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Can atheists be religious?


layman77
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It's not a matter of whether or not they are atheist when identifying themselves. What the degree is indicating is how much they identify as an atheist. As in how important is it to you that you are atheist? For example, when someone asks me about being Catholic, I'd have to rate it at a 1. I was born and raised Catholic, but I don't identify myself as a Catholic.

This, IMO, shows a rather fundamental misunderstanding. You still seem to be assuming a priori that atheism is a religion or set of beliefs.

 

To make this clear, when I read your question, it sounds like this:

 

"How important is it to you that you don't believe in the easter bunny?"

Or how about, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in Zeus?"

Said another way, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in the healing power of magnets?"

Also, "How important is it to you that you don't accept astrology as a valid science?"

Hmm... Lesse... "How important is it to you that you don't believe in stork theory of childbirth?"

And, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in flying unicorns?"

What about, "How important is it to you that you don't find the evidence of alien visitation to earth very compelling?"

 

Are you sensing a trend here? Why is "how important it is to the person" at all relevant? (HINT: It's not)

 

How important is it to you that you don't believe in god(s)? Not very, but that doesn't mean I won't speak out strongly, passionately, and consistently against ignorance in all of the many forms it is often expressed, including most flavors of religious belief.

 

Oh... On another note, before this conversation can move forward, it is of critical importance that you explain to us all how important it is to you that you don't believe in puff the magic dragon. The only way we can proceed is if you first explain the degree with which you identify being an A-Puff-icist.

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Actually, there are a shed full of problems with this

"It's not a matter of whether or not they are atheist when identifying themselves. What the degree is indicating is how much they identify as an atheist. As in how important is it to you that you are atheist?"

For a start, what answer could I give to the question " how important is it to you that you are atheist?"

Is 37% a valid answer?

 

But it's still not actually important because the discrimination they suffer is due to being (known to be) an atheist so it doesn't matter if the answer is 1% or 100% or whatever.

It wouldn't matter to those doing the discriminating.

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The degree to which they identify as atheist is of importance. Those who feel more strongly about there being no god will defend that viewpoint that much more vehemently. Those who aren't concerned about it will shrug it off and move onto the next topic. This also applies to whether or not a person perceives a comment as being offensive or discriminatory.

 

"How important is it to you that you don't believe in the easter bunny?"
Or how about, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in Zeus?"
Said another way, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in the healing power of magnets?"
Also, "How important is it to you that you don't accept astrology as a valid science?"
Hmm... Lesse... "How important is it to you that you don't believe in stork theory of childbirth?"
And, "How important is it to you that you don't believe in flying unicorns?"
What about, "How important is it to you that you don't find the evidence of alien visitation to earth very compelling?"

Are you saying that astrology is a valid science? tongue.png(I'm only joking, do not take that comment seriously)

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The degree to which they identify as atheist is of importance. Those who feel more strongly about there being no god will defend that viewpoint that much more vehemently. Those who aren't concerned about it will shrug it off and move onto the next topic.

I think this is also misguided. For example, with me... I don't argue with theists because I place importance on my atheism. I don't rebut their assertions because I feel strongly about my own atheistic slant. I do it because the assertions being made by theists are in the vast majority of cases patently absurd, ludicrous and self-evidently nonsensical at best. This approach is independent of my feelings regarding my atheism and is instead tied directly to my opposition to ignorance in all of its many forms, especially of the willful variety.
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I think this is also misguided. For example, with me... I don't argue with theists because I place importance on my atheism. I don't rebut their assertions because I feel strongly about my own atheistic slant. I do it because the assertions being made by theists are in the vast majority of cases patently absurd, ludicrous and self-evidently nonsensical at best. This approach is independent of my feelings regarding my atheism and is instead tied directly to my opposition to ignorance in all of its many forms, especially of the willful variety.

 

 

For me the bottom line is the danger of religion in all it's forms. Even moderate religions have crazy fringes and those fringes drive the religious obsession with wanting a theocracy. The more moderates seem to think why would government based on their version of their religion be a bad thing because they don't know what their religion actually teaches...

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All I've seen from each of your arguments, in regards to hostility towards atheists, is that Atheism persecution is more about locale rather than the population as a whole. But how is this different from any other group that's persecuted?
The locale I am talking about is the United States of America.

 

And your lumping of atheists into a "group" is the root of the persecution, which afflicts many and quite disparate individuals - including many religious ones.

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The degree to which they identify as atheist is of importance. Those who feel more strongly about there being no god will defend that viewpoint that much more vehemently. Those who aren't concerned about it will shrug it off and move onto the next topic. This also applies to whether or not a person perceives a comment as being offensive or discriminatory.

I tend to disagree with that. I consider myself a 6 on Dawkins scale of theistic probability, a De facto atheist. I don't particularly argue that viewpoint with theists though, I let them believe what they want even if I disagree with it. If they challenge my viewpoint I give them my reasons for not believing as I do. I really don't much care if they agree with me. Many do agree that my position is valid, that it is they that have leapt to an unsupported conclusion on deities.

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As stated in the article, there are also different forms of atheism.

 

 

Yes, strong and weak, either you don't see any evidence for gods or you are sure there are no gods which of course means you need to show evidence, simply not buying what theists are selling is the default position and requires nothing in the way of evidence... BTW i am quite sure that God as described the Holy Bible is not real and i am prepared to back that up...

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The locale I am talking about is the United States of America.

 

And your lumping of atheists into a "group" is the root of the persecution, which afflicts many and quite disparate individuals - including many religious ones.

 

How can you not lump atheists into a group? Everything on Earth is grouped into one or more categories. EVERYTHING. Name one thing that doesn't fall into a category. Please. I'm begging you. Atheism is a group. There's Atheists and Theists. See, I did it right there. On a larger scale, there's organic and inorganic matter, plants and animals, planets and stars... Everything out there, every possible large group is made up of smaller groups each covering a different facet of the whole. If atheism weren't it's own group, then all people would be theists. There would be no one to doubt or disbelieve the existence of a deity. Grouping people together allows you to figure out, broadly, what they are and what they aren't. Of course to finely tune that, you would have to get to know each person and from there realize that the lines dividing some topics may be more or less blurred than others.

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How can you not lump atheists into a group? Everything on Earth is grouped into one or more categories.

 

Category is not equal to group in this context. You can categorize negatively, but you can't group negatively (is it a group if nobody shows up? On the Bible Camp bus, how many seats do they leave for the atheist group?). Atheists can be a category but they don't form a group.

 

Again, non-stamp collectors don't get together in a group, don't have anything in common universally with each other, other than stamp non-collecting. Technically, a non-stamp collector discussing the subject with a stamp collector isn't even talking about stamps, he's talking about the exact opposite, his non-stamp collecting POV.

 

Technically, if an atheist is discussing why he doesn't believe in god(s) with a theist, it's not a discussion about religion. Only the theist is trying to make it so, the atheist is trying to show why it's NOT a religion discussion. For the atheist, it's a lack of religion discussion.

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Grouping people together allows you to figure out, broadly, what they are and what they aren't.

That's why trying to lump atheistic people into a group together creates problems - because it does not allow you to figure out anything about them, but it's easy to fool yourself that it does; and that is where bigotry comes from.

 

They may or may not be religious, for example - you don't know. The OP has fallen victim to an illusion of a false grouping. Pretty soon we see people asserting that Buddhism is not a religion, but atheism is - careless grouping can take one in some very odd directions.

 

 

 

There would be no one to doubt or disbelieve the existence of a deity

Over historical time and global geography, probably, most atheistic people have never given any thought to the matter - even now, many don't "doubt" or "disbelieve", they just don't have a God. The issue hasn't come up in their lives.

 

 

 

On a larger scale, there's organic and inorganic matter, plants and animals, planets and stars... Everything out there, every possible large group is made up of smaller groups each covering a different facet of the whole

Another instructive example might be vertebrates and invertebrates. If "invertebrate" is the name of group, then your God belongs in it - correct? So does an ant, and a jellytfish, and an oak tree. So what "facet of the whole" is that?

 

What does creating the group "inorganic invertebrates" allow you to figure out about its members?

 

Notice the scope and depth of confusions possible as a side effect of creating the category "inorganic matter" - and what the effects would be of such confusions entertained about people.

Edited by overtone
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Yes, strong and weak, either you don't see any evidence for gods or you are sure there are no gods which of course means you need to show evidence, simply not buying what theists are selling is the default position and requires nothing in the way of evidence... BTW i am quite sure that God as described the Holy Bible is not real and i am prepared to back that up...

But because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why atheists can also be considered religious.

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But because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why atheists can also be considered religious.

Logic fail. Because hobbies don't necessarily involve the collection of stamps, then that explains why not collecting stamps can also be considered a hobby.
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But because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why atheists can also be considered religious
Some of them are - the Taoist, Buddhist, Animist, trad Navajo, and so forth.

 

Some of them aren't.

 

If you are wondering whether a given atheistic person is religious, ask yourself what religion they belong to. If you can't find one that fits, the first guess is that they aren't religious.

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But because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why atheists can also be considered religious.

 

I think you mean to say: because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, atheists are not necessarily irreligious.

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That's why trying to lump atheistic people into a group together creates problems - because it does not allow you to figure out anything about them, but it's easy to fool yourself that it does; and that is where bigotry comes from.

 

They may or may not be religious, for example - you don't know. The OP has fallen victim to an illusion of a false grouping. Pretty soon we see people asserting that Buddhism is not a religion, but atheism is - careless grouping can take one in some very odd directions.

 

 

 

Over historical time and global geography, probably, most atheistic people have never given any thought to the matter - even now, many don't "doubt" or "disbelieve", they just don't have a God. The issue hasn't come up in their lives.

 

 

 

Another instructive example might be vertebrates and invertebrates. If "invertebrate" is the name of group, then your God belongs in it - correct? So does an ant, and a jellytfish, and an oak tree. So what "facet of the whole" is that?

 

What does creating the group "inorganic invertebrates" allow you to figure out about its members?

 

Notice the scope and depth of confusions possible as a side effect of creating the category "inorganic matter" - and what the effects would be of such confusions entertained about people.

 

Actually it does allow you to figure out something about them right off the bat: They don't believe in a deity. And grouping isn't from where bigotry comes. Bigotry comes from ignorance or just plain stupidity. People not seeing or understanding that though there are differences between two people, they are still both people.

 

Yes, grouping can take you in odd directions, an example being you saying inorganic invertebrates. What that tells me is that this lifeform is not carbon based (so it would almost have to be extra terrestrial in origin) and that it doesn't have a backbone. .

 

And by it's very definition, Atheism is the disbelief in a deity. By this discussion even taking place, the issue has come up, and last I checked is still continuing.

 

Since when is an oak tree an animal? Pretty sure plants don't have backbones... Or a skeletal structure for that matter...

 

Inorganic matter exists all around you. Inorganic being synonymous with non carbon/hydrogen based compounds (wiki article). I fail to see how the scope of grouping inorganic matter into it's own group (which it is) would make things confusing...

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But because religion doesn't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why atheists can also be considered religious.

 

Correction: because some religions don't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why some atheists can also be considered religious.

 

And by it's very definition, Atheism is the disbelief in a deity.

 

FALSE!!! Atheism is the lack of belief in deities. It does not require that you believe there are no deities. The term atheist literally means not-theist, nothing more. There are people who have an affirmative belief that there are in fact deities and they are theist, everyone else is atheist, i.e. not-theist because they are not in the group that believe in deities. They do not have to believe there are no deities, they only need to lack belief that there are. Bottom line: you believe that the existence of one or more deities is a fact or you are atheist.

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Actually it does allow you to figure out something about them right off the bat: They don't believe in a deity.

You assumed that when you grouped and labeled them - that was your grouping criterion, remember? One doesn't make assumptions and assign labels, and then "figure out" from the labels that these assumptions are facts or those labels apply.

 

 

 

And grouping isn't from where bigotry comes.
It's the first step - assigning membership in a false group, like this:

 

, an example being you saying inorganic invertebrates. What that tells me is that this lifeform is not carbon based (so it would almost have to be extra terrestrial in origin) and that it doesn't have a backbone. .
Whoa there: Nobody said anything about "lifeform" (let alone "animal"). The criterion was "invertebrate", which you defined as anything without a backbone - just as an atheist is anyone (granting "person" - but adult? Conscious? ) without a belief in a God. If you are making more assumptions, you need to be clear - negative categories like that are dragnets, they bring in everything. That's the problem with trying to learn fom such "groups": it's easy to overlook stuff, bring in presumptions, and fool oneself.

 

btw: Technically that might make a shark an invertebrate, but I didn't get that rigorous on you - I just pointed out your God would certainly belong to your group "(living) invertebrates", as well as all known species of mushroom, all bacteria, all plants, and so forth. And I asked you what you thought you could learn by way of such a grouping. That implies a consequence or result or discovery, not an assumption or grouping criterion.

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Correction: because some religions don't necessarily involve belief in gods, then that explains why some atheists can also be considered religious.

 

FALSE!!! Atheism is the lack of belief in deities. It does not require that you believe there are no deities. The term atheist literally means not-theist, nothing more. There are people who have an affirmative belief that there are in fact deities and they are theist, everyone else is atheist, i.e. not-theist because they are not in the group that believe in deities. They do not have to believe there are no deities, they only need to lack belief that there are. Bottom line: you believe that the existence of one or more deities is a fact or you are atheist.

 

 

 

Definition of ATHEISM
1
2
a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
b : the doctrine that there is no deity

You were saying?

 

And saying that all those who don't affirm their belief in a deity makes them automatically atheist is incorrect. There are those who has not decided their position on whether or not there is a god. Those people are referred to as "agnostic".

 

 

Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2
: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>

Agnostics are the middle ground between theists and atheists. They are the ones who are "on the fence".

 

 

You assumed that when you grouped and labeled them - that was your grouping criterion, remember? One doesn't make assumptions and assign labels, and then "figure out" from the labels that these assumptions are facts or those labels apply.

 

 

 

It's the first step - assigning membership in a false group, like this:

 

Whoa there: Nobody said anything about "lifeform" (let alone "animal"). The criterion was "invertebrate", which you defined as anything without a backbone - just as an atheist is anyone (granting "person" - but adult? Conscious? ) without a belief in a God. If you are making more assumptions, you need to be clear - negative categories like that are dragnets, they bring in everything. That's the problem with trying to learn fom such "groups": it's easy to overlook stuff, bring in presumptions, and fool oneself.

 

btw: Technically that might make a shark an invertebrate, but I didn't get that rigorous on you - I just pointed out your God would certainly belong to your group "(living) invertebrates", as well as all known species of mushroom, all bacteria, all plants, and so forth. And I asked you what you thought you could learn by way of such a grouping. That implies a consequence or result or discovery, not an assumption or grouping criterion.

 

 

Things are determined by the groups they are in all the time, even if the determining factor is one of the criteria in order to be considered part of that group. A Republican is a Republican because they have identified themselves as one in addition to the other political views they hold.

 

A group is a group. There's no falsehood about it.

Part of the definition of an invertebrate is that they are animal, not plant, not anything other than life. So yeah, the lifeform criteria stands until there has been a discovery made that shows a thing that has vertebrae and has never been living. And what do you mean that's what the problem is by learning from groups? When you went to school, was every class taught by the same teacher to all the students in the school regardless of grade? Grouping allows one to be able to focus on one aspect while not focusing on others. Going back to the school example, students are grouped into grades, from that, each grade also gets divided up on the subject of class they are currently in. And even those who are studying the same subject may be in an honors class, regular or remedial.

 

And, last I checked, sharks have vertebrae. So your argument, with the exception of my misnomer (saying backbone instead of vertebrae), is invalid. And being that, if it is real, God has no known physical form, it could not possibly be known as living or nonliving, to say nothing of whether it has vertebrae. And again, a requirement of vertebrate/invertebrate is whether or not the thing in question is an animal or not. Being that mushrooms, bacteria, and plants are not animals, they can't even be considered as to whether or not they are vertebrates.

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And saying that all those who don't affirm their belief in a deity makes them automatically atheist is incorrect. There are those who has not decided their position on whether or not there is a god. Those people are referred to as "agnostic".
You need yet another term, then, for the vast majority of atheistic people who simply haven't considerd the matter for whatever reason.

 

 

Part of the definition of an invertebrate is that they are animal, not plant, not anything other than life
Is it? It wasn't when you created the group "has no backbone". Your group now is much different from that one. You still have a couple of issues to clean up, though - amoeboids, in or out? Flagellate algae? Photosynthetic flagellates? Photosynthetic non-flagellates not "plants"? Animals with partially cartilage covered notochords?

 

 

 

Things are determined by the groups they are in all the time, even if the determining factor is one of the criteria in order to be considered part of that group.
Uh, what?

 

 

 

And, last I checked, sharks have vertebrae. So your argument, with the exception of my misnomer (saying backbone instead of vertebrae), is invalid
With the exception of your continual confusions and errors minor and otherwise, all my observations of your confusions and errors minor and otherwise are invalid. So?

 

 

 

And being that, if it is real, God has no known physical form, it could not possibly be known as living or nonliving,
The Christian God is living by definition - was resurrected from the dead, if you recall, and grants eternal life to true believers. His progeny was a vertebrate.

 

 

 

A Republican is a Republican because they have identified themselves as one in addition to the other political views they hold.
Why yes - and if I asked someone what they had learned about their neighbor the Republican by lumping all the other Republicans together with their neighbor in a group, and was told that they had used the group to "figure out" that their neighbor was a Republican, I presume you would notice a certain difficulty with the response - right?
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5 pages of debate ranging onto topics like whether God has a backbone?

 

I am an atheist.

I am not religious.*

 

Therefore not all atheists are religious.

At least some people are both- notably Buddhists- so some atheists are religious.

Since not all atheists are religious, atheism is not a religion.

End of debate, surely?

 

* for all non- F***witted definitions of religious.

so, for example

from

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/religious

1. Having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity. No

2. Of, concerned with, or teaching religion: a religious text. No

3. Extremely scrupulous or conscientious: religious devotion to duty. No

1. of, relating to, or concerned with religion No
2.
a. pious; devout; godly No
b. (as collective noun; preceded by the) the religious
3. appropriate to or in accordance with the principles of a religion No
4. scrupulous, exact, or conscientious No

5. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity of or relating to a way of life dedicated to religion by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and defined by a monastic rule No

1. of or pertaining to religion: a religious holiday. No
2. imbued with religion; pious; devout. No
3. scrupulously faithful; conscientious: with religious care.No
4. pertaining to or connected with a monastic or religious order. No
5. appropriate to religion or to sacred rites or observances. No
n.
6. a member of a religious order; a monk, friar, or nun. No

 

Essentially, if you show me a definition of "religious" which includes me, I will show you why it makes no sense.

OK?

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You need yet another term, then, for the vast majority of atheistic people who simply haven't considerd the matter for whatever reason.

 

 

Is it? It wasn't when you created the group "has no backbone". Your group now is much different from that one. You still have a couple of issues to clean up, though - amoeboids, in or out? Flagellate algae? Photosynthetic flagellates? Photosynthetic non-flagellates not "plants"? Animals with partially cartilage covered notochords?

 

 

 

Uh, what?

 

 

 

With the exception of your continual confusions and errors minor and otherwise, all my observations of your confusions and errors minor and otherwise are invalid. So?

 

 

 

The Christian God is living by definition - was resurrected from the dead, if you recall, and grants eternal life to true believers. His progeny was a vertebrate.

 

 

 

Why yes - and if I asked someone what they had learned about their neighbor the Republican by lumping all the other Republicans together with their neighbor in a group, and was told that they had used the group to "figure out" that their neighbor was a Republican, I presume you would notice a certain difficulty with the response - right?

 

That term hasn't been coined and I don't consider my vocabulary skills to be high enough to determine what that phrase should be.

 

There's less difference between a vertebrae made up of cartilage and bone than no vertebrae and one made of bone.

 

Amoeba: Not Kingdom Animalia (Kingdom Protozoa)

Algae: Not Kingdom Animalia (Kingdom Protista)

Photosynthetic Flagellate (aka Green Algae): Not Kingdom Animalia (Kingdom Plantae)

The notocords are the only argument you can make of the ones listed. Clearly they belong to Animalia. Most embryos that are to develop into vertebrates start out with notocords as the support structure for muscle tissue.

 

Autocorrect mishap. "All" should have been "at".

 

I have had no confusions other than ones where your logic has fallen through. And I've only had one error and I admitted to it.

 

No, the Christian God is part of a trinity, The Father (god in the sky), The Son (human), and Holy Spirit (ethereal being). So, no, god is not living. God's son, however, would be a different story.

 

They would have a starting point to learn more about their neighbor. But as was stated previously, their individual intricacies would need to be discovered through conversation.

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layman77,

 

I stopped reading through the thread at page 3 so I apologise in advance if I largely restate the positions of other members. I think the main misconception is that atheists are viewed as a homogenous group of God-denying Science-worshippers. Firstly, not all atheists take an interest in Science or generally agree with the scientific perspective. There will be a large degree of overlap between the presence of atheistic belief and an intellectual assent with the scientific perspective. This is merely symptomatic of the fact that large numbers of people have reached the same conclusions because they have used the same thought processes to reach those conclusions - namely, reasoning, rationality and an evidence-based approach. Theists, of course, favour a faith-based approach. For this reason, the general population will tend to divide itself quite markedly, to polarise, into those who support an evidence-based approach (on the whole, atheists) versus a faith-based approach (theists).

 

Of course, all atheists lack belief in God but - as Phi has highlighted at the beginning of the debate - that is not equivalent to belief in the lack of a God. Atheism is not an active position - it is a default label placed on those who lack belief in God. All babies are born atheists - do you think that they too are conspiring in some kind of atheistic religion? Atheism is as much a religion as is non-belief in leprechauns. The primary difference between these two types of disbelief, is that atheists must constantly be reminded of, and re-state, their position because:

 

i. Theists attempt to force their religion onto others

ii. Religious types often attempt to control the thoughts and behaviours of people in multiple speheres of their lives: sexual behaviour, marriage and relationships, money matters, anything concerning any kind of morality.

 

Atheists must re-state their positions so as to stave off conversion. More importantly, atheists must reclaim from theists the spheres of public life that theists have historically taken for granted, including matters of morality, finance, sexual behaviour, marriage and relationships. Being (for the most part) tolerant folk, atheists are happy to grant theists the freedom to choose and practise their religion, so long as they keep themselves to themselves as far as these practises and opinions are concerned. When religious types begin attempting to dominate the women and children in other groups and (more commonly) their own group - religion becomes a problem. Adults (assuming that they have not been indoctrinated beyond all repair since childhood) have the freedom to choose their own religion based on their preferred methods of gleaning truth. Children are not so fortunate, especially if the familial and community pressures are strong to conform and to forego any questioning. When theists begin dominating their wives and children by maiming them (FGM) or by threatening or carrying out sexual, physical, psychological or emotional abuse - or when they initiate wars in the name of religion - or when they persecute non-believers (Inquisition) or homosexuals - you can guarantee that atheists will intervene. Damn right we will. Because humans belong to humanity not to a particular nation or religion.

Edited by Tridimity
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