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Atheists on belief threads. Why?

(411 Posts)
DioneTheDiabolist Thu 21-Mar-13 22:55:59

While there are sometimes interesting threads where atheists and believers discuss and debate religion, it seems to me that increasingly atheists only come onto threads here to poopoo or disrespect the beliefs of others.

Am I right about this and if not then what is the reasoning behind the posts where atheists call the beliefs of others rubbish etc?

CoteDAzur Fri 22-Mar-13 08:20:24

It is tempting because there is always the hope that they might eventually start questioning their conditioning beliefs themselves.

waltermittymissus Fri 22-Mar-13 08:21:30

But why is it any of your business Cote? Genuine question.

msrisotto Fri 22-Mar-13 08:22:41

"I think the difference is that faith and religion are more complicated,"

Well that may be why you find it annoying that atheists come on threads and challenge your beliefs, but for atheists, religion really has no special status and is open for challenge just like a scientific hypothesis.

Think of it this way, if you saw a thread where people were arguing the finer points of alien culture, you may find yourself compelled to present alternatives.

I am an atheist but don't generally find myself in this section.

CoteDAzur Fri 22-Mar-13 08:25:37

I'm not sure what you mean, Walter.

All topics on MN are everyone's "business". I come and post on this topic as I go and post on Sleep or Baby Names.

What seems to be the problem?

saintlyjimjams Fri 22-Mar-13 08:28:40

Because they think they're clever (written as an atheist myself). And they think it makes them look intellectual.

seeker Fri 22-Mar-13 08:28:45

"And the smugness makes me want to tear my eyeballs out! Not because they make me doubt or believe anything differently, but because they're so annoying! "

Hang on- are Christians calling atheists smug???????grin

I wouldn't go on a prayer thread, obviously. But I am endlessly fascinated by belief and faith and non belief and philosophy, so I love talking about it and debating it.

And any thread where Christians talk about how they are persecuted in Britain today is a bit of a red rag to me. And how it it absolutely fine for there to be Church schools, and obligatory Christian worship in a state schools. That makes me a bit cross.

saintlyjimjams Fri 22-Mar-13 08:28:56

It always makes me side with the believers. grin

seeker Fri 22-Mar-13 08:32:53

I think as well, the fact that Christianity has a privileged place in society is a problem. If it was just a matter of what individuals believed, then it is none of my business, although I enjoy discussing complex and difficult stuff like that. But it isn't a matter of what individuals believe- it impacts on all our lives, whether we want it to or not.

ubik Fri 22-Mar-13 08:34:39

I'm an atheist and don't tend to post on those boards. Sometimes faith issues come up on the more general threads and I will post.

There are times when I am just shock at the intricacies of Catholicism fir example, how these rules are formulated based on supernatural, medieval beliefs, and people take them seriously! As an atheist I marvel at all this.

I also find it confusing when, for example, there are threads about homophobia in religious faith - Catholicism + Islam - but posters all deny that they believe this...and you wonder why some rules are followed and others are not - surely God is in charge and you have to follow the rules.

I'm not a fan of the sneering Dawkins style attitude though, I find it arrogant and irritating and I don't like rudeness.

DomesticCEO Fri 22-Mar-13 08:35:20

Walter, maybe because many atheists would like to see a world free of religion and all the division, intolerance and bigotry that comes with it?

I don't know this is the answer, just guessing!

Arcticwaffle Fri 22-Mar-13 08:43:04

I'm a card carrying Dawkins-style atheist but I used to post on religion threads, though not so much lately. I grew up in an evangelical Christian household, as a teenager I was a keen Christian, and really, after 20 years of that I feel I do know an awful lot about Christianity.

Plus I feel angry at the effect, very negative in my view, that this had on me and many of my peers. In that sense I think that religion matters. I wish there had been more atheists engaging in debate with me when I was young. Growing up there were lots of people being actively Christian but the atheists I knew tended to keep quiet. And I think that's problematic, children and young people are often taught about religion but they don't always hear the counter-arguments from adults they respect.

waltermittymissus Fri 22-Mar-13 08:52:41

Cote I'm not talking about specifically posting on MN.

You said you hoped that conditioned believers would eventually change their views and I wonder why their beliefs have anything to do with you.

I think it's important that I state here and now I have no problem with theological debate. I think it's important and interesting and certainly it's not for me to have a problem with it anyway!

But I gathered OP was talking about threads where believers are supporting each other and along comes the atheist full of self-importance and self-appointed superiority to slag everyone off. That's what annoys me.

I've said it a thousand times in rl. I believe what I believe. For my own personal reasons. I don't shove my beliefs down anyone's throat (though I'm oft accused of it simply by believing in god, without ever having actually said anything), so I don't see why I can't be extended the same courtesy.

It's not the matrix. I don't need my mind to be freed. I've come to my own conclusions as a reasonably intelligent adult and I don't want or need to be brow beaten into thinking anything different!

BinarySolo Fri 22-Mar-13 08:56:14

I'm not an atheist but I am fairly anti religion. That's my choice and I respect other people's choices just as I'd like them to respect mine. I was on a thread about Catholic priests which was very interesting, and more so because posters seem genuinely interested in debating rather than having a religious bun fight.

Some of the anti religion posting on religious threads is a but like trolling really. I wouldn't disrespect someone's belief to their face so why do it over the Internet. I think I act on here as tho I'm not anonymous and that I will only behave as I would in rl. So I'd steer clear of religion rather than posting my negative viewpoint.

GotMyGoat Fri 22-Mar-13 08:58:17

I just thought I'd point out that forums, like mumsnet, are the only spaces it is ok for atheists to discuss their 'beliefs'.

In daily life its not acceptable, although its fine for religious people to openly talk about their beliefs, and try and convert others.

ubik Fri 22-Mar-13 08:59:18

In terms religion being about science?

One if the difficulties (and pleasures) of atheism is that when your daughter asks you 'mummy who was the first person?' Yu can't just say God made Adam and then Eve from Adam's rib' You have to go into evolution. Same as 'why is the sky blue' you can't just say 'because God liked the colour,' you have explain about photons.

My children really like astronomy - we like to find Jupiter and sometimes we see Andromeda which is 2.5million light years away, the furthest object that can be seen with the naked eye. And you are seeing it as it was 2.5m years ago, so you are actually travelling back through time when you look at it.
Mind blowing.

seeker Fri 22-Mar-13 09:16:29

"I've said it a thousand times in rl. I believe what I believe. For my own personal reasons. I don't shove my beliefs down anyone's throat (though I'm oft accused of it simply by believing in god, without ever having actually said anything), so I don't see why I can't be extended the same courtesy."

Absolutely you can be- so long as you don't expect special treatment, or say that you are being persecuted when the special treatment you used to receive is withdrawn!

waltermittymissus Fri 22-Mar-13 09:19:03

I've personally never received special treatment in my life due to religion.

But I can see why it is unjust if people do.

seeker Fri 22-Mar-13 09:23:57

Yes you have. There are Bishops automatically in the House of Lords. Which means that all laws passed in this country have been run past Christians first, which is particularly problematic when it comes to social and scientific policy. children at state school are obliged to take part in "broadly Christian worship" every day. RE is compulsory throughout school.

For example.

hermioneweasley Fri 22-Mar-13 09:33:12

Waltermitty - I am atheist and I don't go on "believer" threads to sneer. There are lots of atheists who don't so it's a poor conclusion to say that is how all atheists behave. Would you like me to judge all people of faith by those who picket the annual Pride marches and hurl abuse?

Where there is a discussion about why you do or don't believe or similar I might join in.

I completely agree with seeker's points about the privileged role Christianity has in our society. To quote Daniel Radcliffe "I am an atheist, and a militant one when religion starts to impact on legislation"

waltermittymissus Fri 22-Mar-13 09:39:37

That's why I didn't say all atheists hermione

Seeker, I'm not in the uk.

seeker Fri 22-Mar-13 09:47:55

Actually, I think there is only one prominent poster who posts the way you are saying "atheists" do.

I know that I have been accused of Christiian bashing for expressing even the mildest criticism of the Christian church.

GetOeuf Fri 22-Mar-13 09:55:18

I am an atheist, but I am find religion threads fascinating, and like to understand about people's beliefs.

I am not anti-religion at all, but am very anti established religion.

But then to answer the OPs question, I think the good thing about MN is that everyone with all sorts of opinions answer all types of threads. I often post on threads I know bugger all about. You can't stop that.

Shakey1500 Fri 22-Mar-13 09:57:28

Never the twain shall meet when it comes to people who have faith in a religion/God/A God and atheists. It will always be the same.

Aside from the fact that it's a public forum and people are free to post whatever/wherever they choose, I find it fascinating.

I'm an atheist and post on religious threads sometimes. Because I like to question people's beliefs/faiths. It's interesting. Some posters are of the professionally offended brigade, others are extremely kind and post interesting viewpoints without being horrible or worked up into a religious frenzy. And that is what makes it stimulating.

Who knows, I may be converted one day grin

greengoose Fri 22-Mar-13 09:59:47

I never post on these threads....
But.. The posters who say that Christians do not trample into the lives of non believers, this is just not true! In my village there is one school, it's C of E. I won't send my kids to this school, so they have to travel, which costs us lots. (most other village schools are C of E). Also our house is on land contained in the parish boundary, this means the committee has say over planning permission, which means, because they are very strict compared to the council over the bridge, we cannot extend our house, so we have to think about how we will all fit. We also have to pay a special insurance, because through some ancient law we are libel if the church roof falls in, and would have to pay out. (the church doesn't own our house, we do).
When my daughter died, we had to have her cremated, as there is no non religious place nearby where we could bury her, although that would have been my choice. At the crematorium I had to argue over my daughters little coffin to remove the cross from the table she had to be put on, as the staff at the crem were christian volunteers from the church, and did not want it moved.
That's without getting into the (extremely painful) times people of faith asked if we prayed for our daughter while she was sick, or other comments too difficult to write). This is no less wrong than a Christian having to use Muslim ways and places to say goodbye, surely?

Please don't tell me your beliefs don't impact on my life, they do. And on the lives of my children. And I find them no more real than a belief in elves or hobgoblins. I don't get into religious argument, but to me it is no more real than that, if it was someone, a state, a school, a group who believed in goblins who were dictating anyone's life in this way it would be ludicrous and wrong, you have to see as an atheist, this is how I feel. I would be happier if we could all have our thoughts, and that they did not trample the lives and choices of others, but that is not how it is. And (although I am fearful enough of the rath this provokes) this makes me ANGRY. Surely that is understandable?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Fri 22-Mar-13 10:10:10

greengoose I'm so sorry for your loss. That was a heartbreaking story.

I am also an atheist. I agree with you and do wish religious people would realise that offering religious comfort to an atheist is at best meaningless and can sometimes be quite hurtful.

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