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October 30th, 2007

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11:51 am
Why one particular atheist is angry.

I agree with pretty much everything she had to say.
So I'll just add, "amen."
Current Location: work
mood: calmcalm

(82 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)


[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
It's not about the issues, you're missing the point.
It's not about diving deeply into, say, the complex issue of abortion and everything that surrounds it. It's exactly what it sets out at the beginning; an explanation of and defense of atheist anger, and an answer to the question we get all the time of "why are you atheists so angry?"

Consider it the flip-side of the coin that says "everyone not in $RELIGION is going to hell, and there's no redemption, so it's ok to kill them in the name of $GOD."
You may not be sitting on that side of the coin, but that doesn't mean the coin's not there.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
It's not the flip side of the coin. It's intolerance and bigotry, dressed up with the name of no-god instead of God. She's practicing exactly what she claims to be condemning and blaming a vague "religious people" for.

Oh, the irony.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
I just reread the whole thing. Nowhere in the entire post does she blame anyone remotely vague, or assault an entire group or religion.
Every paragraph is a very specific grievance about a very specific issue.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Just one very egregious example:

"I'm angry -- enraged -- at the priests who molest children and tell them it's God's will."

Hello, so are all non-child-molestors, atheist or no. I'm just as "angry -- enraged" at the non-religious child molestors who molest children and tell them it's fate or as nature intends or if they tell they'll be killed.

She's an idiot, and I'm actually disappointed that you're taking her seriously. I don't think she's worth any more of my time and attention.

Most people during most historical periods have professed some form of religion. Therefore, the lion's share of the good and bad things have been done by people professing religion. It has nothing to do with "religion" as a social institution. It has to do with percentages.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
That seems like a pretty specific group of people to me-- she's enraged at child-molestors in the clergy. How is that vague? And how does that refute the original point?

Beliefs or no, I think it's pretty clear she isn't an idiot. Giving issues like this your time and attention is what makes me believe that people with religious beliefs actually can and want to support them and engage in intelligent debate about them.

She addresses the "people who do good/bad things being religious or not" issue in the blog post, which pretty much summarizes exactly the point you made.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
I think it's abundantly clear that an idiot is exactly what she is.

And no, she doesn't summarize my point. Re-read, please.

I'd have been ashamed and angry to have someone saying those things presume to speak for me when I was agnostic. I actually think for myself; I don't just spout a few-years-out-of-college line of PoliSciSpeak mixed in with some "alternative" press article hooks and try to pass it off as independant thought.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
Okay. Clearly we disagree on what it means to "speak for yourself," which is what she's doing and what I'm doing. Of course I can't speak for her in this context, but I agree with many of the things she said, and not because I was brainwashed by any of the items you list above. Just as I would not have said that you've been brainwashed out of hand to dismiss your points, but apparently we're different.

You said that it's a question of percentages that good/bad things were done by people who were religious, just based on the percentage of people who had religion at the time. She says, "I get angry when believers trumpet every good thing that's ever been done in the name of religion as a reason why religion is a force for good... Of course, to be fair, I also get angry when atheists do the opposite. Neither side gets to have it both ways." While the lead-in is different, both your point and hers conclude that saying "all bad things are due to religion" (or the other way around) is pointless-- though you're saying the points she mentions have nothing to do with religion, that it's all percentages?

Many of the specifics she mentions (the Inquisition of Galileo, Craig Thompson's art teacher) are closely linked to the religious beliefs of those persons. She's talking about particular instances, not discussing the evils of every religious person in history, because they're religious. As she said, "I was very, very careful in this post to say 'I'm angry at people who do (X),' or, 'I get angry when (Y) happens,'. I said that I was angry about specific aspects of religion, specific ways it plays out in the world...I never said that the things I was angry about were universal to all religious beliefs or religious believers."
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
No, no, no.

Things like the Inquisition had less to do with religion than with power struggles. Religion was the window-dressing behind a particular group's grab for power. It wasn't the cause; the same sort of thing has happened in the name of Communism or exploration/navigation for example. It doesn't mean that Communism or exploring new worlds are inherently bad ideas; it means that power corrupts and people are people and there will always be social forces and ideologies that are the current sticks to beat other people up with.

But some of her statements just don't make any sense - trashing Mother Teresa for providing sub-standard healthcare? Does she realize that the alternative was not standard healthcare but no healthcare?

Anyway, sorry if I pissed off you and Ry. I'll wander off to a corner and make a "When religion is outlawed, only outlaws will have religion" icon or something.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
Wow. Hmm. Where to start.
She's obviously angry, but I think "intolerance and bigotry" is a swing for the fence! She's angry about ways in which religion has affected societal rules and issues, and because her personal experience with people of various religions has been false justification and condescension. I don't see how that's intolerance. What is she intolerant of, not being taken seriously?

Bigotry would be if she clung to her ideas and didn't take others into account even when shown the error of them. As she stated, she was a religions major and had read the Bible. Using Christianity as one example, it seems pretty clear to me that she's taken other ideas into account in forming this blog post-- but has, of course, come out with her own opinions on the topic. Force of opinion doesn't necessarily imply bigotry. And there are several specific issues she names which are anything but vague. Could you post more specifics of this hypocrisy you're seeing? Because it just seems like you're upset about some perceived tone in the article, instead of particular things it said that you felt were false.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
I didn't say "hypocrisy", I said "intolerance and bigotry".

e.g. I get angry when believers insist that the shopping list is a straw man, an outmoded form of religion and prayer that nobody takes seriously, and it's absurd for atheists to criticize it.

But that's a true statement. And she's angry at 'believers' when she's faced with a truth about her beliefs that she doesn't like?

A rational repsonse would be to examine and revise her own beliefs.

An irrational, bigoted response is to blame the messenger...as she states that she does.

I have no problem with her unbelief in God. I have a problem with people taking seriously the statement of someone presuming to say that my belief in God causes problems for them.

[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
My impression was that she said that because many people *do* take the shopping list approach seriously. That's certainly been my experience. I'm not sure how that's a truth about atheism-- that it's absurd to criticize prayer, and we should accept that as (pardon the pun) gospel? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you mean here.

I have known many people (not to generalize/stereotype, but as specific cases) who assumed that their prayers would take care of all their needs (much like a shopping list-- it will cure my scoliosis, get my daughter back the job she was fired from, make the next-door neighbor's dog shut up). Am I absurd for questioning the merits of this? Am I not allowed? Of course there is deep, serious prayer as well. Can I not question the truth of that institution either, simply because it is heartfelt and a personal truth to someone else?

I have and always will uphold that people can believe whatever they want. That doesn't mean I (or this blog writer) can't be upset about what I see people doing in the name of their faith, and most importantly imposing on others in the name of their faith. Many of the points I agree most strongly with in the article come from this basis: someone's belief in God only causes problems for me when it justifies behavior that harms someone else, or makes the basis of that action irrefutable and sanctified.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
Again, you've got it backwards.

I have no problem with the blog writer questioning the merit of prayer for herself. My problem is with her problem with other people praying.

She's the one imposing beliefs or lack thereof.

And for the record, I've known a lot of people who prayed in a lot of different ways. My great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, my ex-husband was Jewish, yadda yadda.

I've never known anyone, including born-again Christians, to claim that prayer was a shopping list...except for atheists. And I've known quite a few of those.

Just my own personal experience.

And even if that's their misconception, why does it make them angry? They think prayer doesn't work, I think it does, so let me go on my merry deluded way. I'm not hurting anyone by praying.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
I can't convince you that this has been my experience. Certainly the people in question never said they were creating a "shopping list"-- I doubt anyone who was religious would like to think of themselves that way. And it's not due to lack of knowing people from many faiths, that's for sure.

Just so, she's not hurting anyone by being angry about it. How is she imposing herself on you by listing all the ways in which religion-centered occurrences have angered her over the years? If she dislikes how prayer is used and justified, that doesn't materially impact your ability to keep praying-- and it's not your right to do it that she takes issue with.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
It reads like it is my right to do it that she takes issue with. But she has no control over what goes on in my head - my prayer life is between God and me.

I think you're forgetting the great caveat in most prayer. For Wiccans, it's "an it harm none" and for Christians it's "Thy will be done, not mine."

Letting God (or gods) know what you feel your needs are is not making a shopping list. Because at the end there's always the acknowledgement that it's not up to you.

It seems so sad and unrealistic not to believe in a higher power, to me. We're not even capable of realizing the vastness of space or seeing all of the color spectrum. It makes no sense to think that we're the most sophisticated intelligences ever and that we're all alone. If other people want to think that, that's up to them...but don't knock religion as a whole. Do your thing and don't diss the choices of those who may choose differently than you so.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Please reconcile:

It seems so sad and unrealistic not to believe in a higher power


Do your thing and don't diss the choices of those who may choose differently than you so.
Why one particular atheist is angry. I agree with pretty much… - another LJ. or: how i learned to stop worrying and love this life-thingy — LiveJournal

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