Are Atheists Worse Than Rapists?

Polls find that godless Americans are (still) wildly unpopular.

“We’re here! We’re godless! Get used to it!” chanted the crowd of about 20,000 atheists at the March 24 Rally for Reason in Washington, D.C. As the chant suggests, the protesters styled their National Mall event (which was not affiliated with reason magazine in any way) as a “coming out” party for atheists. One participant even carried a sign ripped off from the heyday of gay rights demonstrations: “Hi Mom. I’m an Atheist!”

The rally was advertised as the largest ever gathering of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and other assorted faithless. The relatively young crowd was treated to talks, rants, and routines by such luminaries as biologist Richard Dawkins, American Atheists President David Silverman, professional skeptics Michael Shermer and James Randi, myth buster Adam Savage, profane musician Tim Minchin, and (via video) comedian-magician Penn Jillette. Off to the side was a small collection of Christian counterprotesters, including members of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, who assured the nonbelievers that Christianity’s loving God would consign them all to everlasting fiery damnation unless they changed their wicked ways.

But it is not just Westboro Baptists who dislike atheists. Polls show most Americans are uneasy (to say the least) about unbelievers. In a June 2011 Pew Research poll, 33 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was gay. For atheist candidates, that number jumped to 61 percent. A Gallup Poll the same month found that only 49 percent of voters would back a “well qualified” presidential candidate who was an atheist. The next lowest vote percentage went to a gay candidate, for whom 67 percent would consider voting. 

The good news for atheists is that the trends are moving in the right direction. In a 1958 Gallup poll, only 18 percent of respondents said they’d vote for an atheist. But a side-by-side comparison of polling data finds that tolerance for theological deviance is evolving more slowly than acceptance of what used to be called sexual deviance. In a 1977 Harris poll, 55 percent of respondents thought gays should not be allowed to be teachers, but 80 percent said they could work in factories; now 69 percent of Americans say it’s OK for them to be teachers, and a 2007 survey found that 89 percent believe gays should have equal job opportunities. Atheists are not doing nearly as well in gaining acceptance. A study reported in the December 2011 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that only 33 percent of respondents would hire atheists as day care workers, but 65 percent would hire them as waitresses. 

(Article continues below video.)


It’s no wonder that atheists poll so badly; according to the same survey, religious folks believe the godless are about as trustworthy as rapists. “While atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue,” explained University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan, one of the researchers, “believers may consider atheists’ absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty.” A study published in the April 2006 American Sociological Review found that 48 percent of Americans would disapprove if their children married an atheist, the highest disapproval rating of any named group.

Distrust of atheists has a long intellectual pedigree. Athenian philosopher Socrates was convicted for, among other crimes, preaching atheism (which he artfully denied). Eighteenth-century British philosopher John Locke is thought to have jump-started the notion of the separation of church and state in A Letter Concerning Toleration. But even Locke believed that atheists were beyond the pale. “Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist,” he wrote. In addition, Locke asserted, “Those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretense of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of a toleration.” In other words, only believers have the standing to demand that their beliefs be tolerated by the state.

“God and government are a dangerous mix,” warned Freedom from Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor at the Rally for Reason. Believers especially would do well to keep this fact in mind. Locke’s proposal for the separation of church and state was an idea devised to prevent the legal domination of one sect over other dissenting sects. As Locke well appreciated, mixing government and God has proven to be a sure recipe for civil strife and often war. The government should be secular, reserving civil society as the noncoercive arena for religious practice and contention.

Unfortunately, some politicians, including this season’s flock of would-be Republican presidential candidates, want to inject more God into government. Their loud professions of faith may be provoking a backlash among voters. A March poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the percentage of Americans who say that there is too much public expression of religious faith by politicians has risen from 12 percent in 2001 to 38 percent today. Sadly, 30 percent still think there is too little faith mongering by politicians. Still, 54 percent now say churches should keep out of politics, whereas only 40 percent think they should express views on social and political questions. Back in 1996, 54 percent thought churches should meddle in politics and only 43 percent wanted them to butt out. 

In its March 12 issue, Time magazine listed “The Rise of the Nones” as one of the biggest trends in the United States. It turns out that the fastest-growing religious group in the U.S. is Americans who list their religious affiliation as “none.” A 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 16 percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any religious group; about half of them could be described as secular unaffiliated. Twenty-five percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are unaffiliated with any particular religion. If this trend toward nonbelief continues, it’s going to be harder and harder for believers to continue to practice bigotry against atheists. Nonbelievers are their children, their relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Hi Mom!

Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey is the author of Liberation Biology (Prometheus).

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  • CockGobbla||

    Why are atheists unpopular? Check out Freethoughtblogs.com

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The Bushpigs have demonized us rationalists for over 200 years starting with Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Ben Franklin.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Bush has been alive that long?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Puritans have been (his base).

    I would have been drawn and quartered before the Cruel/Unusual liberal amendment.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Do people like to amuse themselves by looking behind you and saying, "look, it's George W. Bush!" just to enjoy your reaction?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Australia brags that they got the criminals and we were stuck with the Puritans.

    They have a valid point.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Define "Puritan."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    GOP base.

  • ||

    They would have a point if they had not practiced a level of censorship far in excess of anything in the USA until well into the 1970s.

  • toxic||

    The Puritans of 1776 were into free speech for the same reason the Japanese became pacifists; they'd been getting the shit kicked out of them so brutally for so long they developed principals. Their descendants have forgotten those lessons.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    In shrike-speak, even Obama is a "Puritan".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why are atheists unpopular?

    Because a belief in god necessarily includes limits on the acceptable behavior of individual humans. Most people recognize that eliminating the rationalization for those limits will lead to demonic behavior by some people. And they rightly fear that outcome.

  • ||

    I DO feel positively wreathed in hellfire.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Can you describe limits on acceptable behavior that do not ultimately require an exogenous, supernatural, origin and or foundation?

    Yesterday, a male Chimp at the LA zoo killed a 3 month old baby chimp, most likely to get the mother into estrus and forcibly procreate with her.

    That is nature in action.

    How is that kind of thing among humans immoral without a reliance on the supernatural?

  • ||

    How can you believe something is moral simply because someone with a lot of power says so?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Because humans are hierarchical primates, and our behavior being constrained by social superiors is biologically driven.

    So is it better to have the top social superior another human, with all the flaws that we all share, or an idealized fantasy that represent our best aspirations?

  • ||

    That's a moronic reason. You are either really really stupid, or profoundly immoral, depending on which situation you prefer.

  • ||

    So you're saying being led by Hitler would be better than each and every one of us being left to figure out right and wrong on our own?

  • Moogle||

    Um, the fact that a human doing what the chimp did would result in going to prison and possibly the death penalty? Also: sentience.

    How about simply that at this point in civilization we have a good idea of what does and does not work in the penal code to create a functional society. We have vast empirical experience as a species as to what moral stances are successful.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    Most people recognize that eliminating the rationalization for those limits will lead to demonic behavior by some people.

    This is satire, right?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Your bigotry is showing.

  • ||

    lol what?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    His response implied that religiously motivated violence greatly exceeds non religious violence, which is demonstrably false.

  • MSimon||

    Depends on the religion I guess. Islam in India might be useful. Piles of skulls. 100,000 every year for 50 years. It adds up. All done with hand tools.

  • bpuharic||

    Really? What behavior has been limited by a belief in god? Where's the proof that atheists are worse that theists? Where's the proof belief in god is needed for morality? You theists make all kinds of handwaving assertions with no proof at all. Your logic is weak in believing in god and weak in asserting his necessity.

  • Rasilio||

    While it is true that belief in god puts constraints on human behavior and that lack of such belief "can" lead to pretty abhorrent behavior it is important to note that belief in god can lead to some pretty abhorrent behavior as well as demonstrated by the Inquisition and numerious other iterations of religiously instigated violence.

    Further while lack of belief in god can lead to behaviors unconstrained by any sense of morality it is not guaranteed (or even likely) to do so because morality is a combination of genetic predisposition and culturalization meaning that the overwhelming majority of humans will develop a moral sense that allows them to function smoothly in a civilized setting whether or not the believe those morals come from god.

  • ||

    I'd rather put my trust in someone who reasons their way through issues right and wrong and then does what they believe is right because it is right, than someone who does what someone told them is the right thing because someone told them they'd burn in hell for eternity if they didn't.

  • Todd Gilbert||

    People don't need religion to know what acceptable behavior is. Since most Americans be-leave in god, It doesn't look like your point of view is working out to good. Look at the crime level in the US. Most of the criminals are be - leavers in god.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Know what's even more unpopular than Atheism? Agnosticism! It's like being bisexual, hated on by both sides because you just CAN'T MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

    But just to get the haters hating: Athiesm is just as much a religion for some as religious fundamentalism is to others. It seems, in the face of unknowability, the only sane course is to just say "I don't know." Sadly, athiests, like their "believing" counterparts, think they already know.

  • Professor Booty||

    Except most agnosticism is essentially functionally equivalent to what people consider atheism. If you say you don't know because there is no evidence for or against, most rational people have a non-existence as the default belief. You aren't an "agnostic" with regard to invisible unicorns (in the sense that you think maybe they exist), are you?

  • KPres||

    What if you're agnostic because there's some circumstantial evidence for (near death experiences, claims of experience by believers, ontological proofs, etc), and while you find such evidence interesting, you don't find it convincing, so you remain unconvinced and uncertain?

    What about those type of agnostics?

  • SIV||

    One of the tenets of fundamentalist Atheism is to argue agnosticism is apostasy.

  • Madjik9||

    No it's not. Cite you source.

  • SugarFree||

    He won't because he can't. Talking out of his ass about what he obviously knows nothing about is his only skill.

  • Moogle||

    I've heard too many atheists respond to my claim of agnosticism with empty-headed ponyshit like, "Oh, so you're not sure Zeus exists, either, then?" I then have to direct these allegedly university educated uber wankers to the Wikipedia article which does a decent job on defining the different types of agnosticism.

    Also: Venn diagram! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....itions.png

    Anyway, there is a definite antagonism there in my personal experience.

  • ||

    You don't even know what the word "agnostic" means.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Except most agnosticism is essentially functionally equivalent to what people consider atheism.

    At an individual level yes.
    At a social level - no.

  • ||

    Athiesm is just as much a religion for some as religious fundamentalism is to others.

    Jesus Christ, just shut the fuck up now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Athiesmannism? I fucking can't stand Theismann. And I like the old Joe Gibbs' Redskins.

  • ||

    God will strike down you Lawrencetaylorites soon enough.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't approve of Taylor himself, but you can't argue that he wasn't God's agent on Earth. Because God loves everyone but Joe Theismann.

  • ||

    In some alternate universe, a war of religion is being fought between the Lawrencetaylorites and the Theismannites right as we speak.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I believe this.

  • ||

    Wait, I thought God loved Tebow most of all. I used to think he loved Dan Marino most of all, but things change.

  • ||

    No one loves Dan Marino. He's a stupid yinzer, and God wants them all to die. Why do you think he stuck them all in Pittsburgh?

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's only the greatest QB in a world of great QBs. After Tebow, of course, but Tebow transcends any mere position.

  • ||

    That's why God moved Marino to Miami. He wanted him to be in a land of sun, surf, and bikini-clad chicks.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And a where a Super Bowl ring is forever out of reach.

  • ||

    No, Warty, don't you understand? Atheists are just like religious people, therefore their arguments are moot!

  • SugarFree||

    Yeah, I've never understood that argument.

    "Religion is stupid!"

    "Atheism is too a religion!"

    "OK, all that means is we are both stupid. What's your point again?"

  • ||

    Who says they have a point? The object is to just try and put their fingers in their ears and go LA LA LA LA LA! That's exactly and solely what the "atheism is a religion too" argument is.

  • ||

    I don't think it's "also a religion", but it is also a belief. Nothing can be proven one way or the other, and the rule that says the person making the positive claim has to be the one to provide the evidence is simply a rule, made up by fallible humans, to make science easier. That rule doesn't exist as a perfect-form writ in the Platonic sense.

    Of course, everything is a belief to some extent. One has to believe that a large transexual god made up of sentient dishrags is not simply creating a new universe every nanosecond, and infusing us all with false memories to make it seem real.

    Can't be proven, one way or the other. So it's all a belief.

  • ||

    One has to believe that a large transexual god made up of sentient dishrags is not simply creating a new universe every nanosecond, and infusing us all with false memories to make it seem real.

    Goddammit, Jimbo, you're not supposed to give it away. I'm reporting you to the nearest OT-6.

  • ||

    *jumps over a couch* I'm in love with...whatever hot scientologist chicks there are.

  • ||

    L Ron, help me get these gay thetans out!

    (grabs e-meter)

  • jasno||

    No, Epi, that's not where the wand goes...

  • Moogle||

    Nah, use the new EM-Meter. Now with magnets! You simply cannot go wrong with magnets.

  • acidovorax||

    I don't think it's "also a religion", but it is also a belief.

    Sure it is, but a simple belief does not a religion make. No one uses the term "religion" to describe a single belief, but a system of beliefs and practices regarding man's existence and nature in reference to supernatural entities. Saying "yeah, I don't believe God exists" doesn't have any practices involved that directly relate to the belief system. The "atheism is a religion" shit is irrational gibberish at it's core.

    Nothing can be proven one way or the other, and the rule that says the person making the positive claim has to be the one to provide the evidence is simply a rule, made up by fallible humans, to make science easier. That rule doesn't exist as a perfect-form writ in the Platonic sense.

    This seems to be the way such debates devolve. The believer tends to resort to some sort of universal skepticism over knowledge. It ironically undercuts their very argument.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sure it is, but a simple belief does not a religion make. No one uses the term "religion" to describe a single belief, but a system of beliefs and practices regarding man's existence and nature in reference to supernatural entities.

    Militant atheist proselytizing resembles Christin proselytizing and both most likely spring from some deep seated insecurity in their practitioners that they need some kind of majoritarian affirmation for their own beliefs.

    I agree that it does not technically meet the definition of religion, but it functions as a pseudo-religion for the certain individuals, including providing a group identity into which the individual's identity can be subsumed, providing a sense of belonging and superiority to those outside the group.

  • bpuharic||

    Nonsense. There are no rites of atheism, no assemblies, no congregations. There is no form or structure.

  • ||

    *the above does not change that I am a functionally athiest agnostic.

  • KPres||

    "No, Warty, don't you understand? Atheists are just like religious people, therefore their arguments are moot!"

    Athiests are just like religious people in that they don't have a convincing argument, yet they are entirely convinced. It doesn't mean their arguments are moot, only unconvincing.

  • ||

    Atheists don't have to prove a negative. There is no "convincing argument" to give.

    But thanks for filling up my anti-atheist bingo card with that one.

    BINGO! Fuck you, NutraSweet, I get the George Foreman grill!

  • SugarFree||

    NOOOOOO! You fucker! That grill was mine!

  • ||

    "The fat drains directly into my mouth."

  • JW||

    Thank Zod I'm an apathist. I don't have to give a shit about this either way.

  • Nephilium||

    Only an apathist? Splinter!

    I'm an ordained Apathetic Agnostic. I even sprang for the state to grant me the power of marriage.

  • ||

    I'm with you JW. I don't believe in a lot of stuff, AND I don't really care if it's true or not. It would be interesting if it was, though.

  • ||

    JW: Google "Ronson" and "apathy" sometime...the results are funny.

  • Rasilio||

    While I am an atheist who believes there is no god the statement that the one making the positive argument bears the burden of proof does not apply here.

    To a militant theist they would make the statment "There is a god"

    The corresponding statement by a militant Atheist is "There is no god" is still a positive statement even though it contains the negative qualifier on god and therefore such a atheist bears the burden of proving that there is no god.

    The problem comes when you attempt to marry Gnosticism with either Theism or Atheism because you are no longer making a statement of belief but claiming perfect certainty of knowledge. You go from "I believe god does/does not exist" to "I know for a fact that god does/does not exist" and it is that claim of knowledge that causes the problem.

  • Rasilio||

    That said there is one important difference between the claims of knowledge made by militant theists/atheists that makes it possible for them to both be wrong simultaneously, when the Theist claims that god exists they are making a claim of the existance of a specific god wheras when th Atheist claims that god does not exist they are making a claim of the non existance of all possible gods. Therefore if a god existed who was not in any meaningful way the god followed by any of the religions of the world then they would all be wrong.

    That said the militant Athiest does have one advantage and a disadvantage over the militant Theist. The advantage is that it is frequently possible to falsify the existance of a specific diety, the disadvantage it that it is impossible to falsify the beliefs of Diests

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I'm not entirely convinced there is no God; I'm entirely unconvinced that there is a God.

  • bpuharic||

    To you they're unconvincing. Yet no theists can agree on who 'god' is. 6 billion people and thousands of gods, denominations, problems, etc. Kind of indicates you guys have a problem you're too blind to see.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    I'm no religionist, but the worst fundamentalists are atheists.
    They're just so fkn sure of themselves.
    How do they know? They don't. And neither to the Godophiles.
    Both camps are fucked.

  • Joe R.||

    I'm no religionist, but the worst fundamentalists are atheists.

    You're not gay and you don't live in a dry county, then. Just to name two off the top of my head.

  • BarryD||

    Who hates hot bisexual chicks?

    NOBODY! That's who.

  • ||

    Finally, a belief all rational, sane people can get behind. BarryD, I salute you. /salute

  • Madjik9||

    Agnosticism doesn't mean that one can't make up their mind, they would just prefer not to make positive statements about things that are impossible to know.

    Is there a god? Or any other supernatural entity? I don't know, and neither does anyone else, despite their insistance on providing anecdotal evidence.

    I identify as an atheist, but if someone wants me to be more specific, I am an agnostic atheist. It is also possible for someone to identify an as agnostic theist.

    Atheism certainly is no religion. There is no dogma, no central doctrine, no magic book, no fear, shame or guilt. There is no magical beings, taking things on faith, no threats of a hot afterlife unless. It's difficult for believers to grasp, but atheists just don't view things through the lens of belief. We may come to accept things, but with good reason, faith simply has no part in it. Sure some clowns will make a positive statement that there is no god(s), but they are rare and most atheists will readily admit what you describe is "the only sane course", we don't know. If you really "believe" that atheism is a religion, I find it likely you haven't spent enough time with a large enough sample of atheists.

    One thing we will affirm in the positive is that religion is garbage. All of it. 100%.

  • SIV||

    One thing we will affirm in the positive is that religion is garbage. All of it. 100%.

    Then you're admitting Atheism is garbage.

  • Sevo||

    SIV|6.27.12 @ 9:20PM|#
    "One thing we will affirm in the positive is that religion is garbage. All of it. 100%."

    "Then you're admitting Atheism is garbage."
    Sorry, SIV, among the dumbest comments possible. New record.

  • Madjik9||

    SIV,
    I'm guessing the "understanding what you've read" part on tests is the part you loathe the most.

  • SIV||

    99th percentile on every one I took.

  • Madjik9||

    So how to explain your hopelessly poor performance?
    How to explain how you take group A, notice that it is demonstrably different from group B in all relevant ways, and yet still declare they're the same type of outfit?
    C'mon man, use your "99th percentile" intellect on this for us, won't you?

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    @Madjerkoff,
    ALL religion is garbage.
    Way to prove the point that atheists are smug, self-satisfied assholes.
    Asshole.

  • bpuharic||

    Let's see...the US bishops are trying to force christian shari'a on workers by controlling their sex lives.

    You were saying about 'smug'?

  • ||

    You may have had a point if you'd said "fervent anti-theists" instead of just atheists. There's a difference.

  • SIV||

    "anti-theist" is the preferred sect of Atheism 'round these parts.

  • ||

    [citation needed]

  • Madjik9||

    I suppose you think that's a religion too.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Anti-theism, maybe. I think you forgot "Hate the sin, love the sinner".

  • Pi Guy||

    "Athiesm is just as much a religion for some as religious fundamentalism is to others."

    Atheisim is a religion in exactly the same way that _not collecting stamps_ is a hobby.

  • Todd Gilbert||

    Atheism is the lack of believing in god. Not even close to being like relegion.

  • rts||

    Too bad that rally (and the larger atheist "movement") was almost completely co-opted by progressives and leftists.

    Full disclosure: I am an atheist.

  • CockGobbla||

    So am I. The atheist movement was co-opted by progressives interested in integrated it into the larger progressive movement...It's no longer first about godlessness. Now, you can't go to too many atheist websites without having to deal with endless conversations about the GOP, abortion, feminism, or environmentalism.

  • SugarFree||

    Now, you can't go to too many atheist websites without having to deal with endless conversations about the GOP, abortion, feminism, or environmentalism.

    FTFY

  • BarryD||

    Especially abortion.

    I want to make a bumper sticker that says, in big letters:

    ABORTION

    and in smaller ones below it:

    I really don't give a shit.

  • The Derider||

    And in even smaller ones:

    "I'm a dude"

  • ||

  • Torontonian||

    I hope you're not planning on putting that bumper sticker on your own car, because that's just inviting people to fuck-up your paint job.

  • rts||

    Now, you can't go to too many atheist websites without having to deal with endless conversations about the GOP, abortion, feminism, or environmentalism.

    You just described r/atheism to a T. Just about the only atheist website I can stand to visit nowadays is Internet Infidels.

  • Metazoan||

    r/TrueAtheism isn't bad....

  • BarryD||

    Atheist "progressives" seem completely blind to the fact that they have essentially joined a pseudo-religious mind-control cult that doesn't use the word "god". The same goes for atheist "environmentalists".

    Seriously, what's the point of being an "freethinker", if you're not going to be a free thinker?

  • ||

    Because then you can tell people you're a free thinker and you think that sounds cool. Actually thinking freely is work, dude!

  • BarryD||

    It is work. So is honest, self-aware atheism.

    Nothing worthwhile ever came without costs.

  • ||

    Look, dude, if someone can get laid by saying they're a free thinker even if they're not, that counts as work, right?

  • BarryD||

    That's gotten you laid?

  • ||

    I don't need to claim to be a free thinker to get laid, dude. J.J. does, though.

  • rts||

    Atheist statists are particularly amusing for me. When I was younger, applying the same skepticism I applied to religious claims to government, state and economics lead me directly to libertarianism (I later learned about NAP). It seems like such an obvious path, yet few seem to take it.

  • BarryD||

    For me it happened in the reverse order, but same thing in the end.

  • The Derider||

    The state is real, at least.

  • ||

    So are the various churches.

  • Sudden||

    The state is a real monster, God is an imaginary friend. Somehow, I'm more amenable to the imaginary friend than the real monster.

  • The Derider||

    Do you really think of god as friendly?

    If there's a god, and he's running this universe, he seems like an asshole.

  • ||

    What does God need with a starship?

  • Moogle||

    Because starships are awesome? If I were God, I'd still have an awesome starship. A red one. With big old fins.

  • R||

    I'm not sure *real* is a good term for it. There is no THE STATE in a single, unified being. THE STATE is made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals working towards the same goal. It is a nebulous shared concept, not much different than that of a god, and therefor not any more real than god. THE STATE exists only as a concept, given force by bureaucrats and bootlickers.

  • The Derider||

    I mean, that's kind of like saying the Oakland Raiders doesn't exist because it's really just a bunch of guys playing football together.

    Or that markets aren't real-- they're just groupings of people pursuing individual self-interest.

    The distinction here is that governments, markets, and the Raiders can all be observed by the actions of their constituent parts. God can't.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Kind of how I got here myself. After realizing that religion had nothing to do with truth, and more to do with cultural conformity and controls, I realized government was pretty much the same.

  • toxic||

    I think the root of the whole atheism is a religion thing is really just a matter of battling definitions.

    If you view religion as basically a clique, it makes sense. The Catholics are one clique, the Baptists another, atheists, zoroastrians. From that viewpoint, atheists dogging on Catholics is like the goth kids complaining about the glee club. It's really not that far off; for every True Believer in any sect, there's a hundred people who are mostly members because it's the clique they're used to.

    Atheists are not immune to the desire for ideological certainty and comfort provided by religion and so they tend to get it falling into a fairly totalitarian political orthodoxy. We're just primates after all, and nobody is immune to executing our deep-seated monkey social programming (when you are it's called Aspergers).

    There's a part in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon that talks about how all the politically correct atheists can be more rigid and unforgiving than a mellow religious person. It's fairly accurate I think.

  • Madjik9||

    toxic,
    "Atheists are not immune to the desire for ideological certainty and comfort provided by religion and so they tend to get it falling into a fairly totalitarian political orthodoxy."

    B.S. You can't demonstrate any of that. I have questions, but no need for ideological certainty. Belonging socially is what's comforting, atheists are represented in all political ideologies.
    Yes, we are apes, and we can find comfort in one another, politics and religion aside.
    As for "battling definitions", maybe, if you're interested in changing the actual meanings of words. Hard to find a definition of "religion" that doesn't use the word "belief", and it's the absence of that belief that sets the atheists apart.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    Madjerkoff,
    Your total lack of self-awareness is another trait of your fellow anti-religionists.

  • Rasilio||

    The problem is for some athiests it is not an absence of belief it is a very strongly held belief in the non existance of god and while they may be the minority of Athiests they tend to have the biggest mouths and make the most waves leading many to believe they are a representative sample of what Athiests are.

  • Moogle||

    "Nuke The Gay Whales For Jesus" is still the all time best bumper sticker. Yes, I actually saw one.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So...would you vote for a left-atheist for President?

  • rts||

    If I were American I would not vote for a left-atheist for President.

  • CockGobbla||

    No, but I'd probably be more likely to do so than for a left-religious candidate for President.

  • RFID||

    Thing is, Christians generally don't do a lot of damage in office due to their Christianity. Occasionally something completely moronic falls out of their mouth, and we're treated to a lot of "GAWD BLUSS 'MURRKA"'s, but when it really comes down to it who gives a shit.

    The biggest religious debate out there is probably evolution in schools, but public schools are so shitty anyway I just can't get worked up about the so-called "Intelligent Design". There are just more important things to do, like firing every single teacher and administrator in the country, nuking the schools from orbit and starting over.

  • The Derider||

    I don't think that the left actively sought out atheists, I think the Republican party drove them to the left.

    From George HW saying atheists weren't citizens, to the continued dominance of the religious right, the Republican party has done everything to attract hardcore Christians and ostracize non-believers.

  • SKR||

    Hw saying that was a total, "well, fuck you too," moment for me.

  • Madjik9||

    The Derider,
    I agree.
    I disagree with religion and its man-made gods so much that I've felt I had to put distance between myself and the Republican party.

  • SKR||

    I blame it on the substitute moral framework, humanism and the book,"Good without God."

  • DrAwkward||

    Great point rts. I'm a nonbeliever too, who had his fill of endless theist/atheist discussions on alt.atheism 20 years ago.
    Leave it to the left to make atheists into a bunch of self-proclaimed "victims" of the majority, animated by umbrage at everything. No wonder we're hated.

  • The Derider||

    You're mixing up your right wing talking points.

    Atheists are hated because the Republican party has used them as a political punching bag for the past 60 years. Democrats have engaged in some of the same antics, but at least they tolerate atheists in their party.

    Do you guys remember Paul Ryan throwing Ayn Rand under the bus earlier this year when people started making noise about her atheism? You can't make it in the Republican Party today without loving Jeebus and hating abortionists.

    Even Ron and Rand Paul!

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    You can't make it in the Republican Party today without loving Jeebus and hating murderers.

    FIFY

  • Major Pain||

    Ron Paul is just another self-declared religious kook. What did you expect?

  • bpuharic||

    Atheism is positively correlated with education, as is liberalism (28% of social conservatives have a college education vs 49% of liberals).

  • SugarFree||

    Atheists are almost all progressives? Check
    Atheism is a really a religion? Check

    Slow down guys, my Anti-Atheist bingo card is filling up fast.

  • ||

    If you don't believe in god, what's stopping you from killing the next person you see?

  • SugarFree||

    Don't cheat, Warty.

  • ||

    But I have to cheat! I have nothing in which to ground my morals!

  • ||

    All great crimes in history were committed by atheists and/or "atheist" regimes. It's true, look it up.

  • ||

    God loves you even though you insult and mock him. Well, maybe not you, but definitely me.

  • BarryD||

    Jesus loves you. Everybody else thinks you're an asshole.

  • jasno||

  • ||

    The Thin White Duke contends that God is an American.

  • ||

    All great crimes in history were committed by atheists and/or "atheist" regimes. It's true, look it up.

    They usually trot out the, "Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot are the worst in history in terms of numbers and percentages, and they were athiests. Therefore, athiests are the worst."

    While ignorning the convenient fact that industrial-scale killing wasn't available until those guys came on the scene. You wanna tell me the Romans, Christians, or Muslims wouldn't have killed that many people in the Middle Ages if they had the opportunity?

  • ||

    They've still got time!

  • The Derider||

    Think about all the genocide perpetrated in the name of God by the Spanish in the new world.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Mongols were able to kill a remarkable number of people with the limited medieval technology at their disposal.

    Which religious group gets to claim the Mongols? Pagans? Muslims?

  • The Derider||

    Hey, we know they're theists, add them to the tally.

  • ||

    Which religious group gets to claim the Mongols? Pagans? Muslims?

    Good question. They were a mix of religions. The Golden Horde and Ilkhanate eventually adopted Islam, but in the early years, there were also prominant Christian Mongols. Quite a few also eventually adopted Chinese folk religion (a melange of Buddhism and Taoism).

    Since their empire was extremely religiously tolerant, I don't think religion plays any part of what they did.

    Tamerlane, on the other hand, who came later, repeatedly referred to himself as a Ghazi, and as the Sword of Islam. He did massacre Christians in huge numbers...but also killed a shit-ton of Muslims who resisted his invasions, as well as Hindus. So I guess he's more of a "bat-shit crazy" type than strict Muslim.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Their M.O. seems remarkably similar whichever religion they were following, so as you say, perhaps it wasn't about the religion for the Mongols.

    If the level of their atrocities had gone noticeably up or down after they switched their governing belief systems, then we could look to religion as a causal factor.

    The Germans and Russians greatly ramped up the killing after they went from Christian to some form of...well, just call it *totalitarian statist religion* to minimize the heartburn.

  • toxic||

    (It's never about religion. They only say its about religion to get the gullible to die valiantly.)

  • Madjik9||

    Nevermind Hitler, he was a Catholic.

    German belt buckles said "God with us", in German of course.

    He said in his famous book, Mein Kampf, "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work."

    He did send some christians to death camps, jehovas witnesses, because they were pacifists.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    So is U.S. America killing brown women and children because they're Muslim or b/c we want their oil?
    Arguing over which religious label one mass murderer prefers is a red herring.
    Besides lacking in self-awareness and being a complete asshole, Madjerkwad, you're also intellectually flyweight.
    Good luck at the rally. You and the other 19,999 smug assholes.

  • ||

    Is this the same Adolf Hitler who believed Jesus was an Aryan anti-Semite Jew fighter whose teachings were intentionally corrupted by the Jew Paul?

    Which part of the catechism is that from again?

  • Major Pain||

    Neither one killed because of atheist dogma: there is no atheist dogma. Those idiots killed because they were insane. All atheism is, is a lack of belief in a god or gods. There's no book, no dogma, no tenets. It can't lead you anywhere because it has no idea to lead with. It's not belief. It's *lack* of belief. So when someone who is atheist does something out of line, you need to look elsewhere for motivation. Atheism has no means to provide it. That is the difference between religion, which DOES provide such reasons (inquisitions, pograms, blood libel, crusades, witch burnings, etc. ad infinitum) and atheism, which is simply the exact same position as "there are no pink unicorns", which ALSO doesn't lead to violence, etc.

  • Professor Booty||

    Who says anything is going to stop me?

  • ||

    If you don't believe in god, what's stopping you from killing the next person you see?

    John basically said he would do this in an anarchy situation earlier today, and then backed off it later when sarcasmic attacked him for being a would-be spree killer.

  • SugarFree||

    This a direct quote of something John has said in the past about atheism. Keep up, J.J.

  • ||

    DYN-O-MITE!

    John's just projecting his own violent impulses on the rest of us. Sounds like a real problem he's got there.

  • SugarFree||

    It's not just John. That argument comes up with disturbing frequency. I don't need religion to tell me that hurting other people is wrong. Anyone who's bloodlust is only held in check by threats of a Hell no one (by definition) can prove exists needs to be slap droned.

  • ||

    It was an interesting conversation. And now you, too, can read it, here!

  • Mo' $parky||

    That is fucking hysterical, I'm sorry I missed that.

  • ||

    Oh, I know. It's pretty amazing how in order to attack atheists, many peoples' argument essentially boils down to "I'm a fucking animal who can't control myself without threats, so I'm just going to assume you are too".

    OK, buddy...you're a violent scumbag. You said it, not me!

  • Mo' $parky||

    I like this gem from yesterday. We have to kill them before they kill us is how he sees the world, of course he's violent.

  • ||

    Yes, and his need to attack you even though you were just saying you didn't want to be like that.

  • ||

    "You're naive! You can't HANDLE the truth that the world is populated exclusively by bloodthirsty, hateful savages who would rather slit your throat than piss on you to put out a fire! That's why human civilization never sprung up and we're arguing in the jungle, because everybody is just waiting for their chance to rape you and eat your children for dinner! You WANT me on that wall! You NEED me on that wall!"

    -John

  • Mo' $parky||

    Very creative and excellent work with the necessary ingredients. You will not be chopped... this round.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We have to kill them before they kill us is how he sees the world, of course he's violent in tune with reality.

    FIFY

    The only thing worse than the arguments against atheism from John are the arguments directed against him on that subject.

  • The Derider||

    Or hired by special circumstances.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    This is what heaven looks like.

  • ||

    Put an open bar in the back and you got yourself an afterlife.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    Of course there's an open bar in the back. It will be stocked with whatever you drank in life, so you must make sure you only drink the best booze here on earth.

  • BarryD||

    Laphroiag Triple Wood as I write this. The afterlife will be grand!

  • Pagan Priestess||

    I have a friend who trying diligently to ensure that his Bar in Heaven is mainly stocked 50+ year old single malt Scotch. Mine is mainly filled with cheap fruit flavored wine, but then my tastes lean heavily in the wino direction... yeah MD 20/20 is a guilty pleasure, I know a reasonable person would DRINK! better stuff, but I can't help myself.

  • Rasilio||

    You want a list?

    Empathy, we are biologically hard coded to see our selves in others and therefore I will at least somewhat feel the suffering of that individual and the suffering of their family.

    Self Preservation, if I go around killing people for no reason it is a pretty safe bet that someone somewhere will want revenge for my killing their relative/loved one and eventually one of them will succeed.

    Opportunity cost, if I kill him I cannot trade with him thereby restricting my access to the skills and talents of others

    Those are just off the top of my head without even getting into the various moral reasons that do not rely on the existance of a god.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Slow down guys, my Anti-Atheist bingo card is filling up fast."

    You should note that Professor Booty already did unicorns.

    And I will add the obligatory mentions of:

    -the Tooth Fairy
    -Santa Claus
    -Invisible orbiting teacups
    -Christfags

  • SugarFree||

    Two posts so far and you haven't brought abortion. Is this a record for you?

  • BarryD||

    Hey everybody! Let's have an ABORTION!

  • ||

    Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others!

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Atheism is a really a religion?"

    If atheism us not a (functional equivalent to) religion, then atheistic beliefs are unprotected by the 1st amendment's freedom of religion clause, correct?

  • BigT||

    We have no beliefs to protect.

  • A Serious Man||

    I think the atheists that get the most attention are the a-holes that file lawsuits against a town for having a Christmas tree or something similarly innoculous, hence the bad rep.

  • rts||

    Well... there's an argument to be made there that cities shouldn't be using tax dollars stolen money to fund such things, regardless of your religious preference.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    According to the courts, you can't even use religious imagery on public property if it's privately donated and privately maintained. Roy Moore's 10 Commandments exhibit was privately funded.

  • Pip from the forge||

    If it's on public property ("public" meaning all the people, including atheists) then it's a tacit support of religion by the state, which must remain neutral in such matters. The U.S. isn't Iran. We atheists like it that way.

  • BarryD||

    Although some of us do wax nostalgic for the stonings, now and again.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    which must remain neutral in such matters.

    Says who? The same people who thought Wickard was based on the Constitution?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establisment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof..." - not "support".

    SLD, of course...

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Also "Congress" not "Your Town."

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    But 14th and all that, so some argument. However, I take your point - well made.

  • Mo' $parky||

    That's a rule the Galactic Senate should have stuck to. Once they officially endorsed Jedism the writing was on the wall.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I was responding to the argument that this was all about keeping tax dollars from being used for religion.

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|6.27.12 @ 8:05PM|#
    "I was responding to the argument that this was all about keeping tax dollars from being used for religion."

    That's nice. What point did you have in mind?

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    If it's on public property ("public" meaning all the people, including atheists) then it's a tacit support of religion by the state, which must remain neutral in such matters. The U.S. isn't Iran. We atheists like it that way.

    And that's why the rest of us think you're a bunch of assholes.

  • Pip from the forge||

    Maybe the a-holes don't like seeing their tax dollars going to support mysticism. You may notice that atheists have no problem with holiday displays on private property.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Depends on the atheist. A lot of Soviet atheists weren't fans of religious displays on private property. Or fans of private property, either.

  • CockGobbla||

    "Or fans of private property, either. "

    That might be the whole point, Eduard.

  • Pip from the forge||

    The story, and this thread, addresses American atheists. There was, of course, no such thing as private property in Soviet Russia. But you know that. I hope.

  • Metazoan||

    Moreover, the lack of private property did not emerge from atheism, but a religion called Marxism.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I have another item for SugarFree to add to his scorecard: Marxism isn't atheistic!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    which means Madalyn Murray O'Hair wasn't an atheist, since she applied (unsuccessfully) for Soviet citizenship, see

    http://ow.ly/bSjrZ

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|6.27.12 @ 8:21PM|#
    "I have another item for SugarFree to add to his scorecard: Marxism isn't atheistic!"

    And you're surprised?

  • Metazoan||

    So you're saying that because Marxists profess to be atheists, Marxism naturally arises from atheism? wtf? One can easily be an atheist and support property rights.

  • BarryD||

    People judge all atheists for this, when most of us couldn't give two shits (that's why most of us ARE atheists).

    Does that mean that all Christians are responsible for, and indistinguishable from, the Westboro Baptist Church?

    I mean, really, the groups who do this have total membership of a few thousand, among millions of self-declared atheists and even more "irreligious" people in the US.

  • ||

    It's OK to collectively hate on and bunch together people if they don't believe in a Sky Daddy, Barry. Because, like, they don't have souls, or something.

  • BarryD||

    Shouldn't they feel SORRY for those who are imaginary-friendless?

  • Pip from the forge||

    I showed a born-again co-worker a few of Jefferson's more shocking (to her) writings, and she got all sad, because her former hero wouldn't be there in heaven to greet her. Never mind that he probably wasn't an atheist (he was a deist like many of the Founders). His questioning alone disqualified him from eternal life in the Kingdom of Zombies.

  • gaoxiaen||

    By Christmas tree, do you mean that pre-Christian pagan symbol of long life?

  • Sam Grove||

    Is the singularity the next step in the creation of a god being?

    Would such a being be constrained by time?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Oh boy - here we went.

  • Brian from Texas||

    As a Deist, I'm no more a fam of Atheism than I am of the Religious Right. I think both are extremist religious ideologies just on polar opposites.

  • Pip from the forge||

    both are extremist religious ideologies

    Paging Barfman.

  • Sevo||

    He's busy with the other bullshit right now.

  • Madjik9||

    Show us this deity of yours.

  • SIV||

    It's always amusing to see the Atheists whining about religious persecution.

  • SugarFree||

    It's always amusing to see Republicans calling themselves libertarians. Oh, wait... no it isn't.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    It's always amusing to watch Republicans burst into flame or collapse from a massive heart attack.

  • SIV||

    It's always amusing to see Republicans Democrats calling themselves libertarians.

    SugarFree|1.31.08 @ 2:37PM|#

    Obama vs. McCain or Romney, I vote for Obama.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Hey buddy, you like using quotes from 10 months before the election? Out of context?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you phenomenal pussy.

  • SIV||

    ^AtheistFag^ is all butthurt.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    More, internet tuff gai! More!

    Dude, do some more quotes out of context, please. It's awesome and totally doesn't make you look like a mendacious scumbag. No, not at all. I mean, if you have to lie to distract from the fact you're a Republican, well, it's OK, right?

  • SIV||

    Use more cliché. You're so good at it.

  • ||

    Exactly how short are you, SIV?

  • ||

    Exactly how short are you, SIV?

    Oh, no more than 5'2".

  • Sudden||

    I for one would love to see the SIV vs Shrike Christfag vs. AtheistFag trainwreck.

    I would simply need to wear protective headgear to avoid hemmoraging braincells.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You're both idiots.

  • ||

    Fortunately, I at least am absolutely brilliant. WORSHIP ME.

  • The Derider||

    So it's OK for republicans to call themselves libertarians?

  • Sevo||

    The Derider|6.27.12 @ 7:30PM|#
    "So it's OK for republicans to call themselves libertarians?"

    As long as you claim to be possessed of a brain-cell.
    They lie, you lie.

  • The Derider||

    Herp Derp

  • SugarFree||

    I wrote in "Batman" if you must know.

  • db||

    Not even "Bat Manuel?"

  • SugarFree||

    I don't hold no truck with ferriners.

  • db||

    RAAACIST!

  • db||

    Plus, I bet Bat Manuel has a real birth certificate.

  • ||

    Wait, what's this about voting for Bat Masterson? Isn't he dead?

  • SugarFree||

    I don't like them types coming over here and taking jobs away from honest, hard-working American dark avengers.

    Batman 2012!

    And that nice rich feller Bruce Wayne would make a great VP, too.

  • db||

    You and your disgusting love for 1%ers. Occupy Wayne Manor!

  • SugarFree||

    The Waynes built you a free public transit system, and still you fucking hippies complain.

    Get a job, hairball.

  • db||

    Wayne would be perfectly happy to cut off health care to everyone. Do you want every hospital to look like Arkham? Because that's what a Batman/Wayne ticket will bring.

  • SugarFree||

    Arkham is a state-run institution, dimwit. So much for your socialized medicine dreams.

  • db||

    If the likes of Wayne hadn't abandoned the poor of Gotham and hoarded all their wealth in tax shelters like the racist teabagging cave dwellers they are, Gotham's hospitals would be properly funded.

  • Sudden||

    I hope he defeats Harvey Dent, whom I have it on good authority has ordered the killings of many a family pet.

  • Madjik9||

    It's always amusing to see the christians whining about the "war on christmas".

  • ||

    What about the "War on Hanukkah"? Wouldn't that be the first priority for the radical secular-Muslims?

  • Lionel Hutz, Esq.||

    Really, a statist is a statist whether they're godless or not. I would vote for a conservative/libertarian non-believer in a heartbeat, not a Pete Stark-type.

  • db||

    I'm usually too apathetic to write about how I never think about whether God exists or not. But I've met some serious douchebags on both sides of this.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    OT - our new dog is possibly the best fucking dog EVER. Getting her trimmed next week and she's going to the island with us for vacation.

    Kind of ON topic, I'll be praying to the Dog Gods to keep her - and the other four puppehs - free of SWAT.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    You know who else made people think there was no God...

  • Mo' $parky||

    God?

  • jasno||

    I dunno... who wrote Leonard Part 6?

  • ||

    Satan himself. Oh wait, it was actually Bill Cosby. Wait a second...

  • Sudden||

    Leonard Nimoy. The more you know...

  • Pagan Priestess||

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  • Pagan Priestess||

    I don't care what other people believe or don't believe. Religion is like a toothbrush, if you use one it's probably a good thing, but please please please don't make me use yours. I have my own thank you.

  • Carston||

    “While atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue,”

    If the above was true, they wouldn't be holding rallies.

    I don't care what you believe in, or not believe at all, just stop telling me about it.

  • NihilistZerO||

    Atheisim, and Nihilism more so, give you a humility and arogance at the same time. The humility to understand how insignificant you are in the realm of what is. And a burning arrogance when faced with those who deny this truth. It's an interesting dichotomy, serenity and rage juxtaposed...

  • SugarFree||

    Because there's nothing at all arrogant about telling people they are going to burn in Hell for all eternity because they don't believe the same unprovable nonsense you do.

  • ||

    True arrogance is subjecting an unwitting public to disgusting yet perversly alluring slashfic.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Arrogance is not what you think it is.

  • NihilistZerO||

    According to Meriam Webster...

    "...an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions."

    I can say unequivocally that myself and other Atheists veer into this territory. It's similar to the "superiority" I feel whem intellectually slapping Progressives upside the head when they can't admit that their ideology is predicated on taking away freedom an choice. They really short circuit when I calmly explain how their method is indistinguishable from their conservative "enemies".

    When you've made the emotional growth to accept things for what they are while still attempting to give meaning and beauty to life, how can you not show arrogance towards the sheeple?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Wow, what a load of horse shit. You want extremes? Here you go: "I was born into sin. I am unfit to be in the presence of God. There is no one righteous, not one.

    BUT: I personally know the all being of time and space, the creator of the universe. God has a special place for me in his plan. God died for my sins, even though I never asked him to, and would have told him not to, given the chance."

    How's that for oxymoronic nonsense?

  • jasno||

    God loves all his children, knows most of them will fail his test(narrow is the way and all that), yet he's kept the express train running to the lake of fire for over 2000 years. That pretty much ended the christian fantasy for me.

  • Sevo||

    jasno|6.27.12 @ 10:31PM|#
    "God loves all his children,..."

    Except those he somehow hates.
    God is either:
    1) Incompetent
    2) Cruel
    3) Non-existant.
    Hey, John, please explain how a loving god gives kids cancer!

  • The Derider||

    Sevo, this may never happen again, but I agree with you completely.

  • Sevo||

    SIV|6.27.12 @ 7:00PM|#
    "It's always amusing to see the Atheists whining about religious persecution."

    No, SIV, it's persecution *by* idiot bleevers:
    http://urlybits.com/2011/04/at.....en-states/

  • Mickey Rat||

    “God and government are a dangerous mix,” warned Freedom from Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor at the Rally for Reason."

    Any belief system that has no tolerance for other differing beliefs is a dangerous mix with government. I suspect domeone who belongs to a group calling itself "Freedom From Religion" would have a difficult time understanding that. As the only way to have freedom from religion is to oppress the practice of religion.

  • Madjik9||

    "As the only way to have freedom from religion is to oppress the practice of religion."
    Exactly how is that?
    I'm an atheist, I have no problem with private citizens worshiping privately, even though I think it's a silly waste of time.
    From a political standpoint, atheists just want religious control-freaks out of gov't and school.
    If someone insists that another person leave them alone, that is not tantamount to oppression.

  • ||

    I'm an atheist Christian, I have no problem with private citizens worshiping having gay sex privately, even though I think it's a silly waste of time a sin against God.
    From a political standpoint, atheists Christians just want religious homosexual control-freaks out of gov't and school.
    If someone insists that another person leave them alone, that is not tantamount to oppression.

    I bet you can find what's wrong with this argument now.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    disingenuous much?

  • ||

    Let's talk about a far more pressing issue--just how difficult it can be to find women who are pro-capitalism that aren't also superreligious types that want to start having babies NOW NOW NOW.

  • ||

    Let's talk about a far more pressing issue--just how difficult it can be to find women who are pro-capitalism that aren't also superreligious types that want to start having babies NOW NOW NOW.
    I'm one of those. I don't know how common I am, however, if I'm one there might be more.

  • Heata||

    Im one too and I work with several others. Maybe it's just you?

  • Sevo||

    "As the only way to have freedom from religion is to oppress the practice of religion."

    Assertion unsupported with evidence.

  • John||

    No it is an assertion of self evident fact. If you want freedom from religion, you have to either live completely isolated from those who practice religion or completely prevent those who practice it from practicing it in any public way. Since this guy doesn't plan to live alone, he must intend the latter.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 9:48PM|#
    "No it is an assertion of self evident fact."

    One more assertion lacking evidence.

  • John||

    Way to beg the question. How could you possibly "free from religion" without dictating the lives of those around you?

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:01PM|#
    "Way to beg the question. How could you possibly "free from religion" without dictating the lives of those around you?"

    Uh, well maybe be allowed to hold office?
    http://urlybits.com/2011/04/at.....en-states/
    Ever see an atheist demand someone be rational to hold office?

  • John||

    Even if he were, he still wouldn't have "freedom from religion". It is not the 'equal rights for atheists campaign'. It is the freedom from religion campaign.

  • Sevo||

    John, your bullshit is getting pretty deep.
    I know from experience that stupid bleevers will never be talked out of their stupid bleefs; facts don't matter, "faith" does.
    Enjoy your stupid "faith", I don't give a hoot.
    Don't bother trying to foist it off on those who can't think rationally.

  • Sevo||

    Corrected:
    "Don't bother trying to foist it off on those who can think rationally."

  • John||

    Sevo,

    I haven't foisted anything on you. I haven't even made a positive statement about the existence of God. I have merely pointed out the logical impossibility of being "free from religion" without forcing those around you to stop publicly professing religion.

    You don't have an answer to that and don't like it so you scream straw man and rationality.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:19PM|#
    "Sevo,
    I haven't foisted anything on you. I haven't even made a positive statement about the existence of God."
    Yes, as a bleever who is probably getting a bit embarrassed about the issue, you've only hinted and inferred that claim.

    I have merely pointed out the logical impossibility of being "free from religion" without forcing those around you to stop publicly professing religion."
    And you haven't shown that. What you've shown is a certain 'sensitivity' to being called on your bullshit and and I'm sure a well practiced defense that tolerating rational people is a threat to your bleef.

    "You don't have an answer to that and don't like it so you scream straw man and rationality."
    See above.

  • John||

    For example, the old Soviet Constitution guaranteed freedom from religion. And that in practice meant no one had the freedom to practice religion.

    It is like saying I want freedom from political propaganda. The only way to do that is to prohibit those around me from speaking about politics. It is a negative right that necessarily infringes upon the rights of others.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:03PM|#
    "For example, the old Soviet Constitution guaranteed freedom from religion."

    Strawmen are flamable.

  • John||

    There is nothing straw about it. That was one case where the Soviet Constitution actually meant what it said and granted the right it gave. For the fifth time, how else could one have "freedom from religion" other than banning the practice of religion?

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:08PM|#
    "There is nothing straw about it"{

    Bullshit, John. Stuff your silly bleefs.

  • gaoxiaen||

    More power to him.

  • Mickey Rat||

    OK, there is another way to have freedom from religion. Shut yourself away from anyone and anything that potentially could express any positively theistic thought. Somehow, I don't think the Freedom From Religion Foundation is about that option

  • Sevo||

    Mickey Rat|6.27.12 @ 9:53PM|#
    "OK, there is another way to have freedom from religion. Shut yourself away from anyone and anything that potentially could express any positively theistic thought."

    Followed by moving goal posts.
    You guys are pathetic.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What moved goalposts?

    Those three words in that combination "freedom from religion" has s definite absolute meaning. It suggests taking an offense to any positive religious expression.

    I continue to marvel at how crude and hateful outspoken atheists can be while at the same time peculiarly sensitive to any criticism directed at their beliefs. The bizarre handholding which seems to be the point of Bailey's post is further demonstration of this insecurity on the part of atheists.

  • Sevo||

    Mickey Rat|6.27.12 @ 10:14PM|#
    "What moved goalposts?"

    This:
    "Shut yourself away from anyone and anything that potentially could express any positively theistic thought."

    "I continue to marvel at how crude and hateful outspoken atheists can be while at the same time peculiarly sensitive to any criticism directed at their beliefs."
    Sorry, bleevers have bleefs. Rational people have none. Up /= down.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I understood what you think it applies to, I do not understand why you think it applies.

    "Rational people have none."

    But I was talking about putspoken atheists here, "rational" does not apply.

    A person is rational by how they act, not what they call themselves. Saying "because it says so right here on the label" does not an argument make.

  • Sevo||

    Mickey Rat|6.27.12 @ 11:21PM|#
    "But I was talking about putspoken atheists here, "rational" does not apply."

    So those who don't bleeve should shut up about it?
    Damn uppity rational people!

  • Mickey Rat||

    No, just that believing that using "bleef" constitutes a rational argument. You are the poster child of the irrational atheist.

  • jasno||

    Those words do not have absolute meaning and your initial implication seemed to confuse John and others.

    One can be free from religion in the sense that religion is never mentioned or practised around them, or one can be free from religion in the sense that the rules of others' religions are not used to limit their freedom.

    You effectively moved the goalposts by assuming a definition of your choosing to suit your argument.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "One can be free from religion in the sense that religion is never mentioned or practised around them, or one can be free from religion in the sense that the rules of others' religions are not used to limit their freedom."

    No, the latter is commonly understood as freedom of religion, freedom from religion necessarily goes beyond that.

  • Sevo||

    "No, the latter is commonly understood as freedom of religion, freedom from religion necessarily goes beyond that."

    Ooops; there go the goal posts!

  • Mickey Rat||

    No goalposts moved, that is where they were in the first place.

  • J_L_B||

    the rules of others' religions are not used to limit their freedom.

    That religious teaching and secular rules coincide on occasion does not mean religion was the motivation. A law can have a secular origin, and coincidentally match a religious teaching (i.e., thou shalt not steal).

  • Sevo||

    "That religious teaching and secular rules coincide on occasion does not mean religion was the motivation. A law can have a secular origin, and coincidentally match a religious teaching (i.e., thou shalt not steal)."

    Try another way:
    Those rules pre-dated organized religion and were co-opted by some.
    Religion is the invention of man; the organization of religion was among the first attempts at controlling others under the claim of 'priesthood'.

  • J_L_B||

    So what, it stands among the hundreds of things man has used to control others; it doesn't deserve a singular focus as if it's played some outsized role in historical oppression.

  • SIV||

  • John||

    But chimps are cute. It is not like they are wild animals or anything.

  • SIV||

    "Ape shall never kill Ape"

  • SIV||

    "Ape shall never kill Ape"

  • Mickey Rat||

    I am flabbergasted about the grief counselors for the exhibit staff.

  • ||

    Check out the first commenter:

    Steve Smith · Top Commenter · Miami, Florida
    some humans do things much worse to their own species while they are inside the womb.

    Coincidence? Or was the baby chimp one of STEVE SMITH's brood? Methinks he isn't too happy about what happens to his rape-babies in utero.

  • John||

    Atheism is fine. it has been around since the dawn of time and will always be around. Atheists on the other hand are quite unpopular.

  • Sevo||

    Bleevers, on the other hand, are amusing. If occasionally obnoxious.

  • John||

    Not as amusing as atheists. I find American atheists to be an absolute riot. American atheists nearly always practice nihilism without the abyss and there is always a happy ending in American atheist world.

  • Sevo||

    "American atheists nearly always practice nihilism"
    And maybe often stupid.

  • John||

    You forgot the "without the abyss" language. American atheists, unlike say Russian or German atheists are wonderfully adept at pretending their is no abyss. And damn it they know what is right. That is what makes them funny and a bit sad.

  • The Derider||

    I'm not sure why I should be so terrified by the prospect of nothingness.

    I won't be around to experience it.

  • John||

    It is not the nothingness derider. It is the consequences of the nothingness, which is that nothing that happens in this life or anyone else' life means nothing at all. It is the unbearable lightness of that that is the problem. And it may be true. Life really may be on utterly meaningless nanosecond on the cosmic scale. What makes American atheists so funny is that despite this they still think their feeble powers of reason and whatever morality they latch themselves onto really mean anything either as if your being a rapist sinner or saint makes any difference in the long run other than maybe how much fun you had doing it.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:23PM|#
    "It is not the nothingness derider. It is the consequences of the nothingness, which is that nothing that happens in this life or anyone else' life means nothing at all."

    Uh, I'll bet you think that bit of sophistry has some sort of meaning.
    It doesn't. You simply said (or inferred) that without bleef in some sky daddy, nothing matters.
    If that isn't a claim of 'nothingness', I don't know what would qualify.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Christ John, you sound like a stoned for the first time high school kid.

    You got a nice little safe fucking life, where you get to go to work and bitch on Reason all day. We all know that you are so fucking bored with your stoopid little life that fantasies of violence fill your waking moments and you think we all have your inclinations.

    But don't ever assume I, or anybody else, is anything like you. Most people don't need to be spoon fed their morality in bite size portions to not act out. Just because you can hold back your violent urges when you're drunk at a DeeCee cocktail party doesn't make you some arbiter of morality.

    You're so fucking certain of your easy bake oven ethics it's left you with the moral compass of a sociopathic six year old. You are the type that killed Jesus.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Most people don't need to be spoon fed their morality in bite size portions to not act out. Just because you can hold back your violent urges when you're drunk at a DeeCee cocktail party doesn't make you some arbiter of morality.

    And you're just too big of a pussy to realize your human potential as a top predatory.

    That's what we all are without God.

    The non God pseudo moralistic theories are all bullshit. Without transcendental morality everyone should grab as much of whatever they want as fast as possible. Because life is short, death can come at any moment and that is the end of it.

  • ||

    VG Zaytsev, if you hold to morality only because the consequences of not doing so are bad, you are a very immoral person. If you think morality not being handed down from on high means we are justified in being awful to other people, you are STILL an immoral person.

    I don't know how you can even live with yourself. I am not religious, and I believe that saying someone is "immoral" is the worst insult that can be used. If there is a god, may he, she, it, and/or other have mercy on your soul, for it will not be saved on its own merits.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I don't know how you can even live with yourself. I am not religious, and I believe that saying someone is "immoral" is the worst insult that can be used.

    Great.

    What does immoral mean in the absence of a supernatural law giver, other than something I don't like?

    And for the record, I'm an atheist, as in a non believer, but I also recognize the importance of religious belief in complex human societies.

  • The Derider||

    We have successfully constructed a society where cooperation, non-aggression, and charity are rewarded, while competition is channeled into economic innovation and efficiency.

    In doing so, we have learned that a consensual hallucination in god is unnecessary to create those outcomes.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:10PM|#
    "You forgot the "without the abyss" language."

    No I didn't. I laughed at it.

  • Madjik9||

    I'm an atheist.
    There was a long abyss before I was born. I suspect there will be another long abyss after I die.
    You don't know what you're talking about.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    There was a long abyss before I was born. I suspect there will be another long abyss after I die.
    Madjagov, the largest abyss is the one between your ears.

  • The Derider||

    It varies quite a lot by country, actually.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....of_atheism

    European countries have 3 to 5 times as many atheists as we do.

    Quick speculation:
    1. Horrors of WW2 caused people to abandon faith-- US citizens were insulated.
    2. Better science education.
    3. Europe sent their religious crazies to the new world.
    4. Atheist European governments more successfully suppress religion without strong constitutional protections.

    I dunno.

  • John||

    The Asians have better science education than the Europeans. And I don't think they have a higher percentage of atheists. So I don't buy number 2.

    Number one is probably a good guess. But war and such is just as likely to cause people to have more faith. Christianity is exploding in Africa and Africa has had a pretty hard century. So that is possible but not proven.

    Governments in Europe have state supported churches and generally do not separate church and state. So other than in France, where the Revolution engrained deep anti clericalism in the government, I don't think 4 is true.

    Europe was still very religious at the turn of the 20th century after the major waves of immigration. So 3 is not true.

    My best guess is that Europe is a spent civilization that is cynical and lacks all self confidence after the wars and the end of imperialism. And that breeds more atheists.

  • Metazoan||

    Well, the indigenous Asian religions are a lot less...theistic than the middle-Eastern ones. Consider Buddhism, some forms of which are atheistic, or the sort of pantheistic ancestor-worship that seems prevalent. Daoism is another that hardly recognizes a god- perhaps a spiritual force, but nothing like the Abrahamic religions do.

  • John||

    They are not theistic, but they are mystical and certainly not atheistic.

  • Metazoan||

    Some strains of Buddhism are actually atheistic, albeit still mystical.

  • John||

    India is probably the most religious place in the world. And it seems to do quite well in science.

  • Metazoan||

    Sure. Not sure if you intended to reply to me, but I don't think there's anything about being religious per se that hinders the exploration of the natural world via science.

  • SIV||

    Religion didn't stop Issac Newton!

  • Sevo||

    SIV|6.27.12 @ 10:41PM|#
    "Religion didn't stop Issac Newton!"

    Yep, we need to regress to the 17th century to accommodate sky-daddy bleevers!

  • Metazoan||

    SIV, did you actually read my comment?

  • The Derider||

    Actually, Religion wasted a large majority of Issac Newton's time.

    Imagine what else he could have done without arguing about minute theological points for half his life.

    For example, a major point of disagreement between Newton and Leibniz was theological. The "priority" dispute was in many ways a stalking horse for religious orthodoxy.

  • Sevo||

    John|6.27.12 @ 10:25PM|#
    "India is probably the most religious place in the world. And it seems to do quite well in science."

    "It" does? Pray tell...

  • toxic||

    1. No. Grief causes people to believe in John Edwards, not become atheists. Mostly.
    2. Maybe. Science is great, and while it might debunk the occasional bloody statute or creationism, does nothing to prevent someone from saying "God caused the Big Bang." This milquetoast religion might not be terribly appealing to many people, but I don't see people who crave miracles and magic going atheist.
    3. I can buy this to a degree.
    4. I'm no buff but aside from some efforts to suppress Scientology and a few of the 'Halley-Bopp is coming so mass suicide" style cults, I'm don't think they've really tried to suppress religion. I'd suggest that it might a bit harder to take religion seriously when all the major religions figures on your continent wear really ridiculous outfits that probably looked totally awesome with some Florentine designed it back in 1633 and/or is basically your incredibly rich and useless grandmother.

  • noko||

    let us pray

  • Killazontherun||

    Sentiments are personal indulgences that rarely square with objective reality. It may even be the case that what is right for you does not necessarily have to be in accordance given no one else is taking that final bullet for you.

    My personal sentiment that I don't even care to justify especially to the altruism for thee for the sake of indulging my conscience types is this: wherever collectivist fear to tread, that is where I want to be.

    That is my main problem with atheism. There is no built in collectivist repellent. If it more closely matches how the world functions, that is an aside, a scientific matter that has nothing to do with me. Perhaps this takes individualism too far in a direction that has little to do with it, but so what? Collectivist are pig matter, and my first objective in all things is utter contempt of them.

    That is the main reason other systems, say, discordianism, gnosticism, satanism, Taoism, and even the Christian based existentialism of Paul Tillich have more personal appeal. I don't smell pig stench from the pig herd rushing towards these creeds so they to some extent they remain viable as a transcendental affirmation to the extent one needs such things.

    I'm open to the idea that just because I don't smell the stench there doesn't mean there is none. Kindly point to the stench, and I will gladly make an effort to kill it, for the advantage of all these creeds is they are weak and susceptible to one evil bastard's influence.

  • BMFPitt||

    That is my main problem with atheism. There is no built in collectivist repellent.

    My main problem with blank pieces of paper is that there's no built in mechanism to prevent stupid things from being written on them.

    Clearly blank paper is to blame for these stupid things.

  • Killazontherun||

    Good. You can take another person's words and then do your own riff with them into a new synthesis that, though not independent of the original, asserts a contrasting meaning. That is a talent that will serve you well. I couldn't be happier for you.

  • Killazontherun||

    I'm curious though, do you really have an objection to what I wrote above? How is that possible? Do I owe you something of which I'm not aware?

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:48PM|#
    "I'm curious though, do you really have an objection to what I wrote above?"

    yes, this:
    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:16PM|#
    Sentiments are personal indulgences that rarely square with objective reality..."
    Fine, except when those personal fantasies (let's be honest) end up being the basis of coercive activities.

  • Killazontherun||

    You really have a problem that atheism is of little use to me in my purpose in life given it is not by it's inherent nature anti-collectivist? So I'm more inclined to not waste my time with it and turn to something that is like discordianism? That is all I stated above. That's a problem for you?

  • Killazontherun||

    IOW, why waste my time with a snore like Sam Harris when there is perfectly god Robert Anton Wilson on the shelf left unread?

    Though Hitchens on Mother Teresa was a lot of fun for a good hour. After that, a little much.

  • BMFPitt||

    So I'm more inclined to not waste my time with it

    How do you waste your time with not believing in something? If non-activity is very taxing on you, you should probably see a doctor about that.

  • BMFPitt||

    I'm curious though, do you really have an objection to what I wrote above?

    I think it was incredibly silly, as I illustrated above. You're free to believe silly things as you clearly do.

    How is that possible?

    Well you see, when a certain collection of neurons fire...

    Do I owe you something of which I'm not aware?

    You must have a really sad life.

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:16PM|#
    "That is my main problem with atheism. There is no built in collectivist repellent."

    So, does Santa Claus solve the problem?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Funny thing is you can believe in some crazy-ass religion, perhaps one you made up yourself. But as long as you can say you have a god, most Americans feel obligated to respect your beliefs.

  • ||

    Say, Scientology?

  • Killazontherun||

    I don't smell pig stench from the pig herd rushing towards these creeds so they to some extent they remain viable as a transcendental affirmation to the extent one needs such things.

    First draft, second draft, why don't we just split the difference!

    I don't smell pig stench from the pig herd rushing towards these creeds so they remain viable as a transcendental affirmation to the extent one needs such things.

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:21PM|#
    "so they remain viable as a transcendental affirmation to the extent one needs such things."

    Would Santa Claus suffice?

  • Killazontherun||

    I will wait patiently every Christmas eve for him to appear, lure him with cookies and milk, and when his back is turn I will make my move and kill the red coat son of a bitch.

    You have a better plan for that day?

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:39PM|#
    "I will wait patiently every Christmas eve for him to appear, lure him with cookies and milk, and when his back is turn I will make my move and kill the red coat son of a bitch.
    You have a better plan for that day?"

    So, are you agreeing that Santa satisfies the need for transcendental affirmation"

  • Killazontherun||

    Not until he is dead obviously. Until then, it is a mere transcendental longing.

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 10:50PM|#
    "Not until he is dead obviously. Until then, it is a mere transcendental longing."

    So a mythical being has to die to satisfy what you see as transcendental affirmation?
    What requires the mythical death of the mythical being?

  • Killazontherun||

    The rule of two.

    Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it.

    I'll be damned if I'm second in line after fucking Santa Claus.

  • Sevo||

    Killazontherun|6.27.12 @ 11:38PM|#
    "The rule of two.
    Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it.
    I'll be damned if I'm second in line after fucking Santa Claus."

    Uh, cute. But sophistry; no more, no less.

  • Killazontherun||

    Religion is a species of comedy. If you are not having fun with the banter inherent in it, then you are doing it wrong.

  • Killazontherun||

    Uh, cute. But sophistry; no more, no less.

    Be honest with yourself. Did we not start on the road to cute when you asked me about Santa Claus?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "Why are atheists unpopular?" The question occurred to the atheistic Reason columnist as he finished editing the nth iteration of a post "proving" that atheists are smarter, more rational, and more empathetic than the religious on a political blog that has fuck-all to do with religion.

  • noko||

    religion and politics. oil and water

  • ||

    "Free Minds and Free Markets"

    Skepticism of religion certainly seems to fall into that category.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd be curious to know how triumphalist posts about atheists being more X than the Bible thumpers frees minds.

  • ||

    Irrelevant since that wasn't what the op was about.

  • ||

    And you see opinions from people who ARE religious, like Kennedy. I disagree with her vehemently on the subject, but it IS an indication of different viewpoints on the matter, rather than the one-sided version Trouser touts.

  • Vynnie||

    OK, we've heard the usual competing definitions of aetheism, agnosticism, theism, and accompanying insults. With that out of our system, I'd like to point out that Ron's statistics are more like a branding study than anything else. In a nation where Time magazine identifies "Nones" (people of no religious affiliation) as one of the fastest-growing social demographics, what do people think of those who brand themselves "aetheist?" Survey says ... worse than rapists.

    Justly or not, aetheists have managed to convince the general public, including a substantial portion of Nones if I don't miss my guess, that they are angry activists foaming at the mouth to ban all religious symbols and impose their belief system on everyone else (the first tenet of which is "it's not a belief system Go'da'mit!!!"). Yes, aetheists have managed to brand themselves as the Westborough Baptists of the None movement.

  • Vynnie||

    Let me put this another way. Christians often refer to God as "the small quiet voice." Aetheists will be quick to make a snarky comment about people who hear voices surely being insane. So, the theist is the person who says "the voices told me to love my neighbor" (or not suffer a witch to live, or give all my $$ to L.Ron, or whatever). The aetheist is the one who flys to DC to march around with a cardboard sign saying "look ma, I don't hear any of the voices in my head because they don't exist!" Anyone still wonder why people are uncomfortable with that?

    I am, of course, fishing for replies that will make my point about how poorly aetheists have branded themselves. You know, the ones that tells me to go to not-hell. You want to be seen more charitably, improve the message. It's just that simple.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yep.

    A good barometer for how objectively obnoxious your movement is, is counting the number of times that "sheeple" or some variation of the concept crops up.

    Being wrong doesn't make you stupid, evil, less intelligent, less attractive, or any of the other attributes that folks get tagged with. Being wrong makes you wrong. If atheists truly believe that theists are wrong? Then they should just state their case. Being angry and obnoxious is not conducive to improving the brand.

  • noko||

    god hates fags anyone?

  • Sevo||

    Vynnie|6.27.12 @ 10:56PM|#
    "Let me put this another way. Christians often refer to God as "the small quiet voice." Aetheists will be quick to make a snarky comment about people who hear voices surely being insane. So, the theist is the person who says "the voices told me to love my neighbor" (or not suffer a witch to live, or give all my $$ to L.Ron, or whatever). The aetheist is the one who flys to DC to march around with a cardboard sign saying "look ma, I don't hear any of the voices in my head because they don't exist!" Anyone still wonder why people are uncomfortable with that?"

    Uh, yes I am wondering. Sort of forgot all the bleevers who fly here and there claiming god told them to do so, aren't you?

  • ||

    Christians often refer to God as "the small quiet voice."

    In 20 years (most of my life) as a devout Christian I never heard that once.

  • BMFPitt||

    The vast majority of atheists (also known as "nones") never mention it unless asked directly.

    We have no responsibility for what a few other non-believers say, since we're not part of any organized group.

  • ||

    Except the stats on acceptance of atheism have gotten better, not WORSE. If your theory was true, we would expect those poll results to go down over time, not UP.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    People hate the certainty with which atheists push their belief.
    People resent religionists for the certainty with which they push their beliefs.
    Let the religionists have their fairy tales. And let the anti-god crowd have their smug self-satisfaction.
    And leave the rest of us alone.

  • Swamp Think||

    BOB
    OOO
    BOB

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  • NotSure||

    In the end judge the individual, not what group they supposed to belong to. I have come across a Christian with a PHD in applied mathematics, a Muslim with a successful company, Atheists who do charity, likewise I have come across a-holes in all groups. Shrike is a good example, no matter what group he belongs to, he is still an a-hole.

  • runkomunko||

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  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    When some self-rightious busybody goes to court to demand that all reference to Christianity be removed from the schools, that busybody is an Atheist. When some self-rightious busybody goes to court to demand that a cross, or a Star of David, or some other symbol be excised from a building where it has been sitting quietly for a century that Busybody is an Atheist. When some self-rightious busybody goes to court to demand that a town cease to sponsor Christmas carols or a Santa, that busybody is an Atheist.

    Atheists are despised because they have worked so hard to make themselves so.

  • T o n y||

    "demand that all reference to Christianity be removed from the schools"

    Who has ever advocated for this?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    And is the weather on the planet where you live pleasant?

    Get real.

  • BMFPitt||

    Citation, please.

  • The Derider||

    When some self-righteous busybody goes to the school board to demand that all references to Evolution be removed from science texts, that busybody is a theist. When some self-righteous busybody goes to court to demand that a Mosque not be allowed to be built in their city, that busybody is a theist. When some self-righteous busybody goes to the city counsel to demand the city spend money on a religious festival, that busybody is a theist.

    Theists blah blah blah barf.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    It's hard to muster a shit about this either way. As long as swat teams/nazi-esque police dragoons are not used to bust into my shitty apartment at 9:30 on Sunday mornings, while I am getting over my week-long bender and fighting off a raging case of the Clap, I just. Don't. Care.

    Believe what you want. Let me sleep in on Sundays. I'm too lazy to devote hours (an hour?) to church/synagogue/temple a week. Maybe if they set up some sort of drive-thru baptisim kind of thing, I'd give it a shot to hedge my bets, but I don't see that happening.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    You have obviously never visited the Bible Belt.

  • iheartliberty||

    Is there a specific law or bill that these people are protesting against? Seem like just another protest against some general concern about the government and they feel opposed because there are a bunch of people who think that Jesus was great. Which is fine I guess. But I do not put much stock in those kinds of things.

    I also do not put must stock in non-believers quoting the Bible all the time which they have a tendency to do. What the hell does the Bible have to do with the question of if there is a deity or not? What do the rules of a given religion have to do with faith? These things have nothing to do with the actual philosophy of one's faith. It is just a bunch of stories that try to explain the questions that start with the term "Why"(not to be confused with the questions that start with the term "How"; that is science).

    I have no issue with a bunch of people questioning the rules of a religion or government. As a human being, that is exactly what you are suppose to do. But if you are basing your faith in the non-existence of a deity just because a bunch of men make stupid rules then you are really missing the point.

    A friar once told me that those people who base their faith or lack of faith on what is written in a book or the rules of a given religion do not have any faith at all and they are the most dangerous people among us.

  • Carlsbadip||

    Atheism is a religion like any other. It has can absolute belief system that it forces on others.

  • John B.||

    absolutely wrong. Please don´t say anything like that. You have no clue what it means to be an atheist. It is absolutely INDIVIDUAL faith that there is no God. It does not want to force others to not believe, but wants to ride away faith from the PUBLIC.

    It is not your FAITH what does you a good person, it is your BEHAVIOR!

  • ||

    But it is not just Westboro Baptists who dislike atheists. Polls show most Americans are uneasy (to say the least) about unbelievers. In a June 2011 Pew Research poll, 33 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was gay. For atheist candidates, that number jumped to 61 percent. A Gallup Poll the same month found that only http://www.ceinturesfr.com/cei.....-c-14.html 49 percent of voters would back a “well qualified” presidential candidate who was an atheist. The next lowest vote percentage went to a gay candidate, for whom 67 percent would consider voting.

  • ||

    I would rather trust an Atheist who does what is right because he believes it is right, than someone who only does what is right out of a fear of Hell.

  • tee shirt pas cher||

    But it is not just Westboro Baptists who dislike atheists. Polls show most Americans are uneasy (to say the least) about unbelievers. In a June 2011 Pew Research poll, 33 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was gay. For atheist candidates, that number jumped to 61 percent. A Gallup Poll the same month found that only 49 percent of voters would back a “well qualified” presidential candidate who was an atheist. The next lowest vote percentage went to a gay candidate, for whom 67 percent would consider voting.

  • Todd Gilbert||

    Religious people are very intolerant of people who have different beliefs than them.In the 21st. century people still believe in silly superstition. I don't care what people be-leave in god, crystals, gurus or astrology. Just don't force it on the rest of us. There are plenty of goofy people for you to associate with.

  • t4d||

    Why does being unaffiliated automatically make one an atheist? Perhaps they haven't found a church that presents how they understand god to be. This country was founded on religious freedom and I will thank others to keep their religion to themselves. Especially the pedophiles in the Catholic church.

  • Ella||

    Atheists are shown to be more intelligent, less likely to commit crimes and even less likely to get a divorce. Studies have proven this. There are real numbers and percentages. It's time for people to get used to us because we are a growing group of people and we are AWESOME!

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