Social Question

flo's avatar

What can atheists learn from theists and vice-versa?

Asked by flo (11793points) July 28th, 2013

We can’t say that there is nothing we learn from each other, that is imposssible, I think.

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159 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I have never met a crusading theist or an ardent atheist who was open enough to just discuss anything having to do with religion. You might get some good recipes out of a discussion of food. or not

KNOWITALL's avatar

FINALLY! One of the reason’s I love fluther is hearing other ideas, ways of living, how you worship whatever & why.

LornaLove's avatar

That peace and inspiration can come from very different sources.

Neodarwinian's avatar

Atheism can learn nothing about theism as the core concepts of theism are imaginary, or just oppressive.

I suppose a theist could teach me how to fish, for instance, but what can he teach me about theism that I will not look askance at.

Atheism does not teach anything. It merely is the position that theist have not provided enough evidence for their particular magic man and we atheist can go about our lives not accepting theist assertions You do know atheism is non-stamp collecting, don’t you?.

Seek's avatar

Hard to say. I was a theist for most of my life, so I did most of my learning from theists when I was still a theist.

I don’t actually know any hardcore theists that i choose to spend time with these days. The nominal theists I associate with don’t talk about religion.

Yaxajax's avatar

Yes, both parties can learn from each others viewpoints, however difficult it may be.

For starters, theists can learn from the atheists mindset and outlook to care for oneself. As a theist may say “God helps those that help themselves.” An atheist knows it is important to look out for yourself and as an extension to help those in their community as this may directly effect him or her. However an atheist should also embrace such moral ideas as charity, compassion, and forgiveness. Theists often find themselves so concerned with scripture, tradition, or ceremony that they overlook what should be or could be the main purpose of their organization – teaching a better, more moral way of life and to help others.

Theists can teach atheists that tradition and ceremony can be valuable. To most atheists these things only appear cumbersome, but they can have significant psychological effects on those participating. Theists have a better understanding of the sense of community. They do know how to control people, but this is because they are not so much controlling people but rather giving them what they want – an extended family, a community. Having something to believe in can be empowering. Atheists can learn that not everything needs to be over-analyzed and taken to its most literal meaning.

tl;dr
There are two things that theists and atheists can learn from each other, both directly concerning religion. First of all, the precise scripture, beliefs, etc. do not need to be taken at face value or absolutely literally. Secondly, learn from each others’ mistakes and DO NOT inappropriately question or challenge others’ spiritual beliefs.

snowberry's avatar

I can’t speak for all atheists, but since I’ve been blasted by a few for nothing more than who I represent to them, I could teach those people how to be kinder and more accepting of people who aren’t just like they are.

But I don’t think they’d listen.

SuperMouse's avatar

Atheists can teach theists a lot about arrogance. I am pretty sure that most atheists are not the least bit interested in even considering that they could learn anything (aside from how to fish of course) from theists.

glacial's avatar

“Atheists can teach theists a lot about arrogance.”

It’s rare to see such a perfect example of irony. Thank you.

snowberry's avatar

@SuperMouse Very cleverly put, and oh so true!

SuperMouse's avatar

@glacial have you read any of the religious threads here on Fluther?

ETpro's avatar

@Yaxajax Welcome to Fluther. It’s nice to see that you can address such a question without demonizing one side or another. Perhaps we all can learn from you.

@SuperMouse Have you? Only if you define arrogance as “Not seeing things my way.” can you arrive at the conclusion that atheists are arrogant in their beliefs while theists are humble and willing to consider other viewpoints.

There are a tiny percentage of atheists who are of the opinion that there is zero probability that there is any God. Since science and evidence at hand cannot prove that, it has to be an article of blind faith in them. It’s been my experience that arrogance most often arises from blind faith, a belief that one is right that is so strongly held that no amount of evidence can possibly shake it. Truth told, that is more the province of theism than atheism.

When was the last time canvasing atheists knocked on your door to assail you with their beliefs?

SuperMouse's avatar

@ETpro sorry, I have been called ignorant in one too many Fluther religion threads to be willing to buy what you are selling. Yes, I have learned tons about arrogance from atheists. In truth I have learned much, much more about being arrogant from atheists then I have from people of faith. Even though I am not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, I have never been called ignorant for what I believe by a theist. Atheists on the other hand tend to start any conversation about faith by telling me how ignorant and ridiculous I am for holding the beliefs I hold.

The arrogance of the many vocal atheists on Fluther is unrelenting, so much so that there are members on this very site who ask questions for the sole purpose of mocking people of faith.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
graynett's avatar

A wise man can learn from a fool a fool can’t learn from a wise man or anyone

KaY_Jelly's avatar

I am a theist.

I have been trolled out here.

And I have been told I am a troll.

One thing I do think that we can do is teach eachother that regardless that if we come from God or not, we all originated from the same place, so what we should be teaching eachother is that we are equal.

Too many below the belt comments, and it seriously gets tiring when intelligent people refer to other intelligent people as believing in “unicorns”, etc. No theory has yet to be proved.

IMHO any derogatory comment againt someone’s personal imagination is uncalled for and completely childish on the person who makes the remark and is an attempt to devalue that person therefore rendering them unequal.

Theists do it also in different circumstances I believe, usually in church our something like that. So I’m not trying to point fingers at one group, just so you know.

ETpro's avatar

@graynett That is profound. Is that your own thought, or a quote?

@SuperMouse Have you reviewed those threads to see if your post fit the accusation. Unpleasant though it be, would you rather continue in ignorance or have it pointed out to you so you can correct it? Of course, your post may have not been ignorant. Often in heated debates, egos flare and then all learning and consideration of truth flies out the window, and people just seek to crush their opponent. I’m not saying that was not the case in the instances you refer to. I don’t know what posts you have in mind. But it’s always good, when accused of saying something that is illogical or not supported by the facts, to consider the possibility that the person pointing that out to you might be correct.

Mariah's avatar

I learned a lot from a theist friend of mine about who I wanted to be. I was uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed with feelings of responsibility. Many of these feelings came from my understanding that I am basically the person who runs my life, I am quite fallible, and I might fuck everything up someday.

On the other hand, my friend was very laid-back and optimistic, because he got to live his life believing that a benevolent being was watching out for him. I was jealous.

I have learned to relax. I still can’t feel the same way he does, because I can’t believe the things he believes. But once I realized that I wanted to be that way, I took some steps to get there there in my own way. I’m much calmer and happier. He helped that happen.

I think theists can learn from us about personal morality. Not trying to say that all theists are only moral out of fear of going to hell – I don’t think that at all. But everybody who has ever debated religion on the internet has come across the question, “What stops atheists from killing?” And we have to explain that we have to define morality ourselves because we don’t have a book to do it for us. And it can be tricky to communicate, but despite the fact that I feel that Mother Theresa and Hitler went to the same place after death, I am still capable of feeling it is important to emanate the former and abhor the latter. I still feel that our time here matters very much despite my lack of belief in the eternal consequences. I believe what we have here is all we get, which almost makes it more important, in my eyes, to be good and do what I can to make this ephemeral life better for everybody.

SuperMouse's avatar

@ETpro do you have any idea how arrogant and offensive your post comes across? I am thoroughly disgusted with you and your characterization of my beliefs. Unpleasant as it may be for you to believe, your outrageous assertion that I should appreciate being called ignorant just because I don’t believe what you do, is the epitome of arrogance. I have lost every ounce of respect I might have had for you and your opinions.

Aethelwine's avatar

I learned a great deal about compassion from my best friend’s family when I was growing up. They are Mormon and I’m agnostic. Their heart and home was open to anyone that needed help, even gay and blacks, can you believe it?! :P

Theists can learn from atheists…... hmm, not sure, but what do I know, I’m a fence sitter agnostic.

jca's avatar

This famous quote by Rodney King comes to mind each and every time there’s a Fluther debate about theism vs. atheism: “Can’t we all just get along?”

rojo's avatar

I read from both sides of this argument in an attempt to learn more than I presently know. In this regard I believe I have had positive results from the writings of both theists and atheists.

I may not agree with what you espouse but that does not stop me from trying to glean a little insight from it.

I thank both camps for participating in these discussions.

ETpro's avatar

@SuperMouse There was nothing arrogant about what I said. You have confirmed my suspicion. By arrogant, you mean someone who doesn’t see the world exactly as you do, and that holds forth for their viewpoint. That attitude, to my thinking, is the ultimate arrogance.

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Aethelwine's avatar

@ETpro But it’s always good, when accused of saying something that is illogical or not supported by the facts, to consider the possibility that the person pointing that out to you might be correct.

It’s also good to consider that the person accusing you is full of hot air, especially when it’s someone here at Fluther. just sayin’

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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’ve learned there are a much wider range of reasons to be a Theist than an Atheist. Reasons for Theism range anywhere from following a particular religion in blind faith, to rejecting religion completely and basing the belief upon scientific evidence. Often it’s a combination of both. It’s really a huge range of reasoning behind Theism.

Atheists pretty much all have the same reason for being an Atheist. “I don’t see any evidence for a God, so I won’t believe in one.” But they don’t like very much to discuss the evidence that others use. Even if it’s scientific evidence, they are likely to wave it away as misinterpretation without ever really considering it.
________

Atheists (in general) are much more likely to consider a Theist as just plum stupid. This even goes for the countless philosophers and scientists throughout history who are/were also Theists. I don’t believe a Theist is as likely to consider an Atheist as stupid so quickly. Perhaps misinformed. But not stupid.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies As I have gotten to know you here at Fluther, I’ve gained numerous impressions about who you really are and how your mind works. None of those have included thinking you are stupid. I could say the same for all the theists here who have really challenged me to think.

You’re right about lots of atheists holding to the scientific method and evidence that satisfies its requirements as being the only possible test for a God. Clearly, that’s not going to yield faith in a being who exists outside space-time and is beyond the reach of evidence. But there are VERY serious problems with every other way to know such a being exists. I look forward to discussing those with you.

ETpro's avatar

@jonsblond What make you think I do not do that?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

We’ve had some great talks ET. But one hump we still cannot get over is the idea that the scientific method cannot illustrate a being beyond space-time. I believe it can, does, and therefor demands that I embrace Theism.

Not only does the scientific method force me to induce a master author, but it also demonstrates the eternal mind of everyone currently alive today, and dead as of any time. So regardless of Theism, I still believe in an afterlife independent of any necessity for a God being.

My reasoning is predictable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. The only problem people have with it is that it requires inductive logic for conclusion, rather than the typical deductive logic. But both are used and accepted in the scientific method.

But I do understand why it’s a tough swallow.

Some other time.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies In another thread, you ceased to debate while here you post this. At least make up your mind, so I know which incarnation of you to engage. You’ve mentioned things like this before, but never supplied the details so I can consider them. Please elucidate your rationale for belief. I promise to give it a fair hearing.

chyna's avatar

@ETpro Once again, you have managed to disrespect one’s belife system.
That’s why these questions don’t work on Fluther. There are a few that have to slam others beliefs by saying those that belive are crazy, full of it, etc. I have never seen a theist call athiests names on here.

LostInParadise's avatar

From arguing with theists I have learned how to sharpen my argument against theism, not that it makes any difference.

Seek's avatar

@chyna, in that case, you are clearly not paying attention.

jca's avatar

Why can’t it just be that some believe in God and some don’t, and let’s not challenge each other, since a website is probably not going to change anybody’s beliefs, and arguing about it is probably not, either. There’s no proof of anything when it’s God related, neither proof of a god nor proof of no god (or gods) so why argue about it?

On Fluther, this is one of the most hotly debated topics, and I don’t see why.

Some believe what they believe, others believe the opposite, others believe things all across the spectrum, why fight about it?

Seek's avatar

@jca – public policies are decided based on people’s beliefs. Because of people’s beliefs, large groups of people are treated differently from the rest of the population. Because of beliefs, schools are being made to introduce indoctrination lessons instead of or alongside science. Because of beliefs, children are being physically disfigured and infected with sexual diseases. Because of beliefs, children are dying due to lack of basic health care.

Respect belief? Why? I was taught respect must be earned. What has belief without evidence done to deserve respect?

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glacial's avatar

Yup, no arrogance on the part of theists here at all. I don’t know what I could have been thinking.

ETpro's avatar

@chyna This whole brouhaha got going when, in the threads eighth post, @SuperMouse wrote, “Atheists can teach theists a lot about arrogance. I am pretty sure that most atheists are not the least bit interested in even considering that they could learn anything (aside from how to fish of course) from theists.” I did not answer that insult to my entire group and to a large part of Fluther’s membership with insults in return. Show me anywhere in this thread where I disrespected someone’s beliefs. The closest I came to it was to ask @RealEyesRealizeRealLies to explain his beliefs if he wished to debate them. Hardly an insult.

That is not to say some beliefs are not worthy of disrespect. Acting on his interpretation of Christian religion, the president of Zimbabwe just declared that he is wants to set about beheading gays, who he claims are worse than “worse than pigs, goats and birds”. That is a Christian religious belief I find repugnant and worthy of the highest level of disrespect. I do not subscribe to the idea that religion is so sacrosanct a subject that nobody is ever allowed to say a word in disagreement with any cockamamie religious belief, even one that prompts some of its devout to hijack airliners and murder thousands of innocent people in the name of its god.

jca's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: I understand all that, but that’s not what we’re doing on Fluther. We’re not influencing public policy or disfiguring children. We’re arguing over something where others’ minds are not going to be changed over what we type here.

Seek's avatar

@jca – You’re right. They should just shut the site down. What’s the point in having conversations at all? I mean, its not like anyone actually enjoys debating, or learns anything, or has a place of camaraderie away from their normal lives… If you can’t convert, just shut up about it!

jca's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: I am not trying to convert anybody and if you read anything I wrote on this q or any other q about theism vs. atheism, you’ll see I never try to do that, as I’m not very religious myself.

Also, you’ll find that what I usually write on this topic, after simply stating my beliefs when asked, is something along the lines of “why can’t we all just get along?”

I am not saying not to debate any topic, either. I am saying why is everyone so vehemently going at each other when people’s beliefs on this topic are what they are? If I say my favorite color is purple and someone else says their favorite color is yellow, ok, so we all have our opinion, and it makes no sense to say yellow is better than purple or vice versa.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Do you all see what has happened here in this thread? It went back to finger-pointing on both sides. What a shame…and how predictable.

When I get to know someone, like @Seek_Kolinahr, for example, it’s to find out about her, her past experiences, what is going on with her, what means something to her, etc….I know about the religious upbringing and the problems that came with that, so I understand her issues with religion. It doesn’t change my faith, but it does help me understand her feelings about it a little more. And I also like her, even though we may be worlds apart on certain issues.

Understanding & kindness cannot be misconstrued as attacks. :)

Seek's avatar

Can we please drive this thread away from Alyson’s fucked up life? It is not pertinent to the discussion at hand.

SuperMouse's avatar

I spoke the truth in my original post and the atheists on Fluther, true to form, have proven me right. Of course they are all so busy pretending to be intellectually superior they refuse to see that. As long as I don’t mind being called ignorant or being told it is ok to disrespect me and my beliefs, I’ll be just fine.

I just love that these people who claim to despise religion because it is judgmental feel perfectly justified in judging me based solely on the fact that I believe in God. No arrogance or contradiction there.

For the record, I have never tried to convert a single person on Fluther, and aside from voting in elections, I have zero say in local, state, or national government, and aside from paying property taxes and willingly sharing my opinions, I have no say in my school’s curriculum.

Your atheism doesn’t threaten my beliefs in the least, why are you so threatened by my theism? If you resist the urge to say that my theism threatens your personal freedoms, you will realize you have no reason to be threatened by it.

ETpro's avatar

@SuperMouse So personal attacks are just fine as long as they single out large groups of members here and come from you or someone who supports your belief system? I do not agree. You launched a personal attack on a whole group of people, and your claim is demonstrably false, not true.

In my opinion, such a stance is incompatible with being a moderator. If you are unable to recognize your insults as insults, and claim that those defending themselves against them are insulting you when they are not, then on this subject i fear that you may lack the objectivity to deal fairly with members who do not happen to share your personal religious views.

SuperMouse's avatar

@ETpro I spoke the truth. That truth is that there is an obnoxious, vocal, arrogant group of atheists on Fluther who believe their atheism gives them the right to say whatever they want to theists, just because they are theists. Your condescending, ridiculous, outrageous, ignorant and offensive responses prove that point. You are speaking beautifully on behalf of your group and proving my point.

I learned in journalism class that the best defense against libel or slander is truth. In this case I speak the truth. Your refusal to admit that doesn’t make it any less true. Fortunately for the Fluther atheists, one does not need to have faith to see that, the reality is displayed in this, and every single theist/atheist thread on Fluther. Oh wait, in order to be able to acknowledge that, one must be willing to admit that it is ok for people to hold different beliefs. Your group is clearly incapable of doing that so never mind.

FYI, any personal attack was in response to your quips, which of course you think are perfectly justified because I believe in God. Clearly I am wasting my time trying to communicate with someone who is so closed minded. Ironic isn’t it that that seems to be your group’s biggest issue with theists?

KaY_Jelly's avatar

I have to say that when we start to “debate” theism vs atheism it usually seems that’s atheists, skeptics, unbelievers, etc are usually more or just as much emotionally connected to religion as the theists. That is just my opinion and something I’m starting to see.

There is nothing wrong with having the emotions connected to it. It’s a question with no answer which leads to sometimes emotional “debates”.

So how do we fix it? Well I for one refuse to see fluther as a “debate” forum and more of an “opinion” forum.

I myself am highly opinionated. I also sway more to the philosophical side of things and I’m bipolar plus I’m a strict vegan and a theist and I absolutely detest politics. My entire personality is usually in the hot seat with me debating it at family get togethers which is why I partially understand how that leads to many jellies not understanding or liking my opinions :/ and it usually becomes a debate anyway, sigh.

But to me a logical debate has rules, timelines and strict guidelines that need to be followed. Those type of guidelines are not pressed on fluther or at my familu get togethers during any hot topic so as to influence a proper logical debate.

So IMHO, the idea of a logical debate on fluther or at family get togethers as it stands at this point, is fallacious(misleading) in and of itself.

glacial's avatar

“Your condescending, ridiculous, outrageous, ignorant and offensive responses prove that point. You are speaking beautifully on behalf of your group and proving my point.”

@SuperMouse You have exhibited every one of these qualities on this very thread, and I am amazed that you cannot see it. At the very least, you must recognize that the moment you group all atheists together as a single-minded entity, you are headed in the wrong direction. @ETpro does not speak for me, nor is he speaking on behalf of all atheists. Jeez.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek Sorry, you are the only person who has clearly told us why you feel as you do.

SuperMouse's avatar

@glacial by accusing me of being those things while not even acknowledging those behaviors in Fluther atheists you are proving yourself to be a member of the group. I disagree with our assertion that I have engaged in any of those behaviors in this thread. Honestly, obnoxious, narrow minded, arrogant Fluther atheists have formed their own group. There are a few who see some value in respecting the beliefs of others, but here on Fluther they are few and far between.

I continue to be amazed that so many people here on Fluther seem to think it is ok to say whatever they want about my beliefs, feel totally justified in doing so in whatever way they feel is inappropriate, then accuse me of arrogance and personal attacks when I stand up for myself and what I believe. Jeez is right @glacial.

Seek's avatar

Regardless, my feelings toward the church I left are not relevant to a discussion of religion in general, or the holding of faith-based beliefs.

I recognize that many people are quite happy as members of their place of worship. However, happiness does not truth make.

My problem with “belief” is the fact that people make irrational, often hazardous decisions that affect other people based on those beliefs.

We’re allowed to argue politics until we’re blue in the face. We can debate constitutional law and parenting systems and sexual morals. But bring up someone’s religion and hold on! We need to respect that belief! Why? Why is religion protected? Why is it that if someone is opposed to religion it must be an emotional appeal based on past hurts?

When you make that claim, you’re no better than the drunk guy telling a lesbian she just hasn’t been f*ked right by a man yet.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr when you are debating politics or parenting or whatever else you debate do you tell the person you are speaking to that they are clearly ignorant because they believe something different then you do? How can you claim to know what my faith makes me do?

Seek's avatar

I tend not to call people ignorant. Willfully misinformed, perhaps. And I’m more than happy to tell someone who isn’t vaccination their children that they are misinformed and contributing negatively to society.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr My problem with “belief” is the fact that people make irrational, often hazardous decisions that affect other people based on those beliefs.

This is the problem with some Fluther atheists. They focus on the small minority who do harm, when the majority of theists actually do good in the world, or at least mind their own business.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr well there you go, you have absolutely no idea how my faith affects society, but just because I am a theist you assume it must be negative. Bad jumping off point for a discussion. And please don’t degrade yourself by saying you don’t assume that, I have read entirely too many of your posts for that crap to fly.

Seek's avatar

When you point out a single positive thing done by a believer that cannot be done by an atheist, that point will have merit.

For good people to do evil things and feel justified requires religion.

In what other light is it acceptable to hold a bris, for example? Or to marry a 10 ten year old?

@supermouse, frankly, I don’t care about your religion. It’s tiny and a nonissue in greater society. Ultimately you’re still perpetuating belief without evidence, but you’re not hurting anyone directly so I don’t care much. Is not exactly high on my “to-smite” list.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Seek, @supermouse, frankly, I don’t care about your religion. It’s tiny and a nonissue in greater society, yet you still felt the need to editorialize about it in your last sentence. Clearly you do care about my faith.

More justification. Predictable and totally expected.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t want to be perceived as picking on anyone, so I’ll just say that any person is capable of good and/ or bad, regardless of religion. I’m not perfect because I’m a Christian, but I strive for perfection because I am a Christian.

For non-theists, I can see that so many people have disgraced the name ‘Christian’, done evil in the name of God, etc…that it truly must be difficult to believe anyone anymore, or that some of us truly do try to do good things, have integrity and like the old witch/ dr saying “to do no harm”. Peace, I like all of you so try to play nice.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please refrain from making things personal. Let’s all take a deep breath and calm down before continuing this discussion.

Jeruba's avatar

@SuperMouse
…the atheists on Fluther, true to form, have proven me right. Of course they are all so busy pretending to be intellectually superior they refuse to see that.

I presume you’re including me in that generalization because I’m one of the atheists on Fluther, even though I haven’t said a word.

No one on this thread speaks for me.

flo's avatar

My goodness I knew there was going to be answers but I didn’t think this many. It will take a long time to read it all. Thank you all.

The statement that inspired my question is @ETpro‘s statement “Should we care when they act on those beliefs and their actions threaten the peace, tranquility and order of our lives?”
As if to say: they are the bad guys, we are the good guys.
(Edit to add) It is in the detail of OP: “Why should we care what religious beliefs others hold?”

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jeruba, as I have said before, I am referring to the obnoxious group of vocal Fluther atheists who seem to believe they are justified in saying whatever they want to theists just because theists believe in God.

Jeruba's avatar

So it doesn’t bother you to say “all” and then exclude the ones who don’t fit that profile. (That’s known as the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.) Just wanted to be clear on that.

I’m not attacking you, @SuperMouse. I hope you know that. But like you and many others, I don’t enjoy being lumped in a group and characterized a certain way according to my membership in that group without regard for the truth of the matter.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jeruba lest anyone get their feelings hurt I will be more careful to include words to make it perfectly clear that I am speaking specifically about the atheists who repeatedly attack theists in religion threads on Fluther. Though to be fair, that isn’t hard to discern reading my posts in this thread.There is truly only one post where it might be inferred that I was including every atheist on Fluther.

glacial's avatar

@SuperMouse You have actually been careful to include me in your verbal assaults. I can only conclude that I “repeatedly attack theists in religion threads on Fluther”. This is news to me, and I think it is also news to many theists on Fluther.

Neodarwinian's avatar

@ KNOWITALL

What difference does what you say make to the veracity of your assertions about christianity?

” For non-theists, I can see that so many people have disgraced the name ‘Christian’, done evil in the name of God, etc…that it truly must be difficult to believe anyone anymore, ”

This is a compositional fallacy that I forget the name of…......................perhaps some one following can remind me of the fallacy here? ( I am a biologist, not a philosopher )

Seek's avatar

No true Scotsman?

That is, “if they were real Christians, they wouldn’t do bad things”

Is that there one you’re looking for?

KaY_Jelly's avatar

Ah yes, lets all be logical on the internet. Shall we
really debate that too?

OK. I’ll be the timekeeper! Theists go first then atheists then rebuttals, then..awe forget it lol the system just won’t work, it’s not rational!
I believe I detect a Red Herring. Wasn’t me though.

augustlan's avatar

One thing we could all stand to learn, and from anyone who can teach us: Be. Nice. Damn it.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

OH NO! Mouse???

chyna's avatar

Yes, Mouse

Aethelwine's avatar

@augustlan I wish everyone could be nice Auggie, but you know that’s not going to happen. People joke about those of us who ask for kindness here. They’ll mention “I only want nice people to answer” with sarcasm. Then we are told “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” or “it’s the internet, deal with it”. Then the users who end up leaving are called weak or whiners. It’s a wish not worth fighting for, I’m afraid.

Seek's avatar

“i only want nice people to answer” is in reference to a recurring spammer who puts that at the end of all his questions.

Aethelwine's avatar

I know that.

Neodarwinian's avatar

@ Seek_Kolinahr

That could be it, The No True Scotsman fallacy.

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WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Flame-bait, my fucking ass. What do you call all the arrogance and disdain that causes people to leave, but remains unchecked?

People leave this site on a regular basis, due to the same group of people, conveniently posting in this thread, that flame and flame and never get called on it because they share the same beliefs as the majority. Apparently, majority rules, eh? So as long as you don’t believe in God, you can post bullshit comments and be left alone.

Seek's avatar

My kingdom for the content of that post

chyna's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Oh wait, you are a non-believer, you have no kingdom.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oy. This atheist thinks this whole thread is a waste. No good thing was accomplished here today. No thing.

augustlan's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate To be fair, “flaming, arrogant douchetards” and “being a bunch of fucking assholes” is a little more flame-baity than some other things. I promise, it has nothing to do with beliefs or lack thereof.

augustlan's avatar

Since this thread has pretty much gone completely off the rails at this point, I’m going to suggest a move to Social or that we archive it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Well, I’m honest to a fault, and I call a spade a spade. I’m just one of the only members who will do it loudly, without caring who I piss off when I do it. Especially when I see the same bullshit happen here, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Because of the same group of people. Every. Damn. Time. That leads to one possible conclusion- those particular people are complete fucking assholes who share a similar belief system and are allowed to run amok and cause other people to leave, because everyone else with the same beliefs, or lack thereof, backs them up.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

And just to briefly explain, believers consider ignorant, insane, delusional, and “in fairy land” to be just as flame-baity and rude as the insults I chose. In fact, I consider them to be even more flame-baity, since they incredibly demean a person’s mental capacity, instead of just their shitty personality. But those comments are continuously left untouched, since, as I said, majority rules. And another beloved member has fled because of it.

rojo's avatar

Anyone care to posit a guess as to what we have learned from this thread??

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Yes, the assholes win on Fluther, and they likely always will.

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Great. Who exactly are these assholes, and what did they do on this thread?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

All you have to do is read the thread, and almost every other Fluther thread having to do with religion, and you’ll have your answer.

snowberry's avatar

@glacial We’re not allowed to say, except in PM’s. Personally, I don’t keep a list.

rojo's avatar

Actually, @WillWorkForChocolate I was thinking more along the lines of people are assholes regardless of their particular religious persuasion.

glacial's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I’m not even kidding. Somehow I get the idea that I’ve pissed off every theist on Fluther, and I have no idea what the f%$^ I’m supposed to have done.

amujinx's avatar

What each side seems to have learned from this thread is you can pose a question that could be unifying and constructive about religion, and someone from one side will turn it destructive. The side I’m referring to is irrelevant, since both sides do this at different times and it snowballs to this.

There’s a Bible verse that springs to mind about this whole thing, something about removing a log from one’s own eye before removing the speck from someone else’s…

augustlan's avatar

Most people, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, are decent people who deserve to be treated decently. I wish we would all get that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No no no no. I mean yes, yes, yes, yes Lisa.

jca's avatar

I still don’t get why everyone feels a need to insult others’ opinions on religion. Why can’t we all just believe what we believe and let it go at that?

rojo's avatar

@amujinx there is another quote, non religious but pertinent nontheless it is from the mind of Wm. Shakespeare:

“Much Ado about Nothing”.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@glacial You have not personally pissed me off, as I don’t recall you being a douchebag in regards to religious topics. But when the same group consistently does their damnedest to demean and drive away anyone who dares to believe in a god, it gets people angry as hell and tends become all-inclusive for every atheist. The group I’m personally referring to to are so blatantly anti-theist, that they’re not true atheists. They’re assholes. I do not include you in that group.

And as far as this particular thread goes, I believe it was just the straw that broke the Carmel’s back, for our beloved mouse. Sometimes, something demeaning and disgusting has gone on for so long, that something tamer will set you off and you finally hear the fat lady singing.

amujinx's avatar

@rojo Hah! Agreed.

serenade's avatar

Reposted from another thread, here’s some science (!!!) that everyone can refer to to learn something about atheists. Included in this summary is a finding that maybe 10–15% of atheists have the potential to be douchebags (I chose this word long before the previous post posted), which is probably in line with the general population. They also happen to be highly vocal. That’s a very bad summary of what the study says, so please read it for yourself and accept that as a better answer than what I just gave you.

FWIW, my personal experience on Fluther, which began six months after its inception, is that Fluther has always had a contingent of vocal and derisive anti-theist apologists. I don’t really care that this is the case, but it is my observation, and it’s been true more or less since the beginning. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been weirdo theists around, but they generally lack the poison-tipped daggers that certain anti-theists toss around like it’s their job.

I’m going to say the answer to the question is not much, but that’s only because the point of being something is to grow in one’s expression of that thing and not so much to learn from something you’re not exploring. I suppose the atheist, like some spiritual atheists can become open to a sense of the sacred, and the theist can become open to critical examination of one’s beliefs based on fact and evidence. Still, though, there’s not much utility in that for either party unless that party is shopping around for another belief system.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Damn, I meant the camel’s back, but my edit window is gone.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Be honest, you were jonesing carmels. ;)

jca's avatar

I’m still baffled by this comment from @Seek_Kolinahr: (obvious sarcasm) @jca – If you can’t convert, just shut up about it!

Have I ever pushed religion on anybody? Just because I believe in God does not mean I go around trying to convert people. I’ve been to church twice in the past 10 years.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I do love me a good caramel, but they get stuck in my teeth. :(

Okay, so as with all religious threads on Fluther, the anti-theists have had their fun, someone has left because of it, I’ve done my “way to go” bitching….... Can we talk about food now? I’m sure a few people need a drop in blood pressure for a while.

And I like that the show of support for our missing mouse is slowly growing. She was a true asset to Fluther that should never have been made to feel the way she did.

rojo's avatar

@serenade I would be very interested to know what percentage of non-atheists (would this be theists or is there some other category) that have the potential to be douchebags.

I would guess that it would be very close to, if not the same, percentage.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

food porn. Click away!

Sorry, guys, back to the regularly scheduled program.

rojo's avatar

Ha! Thought you could lure me away with food porn!

um, be right back…....

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’d say a good dose of food porn, seahorse porn, and a nekkid pancake orgy are in order.

Seek's avatar

@jca – that was sarcasm, and a paraphrasing of what you were telling me to do. That is, if I can’t convince anyone to change their opinion, than I should shut up.

I wasn’t telling you to shut up.

augustlan's avatar

The OP seems to be elsewhere at the moment, so I’m going to have to send the question back to her with a suggestion to move it to Social. Don’t be alarmed, people!

rojo's avatar

I hope that it does end up in Social.

That way I can make snide comments that are not on topic.

jca's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: I wasn’t telling you to shut up, either. :) I was saying the hot debate should cease, since it probably won’t change anybody else’s opinion on the topic.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

^^^^^^^^^That had no lurve when I got here? :/ I miss the mouse and all her super superb mouseness.

augustlan's avatar

It seems to me that the internet sometimes causes people to forget that they’re talking to other people. Nice, decent, caring people…regardless of their beliefs about a god or gods. One needn’t respect anyone’s beliefs, but should be able to show respect to the person holding those beliefs. There’s just no need to call a believer “ignorant” and “irrational”, or to refer to their deity as a “sky daddy” and the like. Likewise, no one wants to be told they are “arrogant”, either. We should choose our words carefully, remembering that there is a very real human being behind every avatar.

I’m a full blown atheist myself (which I think everyone here knows), but I try not to be deliberately hurtful when discussing religion (or any other subject). I don’t always succeed, but I do try.

It all comes back to my old line: It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

snowberry's avatar

@augustlan “There’s just no need to call a believer “ignorant” and “irrational”, or to refer to their deity as a “sky daddy” and the like.”

Really? When I first started on fluther, I was called “naïve” by someone because I held views that are unpopular here. I flagged it, and that same person answered back. It turns out THAT PERSON WAS A MOD. It would be nice if you guys actually practice what you preach. He had quite a following too. He’s gone now, thank goodness, but my, what a big head he had. Very impressed with himself.

Jeruba's avatar

[Response deleted—no longer relevant.]

snowberry's avatar

Oops, sorry, and now I can’t fix it. So sorry. Above post is directed to @augustlan. Thanks, @Jeruba!

snowberry's avatar

Aaaand after 4–5 tries, I actually did fix it. Can you say “glitch”?

Sunny2's avatar

I repeat: have never met a crusading theist or an ardent atheist who was open enough to just discuss anything having to do with religion.
You all are proving my point. Sadly.

snowberry's avatar

When I said “you guys” I was referring to the Moderators here. I’m also not much of a “crusading theist” either. I only share my faith here with people of a like mind, or who ask. I cannot remember trying to “convert” anyone here.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’m just wondering if y’all recovered from the food porn link. :D

dxs's avatar

I grew up as a Catholic and I learned a lot from both theists (specifically Catholics) and atheists. After developing my own thought process after having grown up in an environment that encouraged Catholicism, I used what I learned from both sides to form my own beliefs. I’m no longer Catholic because I learned all of the beliefs of the Catholic church from the Catholics, and realized that I did not agree with them. The atheists showed me a very logical way of thinking that I agreed with more. But I still held a thought of a deity. Now, I am agnostic.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

For the most part, this is quite a pathetic thread. Yes, I read the whole thing.

To address the OP, yes, we can learn from each other. This thread can teach us something about civility or lack thereof.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

And in other news.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ Holy crap! (wait..no pun intended, but there it was…) That’s hideous! ”...saying gay sex was ‘the cause’ of youth unemployment because young men who refuse to have homosexual sex with government officials can’t get jobs.”

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I like that the Pope gave him the axe!

augustlan's avatar

@snowberry We’ve discussed this before. The things I mentioned, and you being called naive, don’t meet our definition of personal attacks, so they aren’t removed. I want people (including moderators) to be nice, but I can’t make them, sadly.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ What she said, just ask Randy ~

snowberry's avatar

@augustlan
“There’s just no need to call a believer “ignorant” and “irrational”, or to refer to their deity as a “sky daddy” and the like.”

ignorant and naïve are synonyms! Here is the appropriate definition of each from dictionary.com.

ignorant: lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact:

naïve: having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous: She’s so naive she believes everything she reads. He has a very naive attitude toward politics.

OK, so being called “naïve” is somehow OK, but “ignorant” is not. Got it! LOL! Classic Fluther!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Naive, to me, means you haven’t learned yet. Ignorant means you’ve ignored what was trying to be taught to you. Ignorance, IMO, is willful. Naivety isn’t.

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Sorry, I gave the official definition. Opinion doesn’t count here, except to the person who has it. No offense intended here.

jca's avatar

For more spot-on definitions, use Merriam Webster.

snowberry's avatar

@jca OK, here are the definitions from Merriam Webster.

ignorant: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified Or
resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence

naïve: deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment; especially : credulous

The definitions are almost the same.

Jeruba's avatar

I think they are deeply different.

augustlan's avatar

@snowberry Whether the two words are the same or different is completely beside the point. I was saying that both the stuff I mentioned and being called naive (in certain circumstances) are mean and unnecessary. Things like that are not conducive to civil discourse, and are very unlikely to get anyone far in a debate. That doesn’t make any of them personal attacks per Fluther rules, though.

I’m encouraging niceness, but there’s really no way to force people to be nice. When I say, “there’s just no need to call a believer ‘ignorant’ and ‘irrational’, or to refer to their deity as a ‘sky daddy’ and the like”, the point I’m trying to make is “be nice, damn it.” Which is not the same thing as “mean things will be removed.” They won’t…unless they cross the line into our definition of a personal attack.

For the record, though, I think the meanings of the two words are different.

LostInParadise's avatar

Back to the original question. Apart from the existence or non-existence of a God, there are two fundamental issues where I am completely at odds with most theists.

1. the idea that we are punished or rewarded for what we believe.
No, what counts are actions. Good people do good things. It does not matter what evil thoughts you may have. Even if I believed in a God, it is unimaginable that such a God would care in the slightest whether or not I thought, for example, that Jesus was his son.

2. the idea that we must follow what is written in the holy book of choice.
No, we always have to choose and must take responsibility for our choices. As the existentialists say, you cannot choose not to choose. In particular, there is something seriously wrong with you if you truly believe that the moral rightness of an act follows from what is written in some book.

Apart from the above two points, differences between theists and atheists are purely linguistic.

For example:

You say you were led to your decision by God and I say it came of your own accord. The difference? None, once we accept that the choice made is ultimately yours alone.

You say this is the best of all possible worlds and I ask what the criteria are for judging one world against another. You say that the rules are known only to God and I say that your statement is consequently vacuous.

jca's avatar

@LostInParadise: I think (am not positive but am using my own personal beliefs to respond) that not all theists necessarily believe in the things you stated. For example, I don’t live my life by the Bible, but I do believe in God.

mattbrowne's avatar

Attending religious services may benefit health.

Relying on critical thinking instead of superstition saves lives.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think they’re very different too. I think the words (Which I have bolded) are key, and the reason we use the words “Naive” and “Ignorant” in two different ways.

ignorant: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified Or
resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence

naïve: deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment; especially : credulous

Lacking knowledge can be applied to both but that’s the extent of their similarities, IMO. Which isn’t allowed in THIS establishment!

ETpro's avatar

@snowberry In today’s bewilderingly complex world, even the most intelligent, well read and educated polymath alive is ignorant on not just one thing specified but on millions. Such a person is not, however, naïve in any proper sense of the word. As @Jeruba and @Dutchess_III said, they are quite different concepts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know Evian (the bottled water) spelled backward is “naive”?

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III I used to know that, but today it was sweltering and I was out on foot running errands, and I stopped in at a convenience store and bought a bottle of ice-cold Evian water. So I no longer know, I just know that I used to know.

snowberry's avatar

@ETpro OK, I am officially embracing the label. I’ve put it on my profile, and if you are interested, I direct you to a link that explains in part how it started. It’s quite a story.

Snowberry the naïve. It has a ring to it, don’t you think? I’ll start drinking Evian too just to make sure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But you can get 32 oz of ice and water in a 32 oz styrofoam pop cup for, like, $.35. Refills after that are free! My 32 oz cups hang around for ever and ever. But, it isn’t as convenient to carry as a bottle, which you can stick in your pocket.

And I am relieved that you recognize what you used to recognize but no longer recognize as what you used to recognize. That’s the first step in….healing. Or something.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III Which is why it’s a good idea to buy a water bottle that can be refille from a tap for free, and at minimal environmental cost. Styrofoam is evil, as is bottled water in general.

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Do you know the back story of Yankee Doodle? This is my own version. If you click on the link in my profile, you’d understand.

ETpro's avatar

@snowberry Ha! Naïve Evian may come to rival items in the Frizzer as a Fluther urban legend. Am I being naïve to think we might get Evian to add a diaeresis or trema to the “i” in their name? Maybe we could start a petition. :-)

Response moderated (Spam)
Dutchess_III's avatar

What can atheists and theists learn from each other? Tolerance.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III This may take some time, given the scathing attacks I’ve gotten from Christian theists recently. Imagine if I took on Islamists.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

Yep, tell that to the rodents.

ETpro's avatar

@KaY_Jelly Sorry. I don’t know what you mean by that.

snowberry's avatar

never mind

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