Happy Atheist Forum

Community => Life As An Atheist => Topic started by: Sandra Craft on October 22, 2018, 11:24:37 PM

Title: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Sandra Craft on October 22, 2018, 11:24:37 PM
A longish article (actually, a review of two books) but an interesting one.  It not only reviews the history of atheism in America, but modern perceptions and misperceptions of atheism.  It's interesting that the books being reviewed, both by and about atheists, are in conflict with each other when atheism is viewed as monolithic by so many. 

Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism? (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/why-are-americans-still-uncomfortable-with-atheism?fbclid=IwAR2P68W4mNokoXbxsDX-k_w0dUR3l1eFf4mIK0GcdEzkL_RjagoHCErfh8M)

I was also reminded of some discussions we've had here:
Quote
This kind of apophatic theology has a lot in common with godless mysticism, Gray argues, because saying that God does not exist is not so different from saying that we cannot comprehend God’s existence. In both cases, the material world may be characterized by limited understanding and limitless wonder.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Recusant on October 23, 2018, 03:44:50 AM
John Gray has been peddling his atheism spiel for well over a decade (dining out on his sneering depiction of the so-called New Atheists, comparing them unfavorably to other atheists, quasi atheists or religious people that he prefers) and the description of his new book makes it sound like he's still covering basically the same ground. The book by Moore and Kramnick sounds more interesting.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Sandra Craft on October 23, 2018, 04:32:48 AM
John Gray has been peddling his atheism spiel for well over a decade (dining out on his sneering depiction of the so-called New Atheists, comparing them unfavorably to other atheists, quasi atheists or religious people that he prefers) and the description of his new book makes it sound like he's still covering basically the same ground. The book by Moore and Kramnick sounds more interesting.

Never heard of Gray before, and I'll admit when I saw the name I first thought of that men/Mars, women/Venus guy.  I have to assume this is not him.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Recusant on October 23, 2018, 07:00:09 PM
Years ago I did a transcript of his "New Atheism" lecture--it can be seen here (https://historum.com/threads/the-new-atheism-a-lecture-by-john-gray.140942/). I'm not sure whether you have to be a member of the site to view it. If so, there's a different transcript from a version of the same lecture from five years earlier: Transcript, John Gray: Theos/LICC lecture on "The New Atheism", 2008 (http://averageprotestant.blogspot.com/2014/04/transcript-john-gray-theoslicc-lecture.html). Note that I'm not recommending anybody put the time into reading either one, but if you're really curious. . .

I've posted about Gray's hobby-horse here before but it seems like those posts were lost in the database problems when we transferred to new forum software.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Sandra Craft on October 23, 2018, 11:10:24 PM
Note that I'm not recommending anybody put the time into reading either one, but if you're really curious. . .


I am.  Should be an interesting addition to the thread.

Edited to add: I notice the one commenter described himself as a "religious atheist".  Would have liked to hear more about that idea, too.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: No one on October 24, 2018, 03:41:52 PM
(http://www.trackie.com/track-and-field/img/layout/icon_quote.jpg) Sandra Craft:
I notice the one commenter described himself as a "religious atheist"

This chap is clearly confused.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: xSilverPhinx on October 27, 2018, 04:00:15 PM
(http://www.trackie.com/track-and-field/img/layout/icon_quote.jpg) Sandra Craft:
I notice the one commenter described himself as a "religious atheist"

This chap is clearly confused.

'Religious atheist'. How truly oxymoronic!
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Icarus on December 20, 2018, 02:42:11 AM
Religious Theist term is a puzzlement.  Sounds like the individual is playing both sides of the fence just to be safe. .........Pascals wager or whatever.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 25, 2019, 01:40:39 PM
(http://www.trackie.com/track-and-field/img/layout/icon_quote.jpg) Sandra Craft:
I notice the one commenter described himself as a "religious atheist"

This chap is clearly confused.

'Religious atheist'. How truly oxymoronic!

The problem is that most atheists are using an incorrect definition of religion.

Chances are you trust the definition that religion is "the belief and worship of god(s)." The problem is that such a definition is a redundant category error that. There is not enough difference between the definitions of "belief," and "worship," to justify the conjunction to distinguish religion from theism. Belief is a form of worship. If a person believes in god, but does nothing else to suggest to the observant atheists that he is worshiping the god, the atheists are still going to describe him as religious - you will never come across atheists suggesting that someone is a theist, but not religious. It gets really silly when we begin to assign relative degrees of religious, and . . . atheism.

I have never run into people uncomfortable with atheism, except atheists.

Atheists have the same problem that all extremist demographic groupings have - they like to claim to be the victims of oppression, and devise all sorts of derivative arguments to support their claim, rather than actually proving their value to progressing better community and society.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Icarus on January 26, 2019, 04:06:22 AM
SC, If you have never run into people uncomfortable with atheism except atheists, you must surely have been living in a cave in outer Mongolia. 

Atheists are the most reviled of all humanity as far as the very religious ones are concerned..Certain of the religious faiths are obligated to kill us because we are infidels to them. 

As a matter of fact I am not acquainted with any atheist who is uncomfortable with his/her atheism except for the threats of destruction of we unbelievers by the religious zealots. ......
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 26, 2019, 03:28:11 PM
SC, If you have never run into people uncomfortable with atheism except atheists, you must surely have been living in a cave in outer Mongolia.
Yeah, that's what it is.

Atheists are the most reviled of all humanity as far as the very religious ones are concerned..
Well, I will bet that there are many black people that would make that claim. Your inability to recognize that possibility indicates a lack of sensitivity to the plight of black people, and that leads me to suspect that you are a racist - white supremacist.

Certain of the religious faiths are obligated to kill us because we are infidels to them.
As a matter of fact I am not acquainted with any atheist who is uncomfortable with his/her atheism except for the threats of destruction of we unbelievers by the religious zealots. ......
Yeah, they are not inclined to admit their irrational fears when in the company of their peers who expect them to be strong and independent critical thinkers leading the charge to make the world a better place by eradicating theism.

Atheists are constantly purging themselves of their discomfort on these atheist forums - you just don't understand it that way.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: xSilverPhinx on January 26, 2019, 03:37:01 PM
Atheists are the most reviled of all humanity as far as the very religious ones are concerned..
Well, I will bet that there are many black people that would make that claim. Your inability to recognize that possibility indicates a lack of sensitivity to the plight of black people, and that leads me to suspect that you are a racist - white supremacist.

:picard facepalm:

For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 26, 2019, 07:43:25 PM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 26, 2019, 08:13:03 PM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

Never met an atheist who claimed to be persecuted. Not once. Ever.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Bluenose on January 27, 2019, 11:21:03 AM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

Never met an atheist who claimed to be persecuted. Not once. Ever.

Me neither.  Nor have I met any atheists who huddle in their communities bashing theists.  In fact atheists like myself don't think about theists at all until and unless the theists attempt to push their belief onto us.  I'm not sure what exactly SC is trying to get at, but I am not sure I appreciate his arrogantly sneering characterisations of what atheists are and what they do.  SC, you do not speak for all atheists and you are a fool to think that it is even possible to describe them as a group apart from their disbelief in the supernatural.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 27, 2019, 11:42:39 AM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

Never met an atheist who claimed to be persecuted. Not once. Ever.

Me neither.  Nor have I met any atheists who huddle in their communities bashing theists.  In fact atheists like myself don't think about theists at all until and unless the theists attempt to push their belief onto us.  I'm not sure what exactly SC is trying to get at, but I am not sure I appreciate his arrogantly sneering characterisations of what atheists are and what they do.  SC, you do not speak for all atheists and you are a fool to think that it is even possible to describe them as a group apart from their disbelief in the supernatural.

Exactly.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Bad Penny II on January 27, 2019, 11:53:39 AM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

Never met an atheist who claimed to be persecuted. Not once. Ever.

Me neither.  Nor have I met any atheists who huddle in their communities bashing theists.  In fact atheists like myself don't think about theists at all until and unless the theists attempt to push their belief onto us.  I'm not sure what exactly SC is trying to get at, but I am not sure I appreciate his arrogantly sneering characterisations of what atheists are and what they do.  SC, you do not speak for all atheists and you are a fool to think that it is even possible to describe them as a group apart from their disbelief in the supernatural.

I'm sure atheists have been persecuted.
I have the radio on most of the time and there are few programs dedicated to the believers.
For decades, a few hours a week I've I heard the yammering of the religious.
They do seem to think we lack something basic, that's OK, the feeling is mutual.
I don't claim to be persecuted, if I thought I would be I'd be circumspect.


He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

That is quite a leap.
It seems irrational, as in not rational.
Can we query if he's been taking his meds?
No, I don't think so, not yet.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: xSilverPhinx on January 27, 2019, 12:22:35 PM
For someone who claims to be smart, you have a very narrow assessment of Icarus based on his words.
He is wrong. He, like most all atheists, are claiming to be persecuted, because they cannot prove that atheism is the better approach to peaceful community and society. Instead of pursuing building a reliable system for the review of reason, atheists, are mirroring the erroneous actions of their perceived oppressors - atheists huddle in their communities (safe places) and bash the theists, and claim to be persecuted and oppressed.

:eyeroll: So many generalisations in one place...you know stereotyping is not a hallmark of intelligence, right?

Just as you do not have an accurate assessment of other people, it seems you do not have an accurate assessment of yourself. Anyway, I'd just like to second what Bluenose said:

Me neither.  Nor have I met any atheists who huddle in their communities bashing theists.  In fact atheists like myself don't think about theists at all until and unless the theists attempt to push their belief onto us.  I'm not sure what exactly SC is trying to get at, but I am not sure I appreciate his arrogantly sneering characterisations of what atheists are and what they do.  SC, you do not speak for all atheists and you are a fool to think that it is even possible to describe them as a group apart from their disbelief in the supernatural.
 
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Bad Penny II on January 27, 2019, 01:28:57 PM
Me neither.  Nor have I met any atheists who huddle in their communities bashing theists. 

I have, I came here some years ago from https://atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/ (https://atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/)

I don't know what they're like now but they were a strange bunch back then.
Some might of been venting the outrage of the abused, the others channelling vicariously.
A Christian would come to say hello.
They'd do the polite welcome, we are a place of free discourse thing and then the visitor would be pilloried, held to account for every evil ever done by a churchy.

I'll still mock Christians occasionally but it is with the understanding that quite a few are smarter than me, many are better humans than me.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Bad Penny II on January 27, 2019, 01:58:40 PM
This site was named Happy Atheist Forum to differentiate itself from others.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Bad Penny II on January 27, 2019, 02:26:01 PM
There's not that many Atheist forums.
Ye so?
We are 3rd most popular fourm maybe, don't have very many active members
Others have commented on that.
There must be many millions of atheists.
Ye.
We're not very good at huddling.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 27, 2019, 03:35:26 PM
Atheists "huddle" on these forums, and at the Meetups, to bash theists - that is what you do the most. There is very little, if any advancement of resolving the recurring disagreements that I am all about. For the fifteen years I have been monitoring atheist forums the discussions about the definitions of "atheism," and "religion," continue to be debated - that is not how science and reason works. Something is wrong with how atheists are discriminating reason - you are not doing it, and the Christians are going to do it for you, if you do not wake up.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: xSilverPhinx on January 27, 2019, 08:55:48 PM
Atheists "huddle" on these forums, and at the Meetups, to bash theists - that is what you do the most. There is very little, if any advancement of resolving the recurring disagreements that I am all about. For the fifteen years I have been monitoring atheist forums the discussions about the definitions of "atheism," and "religion," continue to be debated - that is not how science and reason works. Something is wrong with how atheists are discriminating reason - you are not doing it, and the Christians are going to do it for you, if you do not wake up.

Science is not about dogma, which is what you seem to want to instill in the 'debate'. An end-all definition that you find to adequately encompass atheists and atheism while not taking into consideration that atheists are a diverse group of people. Your view is too simplistic, and your 'solutions' are as well.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Icarus on January 27, 2019, 10:14:35 PM
Atheists "huddle" on these forums, and at the Meetups, to bash theists - that is what you do the most. 

Something is wrong with how atheists are discriminating reason - you are not doing it, and the Christians are going to do it for you, if you do not wake up.


You are sadly misinformed SC.  Atheists do not huddle for the purpose of bashing theists.  In my introductory greeting I mentioned that we are not here to bash theists. We are here to exchange ideas and developments that have little or nothing to do with religion.  I invite you once more to scan the HAF menu .  We have as many sections devoted to music, current events, media, etc,  as we do religion.

Truth to tell, most of us are entirely bored with discussions about religions.  We seldom bother with such uninteresting conversations. 

Please explain more about that last bit where atheists are deficient in discriminating reason.  I must not have paid sufficient attention to reality because I have overestimated the intellects of brilliant non believer people like......say  Richard Feinman,  Lawrence Kraus,  N. D. Tyson even.   Matter of fact we have more than one person here at HAF  who are enviably well informed, capable of shrewd objective reasoning,  are professional scientists and do not waste much time bashing theists.

We have neither need nor prior inclination to bash theists. There are enough professionals who do that in our stead.  Think of Dawkins, Steele, Ray, Harris, Silverman, along with plenty of others like  Avalos, Ehrman, and so on.  They are good at what they do.  If you are unfamiliar with these names and have not yet read their books or heard their lectures then you have not qualified yourself to adjudicate the scientific, historical, and sociological implications of the nonbelievers.  It will be a cold day in hell when Christians like Hovind, Robertson, Falwell and  the rest can help us understand the scientific method  or the concepts of rational reasoning

Please explain your position and provide evidence that leads you to your odd conclusions.  Do it quickly because these conversations are becoming more and more tedious.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on January 28, 2019, 12:46:58 AM
Atheists here are a bunch of sweety-poos who don't want to hurt anyone. I'm an American and not uncomfortable with them. You just have to get to know them.  Good folks (an occasional asshole, but nothing different than any other population).
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 28, 2019, 07:32:41 AM
Atheists here are a bunch of sweety-poos who don't want to hurt anyone. I'm an American and not uncomfortable with them. You just have to get to know them.  Good folks (an occasional asshole, but nothing different than any other population).
I'm not often an arsehole. Fucking yank spelling!  ;D
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on January 28, 2019, 12:23:55 PM
Atheists here are a bunch of sweety-poos who don't want to hurt anyone. I'm an American and not uncomfortable with them. You just have to get to know them.  Good folks (an occasional asshole, but nothing different than any other population).
I'm not often an arsehole. Fucking yank spelling!  ;D

I wasn’t thinking of you.  You’re a grumpy sweety-poo at times, but usually well-behaved.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 28, 2019, 03:31:45 PM
Please explain your position and provide evidence that leads you to your odd conclusions.  Do it quickly because these conversations are becoming more and more tedious.
The number of posts and topics concerning religion and atheism overwhelm the rest of the forum discussion statistics.

Life as an Atheist   16518 posts        280 topics
Parenting                 2231 posts         59 topics
Religion                 75146 posts       1672 topics
Creationism             9286 posts        182 topics

Current Events       29067 posts        946 topics
Politics                   13683 posts        248 topics
Social Issues           8672 posts        192 topics

Miscellaneous          5401 posts        141 topics
Music                       8778 posts         63 topics
Media                     17258 posts        630 topics
Philosophy             25927 posts        528 topics
Science                  24349 posts       1160 topics

Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 28, 2019, 04:08:15 PM
Please explain your position and provide evidence that leads you to your odd conclusions.  Do it quickly because these conversations are becoming more and more tedious.
The number of posts and topics concerning religion and atheism overwhelm the rest of the forum discussion statistics.

Life as an Atheist   16518 posts        280 topics
Parenting                 2231 posts         59 topics
Religion                 75146 posts       1672 topics
Creationism             9286 posts        182 topics

Current Events       29067 posts        946 topics
Politics                   13683 posts        248 topics
Social Issues           8672 posts        192 topics

Miscellaneous          5401 posts        141 topics
Music                       8778 posts         63 topics
Media                     17258 posts        630 topics
Philosophy             25927 posts        528 topics
Science                  24349 posts       1160 topics

How convenient you ignore the Laid Back Lounge with 150,000 posts.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 28, 2019, 05:13:37 PM
If you do the job properly, not disingenuously as you have done, this is the proportion of post activity in the top 10 boards.

(https://imageshack.com/a/img922/8093/tpiF1v.jpg)

I have ordered the boards in clockwise order from the most religiously to the least religiously orientated. The three most religiously orientated represent 25% of the total and the least three a shade over 50%. And it's people like you and theists who come here that are responsible for the vast majority on religious/atheistic discussion. Religious discussion is almost exclusively reactive to the theists who come here.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 28, 2019, 05:17:08 PM
Obviously now any statistics you quote here will have no credibility whatsoever as you are evidently capable of twisting figures to suit yourself.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Buddy on January 28, 2019, 07:15:24 PM


How convenient you ignore the Laid Back Lounge with 150,000 posts.

I was going to say... the laid back lounge is the most popular part of the forum (and why I love this place so much!)
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 28, 2019, 09:11:17 PM
Obviously now any statistics you quote here will have no credibility whatsoever as you are evidently capable of twisting figures to suit yourself.
I didn't even look at the numbers - I read the title and just disregarded it all together

I don't have any credibility whatsoever around here, anyway. You are all inclined to adhere to what you have known to be true and are not inclined to question it, even though, you recognize that there is dispute and discrepancies in the definitions; and that the procedure for editing dictionaries is not so scientific as what some people are beginning to expect of dictionary definitions, because of the increased access to information and search for reliable references.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: SidewalkCynic on January 28, 2019, 11:28:35 PM
Science is not about dogma, which is what you seem to want to instill in the 'debate'. An end-all definition that you find to adequately encompass atheists and atheism while not taking into consideration that atheists are a diverse group of people. Your view is too simplistic, and your 'solutions' are as well.

I understand that atheists are a diverse group. Every demographic grouping claims to be a diverse group. Nobody claims to be a monolithic grouping.

Atheists have a dogma - it is obvious, because of the recurring debate as to the definition of "atheism." Some have it right, and some have it wrong - that's dogma. Remember, "atheists are a diverse group of people."

The problem is that "atheism," is an improper designation for an ontology, the metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology

When people refer to atheism as a decision of some sorts, they are unwittingly classifying it as an ontology - it is wrong. The proper ontology is humanism. That leaves atheism to be a political doctrine, which makes sense. Because when theism is eradicated, We are not going to refer to ourselves as atheists, anymore, because it would be stupid to refer to oneself as the antithesis of something that does not exist. If there are no theists, there is no reason to call yourself an, "atheist." "Humanist," is the correct solution.

Atheism is the political doctrine that opposes theist doctrine as the basis for public policy - the ambition is to eradicate theism by sanctioning only the reasoned reliable policies that lead to world peace.
Title: Re: "Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?"
Post by: Tank on January 29, 2019, 07:50:48 AM
Obviously now any statistics you quote here will have no credibility whatsoever as you are evidently capable of twisting figures to suit yourself.
I didn't even look at the numbers - I read the title and just disregarded it all together

I don't have any credibility whatsoever around here, anyway. You are all inclined to adhere to what you have known to be true and are not inclined to question it, even though, you recognize that there is dispute and discrepancies in the definitions; and that the procedure for editing dictionaries is not so scientific as what some people are beginning to expect of dictionary definitions, because of the increased access to information and search for reliable references.

Awww. Did the nasty man call out your intellectual dishonesty.  :therethere: