General Question

squirbel's avatar

Is it possible that anti-religious bigotry is a new trend?

Asked by squirbel (4297points) May 20th, 2008 from iPhone

It has become far more common for people to shun belief systems – but hatefully. To hear them tell it, passing belief systems on to one’s children is a heinous crime and they label you as “backwards,” “magic-believing”, “childish”.

Would you call it bigotry of a new kind? Or is it simply derision of a world view that isn’t with the times?

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58 Answers

kevbo's avatar

I’d call it a backlash against institutional abuses that have affected people on a very personal level.

soundedfury's avatar

Let’s clarify that there is a difference between passing on a belief system and passing on a religious view. Belief systems do not necessarily require the belief in the existence of a higher power. Humanism, for instance. Hell, even the scientific method can be seem as a belief system.

That said, I think that arguing that some anti-religious people are bigoted is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black – some ardent religious people are bigoted. In fact, some of the most visible members of the American religion are bigoted. But, really, @kevbo is probably right. Religion, and the sometimes violent dismissal of religion, is a incredibly personal thing.

It seems to me the system is currently at equilibrium. I bet that if the religious community in the United States were to vocally condemn those among them that are bigoted, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic and xenophobic, those among the non-religious side would, in turn, vocally condemn those who are rabidly anti-religious.

But, to be fair, it seems that many among the religious in our country seem very keen on controlling on everyone else’s right to free expression, free association and freedom of religion (or lack of religion, as it may be). It seems that they think that these rights only go as far as they agree with their particular religious view.

kevbo's avatar

I’d also add that it’s probably the result of a greater awareness religious plurality—more people realizing that their religion doesn’t have a monopoly on salvation and questioning whether any of them are correct.

Randy's avatar

I’d have to say that it certainly seems that way and that also makes me sad. I don’t hate people that don’t believe the way I do and I sure don’t disrespect others for whatever they believe in by saying rude things about their “higher power” or lack there of.

TheHaight's avatar

I agree with Randy. I see it a lot. I love my religion, and am interested in others…. I just don’t like the dissing of religions… Makes me sad too. I’m even a bit hesitant of talking about religions and beliefs on here, ..!

marinelife's avatar

Is there really data to support that it has become “far more common”? I have not seen it or experienced it more now than at earlier times.

jasonjackson's avatar

Well, that depends on what you mean by “bigotry”. If you really mean “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own”, then no – I don’t believe that’s on the rise.

If, on the other hand, you’re just referring to something like “vocal disagreement with the precepts of various religions”, or even “open mockery of some religious ideas” (neither of which I’d call actual “bigotry”), then I’d say yeah, anecdotally – that probably is on the rise. I think it’s mostly probably as a reaction to (1) increasingly invasive attempts from America’s “religious right” to impose their beliefs on public life and on other Americans, and (2) the perception (whether fully accurate or not) that Islam is a major force behind worldwide armed conflict, or the threat of “terrorism” in America.

(Obviously, I’m American, so I’m answering the question from that point of view.. I can’t really speak for other parts of the world.)

Note that while exactly what constitutes a “religion” or “religious belief” is something of a semantic debate, I do consider most of what I’d call religious beliefs to be “backwards,” “magic-believing”, and/or “childish”. But I’m not at all bigoted! Bigotry is a strong word, and just because somebody disagrees with, or even mocks, a particular set of beliefs doesn’t mean they’re bigoted against it or the people who espouse it.

marinelife's avatar

I tend to make assessments of others based on their actions. I do not believe that any one religion has the corner on right. It doesn’t make sense to me that a religion arising in a culture in one part of the world would mean that people in all other parts of the world would be damned because they had never had the chance to be exposed to the “truth.”

If it did work that way, I would not want to be a part of it.

That said, I do not care what anyone else believes unless they justify harming others on the basis of it, which, unfortunately, most of the world’s major religions have at one time or another.

monsoon's avatar

This is like the idea of “reverse racism,” which doesn’t exist. An “ism” is really something that is built into a societal institution, with christianity is, and has been in an oppressive way for a very, very long time.

delirium's avatar

I don’t think its any kind of Great Injustice seeing as the inverse has been true for so long. Part of me thinks that institutionalized religion needs little more than a taste of its own hypocritical methodology and medicine… And the other part of me sees how childish the first part of me is being.

Passing on the moral aspects of a faith is fine. Declining to pass that part on and just raising children to be bible thumping, god fearing ignoramuses simply spreads bigotry and hate. Again, my favorite quote from Ghandi: ” I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians, they are nothing like your Christ. ”

ebenezer's avatar

science and religion are naturally going to be pitted against each other. These days the way we live hinges on science from food production to transportation, etc. I don’t personally have a problem with religion or life philosophies but when people try to get “beliefs” taught as fact in public educational curriculum I get a bit unnerved. It is a shame when science education gets muddied up by peoples personal religious beliefs..

Ignore stray text below. Can’t get rid of it.
beliefs.about its findings

squirbel's avatar

By “far more common” I am referring to personal experience. For the past 15 years I have been analyzing the reactions of those who do not believe in G-d towards those who do, and vice-versa.

I have always been sensitive to this particular issue because while I have an unwavering faith in G-d, I have little regard for religious practices. But that is my personal conclusion and not a judgement. What has been increasing – however – is the vocalization of derision on believers.

As each year passes, people rail on belief systems with a new boldness. On one hand, I understand it to be “rage against the machine” that has ruled for so long. On the other, I see it as terribly short sighted for a person to place religion on one side, and reason on the other – as if they are opposites.

It is because people see religion as the opposite of reason that they call it “backwards”, “childish”, “magic”, “fairy tales”... And those who believe are “dumb”, “unreasoning”, “illogical”, “like sheep after a shepherd”.

I guess you could say I have a unique world view where I accept science and I also accept G-d. And when I see the mockery of religion or belief in G-d, it is offensive and bigoted. Bigotry is an intolerance of something – and wherever I go – it is extremely uncool to mention G-d in a serious discussion. I read news and participate on forums – and if the topic so much as even mentions G-d or some other religious precept, more the 75% of the responses will diss religion.

I’m sure you don’t find your mockery bigoted. But neither do the Appalachia white-folk distributing shirts with a monkey peeling a banana – labeled Obama ‘08. It is just funny.


jasonjackson's avatar

Heh, you’re right that I’m an Obama supporter, so nice example. :) I’d say that the people wearing/selling Obama-as-monkey shirts were engaging in racism, which is a form of bigotry, yes. Does that make me unhappy? Yep, it does.

But I do draw a distinction between that and mocking ideas/actions. For instance (trying to come up with an example here, and stretching a bit..), if the shirts had Obama peeling a corn cob instead of a banana, as some sort of commentary on his support for Ethanol subsidies, then I wouldn’t call that aspect of it bigotry – that part would be a critique of his pork-barrel support for a local industry. Which is totally valid discourse about ideas and opinions, IMHO – even though it’s still mockery.

See the difference?

Listen, you’re probably a nice person. You’ve been quite polite to me, for instance. I’m a nice guy too, really. If we were coworkers, or met at a party, or whatever, we’d no doubt get along fine. But if you’re going to talk about your faith with me, each time you say the word “god”, I’m going to mentally translate it to “my imaginary friend”, because that’s what I believe, and then I’m going to react accordingly.

But I’m not going to try to hurt you – I won’t even call you names – or get you fired, or burn a cross in your front yard, or try to seize your property/land, or exile you, or any of the other things associated with real bigotry. I’m just going to disagree with your ideas, and tell you so, and maybe chuckle a little bit.

See the difference there too?

One final point: many people have mocked my own personal beliefs, too. And I wouldn’t call those people bigots either.. just misguided jerks. ;-)

ebenezer's avatar

Jasonjackson- I think the monkey bit of the shirt was the offensive content, not the banana. Im sure you knew that, however.

iamatypeofwalrus's avatar

I suppose I don’t understand why we (as in those without “belief”) can’t disagree with, or, dare I say it, poke a little fun at religion. Why is this the one area in topical conversation that is such a no-no?

Can’t I make fun of you for the sequins you wear? Or the baseball team you support? Or the politician you vote for? The deity you choose to worship?

And at the end of the day, does it really matter if I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or UFOs, or God?

It sure won’t help the Padres win, or maybe it will….

felipelavinz's avatar

…newer than anti-atheistic/agnostic bigotry?

Randy's avatar

@iamatypeofwalrus- to most people religion is way deeper than clothing or sports teams. In my beliefs, its where I will spend eternity. All the other things can be joked about and taken as a joke, but when you start making fun of somebodys maker, things can get a little heated.

ebenezer's avatar

like yo-momma jokes?

iamatypeofwalrus's avatar

@Randy – sure I completely understand that. I suppose to me, on a person to person level, it is equivalent to that. When someone mentions that they are affiliated with a particular religion, it is of no more importance to me than what shirt they happen to be wearing. I mean that in the sincerest/nicest way possible.

But saying you don’t like Radiohead…..well, that’s downright blasphemy.

TheHaight's avatar

I don’t like radiohead

wow. “iamatypeofwhatever” we (me and you) sure have very different beliefs!!!! ....I mean that in the most nicest/sincerest way possible. But you know what/ I’m going to respect what you believe (that’s as long as youre being respectful…and vicecersa). [rambling]

wildflower's avatar

I probably fall in to this category, although I don’t hate religious people, but I do find it utterly frustrating how they can be so stuck on one mindset and wish to impose rules on everyone around them. Whether it’s divorce or abortion being illegal or the urge to make people believe what you believe, to the point where you’d go on a large scale killing spree to do so (crusades, jihads = murderous rampages).

I condemn closed-mindedness, not religion per say, but the two so often seem to go together.

iamatypeofwalrus's avatar


It’s nice to have a sincere dialogue with people these days. It’s so…rare. Thank you.

monsoon's avatar

I totally have really nice christian friends (mostly left over from when I used to be a christian), who really try their very best to be as open minded as is possible while following christianity and being emerged in the christian subculture. There are times when a christian friend can say something offensive, or seem to forget to take into account that I’m not religious, I can forgive hem this because I know from past experience how all-encompassing religion can become, it can be hard to remain in full contact with the rest of the world (and even harder to realize it when you aren’t).

I guess what I’m saying is, i think that a “love the christian, ignore the christianity” mentality is what makes a civilized cross-spirituality friendship possible.

squirbel's avatar

@felipevalinz – I am not suggesting that anti-athiests do not exist. But your comment was tangential at best and does not answer the question posted. I can value it for pointing out that bigotry exists for every side of any issue.

My reason for asking this question was to seek validation for my observances. In essence “Have any of you noticed this rise?”

Or am I alone in noticing?

soundedfury's avatar

@squirbel – You’re going to have to explain to me how religious belief isn’t the opposite of reason. In religion, there is a point at which you can no longer justify your belief with reason alone. At that point, you must make a leap of faith. That leap is kind of the antithesis of reason.

I fully respect those who have faith, but you just cannot argue that faith, at its core, is reasonable. It can be supported by reasonable arguments, but at some point you have to say “I just believe this.” You have to make that jump from the facts at hand to belief in something that is ultimately unknowable by reason.

NVOldGuy's avatar

Short answer to long question – Right now it looks as if religion gets to take hits from everyone. Religions that believe in tolerance seem to take the most heat. “It’s OK to slam them, they won’t do anything.” It seems many people take delight in pointing to the failure of man. I would point out that most religious groups do far more good than harm.

TheHaight's avatar

I’m not worrying too much about your answer wildflower, because just about everyone from my church are the most open minded people. Especially the youth-
I am so proud of all of them, and am glad I can be a mentor to them. If you came to visit us- you’d find out we aren’t stuck on just one mind set. :)

wildflower's avatar

That sounds great. Most of my family – in fact the vast majority of the society I grew up in – are moderate lutherans (i.e. go to church regularly, but don’t enforce strict living rules) and I have no issues with that. I’m happy to let people practice and believe whatever they want as long as they do the same.

I think it’s a matter of being comfortable in your belief and not get defensive about it (and offense is the best defense).
I won’t get the slightest bit upset if someone jokingly refers to me as an infidel, pagan, atheist or godless creature, but also think I should get away with calling certain religious people happy clappers or other things (I put an example in, but decided it best to take out in order to keep the peace :)). I mean nothing bad by it, but of course, this is where the joys of PC comes in…..

delirium's avatar

NVO: Yes, fuck those tolerant religions. Love the ultraconservative strict ones. Lets have a song about it!

They’re a threat to our standard of living
And the cheap supply of oil
I say let’s rout their sorry asses out
Before they soil our American soil

Oh, let’s go after the Buddhists
Let’s knock some shaven heads
Those humanistic, non-materialistic,
Pacifistic slugabeds

They’re ego-less and nonviolent
Un-American and weird
They just sit and stare at the wall and their
God doesn’t even have a beard

Oh, I don’t want to say too much about it
They might be listening right now
Meet me later in the parking lot
I got the yellow El Camino with the
Bumper sticker saying,
“Isolationism — Ask Me How!”

It’s a nation of freedom and tolerance
And that’s just plain dangerous
Let’s wipe out terrorism everywhere
Except, of course, where the terrorists are us

Oh, let’s go after the Buddhists
Let’s go rough up some monks
Those semi-mystic, anti-dualistic
Morally relativistic punks

Instead of contemplating their navels
They can contemplate our naval might
Hone your epithets, grab a torch and let’s
Go find somebody to enlight…en

Hey, dude
You look like you’d
Have a patri-idiotic attitude
Let’s kick some Bude!

Thanks go to Roy Zimmerman. And if you can’t tell… I don’t actually think that the tolerant religions get messed with too much. How many offensive buddhism jokes do you hear every day? Pretty much zip. Taoist jokes? Nope, Nada. Hindu jokes? Yeah, sometimes, but only from the idiots who think they’re actually making fun of Islam.

lozza's avatar

It’s not a trend. People are just better educated. It is time for the biggest backlash in history.

TheHaight's avatar

ugh…. I don’t quite understand were youre
coming from, Delirium.

squirbel's avatar

@soundedfury -

When you state that faith is not equal to reason – I agree.

When others state that religion or any belief system is wholly without reason – this is where I have an issue. Faith is not the whole of any religion or belief system – there are reason-based philosophies and methods of thinking.

squirbel's avatar

I wrote this to another jelly….and thought it summed up my reason for asking this of the Fluther:

“While I understand that each person is entitled to his own beliefs, I never ever volunteer my philosophy of life in any real life conversation. I do this out of respect for the next fellow’s own beliefs.

But what bothers me is when others find the need to belittle and tear down the belief systems of the next man – and pin the wrongs of a few on the entire group.

…. I suppose my greater issue is with the concept of “do as you would have done unto you” – an age-old precept that is basic to the human experience – no faith involved. Some people just don’t get it.”

delirium's avatar

Its a satirical song from a very clever musician.

DeezerQueue's avatar

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in the Netherlands was how secular it is. I get the impression that Char is more popular than God.

The most often stated reason for dislike of religions is that they have been the cause of more bloodshed than anything else. I once watched a program that explained how non-believers perceive believers, as simple, yet-uneducated children who cling to the hand of a larger being, since they are weak and need some form of larger comfort or support.

There is a strong undercurrent of sentiment that people who believe in God or adhere to a religion are not intellectual, and that not believing in God is a sign of true intellect. In short, those who don’t believe frequently come across as though they have the intellectual upper hand in any conversation or discussion. I have, for example, been more frequently asked if I believe in God more than I have asked whether they believe in God, as if a confession to belief in God will result in my IQ dropping a few points. My experience is similar to that of squirbel’s in that non-believers seem to raise the issue of God and religion with greater frequency than I do. While I am not bothered by them not believing in God or adhering to religion many seem patently bothered by the fact that I do and proceed accordingly. Most are oblivious to the fact that some laws that we now live under are based upon Mosaic laws.

That religion has never been used as a tool to gain the support of masses would be a grossly inaccurate statement. But that fact in and of itself does not make religion backwards. It makes it an effective means to gain support of large groups of people for what may be a non-religious agenda.

Religious preference seems to have become a yardstick with which to measure people. I do agree with squirbel in that it has become a prominent issue again since September 11and language such as “true believers” and “true [Christians or Muslims]” should behave in certain ways, sometimes in ways that don’t correspond with current social sentiments. Along those lines believers become psychologically categorized as “moderate,” “fundamental” or “extremist,” among others.

Another Dutch person had raised the question in Fluther about the international recognition of Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who recently produced a short film on the dangers of Islam, proposing that the Koran be banned in the Netherlands, like Mein Kampf, because it is a book that incites hatred and violence. He speaks with great frequency and vehemence against Islam and I’ve heard his comments echoed by others.

I don’t believe that it’s a new trend, I believe it’s a trend that has been regurgitated as has been the case many times before. There are some people who seem to need a reason to feed their hatred, this is currently the most fashionable.

MormonSoprano's avatar

I enjoyed your recent comments squirbel and DeezerQueue

They have reminded me of something found in the book of James (NT) 1:26–27 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Isn’t it interesting that one of the important tenets of a religious life mentioned here is to “bridle our tongues”. That is certainly a dying art! To show restraint. To listen louder than we speak. To strive for understanding. To refrain from saying something that would hurt another’s feelings. Perhaps this seems impossible in a world filled with people who not only have strong opinions, but insist on sharing them at every turn – and now with the modern media of internet chat and blogging we are provided a global audience with the click of a button.

Our words and our deeds are the outward proof of the belief system we follow. Often the religion professed and the religion actually practiced differ greatly. Perhaps this has fostered distrust and fear towards “religion” among some. We are all human beings who make mistakes, however, if everyone strived to live PURE religion it would be an incredible world filled with kindness, goodness and peace.

Caring for the poor and needy, doing a quiet service for someone without any recognition, giving encouragement to a child, offering a kind word to a stranger, not taking offense… all religions teach these things. Often this behavior is sadly thrown to the wayside on the busy highway we travel called “the pursuit of happiness”. It is ironic. Where is true happiness? Certainly it is never found in belittling or hating others who are different or whom have beliefs we do not understand.

Unfortunately, those who desire to fuel hatred and promote violence and bigotry will always exist. Since the beginning of time these people have distorted religious teachings to justify their end. But they are not the majority, and they do not have the power to determine the future of our world unless we let them. We each have the power to choose whether we will be a peace maker, or a peace breaker. Will we stop a lie, or spread it? Will we cool the fire, or fan the flame? Will we treat someone else the way we would want to be treated?

Pure religion never has and never will teach intolerance, violence, anger or hatred.

Pure religion is love.

I hope that we will teach our children this through example. A belief system based on tolerance, kindness, peace, understanding and love is the only way that we will build a better world for the next generation. It starts with you and me.

delirium's avatar

Its notable, however, that ‘true religion’ isn’t the only way to peace and harmony. True secular humanism could do the same, if not more.

TheHaight's avatar

@delirium; its not a competition. I think they can do the same, and beyond. Plus-a lot of what Mormonsoprano explained did remind me of Humanism, his name for it though, was “pure religion”. I think it’s all the same if you genuinely want to do whats right… Peace and harmony etc.

ebenezer's avatar

Mormonsoprano- I am not familiar with this “pure religion.” please explain further. The religions I am familiar with have texts that have been written by and interpereted by people. Who is to say they are “pure” in their interpretation? I guess the pope likes too say that…

DeezerQueue's avatar

@delirium I’m curious as to how humanism could do more than any other positive belief system, perhaps you could articulate or support your statement in some way.

delirium's avatar

Well, there’s a lot of things that should be secular and are harmed by religious input.

The first thing that comes to mind is education. Particularly sex education. Right now kids aren’t being taught safe sex. Its abstinence only until marriage type teaching. Now, apart from that being a bad idea in general, the biggest problem is how they’re teaching it. They cite illegitimate research suggesting that condoms don’t work 70% of the time. Not only is that totally absurd… but they’re going about it the totally wrong way.
If you start with the premise: Kids will have sex. Its going to happen. No matter how much you discourage it, some kids will still explore their sexuality in age-inappropriate ways. Then telling them that condoms are essentially useless just makes them simply not bother to use one. Whereas if they were told that condoms aren’t perfect, but they help to protect you… the kids who would have sex anyways will be much more likely to use a condom. A lot of boys will complain that they hate condoms, but in most of those cases they’re doing it wrong. Most girls who think they’re allergic to latex because of condoms really just need to thoroughly lubricate! This prevents condom breakage and chafing. If you put drops of lube around the frenulum of the boy’s penis, they get a lot more out of safe sex and end up not hating condoms. Proper teaching is the way to safety.

This problem arises because religion puts ‘eternal soul goodness’ above ‘basic necessary human knowledge’. Just because you don’t tell them how to do it right doesn’t mean that they’re not going to try. Telling them how to do it right simply prevents them from doing it wrong.

DeezerQueue's avatar

All belief systems possess their own set of moral codes. To state that secular humanism could do more than any other belief system is inaccurate given that the greatest variable in the equation is that of the individual proponents. One cannot state unequivocally that 100% of its followers will adhere to the code of ethics or morals 100% of the time in 100% of the situations, that would be required to prove the superiority of secular humanism, or any other belief system.

Many roads can lead to the same destination. The intent and goal of most theistic and non-theistic belief systems, namely, that “[i]t stands for the building of a more humane society . . . .” (quoting the IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism) is a clear indication that on the most basic level, they share the same ideal. It is the methodology, however, that differs and problems arise when one attempts to impose their belief system upon another, which goes against the very grain of all belief systems.

soundedfury's avatar

@Deezer – Not that I’m defending secular humanism, but to argue that because the share the ideal they are equal is absurd. The devil is in the details, as they say, and while many belief systems work towards a “more humane society,” how they define that can be radically different.

How are you defining the equality in ethos that you see? Any ethos that accepts and defends the dignity of man is equally valid as the next, but are they truly equal? Is a faith that commands its followers to shun the larger world, such as the Amish, equal to one requires that they work towards the betterment of all of humanity, such as humanism?

What about a faith that asks followers to do things that go directly against prevailing modern thinking? Fundamentalist Mormonism is a great example of that, as we see with the case in Texas. Hell, if you took any Christian faith from the 18th or 19th centuries and plopped them down into the U.S. today, people would think they were some sort of crazy cult.

DeezerQueue's avatar

@soundedfury If you read carefully, I clearly stated that I was referring to “most” theistic and non-theistic belief systems. It’s notable that those belief systems whose goals are obviously not in line with or are unable to adapt to prevailing modern thinking, or the world as it is, tend to decline in number at some point in time.

soundedfury's avatar

But if religion is the worship of a higher power, and Western religious tradition holds that the higher power is truth, how can religion adapt to prevailing modern thinking? In secular society, base truths change over time, but although a God can change (like the difference between the Old and New testaments), truth is dependent upon that God. Absent God changing her mind, how can they change the religious views to adapt?

It seems that, in this system, either God cannot hold all truth or that religion evolves through a sort of punctuated equilibrium.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Some do believe that religion evolves, as in progressive revelation. It’s one of the tenets of the Bahaí Faith.

Not ignoring belief systems, a non-theist belief system is probably more at ease to adapt moral and ethical codes and/or conduct to a changing world.

teacher_mom2's avatar

Anti-religious bigotry IS a new trend, especially toward Christians. There is only one way to eternal life, and I teach my children this. I will probably get verbal attacks from stating this. My Christian rights are being taken away every day.

I guess one way or another, we will al know the truth in the end, right?

delirium's avatar

You have got to be kidding me. Your ‘christian rights’?!
Theres no such thing. You can practice your religion, shove it in everyones faces, and are permitted to. That can’t be taken away.

This is particularly ironic to read you martyring yourself and one moment later making a bigoted anti-anything-but-your-beliefs statement. It is like a fundamentalist to complain about her rights and smile when anyone elses are restricted.

(Also, you can’t make a naive bigoted statement and then say that you’re going to get a talking to because of it. That’s incredibly immature. And kind of pathetic, actually.)

chatnoir's avatar

I think bigotry towards Christians is the last acceptable prejudice. Actually that word comes from pre-judge. Most people that criticize Christians, judge us by the humans in our faiths who have fallen short. Most of them only have a school childs understanding of what Christianity even is. I would highly recommend, before you condemn an entire group of people that you’ve never met, that you at least become informed. Please read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis or the Language of God, by geneticist Collins. Prejudice is always fueled by ignorance. Please become informed so you at least know what it is you so vehemently dislike. You add to the ills of the world when you group grand numbers of people who you don’t know into one basket. It’s not realistic. It holds no truth and adds to the seperation of us all. Actually, there is a movement afoot that reaches towards reconciling science and religion. I think it’s our hope. It will lift us all.

wildflower's avatar

Sometimes I think religious folks overreact, just a little…..

delirium's avatar

I’ve read both, chatnoir. I suggest equally that you read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris so you realize why the informed feel so negatively towards certain parts of the Christian (and others who choose to reject logic.) perspective.

chatnoir's avatar

@delium Guess we must agree to disagree. I believe it is the most important issue a person will ever need to reconcile with themselves and it sounds as though you are well into the process of making the greatest decision of your life. One of the advantages of discussions such as ours is that it really places into focus the differences in perspective, attitude, approach and sentiment. I know it’s hard for you to realize but sometimes even logic can be subjective. I know we will both keep an open mind fueled by a spirit of cooperation.

teacher_mom2's avatar

‘Most people that criticize Christians, judge us by the humans in our faiths who have fallen short…...”
Delirium, I agree. When I talk to non-Christians, I am always surprised at what they think I believe and stand for. There are countless denominations in the Christian “religion”, some with subtle differences and some that are as different as night and day. Most people try to compare me with the Jerry Fallwells and people like him. I am nothing like that.
Suggested reading” Hard to Believe by John MacArthur

gooch's avatar

I notice a lack of tolerance for Christians. So many of the people here preach tolerance for others with one exception. Basically tolerance for their beliefs.

wildflower's avatar

I don’t think it’s an ‘intolerance’ of Christianity as much as a refusal to let Christian views that one disagrees with go unchallenged. To my previous point, we are lucky enough to be allowed to have whatever view and belief we choose and to express those. Just because one disagrees, does not mean one does not tolerate.
I’m the only atheist in my immediate family, and I more than tolerate the rest of them, I still love them, even if we don’t believe the same things.

mrjadkins's avatar

There is a great book by two sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe that came out pre-2000 called “The Fourth Turning”. They go through a cyclical view of world history and how there are four turns through each generation:

The First Turn is the high part of the generation. This is the upbeat part of the times when the institutions are strengthened and individualism goes down. A new civic order develops while the old regime decays.

The Second Turn is the awakening or “a passionate era of spiritual upheaval, when the civic order comes under attack from a new values regime”.

The Third Turn is is “a downcast era of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, when the old civic order decays and the new values regime implants”.

And the Fourth Turn is “history’s great discontinuity. It ends one epoch and begins another.” It is “a Crisis – a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.”

Christianity, Democracy, Marriage, Education – all these institutions are facing tremendous upheaval. Its just part of the shift. Agree or disagree?

Site for reference is again by Strauss & Howe

lapilofu's avatar

@chatnoir: I put it to you that prejudice against atheists is much more common than prejudice against Christians.

jvgr's avatar

As noted above:
Religion is an institutional acceptance of a specific set of beliefs.
The fact that people opt out of a specific religion is usually because they, as adults, can not accept some fundamental beliefs their religion holds.
I don’t think the backlash against religion is what you perceive it to be.
I think the backlash is that a specific fundamental christian religion seems to becoming part of government.
As a firm believer in the separation of church and state, I think this is wrong because, ultimately I don’t think it is the business of government to manage morality. The inclusion of a specific religious ideology manifest in the form of government is an infringement on my rights.
I don’t care what religion anyone chooses to adopt for themselves including atheists; it is an individual choice.

When I was in grade school, I really did wonder why our money has “In God We Trust” on it. I still do.

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