but in religion as well.

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