The Ugly Atheist

I want to begin this post by stating clearly and unequivocally  …
I AM NOT AN ATHEIST.

I most definitely do not believe in the Christian god — and I highly doubt the existence of any other type of god. However, to my thinking, this, in itself, does not give an individual (who has never met me) the right to label me an atheist based entirely on comments or thoughts I’ve expressed in public.

Yet people do … simply because I disagree with their perspectives on the god represented in the bible.

Further … while many of my blogger friends have openly stated they are atheists, many others have never made this claim. They are simply deconverts from the Christian religion. They may describe themselves as deists, anti-theists, gnostics, agnostics — or any other word they feel best fits their theological position. ( NOTE: None of these identifying titles hold the same meaning as atheist. Suggest you look them up if you disagree.)

Yet they too are branded as “atheist” simply because they disagree with a person who claims the title of Christian.

The incentive that finally moved me to write this post was the following comment recorded on a blog owned by a Christian:

Aetheism (sic) is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental (sic) and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.

IMO, the “pity” is the individual who wrote this.

Comments like this are (unfortunately) extremely common among believers. Any and all individuals who do not “profess Jesus” and/or who happen to see life from a non-religious perspective are “ATHEISTS!”

From a personal standpoint, I’ve found it difficult to understand why such anger exists within the hearts of those who claim to believe in a man who (is said to have) made the following comment in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV):

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Even in the Hebrew Bible, there are similar words found in Leviticus 19:17-18 (ESV):

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall … love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Yet behind the cloak of anonymity — or simply because it’s not face-to-face conversation — believers apparently seem to feel they possess divine impunity and can strike out at any and all who disagree with their faith perspective. Even those who serve as their god’s ambassadors are guilty.

I’m well aware of the “Great Commission” given to Christians to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 16:15, KJV). But there is also another scripture they seem to often overlook which states: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet (Matthew 10:14, ESV). It doesn’t say call them “atheists” or other derogatory names as you leave.

The diversity of human beliefs about life is immeasurable — primarily because we are each individuals with our own backgrounds and experiences. As has been repeated innumerable times … No Two People Are Alike. Thus, when it comes to religious matters, it would far better serve all of us to keep this in mind and cease and desist placing (often incorrect) labels on other people.

97 thoughts on “The Ugly Atheist

  1. Methinks you might be protesting too much. In the 1960’s I remember people being called “Communist!” because they espoused opinions in opposition to some hidebound conservative. This is by people who had at best a very dim grasp on what it meant to be a communist. The epithet “Atheist!” is used likewise. I am guessing this by the simple evidence of the number of questions posted on the Quora site which require answers explaining what an atheist actually is. In Christian churches, atheism is not explored or explained. At worst it is demonized, at best ignored.

    Part of the problem is our incessant labeling of people. We seem to need classifications of people to even be able to converse with them. Some of this is understandable. Asking questions about Catholicism from people not Catholic or Catholic scholars is asking for uninformed opinions. I guess another big part of the problem is our willingness to share uninformed opinions. (“You know what I think …” and “I have a theory …” probably aren”t good starts to sentences.)

    I guess the guy who said “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one” got it right.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I agree with you, Steve … to a point. Yes, all of us tend to “label” others — especially those who are “different” from us (I don’t think I need to list the various categories).

      But when it comes to religious discussions, I find it extremely rude that believers label all who disagree with them as atheists — whether the label fits or not. It has become a “dirty word” in the Christian community — and especially reprehensible when it’s coming from those who are supposed to be showing love for others.

      I admit my perspective is drawn from blogging as I don’t visit Quora or other community-based discussions — so I may be a bit prejudiced.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hahaha! Great comment Steve. I’ve also been called a Socialist because I care too much about people who struggle in life and against those rigged systems. LOL

      It’s like compassion and empathy are the trend or style right now. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Who is this jerk?

    Perhaps you should tell these people straight exactly ”what” you are, rather than allowing them the opportunity to even try to get the boot in first and second guess you?

    I am perfectly okay telling people I am an atheist and an anti-theist. Out in the open, out the way. No ambiguity.
    Bring it on!

    You’ll love this:

    My aim is not to grind people in to the ground … though that is always fun … (laughter)

    and …

    In response to the apparent collapse of the church in Scotland is that atheist are unaware of the gospels( according to him)

    One of the pros is this … whenever I do a debate with an atheist, I’ve never lost. Not because I’m brilliant but because they haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

    David Robertson – minister of St Peters Free Church in Dundee Scotland ( thrweeflea)

    Arrogant little toad isn’t he! lol..
    Want a link to his blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This “jerk” is an “evangelist” that commented on a well-known blog. His comment wasn’t directed to me but to others that have disagreed with the blog owner. (I don’t think I need to provide any further details.)

      Of course, he’s not the only one. This label is repeatedly given to ANYONE who doesn’t believe in, follow along with, or profess belief in the Christian religion. It has become the Christian version of a nasty insult, similar to many other terms used to describe gays, blacks, prostitutes, anyone with a different political belief, etc., etc.

      No, I don’t think I want a link to this guy’s blog. I don’t need to read any more prejudicial and ignorant posts/comments. It just adds to my heartburn..

      Liked by 3 people

  3. However, to my thinking, this, in itself, does not give an individual (who has never met me) the right to label me an atheist based entirely on comments or thoughts I’ve expressed in public.

    The exact same thing happens with me too Nan! And I’ve politely re-educated certain WordPress bloggers that I am a Freethinking Humanist, if I MUST give some vague label/title beyond “Earthling” to satisfy their obsession with compartmentalization and air-tight order and cleanliness. I’ve told 2 or 3 specific hard-headed bloggers this repeatedly; they ignore it. And so therefore, much of the dialogue and hopeful exchanges immediately go sour and/or south.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your post Nan and its accuracy. I guess we have to pick our battles when engaging fence-posts and brickwalls, huh? 😉 ❤

    Liked by 5 people

      • Indeed Ark! Just a very happy, raunchy, twisted, perverted Bohemian Hedonist that couldn’t be anymore ecstatic with his like-minded tribesmen and tribewomen!!! 😈 HEY! Here’s a secret: “heaven” is right here, right now, in THIS life on THIS planet!!! (and the crowd gasps & is utterly staggered!)

        Like

        • Shhhhhhhh! And don’t sic your daughter on me again! 😉 😛

          No seriously, both sides of my family — large portions — come from 16th century northern Italy (Chambons-Mentoulles of Cluson Valley), far southeastern-eastern France (Alsace-Lorraine), up toward Stuttgart to outside Berlin, Germany (Holzapfel-Schaumburg of Prussia) staying just ahead of the Roman Catholic Churches persecutions/executions, until FINALLY leaving Antwerp, Belgium in the 1840’s and 1850’s for the Republic of Texas — not yet annexed by the United States. Yes Ark, all through that migration of religious asylum is my Bohemian culture and heritage! What’s so freakin’ ironic is that now I’m considering religious asylum BACK TO EUROPE!!! Bwahahahaha!! 🤣

          Liked by 3 people

        • Hey … I just said I thought you lived near Texas I don’t need the whole bloody Google map/historical / family tree thing, y’know! I am not planning on adoption!
          Sheesh … Bloody foreigners.

          Liked by 2 people

        • LMAO! 🤣

          Hey, I was just doing a “preemptive strike” for any “fiendishly detemined” investigative family-members with super-prying questions and/or “LABELS”… like Nan is talking about! 🤣 😉

          Liked by 3 people

        • That individual is the paragon of discretion. Unlike her father. who would only divulge your real name, Reginald Whitebottom III, if he didn’t receive an autographed football boot from David Beckham by next Wednesday.

          Liked by 1 person

        • You’ve been to . . .

          Chambons, Mentoulles, Fenestrelle, Soucheres-basses
          Alsace, Lorraine, Lyon, Geneva,
          Lausanne, Lucerne, Zurich, Lichtenstein
          Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, Mannheim
          Luxembourg, Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam
          Set sail for USA, think you might sail back again.

          You’ve been everywhere, man
          You’ve been everywhere, man
          Crossed the deserts bare, man
          Breathed the mountain air, man
          Travel you’ve had your share, man
          You’ve been everywhere.

          Liked by 4 people

        • I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
          And what I assume you shall assume,
          For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
          […]
          The past and present wilt — I have fill’d them, emptied them,
          And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

          Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
          Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
          (Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a
          minute longer.)

          Do I contradict myself?
          Very well then I contradict myself,
          (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
          Walt Whitman

          😍🧐

          Liked by 4 people

  4. I AM an atheist, but I wasn’t ready to label myself that until I had been out of religion for several years. For me, that just means that I don’t hold a belief in any gods. Any theist who tries to read any more into it than that is going to get an earful from me!

    I don’t care what you label yourself, because sometimes labels just get in the way of good discussions. Better to talk about the ideas than about the labels we put on them.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Better to talk about the ideas than about the labels we put on them.

      Absolutely, Ubi! Problem is, in Christian discussions, too many individuals are unable to discuss “ideas,” so they just say their piece and accuse anyone who disagrees with them as an “atheist.”

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t personally like labels. People change their views so often, based on new information that they are being made aware of, that it’s hard to keep coming up with new names for what people are. Why can’t we just be people?

    I don’t consider myself an atheist either, though I am when it comes to the Christian god or any other “revealed” religion’s god. I most certainly do not believe in man-made gods. It’s so much easier to say what I am not and what I don’t believe in than it is to say what I am and what I do believe in. It does get rather annoying that when I declare I’m not this or that, someone else feels that they have the right to tell me what I am based solely on their own beliefs.

    Liked by 8 people

    • what? we can’ do that anymore? ” It does get rather annoying that when I declare I’m not this or that, someone else feels that they have the right to tell me what I am based solely on their own beliefs.” decide what a person is? well dang it all. oh, wait a second….I don’t do that so why am I whinging on about it? nevermind.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Hrrrrrr I always seem to miss the best train wrecks 👀 😖

    You’re right though, it’s fascinating how quickly you get that “evil Aaaaaaatheist! Get the children inside!” label slapped onto you, even if you’re just poking around asking questions.

    There are two incidents that stuck with me because of the radical shift in attitude.
    One, the lady who had called me all sorts on unpleasant things did a near 180 after I gently pointed out I’m more of an agnostic, though one without much affection for the Abrahamic deity. She promptly latched on to the latter and explained how loving that god is (in whose name she had cursed at me earlier). 😲
    Two, a mighty dogpile after I dared to have an opinion about church-y stuff and in the process was identified as an evil apostate. They basically shoved each other out of the way to be the first stone tosser, after at first my opinion was at least considered and discussed in a mostly civil manner. Would have been funny if it hadn’t been so sad.

    The saddest thing (if one were a theist reading this)? There was a time when I was honestly searching and was more than open to the idea of “Maybe trying counts. Maybe a nice church or temple or something would help me figure it all out”.
    That did not work out so well…

    Liked by 4 people

    • That first story? Sorta’ (just a wee bit) reminds me of the word “hypocrite.” 🙂

      Hope you don’t mind me saying it … but I’m happy (for you) that it “did not work out so well.”

      Liked by 4 people

      • The ‘hypocrite’ ingredient seems mandatory in many of today’s churches. 🙁 At least the Spanish Inquisition was upfront about their agenda and you knew when to start running (yesterday. You should have been over the hills and accelerating yesterday).

        And no, I don’t mind one bit 😊
        I’m quite happy myself that I allowed my mind to keep stretching, despite the occasional temptation to just stop asking stupid questions and accept a nice bubbly cloud to take a rest in. I still sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be nice, mostly when I meet believers who are so sure and happy in their faith.

        But I know me. I’m too far gone for pink fluffy unicorn bliss.

        If anything, I’m randomly bouncing about, looking for a potential common denominator behind the fluff. A metaphysical ToE, maybe.
        I’ve read too many philosophers methinks. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

    • Shia, you’re lucky you aren’t over here in the Land of Salem Trials. 😉 😛

      Come on boys! Let’s light these fires under the stakes and throw dem rope-nooses over dem Oak branches!” Que the music of Carmina Burana: O Fortuna!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Har! Yes, Germany is mighty restful in that aspect, professor. Even – and this is fascinating – here in deep Catholic Country, namely rural Bavaria. They observe customs in these parts that are almost extinct everywhere else, and it’s not just the seniors, either.
        But go and flat out declare you’re a heathen .. maybe one will run for holy water, the other 999 Catholics will pat you on the head and say “It’s alright dear, we can’t help how we’re made. Besides, could be worse. You could be Protestant. Or a Frank *shudder*!”

        Not that my home state is all that terrible, either. Lots of “You do you, I do me, now get off my lawn” attitude 😋

        Liked by 1 person

        • Isn’t it oddly strange Shia how STUBBORN humans and their ancient traditions are to progress, change, and higher learning? The first two factors are absolute on this planet and in this Universe; they WILL happen whether humans like it or not. So why not always be doing the third: higher learning? And thus, improve our chances of NOT going extinct! Oooo, wow! Now there’s a novel idea! 😮 🤭

          Liked by 2 people

        • Well, if you wouldn’t mind a bit of philosophical musing professor: Tradition and rituals do have a soothing effect. And we are fight/flight creatures whose ancestors have survived by being suspicious of things that go rustle in the night.

          I notice this in my dog, who with advancing age gets more easily upset by changes in her routine. I notice this with horses – a good way to soothe a skittish equine is to let them get used to new things at their own pace and establish rituals (nooo the tractor won’t eat you, sweetheart. But I know why you might feel that way. Let’s walk past the monster at 100 yards today. 95 tomorrow. 95 after that. 90. 95. 95. 95. 95. 80. 85. 50. 55. 50. 50. 20. What tractor?)

          All things considered it’s amazing we manage to keep up with innovations the way we do, though we keep dragging part of our population in our wake (and is it really so surprising some will dig in their heels and scream all the way?)
          It’s like the horse and the tractor. Evolution hasn’t quite caught up in developing “mechanical stuff – treat with caution but no need to run for your life” neurons in the equine brain. The development is just too recent.
          Even so, some are bolder, some are more curious than fearful and need a mere week to get over it, some will be unsure and take longer… and some will take a long time indeed. Screaming all the way.

          The human stubbornness is mostly fear, too. And we know fear leads to anger, and anger…

          Liked by 3 people

        • Even so, some are bolder, some are more curious than fearful and need a mere week to get over it, some will be unsure and take longer… and some will take a long time indeed. Screaming all the way.

          You are right. There are degrees, half-degrees, microscopic degrees, and mathematical degrees! 😁🧐 Many similarities and even many more variations of different!

          Are you familiar with Dr. Richard Ebstein’s and Dr. Kat Arney’s work on the “Wanderlust Gene” or the DRD4-7R allele? * Of course parents and familial environment also play a part in our personality development growing up, however, their are psychological and genetic studies suggesting Orchid/Dandelion types and novelty-seeker/skittish-equestrian types. 😛 Care to guess which one I favor?

          * — a good read:
          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/the-wanderlust-gene-is-it-real-and-do-you-have-it/

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ooohhhh I’ve heard of the “Wanderlust” gene but I wasn’t aware of all the research! Thank you, that’s really interesting! ❤

          The risk-taker connection also makes sense when presented this way. Not just the drive to learn new things and have new experiences, but the willingness to navigate possibly dangerous waters in order to achieve the goal.

          The funny (both odd and ha-ha funny I guess) thing is that I don’t think of myself as a thrill-seeker at all (watch father mine roll his eyes in the background, remembering the time I had to discover gravity and aerodynamics by skiing off our roof with a bedsheet… no that’s not how paragliding works…)
          I take calculated risks. It’s just that my math is off sometimes. Occasionally. Here and there.

          Anyways. Could there be a connection between this and people who frantically cling to belief as well? Because anything is better than to leave your safe zone? Once we add environmental factors into the equation, could this begin to explain why some struggle more, and others take flight as soon as they lose the ball and chain? Fascinating…

          As for you … I bet you like oaks. Ancient, unmoving, unmovable, with roots deeper than Yggdrasil. Or the fleet-footed steed who is convinced the lawnmower is a harbinger of the Legions of Death, and shall not be tricked into trying out the scary pasture next to his, nay not even if you pile the alfalfa and the carrots sky-high. 😋 🤣
          (I just realized again that horses are smarter than us. Even the biggest scaredy-cat wouldn’t let those carrots go to waste…)

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hmmmmm. (rubs his hands together maniacally) So… what you are saying is that all I need to do is dangle carrots dressed with alfalfa in front of skittish-equine mares and broodmares toward the gates of greener and greener pastures for steedy reprogramming? 😎

          Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t think of myself as an atheist. I prefer the term “non-religious”. When heard that Dave Silverman was fired from American Atheists, I yawned. It means nothing to me.

    But, yes, people do call me an atheist. I usually ignore that, though it was probably intended as an insult.

    I prefer to think of myself as a follower of the gospel according to Rodney King — as in “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I love this post! The labeling problem is reflective of two-dimensional thinking – i.e. “you’re either with me or you’re against me!”

    My self-identification as agnostic (for purely technical reasons) has earned me equal condemnation from theists and atheists alike. The former have accused me of being heretical, hedonistic, sinful, and destined to be cast into the pit of Hell. The latter have accused me of being cowardly, indecisive, disingenuous, and secretly in league with bible-thumpers. In these many discussions and debates, I’ve seen much more honesty and integrity from those caught in the middle of this intensely polarizing dichotomy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I love this post! — I consider that high praise. 🙂

      And yes, I agree with the two-dimensional thinking. Seems for many, that’s the only way to see things. (Very dominant under the current administration. Whoops! Didn’t mean to get political!)

      I really don’t have a “label.” I explain my outlook on religion/spirituality in my book and so far, I haven’t been able to give it a “name” — which, I think, is a good thing.

      Liked by 3 people

    • The former have accused me of being heretical, hedonistic, sinful, and destined to be cast into the pit of Hell.

      Wooooohoooooo!!! Welcome fellow heretical, hedonist headed to Hades!!!! Que this fantastic grand-entrance song… 😈👺🐒🐆

      Liked by 3 people

    • The former have accused me of being heretical, hedonistic, sinful, and destined to be cast into the pit of Hell. The latter have accused me of being cowardly, indecisive, disingenuous, and secretly in league with bible-thumpers.

      Yes, yes and … yes. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, the sweater and the matching set with the slippers.

      One the one side I also got one case of demonic possession to offer (me, not the priest. Feel the need to point that out considering which one of us was acting rather weird), on the other I got “you’re just stupid” and the good old “If you’re not for us, go procreate with yourself” spiel.

      Though in fairness, no atheist so far has tried to do me physical harm. So if it comes down to it, I’m hiding behind them when the pitchforks come out.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m never surprised when a Christian (this person is one I’m guessing?) insults anyone who is not a Christian. During my Christians years I heard/witnessed more Christian on Christian insulting to last a lifetime.

    As for the term ‘atheist’ being used as an insult or a derogatory comment towards myself as a human being, it’s perhaps why I do tend to not hide from the term.

    Liked by 5 people

    • The person who wrote the comment prefaced his name with “evangelist” — so yes, I would assume he’s a Christian.

      I know many who have left the faith ARE atheists … and are not in the least bit hesitant to admit it. But there are others who aren’t quite ready (and maybe never will be) to “wipe the slate clean.” But more to the point, it’s become a “dirty word” in the blogging community. For many Christians, it’s a way of slinging sh__ and doing so (in their opinion) with complete impunity.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I was a menopausal agnostic when I changed my mind about my former belief. No where near the term “atheist” at all. Coming to use the term “atheist” only happened when I understood that I didn’t believe in any Ggod(s). I had the label deist slapped on me a lot! One of the reasons? I was too kind, too compassionate to be a non-theist. Somewhere in there, there must be a hint of the divine. Every time (this was in my forums days as a moderator on a free-thinging forum) I’d carefully consider the label and it never fit.

        It is a dirty word not only in blogging but every where and I think that’s why I gave up and used it and still do because for me it fit and over-time the fact that I’m a nice, kind, compassionate atheist sort of rubs in the face of those who use it to define atheists. 😛

        Aetheism (sic) is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental (sic) and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.

        I am not ignorant, carnal is only for Christians as I recall, judgemental, I’d be dead without a bit of judgement, no where mundane, how dare you . . . pity? Them’s fighting words, oh wait, no now your atheistic tendencies are showing there Zoe. Calm down. 🙄

        I’m with you Nan. Just sharing my own stuff. I think it also interesting as well to mention that many atheists have not wiped the slate clean either. I’m technically agnostic and practically atheist. Is/are there a gGod(s) . . . I don’t know. Do I have one? No.

        Liked by 5 people

  10. For clarification, I like saying “there are no gods.” Because it is my opinion that the statement is correct, I am correctly identified as atheist. It gets dicey after that because too many folks add wrong things to the statement, and thus to their definition of atheist. Oddly, with one exception, most of those same people agree with me, yet they are destined to recline happily in eternity with the one, while I have to sit on brimstone for eternity simply cuz I say, “Not that one either.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Bill! Glad you stopped by. 🙂

      I think most of my “regulars” tend to agree with the statement, “there are no gods.” And they, as well as any other individual, have the total freedom to say/believe that statement. Yet Christians just can’t stand it! It makes them all woggly-goggly (made-up word), which then causes them to ATTACK!

      It’s really too bad that humans have such a hard time embracing the “live and let live” philosophy.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Oh I love the term atheist. Paint me with it all day for all I care!

    It’s very simple really, are you a theist? no, then you’re not theist, or atheist. Simple. It carries with it no weight, no fear and no presuppositions, so frankly, it is of little consequence.

    Want to know how I feel about politics, aid, incarceration, birth control and other things in life, ask me, but they are nothing to do with being atheist.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. People view atheism as evil, i think half of the people are not atheist because the think the social position will get degraded. I mean they will get no respect from their family or friends and relatives. Today’s generation is asking many questions which their parents or even sometimes scholars can’t answer. I can see big problem coming if atheism gains some social freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes. It’s more than obvious that “atheists” are baaaad people! They’re the ones out robbing and killing, doncha’ know? Be careful if you live next door to one … they might break into your house at night and steal your gods … whoops! I mean, dogs 😀

      Seriously, belief or non-belief in a god is hardly a good way to judge character … yet people do it all the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Totally agree with the post.

    In all fairness, most Christian people I know do not respond this way in real life and time to people who do not share their faith Unfortunately, these folks probably do not spend a great deal of time on the internet, either.

    On the other hand, how many non theists or people with other belief systems go about labeling the Christian believers in their personal lives as delusional, fools, or interacting with an “imaginary friend?” If taken personally this can feel very hurtful and disrespectful. The human tendency is to want to retaliate in kind.

    Seriously, I think it’s the anonymity of the internet that works against respectful and open dialogue. It’s easier for people to be hurtful to someone that they can’t see, and don’t personally know. We can always walk away from the computer.

    I can’t so easily walk away from my boss or Aunt Cindy.

    I also think part of what goes on to is that people can interpret a difference with a deeply held belief system as a personal attack when really it may be just reflects a difference in perspective. Because people disagree does not mean they are an enemy or necessarily have malevolent motives, IMO.

    Also, I wonder if sometimes people are working out their personal trauma, and this also can color their response if they feel threatened in some way.

    Again, because we don’t know each other personally in real life and time, it can be difficult to discern and sort this all out with a few sentences on a blog.

    I honestly think that if I personally knew some of the folks that I’ve disagreed with the most over the years we would be great friends, actually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Because people disagree does not mean they are an enemy or necessarily have malevolent motives

      That’s true, Rebecca. But when individuals make negative comments about another person’s character simply because they don’t agree with them spiritually, it’s totally natural to “react.” It’s one thing to discuss differences in beliefs, but to make snide remarks or insult another person’s intelligence is simply WRONG.

      And let me be clear … this works on both sides of the fence.

      There’s no argument the blogosphere often brings out the worst in people … primarily because it allows us to hide behind a computer screen. If, as you suggested, we were able to meet face-to-face, things might be much different.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I’m sorry Nan, but I had to laugh. At this moment I’m responding to an anti-theist anti-religion blogger who has concocted a fanciful story on his blog using me as an example as to why religion is harmful both to the believer and society as a whole. He makes no mention of what I believe, but apparently whatever it is, it’s the “thin edge of the wedge” that leads to the “slippery slope” where attempts to enact laws to enforce belief in “fanciful superstition” will be made.

    He makes no mention of the fact that I’m a non-theist, nor does he mention that I consider a belief in the supernatural cannot be justified in light of our current knowledge and understanding. According to him I have “blind faith in unprovable religious dogma” but fails to say what that might be.

    This is not the first time a blog post where I have the subject of unwarranted criticism, but it’s the first time untruths (apparently I was/am a Mormon!) and innuendos have been used in the process. Perhaps I’m a target because I consider myself religious, and find I have much in common with progressive/post-modern/liberal forms of religion.

    Another case of “black and white thinking”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • As your example has shown, Barry, people tend to make all sorts of assumptions about others based simply on a few words expressed on the internet. And rather than discuss WHY a person believes as they do (on either side), it seems to be easier (and more common) to go into attack mode.

      Black and white thinking, indeed!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I suspect it’s because most strong anti-theist style atheists tend to associate religion with supernatural metaphysical beliefs. For them that is what religion is. They can’t fit certain type of people like an atheist who still identifies with some aspects of a “traditional” religious group into their mental conception of religion: a non-theist who identifies with elements of Quakerism practices and treats God as a symbol as a way to describe a shared human connection and inner goodness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d say it was distorted thinking rather than malicious.

        He seems to believe all “cults” (to use his description) treat fantasy as fact, so I suspect he is unable to distinguish between Mormonism and non-theist Quakerism.

        I don’t think he’s being deliberately malicious, so much as his prejudice colours what he reads. For example:
        Blogger Barry, said that he’d halted on his path to becoming an Atheist. He does not say that it was because he was taught that Atheists are evil, nasty or sinful, but that is the reason that many ex-Christians won’t admit that they have become Atheists.
        The first sentence is incorrect as life is a journey and I have no intention of stopping. I prefer the term “non-theist” because ‘atheism’ is often confused with ‘New Atheism’. The second sentence implies that it might be because I was taught that atheists are evil. So far from the truth as to be laughable. I’ve always understood, right from childhood, that Christianity was about how a person lived, not about what they believed. I didn’t even know my mother was a Christian in the religious sense until she was in her late fifties.

        Part of his response to my criticism of his post was that he “took some literary licence to tell a story“, in which case he should have used a fictional character. Then he told me “Blind faith in unprovable religious dogma may make many, like you, and them, feel good, but it is not a good basis for making important life decisions“. I’ve challenged him to provide an example of religious dogma that I have blind faith in. I’m still waiting for a response.

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        • Barry, reading this, I am inclined to agree with you that it is not malice but a fixation with an idea of you. I, too, would like to know this religious dogma you have bind faith in.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. “You are with us …” (lowers eyebrows menacingly, with an unsubtle joyless pseudo-smile) “… or you are agin us.”
    Closes the book, rings the bell, and douses the candle. EOS. No, not George Bush this time but any idiot Christian who doesn’t know her peez and kews.

    And I, indeed, am an atheist—

    —’theist’ being a ‘god’ person (any God, any god at all—but it seems that to the Christians any god other than their very own Spook is a fallacy).

    To some the ‘a’ means ‘not’.
    To Christians the ‘a’ means (selectively) ‘anti’.

    To Christians a belief in The Lord Krishna or The Lord Grotnik, or Odin, Isis, Aphrodisiac, Poseidon, Maui, Sputnik, Jon Frumm, Buddha, Siva etc etc etc ad infinitem … no matter how devotedly devoutly still makes one an atheist.
    Methinks Christians need revisit their dictionaries …

    I AM AN ATHEIST but I’m not anti all gods.
    Some of them seem quite likeable, in fact; others are actually cute. To look at …

    But if we are to get technical, you could state with accuracy that I am aChristian.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Dear Monotheist: How can your mind possibly believe (and go on believing) in being sinful since you were born, before having uttered a single word or having made one step in your life? And what makes you believe,in a virgin birth, in a resurrection, in an eternal incarnation in flesh and blood of an otherwise human being?;

    As a Nonbeliever, I find it easy to ask you those questions. Then why do you find it so difficult [read: impossible] to accept that there are minds in which there is no room for (a) god, let alone for the other concepts. What is wrong with me when I don’t see what you perceive (imagine), and when you inevtably become aware of that I am just another fellow doing more or less the same things as you do for a living?

    Labels are necessary for suitcases and wine bottles. Incidentally, a grandson of ours came to dinner last night; he brought us two bottles of wine, produced by a small winery where a friend of his is the oenologist (the wine maker). The bottles were unlabelled, the wine was excellent!
    .-

    Liked by 5 people

  17. We agree on one thing; name calling simply because you disagree with someone is never the right thing to do.

    Like

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