Author Topic: Being nice to theists  (Read 4993 times)

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Offline kymer

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Being nice to theists
« on: March 24, 2012, 04:21:18 PM »
Atheists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are atheists because of some bad experience or whatever, others are atheists because they changed from theists to atheists. Some base their views on science, others not so much. Some call it a nonbelief, others call it a belief. Some spend a lot of their time thinking about atheism and their lack of beleif in god and about theists, others don't really spend too much time if any thinking about any of that. Some would like to see a world without theism, others are pretty laid back and easygoing about the fact that most people are theists. And so on. So I'm sure we can all agree that atheists, as well as theists, come in all kinds of varieties.

Although I've not really involved myself in the discussions, I notice for example that ILOVEYOU has gotten a lot of criticism (apparently criticism of character) in quite a few threads. Not just criticism, but I dare say hostility. I've skimmed through some of the discussions to try and get the gist of it and I can't work out what the cause of the hostility is. I don't want this to be all about ILOVEYOU, but he / she is a good example of what I'm talking about, so I'm just using it as an illustration.

I would like to think that in real life people of different viewpoints are mostly cool with each other. Certainly from personal experience I haven't really encountered any major rows or hostility between atheists and theists, except perhaps when alcohol is involved, and even then usually it's pretty much just banter anyway. I sometimes wonder if the rows here and elsewhere are just banter or if there's actual real resentment involved. It seems to me that the latter is more often the case.

My point is, it's one thing to have a major fundamental disagreement where two people's basic premises about reality differ hugely, but the way a discussion is conducted (from a human behavioural point of view) is something else entirely. I understand that some people may live in the bible belt or other parts of the world where some form of theism or another tends to be expected, and where some atheists may have had their troubles for whatever reason, however I don't think this is an excuse to lower one's standards in terms of conduct.

Presumably most of us are either related to theists or have theist friends, so I can't understand how such relationships can be maintained whilst harbouring hostility towards theists in general.

I would very much like this discussion to not be about the existence or otherwise of god, or anything like that. This is more about the way the discussion is held. My understanding as well as my experience is that the way a discussion is conducted heavily influences the outcome, and who gains what from it. I personally like discussion that are win win, and the first thing that comes to mind when I think of win win situations is when two people learn something from each other, and I do believe that there is always something to learn from others no matter the differences. I don't often see discussions between atheist and theist turn out well, and I do find it quite exasperating to witness the same scenarios playing themselves out repeatedly. Not only that, but the fact that very few seem to notice the trend or want to do anything about it. I believe that this rigidity in approach is counterproductive.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 04:26:31 PM by kymer »

Online One Above All

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 04:22:41 PM »
Already tried. It didn't work.
BTW, what exactly do you expect us to do if not criticize his beliefs? Accept them? Debate requires criticism.
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Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 04:25:56 PM »
Already tried. It didn't work.
BTW, what exactly do you expect us to do if not criticize his beliefs? Accept them? Debate requires criticism.

By criticism, I mean, by extension, criticism of character.

Online One Above All

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 04:28:58 PM »
By criticism, I mean, by extension, criticism of character.

Criticizing a theist's beliefs is criticizing them as well. Theists define themselves by their beliefs, since their beliefs dictate their worldview. What you're suggesting is impossible.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 04:32:52 PM »

Criticizing a theist's beliefs is criticizing them as well. Theists define themselves by their beliefs, since their beliefs dictate their worldview. What you're suggesting is impossible.

People's views (not just theists, but all of us) play a part in how we define ourselves, that's true. A person's identity is very precious, and being personally criticised can have very negative effects on their self esteem. Being attacked is like being destroyed, it can certain feel like that, and whatsmore it can propagate hostility. I don't think it's impossible to criticise a person's views without leaving the latter reasonably intact. Far from it. But it takes maturity.

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 04:36:16 PM »
Tell you what, if you can explain how one can criticize a person's views without criticizing the person, as well as why you think we should do that, and put it into practice, everyone here[1] will start doing it.
In other words, put up or shut up.

Good luck.
 1. Not really.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2012, 04:41:32 PM »
Why do you feel that you should not criticise someone's views without also criticising them as a person?

Online One Above All

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2012, 04:43:31 PM »
Why do you feel that you should not criticise someone's views without also criticising them as a person?

I take it this means you're not going to put up?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline albeto

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2012, 04:48:04 PM »
People's views (not just theists, but all of us) play a part in how we define ourselves, that's true. A person's identity is very precious, and being personally criticised can have very negative effects on their self esteem. Being attacked is like being destroyed, it can certain feel like that, and whatsmore it can propagate hostility. I don't think it's impossible to criticise a person's views without leaving the latter reasonably intact. Far from it. But it takes maturity.

What takes maturity is separating one's self-identity from one's ideals, putting those ideals on the chopping block and letting them stand or fall on their own merits, rather than protect them simply because one is personally invested in seeing them honored. 

Offline Alzael

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2012, 05:10:45 PM »
By criticism, I mean, by extension, criticism of character.

Because character is also an issue. The problem with religion is not the ideas, so much as it is the mentality that the ideas create and use to propogate themselves, as well as the way it shapes their entire worldview and the way they take action.
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Offline bertatberts

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2012, 05:57:17 PM »
Quote from: Kymer
Atheists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are atheists because of some bad experience or whatever, others are atheists because they changed from theists to atheists. Some base their views on science, others not so much. Some call it a nonbelief, others call it a belief. Some spend a lot of their time thinking about atheism and their lack of beleif in god and about theists, others don't really spend too much time if any thinking about any of that. Some would like to see a world without theism, others are pretty laid back and easygoing about the fact that most people are theists. And so on. So I'm sure we can all agree that atheists, as well as theists, come in all kinds of varieties.
Wrong on all counts.
People come in all shapes and sizes, the fact that they may be atheist is irrelevant.
Atheist simply means to lack belief in a god or gods, nothing else.
An atheist may hold some contempt for the people who indoctrinated him, but that's got nothing to do with him lacking belief in a god. it due to him being lied too, and forced to adhere to the rules of religion.
People have changed from theist to atheist because it is unreasonable to have a belief in a thing without any evidence.
Nobody calls atheism a belief[1]as it is, as already stated a lack of belief. Some discuss god and religion, but none think about atheism as there is nothing to think about, it simply doesn't come in to it.
So sorry no we can't agree.
 1. except for the religious
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2012, 06:02:57 PM »
 It is possible for us to have friendly discussions with theists. They seldom seem interested. Once they understand that we aren't going to convert on the spot they get a little testy and we respond accordingly. The ones who can only cut and paste from the bible are pretty bad, but the ones who are very vocal about their customized version of their chosen religion are the worst.

We tell them we are right and we say why we think we are. They tell us they are right and insist we need to have faith, etc. That's not a reason, it's an excuse. And our patience for such thoughtless philosophies is minimal.

As you have noticed, we don't like people who ask questions all the time. Nor do we like people who come here with all the answers but not explanation as to why they think that way.

We have standards. Most of them don't. Sparks fly.

Added: I have several good friends who are fundamentalists. We get along great. Because we never talk about religion.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 06:05:07 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline HAL

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2012, 06:36:04 PM »
A fair number of theists that come here are, well, just plain nasty of their own accord. So much for being loving Christians. Take Olivianus for example. No matter what, he's gonna chop your head off unless you totally agree with him - a difference of opinion is not an option, there have been others like that as well, Dawiyhd comes to mind (now banned). I for one don't feel like I have to take abuse, and I don't expect our members to take abuse either. We're not here to pretend.

Sure try and be nice, but most of them utter the most ridiculous claims and expect you to believe it as if you have never thought about it before. As if words from a holy book will be transmitted through the internets encased in Holy Ethernet packets that you can't dismiss. Most of us are so accustomed to the baseless claims that it doesn't take much for us to lose our patience. But, I don't think it wouldn't matter that much even if we were more patient, being a faceless entity on the other side of an internet connection, it's almost impossible to change an indoctrinated mind that has support from real people - family, church, and friends that you can't touch. Talk about a tough task - that's about as hard a thing as you could possibly imagine.




Offline Tero

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2012, 06:38:46 PM »
I don't deal with many Christians other than at work. My kids more so.

We are involved with exchange students and some Christian families Took Europeans who might be Lutheran etc on paper but are not religious. Some had to change families.

A few have done very well with students from Muslim countries and Asia.

I never duscuss religion. The students present and discuss their holidays.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2012, 06:49:17 PM »
its hard to be nice to people who are being dishonest.
If you cannot admit that murder, rape, and slavery are evil then I dont feel obligated to "play nice" and Im one of the least aggressive here.

Offline Omen

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2012, 11:27:09 PM »
Although I've not really involved myself in the discussions, I notice for example that ILOVEYOU has gotten a lot of criticism (apparently criticism of character)

Where?
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Offline Omen

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2012, 11:30:51 PM »
Why do you feel that you should not criticise someone's views without also criticising them as a person?

If someone is lying, their character is linked to their views.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2012, 11:59:08 PM »
Presumably most of us are either related to theists or have theist friends

I think this is a safe presumption, at least in America.

Quote
so I can't understand how such relationships can be maintained whilst harbouring hostility towards theists in general.

It would seem, to me, to lead towards a somewhat passive aggressive attitude towards ones theistic friends and family. Which then becomes manifest more directly on anonymous forums such as this.

It's a good question from a mental health perspective at any rate. 

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2012, 05:35:21 AM »
Atheists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are atheists because of some bad experience or whatever, others are atheists because they changed from theists to atheists.

I’m trying to understand what sorts of “bad experiences” might lead to atheism. 

I work with people who have had a lot of “bad experiences” such as economic marginalization, natural disasters, persecution, having their villages burned down, surviving massacres or imprisonment or torture, etc., and I have found that the vast majority of people who have faced trauma or great loss tend to be deeply religious. 

Even kids who have been raped by priests or teenage girls who have been married off to middle aged men against their will, often don’t shed their religious beliefs, but instead modify them and often cling to those beliefs to help them deal with their abuse. 

What kinds of “bad experiences” do you have in mind?


Offline joebbowers

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2012, 05:58:40 AM »
I'm pretty sure Kymer is a Christian. First, he started out making the same old theist arguments, when that failed he claimed he was just joking and now he says he's an atheist. But in many of his posts he's defending theism and theists. I think he thinks he can convert from within by posing as an atheist and convincing us that Christians aren't that bad. Read some more of his posts before you decide, but there's definitely something weird about him. He doesn't smell right.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2012, 06:21:30 AM »
Dammit Joe.

We had all our hopes pinned on Kymer.

At least you haven't uncovered agent's nyklev and iragdza.
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Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2012, 06:25:42 AM »
I'm pretty sure Kymer is a Christian. First, he started out making the same old theist arguments, when that failed he claimed he was just joking and now he says he's an atheist. But in many of his posts he's defending theism and theists. I think he thinks he can convert from within by posing as an atheist and convincing us that Christians aren't that bad. Read some more of his posts before you decide, but there's definitely something weird about him. He doesn't smell right.

As HAL pointed out some days ago, if you suspect me of being a troll, you should report me. Otherwise don't derail threads, as derailing threads can be construed as trolling in itself.

Offline bertatberts

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2012, 06:45:04 AM »
I'm pretty sure Kymer is a Christian. First, he started out making the same old theist arguments, when that failed he claimed he was just joking and now he says he's an atheist. But in many of his posts he's defending theism and theists. I think he thinks he can convert from within by posing as an atheist and convincing us that Christians aren't that bad. Read some more of his posts before you decide, but there's definitely something weird about him. He doesn't smell right.
You can't know what a person is unless they declare it upfront. However I've always looked at their Karma[1] points to see which way they lean,[2] this is usually a good indicator of there beliefs. Though it isn't perfect.


Edit: pointed out that Karmas are actually Darwins.
 1.  Sorry that should be Darwin's
 2. You can't do this at first, but if they have been here a while you can.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 07:04:04 AM by bertatberts »
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Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2012, 06:55:46 AM »

It would seem, to me, to lead towards a somewhat passive aggressive attitude towards ones theistic friends and family. Which then becomes manifest more directly on anonymous forums such as this.

It's a good question from a mental health perspective at any rate.

Someone mentioned earlier that they don't discuss religion with their theist friends, and I wonder how strong friendships really are in those situations. I think you're probably right about people being passive aggressive towards those who they personally know who happen to be theists. It would explain why it spills over into what you tend to see here and elsewhere.

Offline Tero

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2012, 06:58:12 AM »
As HAL pointed out some days ago, if you suspect me of being a troll, you should report me. Otherwise don't derail threads, as derailing threads can be construed as trolling in itself.
I smell an experienced troll. You've been on multiple boards, this is your mission for a week or two.

Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2012, 07:02:29 AM »
As I said in the ER, I'm no longer going to allow myself to be drawn into squabbles with anybody. HAL made it clear in the ER that if you suspect me of being a troll you should make a report. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.

Offline monkeymind

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2012, 07:16:11 AM »
As I said in the ER, I'm no longer going to allow myself to be drawn into squabbles with anybody. HAL made it clear in the ER that if you suspect me of being a troll you should make a report. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.
The only way to avoid a "squabble" is not to say anything.
Someone will nearly always disagree with you.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2012, 07:16:40 AM »
Members,

Please use the "Report to Moderator" link if you suspect trolling or rule violations.  It is easier for the moderators when members don't attempt to moderate, even if only to point out something.  Plus, it tends to derail the thread.  The last few posts here are an example of members trying to moderate on their own.

Thanks,

Jetson

Offline kymer

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Re: Being nice to theists
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2012, 07:17:20 AM »

What kinds of “bad experiences” do you have in mind?

I don't know because it's not my experience but I've heard some talk having had some kind of bad experience or other. What kinds of bad experiences have you encountered or heard about?