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Old December 6th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #1
shinsukato
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Default militant atheists?

I started another thread on a different subject, and therein I mentioned that I was trying to deconvert a friend of mine. This was met with a negative response that I did not expect, and I think I'd like for people to expound on it a little more for me.

Should atheists be militant? Of course phrasing it like that makes it sound much more extreme than I really mean, but I like the sound of it.

As atheists I think most of us would say that religion (certainly the Abrahamic varieties) is wrong. The beliefs are ridiculous, outlandish and in some cases falsifiable. The religious are making assertions that they cannot make, and are believing in their assertions with great vigor.

Should we actively try to change their minds? Should real actions be taken to try and make them give up their religion and literal beliefs?

I was raised devoutly Catholic, and I WAS devoutly catholic for a very long time. Having deconverted some time ago I find that I am still under the influence of that religion. On some level I still accept jesus as my lord and savior, on some level I still believe that I am being watched and loved by God. The conditioning that I was subjected to as a child at the hands of the catholic church has instilled in me a worldview that I know is false, but that I cannot rid myself of. It's a confusing feeling.

It is for this reason I feel we should do everything we can to try and deconvert the religious people of the world, if not for their sake then for the sake of the children that they would brainwash otherwise. As atheists, I don't think we are forcing a viewpoint on them, we are arguing that they have no reason to hold theirs. I do not intend to raise my children as atheists. I intend to present them with all the information and let them make up their own minds, if such a thing is possible. I'm sure that is what most self respecting atheists would do as well.

I've gotten a little longwinded here so I'll stop, though I'm sure there's more I could say. What do you think, is it wrong for atheists to try and deconvert others?
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Old December 6th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #2
Loki
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Not too long-winded, I read most of it

Damned good topic by the way.


I would say no. Live and let live. If someone wants to believe in god/s then let them. No worries.

If their beliefs start to impinge on my life? That's different.

I'm not a militant atheist
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Quote:
As atheists I think most of us would say that religion (certainly the Abrahamic varieties) is wrong. The beliefs are ridiculous, outlandish and in some cases falsifiable. The religious are making assertions that they cannot make, and are believing in their assertions with great vigor.
I am an atheist and I do not believe religion to be wrong. I believe that the Church is wrong. I believe that the process, procedures and sanctimonious ways of the Church are wrong. I believe the fanatic believers of the Church who insist upon pressing ideals that the consider to be infallible upon those that do not want it or have no better idea to consider are wrong.

Religion, however, is none of this. Religion is a set of ideals that one believes in oneself as to the true purpose and matter of the universe and world around them. Religion is a human defense mechanism that helps the heart, mind and soul deal with things that would otherwise be too difficult to deal with normally. To believe that God is ever present provides comfort in uncomfortable situations. To believe that there is an afterlife full of fluffy clouds and angels provides relief from a fear of death. To believe that one must follow the commandments in order to get to this afterlife is structure for those that cannot maintain it without.

Religion is not the problem. And while these examples are geared more towards the Christian religion, this goes for all religions, from Christian to Pagan.

Quote:
Should we actively try to change their minds? Should real actions be taken to try and make them give up their religion and literal beliefs?
We should not try to change anything except the way they go about spreading it. We can offer up our beliefs, and cause them to question their own. If this causes them to give up their religion in search of something else, or if this only causes them to research more into their own religion and become more suited into it, they are enriched for it.
Quote:

I was raised devoutly Catholic, and I WAS devoutly catholic for a very long time. Having deconverted some time ago I find that I am still under the influence of that religion. On some level I still accept jesus as my lord and savior, on some level I still believe that I am being watched and loved by God. The conditioning that I was subjected to as a child at the hands of the catholic church has instilled in me a worldview that I know is false, but that I cannot rid myself of. It's a confusing feeling.
I'm Sorry.

Quote:
It is for this reason I feel we should do everything we can to try and deconvert the religious people of the world, if not for their sake then for the sake of the children that they would brainwash otherwise. As atheists, I don't think we are forcing a viewpoint on them, we are arguing that they have no reason to hold theirs. I do not intend to raise my children as atheists. I intend to present them with all the information and let them make up their own minds, if such a thing is possible. I'm sure that is what most self respecting atheists would do as well.
You are not trying to DEconvert. You are trying to CONVERT. You are attempting to change their beliefs into something else in as converting them to atheism. I am glad you have come to a much more sane conclusion for your children. This is a good thing.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 11:29 AM   #4
Tsar Phalanxia
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Define millitant. As in car bombings and shit? No way. That destroys one of the core principles of atheism, that you can be good w/o God, and that Religion causes harm. Millitant as in being crtical of religion?... Yes. I wouldn't do it to anyone personal, i.e. let faith get in the way of friendships, as like I said before, atheists are above that.

It's important to recognise the moral teachings and benefits of religion, e.g. 98& of what Jesus says is good and makes sense (The other 2% is some crazy shit about women's rights), but you have to get across to people that it's the dogma, and the rest of the Bible (In this example) that you have a problem with. As a rule, most people will agree with you, and that is the first step to "enlightening" them. A nice way to put this is to say that you're being moral without fear of hell/reward of heaven, so you could say that you're more moral than said Theist. (Don't press that too far, but get them thinking about it.)

The first step is building up a cosy support base, then pushing for the gradual separation of church in state (E.g. no prayer in schools) I was a light theist for some time, simply because I went to a school, not a CoE, or Catholic school, but a state school where we had assemblies about Jesus, and I believed it. I think about 1% of the population in the UK goes to regular CoE services, yet 75% of people believe in God. In my opinion, this is due to it being taught to us in school, with no significant challenge at any point in life. Were it separated, I think the numbers would drop pretty fast.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: militant atheists?

there are many paths
to the top of the mountain
each can be straight
depending on your starting point
all lead directly to the top of the mountain
the only one who doesn't get there
is the one who runs around the mountain
telling everyone else, their path is wrong
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:16 PM   #6
Tsar Phalanxia
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Quote:
Originally Said by tagnostic View Post
there are many paths
to the top of the mountain
each can be straight
depending on your starting point
all lead directly to the top of the mountain
the only one who doesn't get there
is the one who runs around the mountain
telling everyone else, their path is wrong
Indeed. But shouldn't we speak out against the person pushing as many people off the mountain as possible?
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Shinsukato, I was one of the people who questioned why you were trying to deconvert your friend. It wasn't an attack against you--I was genuinely curious about your reasons. That being said, I guess I would say there is a fine line to walk when it comes to deconverting people from religion to atheism. My opinion is if people wish to believe whatever they believe, and as long as they are not harming someone in the process, then to each their own. That does not necessarily preclude a rigourous discussion of the different aspects of theism vs. atheism, but if it were me, I'd keep it to a presentation of the facts, and not a "I'm right, you're wrong" diatribe.

I will say I disagree with your argument that by deconversion will help future generations. While religion tends to be "inherited," the beliefs one was raised with are not the only factor in retaining or losing your religiosity. You stated that you were raised Catholic, but are now an atheist. I applaud you on stating that you intend to raise your children with a choice in practicing or not practicing a religion. I would say you should present your friend with that same choice: lay out the information, have discussions, but be okay if he/she still chooses to follow their religion.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 07:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: militant atheists?

Quote:
Originally Said by Tsar Phalanxia View Post
Indeed. But shouldn't we speak out against the person pushing as many people off the mountain as possible?
The faithful are trying to get to the top, just like you. Many of them will try, at any cost, to get you to join their path, because they believe with every fibre of their being that it is the only one. They are wrong, but don't hate them. They are trying to help, fundementally. They are just ignorant. They don't deserve to be pushed off teh mountain by you, either.

Everyone has the right to choose their path. Talk to them, if you think that your path is easier, or faster, or more direct, or if you think that their path will become too difficult for them, but remmember: all paths lead to the top. Even ones that you wouldn't think.
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