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Offline junebug72

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why don't atheist have empathy?
« on: May 27, 2013, 07:43:21 AM »
I have encountered a few friendly statements from atheist on this forum.  After sharing my story with them I find that they are not empathetic to my life, my struggles.  They could care less.  In fact I think they wish I had not been born at all.  So much anger and hatred directed towards someone who has done them not 1 single wrong.  How is that morally correct?  You are not nurturing society but condemning it.  If I am incorrect about the existence of God because I am too stupid to know better are you not obligated by morality to accept that, to empathize?

If they were empathetic we wouldn't need a shelter would we?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Offline jetson

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 07:54:34 AM »
You are on a forum, on the internet, which is not at all representative of any particular group, except people who like to debate and discuss on the internet!  That's the main reason, I think, that you feel this way.  This includes religious believers as well.  We know that the vast majority of believers are nice people, who have no interest in pushing their morals, or beliefs, or legislating their religious morality upon everyone. 

It is also likely true that the vast majority of atheists just don't get involved in these debates and discussions.  They just go about their lives like everyone else.

I think that most people just want to live and let live.  It's the outspoken ones in all groups that create the feelings, regardless of what they believe.  If you look around on the internet, you will find atheists arguing with each other about how to discuss and debate the merits of non-belief.  Or how to properly address the religious when discussing these topics, etc., etc.


Offline Quesi

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 08:30:54 AM »
You know something June?  I consider empathy to be among the most important qualities that a human being can have.  It is a value that I work hard to teach my daughter.  I do not believe that there is a shiny afterlife awaiting the suffering masses.  I believe that this one life on earth is our only life, and I have dedicated myself to working to improve the human condition.  When I am faced with a series of choices, or an important decision, I engage in a process of attempting to empathize with everyone who would be impacted by the various options, and use that process to guide my actions.

I have observed a trend in your posts here, which is, I think, the reason that you are feeling a lack of empathy from the majority of the members.  Most folks here value rational arguments and evidence.  You consistently argue that we should accept your anecdotes of personal experiences and beliefs to be as to be as valid as rational arguments and evidence.  When members here get frustrated with your inability  to engage in critical thinking, you have a couple of different responses. 

Sometimes you claim to be full of love and empathy, proclaiming a superior set of values to the people who are either disagreeing with you are attempting to get you to engage in a rational discussion. 

Other times, you become hurt and indignant, and take on the characteristics of a wounded puppy, proclaiming that the posters have no right to disagree with you because you suffered so terribly in your childhood, and that anyone here who disagrees with you is just being a bully. 

You have not been successful using either of those tactics on this forum.  It is pretty clear that you are genuinely surprised at your failure to evoke an emotional response when using these tactics, and  I suspect you do when using these tactics in your real life interactions.

You see, I don't think that your failure to evoke the anticipated emotional response from forum members is an indication of our lack of empathy.  In fact, when you use these techniques, I personally feel manipulated, and that makes me feel angry. 

You see, it sort of pisses me off when someone claims to have superior moral integrity.  And I bet there are a lot of other people here who have the same response.  And it also pisses me off when someone randomly plays the victim card.

I do have great empathy for you and other victims of childhood abuse.  In fact, I probably cut abuse survivors a lot more slack than most folks do, because you have a lot of emotional garbage that you will always carry around, and of course it surfaces at unexpected times.  But I know a lot of survivors who do not feel the need to pull out the victim card as a strategy to win an argument.  Even a few here on this forum. 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 08:32:44 AM by Quesi »

Offline junebug72

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 07:21:09 AM »
You know something June?  I consider empathy to be among the most important qualities that a human being can have.  It is a value that I work hard to teach my daughter.  I do not believe that there is a shiny afterlife awaiting the suffering masses.  I believe that this one life on earth is our only life, and I have dedicated myself to working to improve the human condition.  When I am faced with a series of choices, or an important decision, I engage in a process of attempting to empathize with everyone who would be impacted by the various options, and use that process to guide my actions.

I have observed a trend in your posts here, which is, I think, the reason that you are feeling a lack of empathy from the majority of the members.  Most folks here value rational arguments and evidence.  You consistently argue that we should accept your anecdotes of personal experiences and beliefs to be as to be as valid as rational arguments and evidence.  When members here get frustrated with your inability  to engage in critical thinking, you have a couple of different responses. 

Sometimes you claim to be full of love and empathy, proclaiming a superior set of values to the people who are either disagreeing with you are attempting to get you to engage in a rational discussion. 

Other times, you become hurt and indignant, and take on the characteristics of a wounded puppy, proclaiming that the posters have no right to disagree with you because you suffered so terribly in your childhood, and that anyone here who disagrees with you is just being a bully. 

You have not been successful using either of those tactics on this forum.  It is pretty clear that you are genuinely surprised at your failure to evoke an emotional response when using these tactics, and  I suspect you do when using these tactics in your real life interactions.

You see, I don't think that your failure to evoke the anticipated emotional response from forum members is an indication of our lack of empathy.  In fact, when you use these techniques, I personally feel manipulated, and that makes me feel angry. 

You see, it sort of pisses me off when someone claims to have superior moral integrity.  And I bet there are a lot of other people here who have the same response.  And it also pisses me off when someone randomly plays the victim card.

I do have great empathy for you and other victims of childhood abuse.  In fact, I probably cut abuse survivors a lot more slack than most folks do, because you have a lot of emotional garbage that you will always carry around, and of course it surfaces at unexpected times.  But I know a lot of survivors who do not feel the need to pull out the victim card as a strategy to win an argument.  Even a few here on this forum.

Am I morally superior?  I never said that.  I'm not mean to people that have done me no wrong. I don't know if that makes me morally superior.  I try to be humble.  I did not start the insulting.  I guess I could say that I don't appreciate people acting intelligently superior, even if they are.  I treated you guys with kindness and respect and what I got in return was nasty business.  I guess we are all only human.  Nobody is perfect.  I have my flaws and you have yours.  My flaws do not vindicate the cruelty I've experienced here.  If you don't want someone screaming victim don't victimize.  I try to be impeccable with my word because I realize the power they have.  I have a very strong desire not to hurt others.  To live a peaceful life.  I attribute these qualities to my belief in God.  Go ahead show me atheists can be nice, I've certainly seen you capable.

To what argument did I supposedly do that?  The empathy argument?  I certainly did not use it on the Believing In God is not a Bad Thing thread or the Is America Cursed thread or any other thread until now.  Yes it started in that IAC thread because of Anfauglir's false accusations and cruel words.  His lack of empathy admitted. That's what brought me here to the shelter and the reason for this thread.  Maybe you should think deeper into the reasons behind the hatred of Junebug.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 07:31:30 AM »
You are on a forum, on the internet, which is not at all representative of any particular group, except people who like to debate and discuss on the internet!  That's the main reason, I think, that you feel this way.  This includes religious believers as well.  We know that the vast majority of believers are nice people, who have no interest in pushing their morals, or beliefs, or legislating their religious morality upon everyone. 

It is also likely true that the vast majority of atheists just don't get involved in these debates and discussions.  They just go about their lives like everyone else.

I think that most people just want to live and let live.  It's the outspoken ones in all groups that create the feelings, regardless of what they believe.  If you look around on the internet, you will find atheists arguing with each other about how to discuss and debate the merits of non-belief.  Or how to properly address the religious when discussing these topics, etc., etc.

So this isn't an atheist website?  That's really news to me.  I really thought it was.  The atheist are the ones without empathy.  You judge every Christian for an individual's mistakes, why should I treat atheism any different? 

That is a pleasant attitude to have.  I don't remember you being cruel or participating in any of my threads.  So maybe I shouldn't say atheist but that some people are just that way no matter what they believe?  I suppose that would be more fair. 

Gotta get to work. Have a Nice Day!!!
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 08:42:47 AM »
Forums such as this provide an incomplete view of participants. We can know just so much about others as they discuss various subjects with us. Most of us are here expecting to encounter contrary views, often contentiously.

I participate in other forums, mostly regarding software and other computer issues, and come across people being treated about the same way as you say you are being treated here, over their seeming inability to use a pull-down menu. Or at least getting accused of such. That which you call "empathy" may simply be a manifestation of frustration.

And here we tend to pay more attention to the arguments than the person. In the case of theists, we get a wide range of believers, many of whom make make incredible claims, via indignation. We often lump all similar individuals into the category of "whacko" and proceed without caution.

The term "whacko" can mean anything from "intelligent but nutty" to "nutty and unintelligent". We have no way of accurately measuring the status of any given individual that we so label. Believe you me, we often discuss such things amongst ourselves and seldom agree on which type of "whacko" is involved. No matter how much people tell us about themselves. Because we also have no way of measuring the truth of their statements. Or the accuracy of our own conclusions/assumptions.

If you strongly dislike the way you have been treated here, you have several options. One, you can turn off your computer. Two, you can turn it on and go elsewhere. Three, you can hope that all of us here of us turn into empaths and form a JuneBug support group. Forth, understand that the world doesn't revolve around you, or any of us for that matter, and accept that at least you have one problem that is minor in overall importance. This site.

To quote the great "Firesign Theatre" comedy group, we're all bozo's on this bus. It's just that the majority of us enjoy that part. If you have a shrink, ask if it's okay for you to enjoy it too.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 08:01:17 AM »
Parking Places,

I will stand up for myself and what I believe is right.  I don't care what you believe or don't believe you should treat good people with respect. 

If you don't like it done to you don't do it to others.  I keep trying to make the point; that is how you treat believers.   I don't really believe ALL atheists lack empathy, there are many people that are religious that have the same problem.  There are those that don't represent atheism well and there are those that don't represent belief well and vice versa with positive representation.

I hope you're not suggesting I'm wacko because that is against the rules in this section of the forum and does very little to get me off your back.  I have never thought the world revolved around me.  Just more careless words.  I can tell you're not wacko, I haven't acted wacko so that should give you a good indication I'm not wacko.  I'm following the rules and pleading my case like a rational person.  I am not a coward.  I will stand up for what I believe in and that is Kindness.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Offline Traveler

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 08:38:30 AM »
Kindness is a virtue, junebug, and I hope that folks will remember that this is The Shelter, which means kindness should be practiced here.  :)

I'm sorry that you're getting the impression all atheists lack empathy. I think you'll find differently in person, although I do know several who focus only on the rational side of things. Feelings are important to me, as an example of someone who doesn't exist only in the rational space. Where my rationality comes in, is that I do honor the emotional side of experience, but I use rationality to acknowledge that my interpretation of my emotional experience might not be accurate.
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Offline Mooby

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 06:29:33 PM »
I personally haven't noticed a significant difference between the average atheist and average God believer when it comes to empathy. 

I have gotten that impression on this specific forum, particularly in the past and going back to WWGHA1, but that doesn't extend to all atheists everywhere.  And I think that impression was largely due to a subset of the group, because many of them are gone now and I no longer get that impression as strongly.

Anyways, my point is it's just as wrong to make judgements about all atheists in general based off one internet site as it is to make judgements about all Christians based off the actions of bible thumpers.  You have to realize that with any viewpoint the most ideological usually speak loudest, and if you draw conclusions about the entire group off that minority you're apt to get a very wrong impression.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 07:19:01 PM »
I have encountered a few friendly statements from atheist on this forum.  After sharing my story with them I find that they are not empathetic to my life, my struggles.  They could care less.  In fact I think they wish I had not been born at all.  So much anger and hatred directed towards someone who has done them not 1 single wrong.  How is that morally correct?  You are not nurturing society but condemning it.  If I am incorrect about the existence of God because I am too stupid to know better are you not obligated by morality to accept that, to empathize?

If they were empathetic we wouldn't need a shelter would we?

There's more empathy than you might have experienced. However, this forum itself is very gloves off, it makes no secret about it. I don't think it's lack of empathy but more how people prefer it here. I tend to say WWGHA is for the thick skinned. I don't think you can really judge folks for how they are in a debate, unless it gets real personal, but it rarely happens, it gets heated, heck people may even get offended, but I wouldn't say it happens very often that it gets personal. It can be intense, but actually there are folks that like it that way, whilst I am calm in discussions myself, I find when a debate is heated and I'm left on my toes I can see the real strength of my argument, if I am stumbling then it can't be a very strong argument, but if I'm holding my ground, there must be more to it. Also, I appreciate the raw honesty at times, sometimes I hate people trying to avoid saying what they really think because they're worried it may offend me. There are less intense forums out there.

I would say people on this forum have empathy, if you look for support here then people know how to give it. I made a thread in a personal advice section and found myself becoming a lot more comfortable talking about something that makes me really uncomfortable - out of all the places I could have gone to talk, I picked WWGHA, but it's not something I'd take to a debate, because anything you bring to a discussion will have somebody scrutinising it. Personal testimonies may perhaps fall into that category.

With The Shelter, it is meant to be the less intense part. People generally recognised some of the set backs to how WWGHA works. Generally I would say people who feel sore after a heated debate should actually find somewhere to cool off in the forum, the Shelter is one place, but my favourite would be 'Chatter', through chatter you'll get to know people here better and it might make you feel better about some of the discussions on the main forum. We get theists in chatter who seem to have a good time, in fact, I think Magicmiles prolly spends more time procrastinating in Chatter than arguing. :P

Anyway, I will often see the argument, "why are atheists angry?" there are reasons, many I would argue are justified, heck there are thinks in the religious world that make me angry. Personally I judge people person-to-person, but there are many bad things I would argue related to religion and religious belief, not that I would sweep everybody under that brush.

However, I always find Greta Christina's blog post to be an excellent summary of 'atheists and anger', she covers her own bases, but many atheists can relate to her own annoyances.
http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

But I think the angriness of atheists isn't something necessarily to be worried about. Usually it's just smart remarks, sarcastic responses and for some, ridicule. But one thing that does annoy is that actually, whether or not atheists are right is often sidestepped for how people feel they're arseholes, despite not really being a threat to anybody at all.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 07:27:49 PM by Seppuku »
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Offline jetson

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2013, 06:52:29 AM »
You are on a forum, on the internet, which is not at all representative of any particular group, except people who like to debate and discuss on the internet!  That's the main reason, I think, that you feel this way.  This includes religious believers as well.  We know that the vast majority of believers are nice people, who have no interest in pushing their morals, or beliefs, or legislating their religious morality upon everyone. 

It is also likely true that the vast majority of atheists just don't get involved in these debates and discussions.  They just go about their lives like everyone else.

I think that most people just want to live and let live.  It's the outspoken ones in all groups that create the feelings, regardless of what they believe.  If you look around on the internet, you will find atheists arguing with each other about how to discuss and debate the merits of non-belief.  Or how to properly address the religious when discussing these topics, etc., etc.

So this isn't an atheist website?  That's really news to me.  I really thought it was.  The atheist are the ones without empathy.  You judge every Christian for an individual's mistakes, why should I treat atheism any different? 

That is a pleasant attitude to have.  I don't remember you being cruel or participating in any of my threads.  So maybe I shouldn't say atheist but that some people are just that way no matter what they believe?  I suppose that would be more fair. 

Gotta get to work. Have a Nice Day!!!

Technically, it's not an atheist forum, but it is full of atheists.  Theists are historically outnumbered.  However, I was only addressing a point that you have already clarified...that not all atheists lack empathy.  That feeling you are getting is because you are outnumbered on this forum, and the atheists who come to forums like this, take their gloves off, so to speak.

Here's an example...try going to a Christian forum as an atheist. 

Offline junebug72

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 07:13:41 AM »
You are on a forum, on the internet, which is not at all representative of any particular group, except people who like to debate and discuss on the internet!  That's the main reason, I think, that you feel this way.  This includes religious believers as well.  We know that the vast majority of believers are nice people, who have no interest in pushing their morals, or beliefs, or legislating their religious morality upon everyone. 

It is also likely true that the vast majority of atheists just don't get involved in these debates and discussions.  They just go about their lives like everyone else.

I think that most people just want to live and let live.  It's the outspoken ones in all groups that create the feelings, regardless of what they believe.  If you look around on the internet, you will find atheists arguing with each other about how to discuss and debate the merits of non-belief.  Or how to properly address the religious when discussing these topics, etc., etc.

So this isn't an atheist website?  That's really news to me.  I really thought it was.  The atheist are the ones without empathy.  You judge every Christian for an individual's mistakes, why should I treat atheism any different? 

That is a pleasant attitude to have.  I don't remember you being cruel or participating in any of my threads.  So maybe I shouldn't say atheist but that some people are just that way no matter what they believe?  I suppose that would be more fair. 

Gotta get to work. Have a Nice Day!!!

Technically, it's not an atheist forum, but it is full of atheists.  Theists are historically outnumbered.  However, I was only addressing a point that you have already clarified...that not all atheists lack empathy.  That feeling you are getting is because you are outnumbered on this forum, and the atheists who come to forums like this, take their gloves off, so to speak.

Here's an example...try going to a Christian forum as an atheist.

I've seen how atheists are treated on a couple of their forums.  I haven't seen anything yet that has disturbed as much as the atheist here are to believers.  The forums I am on censor atheist speech not too much on calling them stupid or mentally defective.  I squashed those accusations against me here.  The one getting me right now is the question dodging.  I clearly answered questions and was accused of not answering them.  What do you do with that?  That will just go round and round and round. 

I have been enlightened by a friend this morning as to what this tactic is called and it is: ad hominem.  The second worse way to debate.  Thoughts and ideas are kicked to the curb while self defense takes over.  The main topic becomes is JB stupid or a coward or mentally defective.  I have also encountered the #1 worse way to debate; insults.  and I'm the one accused of not arguing well
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2013, 07:22:56 AM »
I have encountered a few friendly statements from atheist on this forum.  After sharing my story with them I find that they are not empathetic to my life, my struggles.  They could care less.  In fact I think they wish I had not been born at all.  So much anger and hatred directed towards someone who has done them not 1 single wrong.  How is that morally correct?  You are not nurturing society but condemning it.  If I am incorrect about the existence of God because I am too stupid to know better are you not obligated by morality to accept that, to empathize?

If they were empathetic we wouldn't need a shelter would we?

There's more empathy than you might have experienced. However, this forum itself is very gloves off, it makes no secret about it. I don't think it's lack of empathy but more how people prefer it here. I tend to say WWGHA is for the thick skinned. I don't think you can really judge folks for how they are in a debate, unless it gets real personal, but it rarely happens, it gets heated, heck people may even get offended, but I wouldn't say it happens very often that it gets personal. It can be intense, but actually there are folks that like it that way, whilst I am calm in discussions myself, I find when a debate is heated and I'm left on my toes I can see the real strength of my argument, if I am stumbling then it can't be a very strong argument, but if I'm holding my ground, there must be more to it. Also, I appreciate the raw honesty at times, sometimes I hate people trying to avoid saying what they really think because they're worried it may offend me. There are less intense forums out there.

I would say people on this forum have empathy, if you look for support here then people know how to give it. I made a thread in a personal advice section and found myself becoming a lot more comfortable talking about something that makes me really uncomfortable - out of all the places I could have gone to talk, I picked WWGHA, but it's not something I'd take to a debate, because anything you bring to a discussion will have somebody scrutinising it. Personal testimonies may perhaps fall into that category.

With The Shelter, it is meant to be the less intense part. People generally recognised some of the set backs to how WWGHA works. Generally I would say people who feel sore after a heated debate should actually find somewhere to cool off in the forum, the Shelter is one place, but my favourite would be 'Chatter', through chatter you'll get to know people here better and it might make you feel better about some of the discussions on the main forum. We get theists in chatter who seem to have a good time, in fact, I think Magicmiles prolly spends more time procrastinating in Chatter than arguing. :P

Anyway, I will often see the argument, "why are atheists angry?" there are reasons, many I would argue are justified, heck there are thinks in the religious world that make me angry. Personally I judge people person-to-person, but there are many bad things I would argue related to religion and religious belief, not that I would sweep everybody under that brush.

However, I always find Greta Christina's blog post to be an excellent summary of 'atheists and anger', she covers her own bases, but many atheists can relate to her own annoyances.
http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

But I think the angriness of atheists isn't something necessarily to be worried about. Usually it's just smart remarks, sarcastic responses and for some, ridicule. But one thing that does annoy is that actually, whether or not atheists are right is often sidestepped for how people feel they're arseholes, despite not really being a threat to anybody at all.

Thanks for the tips.  I read the blog.  I agree with everything she said.  I am angry about the exact same things.  I was atheist for 7-8 years and it just didn't seem right.  I feel as though things are too complicated and intertwined to not have a Composer.  That doesn't make me stupid, it makes me different from them.  We have more in common than the members here want to admit and then compliment with the joining of our efforts to effect religion. 
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline screwtape

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Re: why don't atheist have empathy?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2013, 08:18:44 AM »
I do not find this to be a particularly productive topic nor is it in the spirit of the Shelter.  Junebug, if you cannot get over past grievances, then perhaps you should move on to another forum.  I'd hate to see you go, but I think that would be better than you dwelling on misconstrued hurts.

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