Atheists

I really have to ask this question of you atheists out there. If you deny the existence of GOD, if you deny that there is supernatural powers at work, if you deny that there are spiritual forces that influence or guide humans, or if you deny that there is a higher power. That all of these things do not exist, then why do you care if someone;

  1. Quotes the Bible in a school
  2. Quotes the bible in an office space
  3. Why can’t a restaurant owner give a discount for someone who has a church bulletin
  4. Why can’t there be a display of the Ten Commandments at a court house
  5. Sing religious themed Christmas carols at school
  6. Have Prayer at a high school sporting event, or any event for that matter

I could go on with the absurdity of the atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation beliefs and actions. Yes I said absurdity, because your actions and beliefs contradict what you are trying to espouse.

If you truly believed in the nonexistence of GOD, if you truly believed that there is no supernatural powers at work, if you truly believed that there are no spiritual forces that influence or guide humans, if you truly believed that there is not a higher power, then what do you care? Really why do you care? If all this stuff is bunk to you then why are you so threatened? What possible outcome of all of this “Religious” thought do you think is going to cause such irreparable harm? If all of this “Religious” stuff has no meaning or power to you then how does it affect your life? Why do you give it a second thought? Why is it OMG or OM… insert whatever, they said a prayer, they read a bible, or they put a plaque on a school wall that had the word GOD on it. Are you really that threatened? If all of this has no meaning to you, has no power to you, and that it does not exist, what, tell me, what could possibly come from it?

I think you actions, beliefs, and misuse of the justice system to forcibly indoctrinate and evangelize “YOUR” beliefs and values on society reveal that you actually are threatened by the GOD you deny and don’t believe in. Your actions actually reinforce the existence of GOD, it reinforces that there is supernatural powers at work, it reinforces that there are spiritual forces that influence or guide humans, it reinforces that there is a higher power.

I see spiritual influence in atheism and it is not good. We are warned about this many times over;

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Romans 16: 17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Habakkuk 1:1-4 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

I wouldn’t care if no one ever acted on their religious convictions in such a way that it intrudes in the public sphere. But since any serious commitment toward religion entails behaviors that will impact society at large, it needs to be addressed.

I know everyone hates Santa Claus analogies, but here it is: If lots of people believed in Santa and their beliefs impacted social policy and what children are exposed to in educational settings, you wouldn’t question why such a thing should be opposed.

Everyone hates the Santa Claus analogy because it isn’t a good analogy. Santa Claus is not a reasonable belief system like Catholicism is - Santa Claus is just a legendary figure based in Christian hagiography. The two concepts are not comparable, as Santa Claus isn’t a 2,000 year old religion steeped in philosophical tradition.

So if lots of people in a democratic society believe in, say, Catholicism, then of course Catholicism should impact all aspects of life. Faith informs the public life of believers as much as it does their private lives. You can’t be Catholic in your home and something else in the public arena. If a society is religious and that religion is reasonable (in that it upholds the dignity of human life, protects freedom, and defends inalienable rights) - then not only should it be proclaimed in the public sphere, it has a right to be in the public sphere.

Belief in Santa Claus does none of those things, and therefore is useless. I’m trying to display how one religion can be better than another.

As of now, less than 2% of America is made up of bona fide (pun intended) atheists. The noise they make over Christians attempting to live their faith is disproportionate, unwarranted and usually hostile. By practicing their Christian faith, Christians in no way coerce atheists to do anything they don’t want to do.

Precisely. If you grant the rights listed below to Christians, you MUST grant them to everyone else in any free society. I can just see the confusion around the various holidays that are almost certain to be demanded by people of other faiths.
We have Christmas off…why not an Islamic holy day? Or honor a Buddhist day of celebration? And so on…
The problem is that the radicals in any group are never happy until everyone believes as they believe. Islam is going through approximately the same phase as Christianity did 500 years ago. What is the real difference between trying to establish a Caliphate and a Crusade?

This is something that confounded me even when I was an atheist years ago. How does the explicit Constitutional liberty that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion get translated into meaning that even passive expressions of religiosity are forbidden in the public sphere?

Many teachers are harassed or punished for even wearing crosses, let alone the recurring event of students being punished for simply saying “bless you” to a fellow sneezing student.

It’s all just a part of a general wave of hostility towards outward displays of piety (or perceived piety). It’s not just an atheist issue, though. Even among Christians, many of them are made extremely uncomfortable by the idea of religion passing over the demarcation between the “Real World” and their “Religious Life.” This separation is a cultural issue that, like others, comes and goes in waves. It’s a symptom of many other cultural issues in the West, though. What exactly will turn the tide, I am not entirely sure. Prayer is always a good start.

Don’t lump all atheists together please. Most atheists actually don’t have a problem with the things you describe. I know many atheists who send their kids to Catholic schools, have no problem with religious aspects of their culture - just figuring it is part of the culture, etc.

The vocal minority who want to actually prevent others from expressing religious beliefs in public you are referring to, is actually a small minority I think. But again, there is no organized group of all atheists or something so who really knows the numbers.

Don’t let folks like the ‘Freedom of Religion’ group control the conversation. Their leader is an ex-fundamentalist who seems to be lost when he found out that everything in the bible wasn’t literally exactly true to his simple way of thinking that he insisted that God conform to. Now he is on a mission to remove religion. Very black and white thinking.

Everyone, regardless of their religion, has the same inherent rights. The right to life being the most fundamental. Inherent rights must be protected at all costs. But when you begin to call everything a “right”, the meaning off the word becomes watered down. Before you know it, we find ourselves in a situation like today’s where people argue that they have a “right” to do whatever they want. They call this “freedom”. And the irony is that by giving ourselves license to do whatever we want, we have actually restricted our freedom by enslaving ourselves to individuality and violated the rights of societies most vulnerable. Freedom does not equate to giving everyone what they want. It is precisely this relativist mentality that is eroding the foundations of moral society. Freedom and rights are bestowed and upheld in light of absolute Truth.

For the same reasons people would be “opposed” to homeopathy. For the most part, homeopathy seems innocuous enough, drinking water isn’t going to hurt anyone. However, there are people who will eschew real medicine for this quackery. Homeopaths could inadvertently harm themselves or others because of their wrong beliefs; for example advising people against vaccines, or cancer treatments.

In the same way, your list seems innocuous enough, but each one can have subtle and detrimental impacts on people and society.

Can’t the same be said of atheism? It certainly is a conviction and a belief system. And atheists are certainly acting on their convictions.in ways that intrude upon the public sphere. Why should an atheistic belief system be given preference? Any attempt to preclude any belief system from ‘intruding’ on the public sphere is only a veiled attempt to enforce the belief system of the beholder. It is a statement, loud and clear, “My belief system is better than yours.” And therefore very hypocritical.

Aesop must have had the Freedom From Religion Foundation in mind when he wrote “The Dog in the Manger”:

**A Dog, looking for a place to nap, jumped into the Manger of an Ox and lay there cosily upon the straw. But soon the Ox, returning from its afternoon work, came up to the Manger wanting to eat some of the hay. The Dog, being awakened from its slumber, stood up barking, growling and baring it’s teeth, and whenever the hungry Ox came near to eat, would attempt to bite it. At last the Ox gave up, and went away muttering:

" Ah, people often begrudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves"**

FFRF’s motto: “We don’t believe, and neither should you!” Some of the more militant atheists use the argument that they are sick of “having religion shoved down our throats”. Please. Where in this society is religion truly “shoved down our throats”?

Dogs in Mangers.

This really is not the case. A non-sectarian nation is not motivated to give a religion its holy days off by a general commitment to freedom or equal treatment of everyone. They are national holidays because a lot of people celebrate them. No such accommodation is necessary if few people practice a religion. So an employer should allow a Muslim to take Islamic holy days off, and the government should ensure that people are not forced to violate reasonable religious commitments, but no one’s rights are violated if the country does not suspend work for the holidays of every religion.

I’m not sure how this is “the problem” in any way analogous to religious holidays. Having Christmas off is not at all similar to coerced conversion.

Well, contemporary attempts to establish a Caliphate have often been accompanied with offering a trilemma to religious minorities living in a territory: convert, leave, or die. By contrast the Crusades were initiated in response to Islamic conquest of Palestine and Constantinople over the preceding several hundred years.

That may be what they think they are saying, but in reality they can only be saying “We believe that there is no God, and you should believe the same as us.”

But the difference is clear: We object to formulating policy on the basis of beliefs about Santa Claus because Santa Claus is a fictional entity based on a historical person (St. Nicholas), and there is wide consensus that Santa Claus is a myth. It is impossible to conduct a thought experiment by stipulating that people have entirely different attitudes toward Santa Claus (ie. that he is not a myth constructed out of another historical personality, that belief in him motivates certain policies, etc.) than they currently do, since there is little more to Santa Claus than what our society has attributed to him.

By contrast, most religions are serious enterprises to which mature people commit their lives. They often make historical and philosophical claims about which there is reasonable disagreement. Liberalism is defined by accommodating parties who are involved in otherwise intractable disagreements.

It’s not that I “hate” Santa Claus analogies. It’s that they are terrible analogies.

The Santa Claus comparison is arbitrary. Indeed, Christians would be unhappy if any other religion were given the same privileges in Western society as their own. I guarantee that Christians would be fighting tooth and nail to keep Allah out of schools if Muslims were the majority. The fact that Islam is an old religion steeped in philosophical tradition is utterly irrelevant.

So if lots of people in a democratic society believe in, say, Catholicism, then of course Catholicism should impact all aspects of life.

Certainly if the majority believes something, it will have a noticeable effect on society. But if the minority disagrees, it is their duty to be vocal. Silence is consent when it comes to politics.

As of now, less than 2% of America is made up of bona fide (pun intended) atheists. The noise they make over Christians attempting to live their faith is disproportionate, unwarranted and usually hostile. By practicing their Christian faith, Christians in no way coerce atheists to do anything they don’t want to do.

Christianity has many privileges and influences the social policies people support. If I think that people are making judgments about social policy on the basis of a delusion, isn’t it my obligation to criticize them?

Let me make it clear that I am not advocating censorship of religion (keeping religion out of school isn’t censorship, however). The OP asked why we atheists care about whether or not people believe in something they don’t believe in. I am simply addressing that question.

What does an atheist believe? I know what they don’t believe, of course, but a lack of belief isn’t a belief.

And atheists are certainly acting on their convictions.in ways that intrude upon the public sphere. Why should an atheistic belief system be given preference? Any attempt to preclude any belief system from ‘intruding’ on the public sphere is only a veiled attempt to enforce the belief system of the beholder.

Most atheists aren’t advocating censorship. They are trying to keep religion out of social policy.

Refer to what I said above about the comparison being an arbitrary one. Grant any other religion the same privileges given to Christianity and watch the Christians go berserk.

Theists believe there is a God
Agnostics don’t believe anything, therefore they leave the question as unresolved.
Atheists believe that there is no God. To state that theists are wrong is to embrace the antithesis. The only way theists can be wrong is if there is no God. To state that there is no God, when it remains unproven, is to embrace a belief.

Understood and believe it to be true as well. But, I believe that the major objection remains that there are atheists who are attempting to force their beliefs on the world. Without adequate proof that there is no God, this is as objectionable (even perhaps more so) than what they accuse theists of doing.

There are many formulations of atheism. Sometimes an atheist is a “strong atheist” who claims God doesn’t exist, and something they are “weak or soft atheists” who simply don’t believe.

And it is perfectly reasonable to question people’s beliefs when you don’t claim to be certain yourself. For example, if one of your relatives told you they were going to spend their life savings on lottery tickets, you would probably try to convince them otherwise, even if you granted the possibility that they may win. Questioning the foundation of a belief doesn’t amount to asserting its negation.

You are behind the times here. Islam is already being given the same privileges, and in some cases, given preference over Christian holidays in public schoools even where there are little to no Muslims to celebrate such holidays. It’s the Christians who are being told they cannot have their holidays, not other faiths, even if every student is Christian. No one’s faith should be negated and set aside from our schools or the public square. That’s the very definition of freedom of expression.

In the rare cases in which Muslims are given perks, the Christians are quite vocal about it. I don’t even watch the news regularly, yet I’ve seen the Christian commentators deriding it.

But honestly, you guys have been asking for it for a long time. We tried to warn you: don’t give religion an inch, or it will take a mile, and eventually it won’t be your religion that wins. But nobody listens to the secularists. You could have had neutrality, but you instead chose bias, and now it’s too late to appeal to the same separation of Church and State Christians have been trying to dismantle for decades.

Other faiths can celebrate all they want. We have no problem with that. We do have a problem being told that our faith is the ONLY ONE that will not/cannot be celebrated. Open your eyes. This is what is happening, not repression of Islam or of atheists.

But honestly, you guys have been asking for it for a long time. We tried to warn you: don’t give religion an inch, or it will take a mile, and eventually it won’t be your religion that wins.

“Been asking for it?” How kind of you. :stuck_out_tongue: No one has anything “coming to them” merely for exercising their constitutional freedoms–not even atheists. Attackers always justify their actions by using that phrase. You may want to think about that.

Many have said the Church will fail over the last 2000+ years. But no one, not from the inside or the outside–and believe me it hasn’t been for a lack of trying or lack of sinfulness-- has been able to destroy Christ’s Church and the faith he founded because it is God’s making not ours. You’ll have to tell him that, not us. :wink:

But nobody listens to the secularists. You could have had neutrality, but you instead chose bias, and now it’s too late to appeal to the same separation of Church and State Christians have been trying to dismantle for decades.

We had neutrality but there are some atheists who are not content with that. They want to kill faith, as well as the freedom of expression all Americans enjoy. Unless you rewrite the Constitution, you can’t win that battle in the USA.

We don’t advocate the separation of Church and State so we make no appeal to that idea, which is not in the Consititution but a phrase pulled from the thin air by opponents to faith of any kind.

Eh? Lots of businesses grant Christmas as a holiday. I see Christmas decorations in public space. Employees wish me a merry Christmas all the time. My high school had a Bible study group, and my university allows street preaching. I think those guys have handed me enough psalm booklets and pamphlets to fuel a bonfire.

“Been asking for it?” How kind of you. :stuck_out_tongue: No one has anything “coming to them” merely for exercising their constitutional freedoms–not even atheists. Attackers always justify their actions by using that phrase. You may want to think about that.

I’m saying that the “majority should always win” mentality eventually backfires. Yes, we make tough decisions through majority vote in a democracy. But basic liberties, what should be taught in schools, what should be considered a valid exception of healthcare policy (Hobby Lobby, I’m looking at you), etc., should not be up to the whims of the majority.

I don’t care that 80% of Americans believe in the same unverifiable entity. Wthout substantiation, it shouldn’t serve as a basis for social policy.

We had neutrality but there are some atheists who are not content with that.

Here’s what neutrality would entail, for starters:

-No nationally recognized religious holidays like Christmas or Easter
-Start taxing churches OR keep track of their funds like other charities
-Take references to God off our currency
-Stop prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays in “dry” counties
-Hold private schools in general to minimal standards befitting a 21st-century science education
-Replace religious oaths taken in court and inaugurations with secular versions
-Take the laws that prohibit atheists from running for political office (9 states have these, I think) off the books

Need I go on? This isn’t neutrality.

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