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Is there a disconnect between atheists in and outside of these forums?


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Showing 1-25 of 251 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2012 11:26:19 AM PST
Art Franklin says:
There are some consistencies in arguments that some of the more hardcore Atheists make in these forums. For example, they claim that they do not necessarily share an ethos and thus will never organize around their (non)beliefs. I have also seen the existence of Atheist missionaries denied almost as much as the existance of an anthropomorphic God! Much of what I read on here is different from what I see on atheist websites, which makes me wonder what the disconnect is.

For the sake of discussion, please check out this interesting article at a Friendly Atheist website, which is not so much a movie review of The Ledge, but a call to arms for all atheists to support the movie. The movie is about an Evangelical Christian vs an Atheist with the intolerant Christian as the villain, and the author of this article sees the potential to use it as missionary work exactly as Christians used The Scourging of the Christ by Mel Gibson.

Now, please note: I am calling attention to this despite the fact that I LOVE movies such as Carrie, Frailty, Red State etc. that portray crazy holier-than-thou Christians in the terrible light that they deserve. The purpose of this discussion is not whether it is a fair portrayal but whether some of the more common atheist claims in these forums are correct or disconnected from their peers. (Included below are some relevant quotes for the lazy)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/06/24/why-should-you-see-the-ledge-a-guest-post-by-matthew-chapman/

"It keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's emotional. And it is clearly pro-atheist. "

"Having the more intellectually defensible position, atheists understandably try to persuade through intellectual argument. But if you want to convert believers, you have to speak their language. The appeal of religion is not intellectual; it is emotional. The further out you go - into the country, into the mega-churches, into extremism - the more emotional it becomes. Intellectual arguments do not tend to change these people.

The Ledge can."

"EVERYTHING depends on you. Are we less passionate about our convictions than Christians, or can we equal or even better them in terms of our relative numbers?"

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 12:01:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 12:03:37 PM PST
witchie+ says:
Art,

I am a believer and a Christian, but I find that the kinds of Christians who mostly post here are unable to understand the value in the atheist view. Or, maybe they are terrified of the atheist view. You know how fundamentalists are afraid of going to hell and so they become very defensive. When you are no longer afraid of going to hell as I am, atheism is not a scary place. it just means that we are doing and going places in a different manner. I worked with many atheists and they were never threatening to my spiritual path. I haven't found any of the atheists on these forums to be scary either. I find fundamentalist Christians to make no sense at all, but that is because we are pursuing our spiritual paths very differently.

My favorite example of atheists pursuing what a believer would call a spiritual path is those in the environmental movement. I have seen them lay down their lives for redwood trees--I live in redwood country. Now, that is far more dedication than most evangelical Christians can even begin to comprehend.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 12:11:06 PM PST
Wulfwig Fox says:
It's the opinion of the movie's director saying he wants to appeal to emotions because intellectual arguments don't cut it with fundies.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 12:12:18 PM PST
"Atheism" is just the label given to an ontological position which lacks a belief in the existence of deities.

That's it. That's all it is.

The lack of one belief isn't much of a hook upon which to hang anything... it would be like trying to create an organization out of people who don't collect stamps.

Now, that doesn't stop *individual* atheists, or *groups* of atheists from saying or doing anything in particular... but I don't speak for them, and they don't speak for me.

If someone wants to promote "The Ledge", that's their call to action... not mine.

What leads you to believe that the Friendly Atheist site, or the person whose review you quote, is in any way representative of atheists in general?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 12:26:59 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
"What leads you to believe that the Friendly Atheist site, or the person whose review you quote, is in any way representative of atheists in general? " - Michael Altarriba

Well admittedly my entire post is about perception and generalizations. So I guess the answer to your question is the same sort of clues that would lead me to believe that Christianity.com or the opinions of one of those bloggers would be in some way representative of Christians in general.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 12:51:44 PM PST
MLC says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:12:05 PM PST
Joe W says:
It's shotgun marketing, Art. They are using passionate buzzwords to appeal to as much of their target audience as possible. They are treating atheists as a single group because that is what marketing does.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:15:04 PM PST
Mens Sana says:
MLC: Very rarely do I encounter atheists who are actually interested in rational arguments against the existence of God.

M_S: There are no rational arguments against the existence of God.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:24:40 PM PST
IFeelFree says:
MLC,

I agree with the gist of your post -- that many atheists are motivated by emotion rather than intellectual arguments and objectivity -- but I have to take exception to this: "Some of them love their sins too much to give them up so they have to attack God as the source of objective morality. They have to make him look bad instead of acknowledging that they're bad." People who sin do so because they believe that the sinful activity will give them what they really want. It won't, but because they believe that what they really want is some temporary pleasure or satisfaction, it seems to be justified. They must defend their illusions, and so attack any point of view which they perceive as threatening to their belief. However, they are not "bad", merely supporting a false belief about what will bring them real happiness. A person has to want truth above all else to be willing to unflinchingly examine his own illusions or false beliefs. Until that time, he will reinforce his false beliefs, and those beliefs will be the source of his suffering.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:45:25 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
"It's shotgun marketing, Art. They are using passionate buzzwords to appeal to as much of their target audience as possible. They are treating atheists as a single group because that is what marketing does. "

Interesting assertion, Joe. I took the appeal to the passion of atheists as a missionary technique. Missionaries also use passionate buzzwords. They also treat 'sinners' as a single group, is that because it is a good marketing technique?

Clearly the guy was marketing his film, but it was interesting that he was marketing it AS a pro-atheist work, and hoping to inspire other pro-atheist works.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 1:46:43 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
M_S: There are no rational arguments against the existence of God.

AF: Are there rational arguments against the existence of Thor? If so, please cite one.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 2:07:58 PM PST
Joe W says:
Art: Interesting assertion, Joe. I took the appeal to the passion of atheists as a missionary technique. Missionaries also use passionate buzzwords. They also treat 'sinners' as a single group, is that because it is a good marketing technique?

Joe: Using sinners as a single group (everybody) sets the stage for saved vs not saved. Upon that stage Salvation is a free gift (limited time offer) for any who come to participate. Banks and gyms offer incentives for new customers as well. It's a good marketing technique, as evidenced by the 2 billion adherents. :-)

Art: Clearly the guy was marketing his film, but it was interesting that he was marketing it AS a pro-atheist work, and hoping to inspire other pro-atheist works.

Joe: Sure. Does that make him a missionary? I don't think that we call anyone who writes or films a work touting his philosophical position as being a missionary. Even if we ditch the religious connotations of the word, wouldn't he have to provide some tangible charitable efforts to the well-being of his audience to qualify?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 2:17:51 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
So one atheist web site wants to "convert" people. Big deal. I have never heard of this web site. I never go to atheist web sites. They are not representative of atheists and don't speak for anyone but whoever writes the web site. It's a non-issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 2:20:56 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
I never assume that any particular Christian web site is representative of Christians generally. Whatever web site it is represents only the Christian who keep it going and subscribe to it. There are literally thousands of Christian web sites. Are there commonalities among them? Well, I've only seen a few and have seen commonalities, but also vast differences. So I make no assumptions about *all* Christians.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 2:51:15 PM PST
Mens Sana says:
Art,

There are no rational arguments *against* the existence of Thor.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:22:45 PM PST
'probabilist says:
I wonder how many Americans wear little Thor's-hammer pendants.

I've seen them in gift shops.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:59:47 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
Joe: Sure. Does that make him a missionary? I don't think that we call anyone who writes or films a work touting his philosophical position as being a missionary. Even if we ditch the religious connotations of the word, wouldn't he have to provide some tangible charitable efforts to the well-being of his audience to qualify?

Art: I call him a missionary based upon definition #2: "One who attempts to persuade or convert others to a particular program, doctrine, or set of principles; a propagandist." Tangible charitable efforts need not apply although Chapman makes the argument that more Christian villains in entertainment media would be a triumph of the logical over the illogical.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:00:32 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
Got it, Mens Sana, thanks. Just checking consistency :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:06:48 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Are there Taoist missionaries?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:09:18 PM PST
Joe W says:
Art: I call him a missionary based upon definition #2: "One who attempts to persuade or convert others to a particular program, doctrine, or set of principles; a propagandist." Tangible charitable efforts need not apply although Chapman makes the argument that more Christian villains in entertainment media would be a triumph of the logical over the illogical.

Joe: I think that definition #2 blurs the word "missionary" into uselessness. If missionary loses both the definitions of religion and charity, then how does "missionary" differ from "columnist", or as you said, "propagandist"? Why even have the word at all if it adds no semantic value?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:11:44 PM PST
Mens Sana says:
Will you connect this with "rational arguments"? :>)
Or just leave it as a Christmas shopping reminder?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:18:23 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
S. Kessler said " Are there commonalities among them? Well, I've only seen a few and have seen commonalities, but also vast differences. So I make no assumptions about *all* Christians."

Thank you, you have demonstrated that you do not make assumptions about either atheists or Christians. However, most people here make generalizations about groups of people so it is disingenuous to pretend that does not happen. The OP of the thread "Why do Christians Make the Same Tired Arguments?" starts out with a great generalization, and sets the tone for a useful discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:19:51 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Mens Sana asked:

> Will you connect this with "rational arguments"? :>)
> Or just leave it as a Christmas shopping reminder?

The latter.

,.-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:32:27 PM PST
Ariex says:
Art Franklin says: "For the sake of discussion, please check out this interesting article at a Friendly Atheist website, which is not so much a movie review of The Ledge,"

Ariex: This atheist has never heard of the "Friendly Atheist website" or the movie, "The Ledge", and I'm a movie freak, with thousands of movies and a large home theater. I don't visit atheists websites, but I do seek out sites that offer science articles and such, which are of interest to atheists.

And no matter what, keep in mind, "its only a movie". Movies often overdramatize, showing the extremes in human behavior. I don't take the "Christians" in such movies to be the typical, nor would I assume an "atheist" character to be typical, either.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:45:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 4:49:55 PM PST
Ariex says:
MLC says: "Very rarely do I encounter atheists who are actually interested in rational arguments against the existence of God. If you visit forums all through cyberspace, you will find many atheists posting angry, hate-filled rants against God, the Bible, Christians and Christianity."

Ariex: Hopeless, completely hopeless. Whenever someone does offer a rational argument, MLC is blind to it, seeing hatred and petty rejection instead of reason.

MLC says: "In fact, there are some great minds out there who love the Lord -- Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland are just a few."

Ariex: These "great minds" offer only rationalizations in defense of the faith. I've read a great deal of their work, and it is replete with clever rhetoric, emotional pleading, and usually based on the most often seen mistake in the work of apologetic "great minds", the argument from ignorance: "I just can't explain how it could have happened naturally, so it must have been the god I'm selling to my audiences".
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  33
Total posts:  251
Initial post:  Dec 10, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 19, 2012

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