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Sorbo Has Staggeringly Stupid Exchange About Atheism

Kevin Sorbo was not just an actor playing a character in God’s Not Dead, he is an active advocate for the incredibly dishonest portrayal of atheists in that movie. He showed this again in an unbelievably idiotic exchange on Access Hollywood. Hemant has the transcript:

Sorbo: … I’ve seen these guys [atheists] on TV and cable outlets… Atheists actually have, like, chapters and they have, I mean, it’s weird. I see the anger when these guys get on TV! And I’m going, wow, how do you get so angry about something you don’t believe in?

Robinson: Right…

Sorbo: I find that very interesting.

Robinson: Every time I’m around, if I’m ever around an atheist, I think I’m gonna get hit by lightning or something. I just don’t even want to be in the room with them.

That’s Shaun Robinson, one of the hosts of the show, who is apparently as much of an idiot as Sorbo is. Really, Shaun? You worry about that? Have you seen atheists get hit by lightning? No? Then you’re full of shit.

Sorbo: It’s weird how they can get nativity scenes pulled down because they say it offends them. They’re offended by something they don’t believe in. Well, it offends about 90% of people of the country that they take the nativity scenes down, but apparently, the majority doesn’t have a voice in this country anymore, so what are you gonna do?

Oh yes, of course. That’s the problem with this country, Christians just don’t have enough of a voice in it. Well over 90% of all positions of power, but somehow completely powerless. What fucking world does this guy live in?

Sorbo: What’s interesting, people can say, oh, that doesn’t happen, where students get persecuted at universities because of their belief. It does happen. At the end of the movie, we show 37 court cases — we could’ve shown many more — in the closing credits of major universities being sued by students because they’re being persecuted purely for having a faith in God.

None of which had anything even remotely to do with the plot of the movie. Even if every one of those cases was a legitimate case of anti-Christian persecution (and they aren’t; more on this later when I write a full post about that list of cases), it does not follow that any philosophy professor would do what Sorbo’s character did or that any university would allow it to be done.

Comments

  1. says

    I used to watch Hercules: the Legendary Journeys. I knew it wasn’t good, but it was fun. Now, I feel like I did a disservice to all mankind by doing so, because I contributed to this guy having a fame platform from which to infect people with stupid.

  2. blf says

    “… I just don’t even want to be in the room with them.”

    Ditto, albeit for a different interpretation of “them”.
    Reasons, however, maybe be similar. Thor’s aim isn’t what it used to be…

  3. zenlike says

    Sorbo: What’s interesting, people can say, oh, that doesn’t happen, where students get persecuted at universities because of their belief. It does happen. At the end of the movie, we show 37 court cases — we could’ve shown many more — in the closing credits of major universities being sued by students because they’re being persecuted purely for having a faith in God.

    This movie was based on a true story… a story where the reverse happened as was shown in this movie, e.g. a non-believing student, a Christian professor spouting his beliefs, and then the student turning Christian. The dishonesty of these liars for Jesus knows no bounds.

  4. raven says

    Thor’s aim isn’t what it used to be…

    Huh???

    You should have seen him last winter. There was a major invasion of Frost Giants and he pushed them back.

    Just look outside. It’s 80 degees F. and there isn’t a Frost Giant in sight. They will be back though, in a few months.

  5. blf says

    zenlike@3 says:

    This movie was based on a true story — a story where the reverse happened…

    Citation please? (Can’t say I’ve heard this claim before, which only means I have no recollection of every hearing(reading) this claim before…)

  6. Chiroptera says

    …where students get persecuted at universities because of their belief.

    Well, universities are supposed to be places where beliefs and hypotheses are tested by emprical facts and reasoned analysis. That’s their main purpose (not, by the way, mere career preparation). To be expose to facts and logical reasoning isn’t persecution; it’s immersion in the real world.

    I don’t the exact particulars of Sorbo’s beliefs, but anyone has the right to old whatever beliefs they wish. However, if they insist on holding religious/political/social beliefs that cannot withstand scrutiny based on facts and logic, then they don’t need to go to the university; they are better off staying in their echo chamber. And they don’t have the right to keep their or anyone else’s children in that same echo chamber if they want to leave it.

  7. raven says

    I see the anger when these guys get on TV! And I’m going, wow, how do you get so angry about something you don’t believe in.

    1. Kevin Sorbo is very stupid. We atheists get along really well with the gods. Couldn’t be better. They’ve been so quiet for centuries that it is almost like…they don’t exist.

    2. We do believe the god’s followers exist though. People like Kevin Sorbo and Shaun Robinson.

    They are just hate filled anti-atheist bigots spouting routine lies. No reason why we should like or respect them.

    3. It’s not all bad though. The uglier the xians get, the more of us there are. Thanks Sorbo, for being a dumb, hate fille, lying bigot.

  8. blf says

    Frost Giants are easy to hit. Just lob the thunderbolts in the general direction of the continent

    Individual humansbugs are hard to see, much less hit. Even when they are globally-obnoxious or -threatening, like Murdumb or the Koachroaches.

  9. zenlike says

    Also, let’s not forget that this is a movie in which the atheist main character is dying right at the end, and instead of trying to save his life, he is being converted by christian ghouls.

    And then people like Sorbo go on the talk-show circuit and whine about how atheists are all angry like. We’re not angry at your idiotic barbaric god, you fool, we are angry at your brand of inhumanity.

  10. John Pieret says

    The simple fact is that there is not a single legitimate college or university in America that would allow a professor to fail a student for refusing to agree with the professor’s philosophical opinions. I went to a Jesuit college where the very idea of failing a student for not accepting even Catholic philosophy/doctrine was not even an option. Maybe at Regents or Liberty or Oral Roberts “Universities” they can do it … if some kid dares to accept evolution … but nowhere else!

  11. gshelley says

    Given how easily he is beaten, how bad his arguments are, and how poorly he responds to the students sub-college level arguments, there is no legitimate university where Professor Hercules could even pass the Philby course, let alone teach it.

  12. Michael Heath says

    Sure Kevin Sorbo’s rhetoric is idiotic and defamatory. But when he dies he’ll be Jesus’ sheep in Heaven while you smarty-pants atheists will be hot-roasting in Hell for all eternity.

  13. raven says

    …he is being converted by christian ghouls.
    and:
    We’re not angry at your idiotic barbaric god, you fool, we are angry at your brand of inhumanity.

    Good point.

    We don’t like the Children of the Night, the Eaters of the Dead. Why should we?

    Although these xian bigots are far worse than Ghouls. Ghouls wait for their dinner to be dead and provide useful ecosystem recycling services. While these are scavengers, preying on the sick, hurting, and dying but still, nevertheless, living humans.

  14. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    And I’m going, wow, how do you get so angry about something you don’t believe in?

    Hmm, one could ask the exact same question to Creationists about Evolution.

    In all seriousness, is it really that hard for believers to fathom the way that this thing that atheists don’t believe in is the driving force behind all kinds of bad things that DO effect us? Restrictions on our bodily autonomy, curtailed freedoms based on gender and sexual prefs., genital mutilation, arranged marriages, honor killings, etc. Ugh. Somebody mail this maroon a copy of Greta’s book, not that he would read it.

  15. Synfandel says

    And I’m going, wow, how do you get so angry about something you don’t believe in?

    Sorbo doesn’t appear to believe in separation of church and state, but it makes him angry enough to make a propaganda movie against it.

  16. anubisprime says

    Yep seems Sorbo is just circle jerkin’ the faithful in the demographic target audience this movie was made for, that and little else…when he wins an Oscar then atheists are in trouble…or not…you decide!

  17. Dave Maier says

    I’ve been a philosophy professor (and taught Phil 101), and I can tell you that not only is Professor (Radisson was it?) — that guy’s pedagogy ridiculous and obviously unacceptable in academia, but so is his philosophy. It is *not possible* to get a Ph. D. in philosophy and think for a moment that what he says makes any sense at all (even when individual sentences taken in isolation are indeed true). The philosophy blogs were *universal* in their wtf/headdesk reaction to this movie. And that’s saying something!

  18. John Pieret says

    Michael Heath @ 17:

    Wheaton and Calvin colleges are actually rather sad cases. Although evangelical/fundamentalist in origin, they had both nurtured a number of true scholars (such a Howard Van Till at Calvin) who were eventually forced out for not toeing the religious line. The same happened at a Seventh Day Adventist university, the name of which escapes me. The point is that the prejudice, if any, is flowing in the opposite direction. it is professors in religious schools whose philosophic/religious views are being punished because they disagree with those of students (or, more importantly, their parents/doners).

  19. says

    John Pieret “The point is that the prejudice, if any, is flowing in the opposite direction. it is professors in religious schools whose philosophic/religious views are being punished because they disagree with those of students (or, more importantly, their parents/doners).”
    We can all agree that both sides have their Statements of Faith. Secular “Universities” in the ridiculous and impossible non-existence of God, and Real Universities, like Liberty, in the Truth.
    And since we agree, we can move on to the argument of how to get Secular “Universities” to conform to the Truth. We can start with the basics like all of the hard science and any of the soft ones that profess the universe, the Earth and Man to be far older than they really are.

  20. magistramarla says

    John Pieret,
    My hubby and I also graduated from a Jesuit university. Our classes were a wonderful mix of people of all faiths and backgrounds. One of my bridesmaids was Jewish. My first baby’s sitter came from Iran.
    The Jesuits taught us to accept diversity, think for ourselves and to question everything.
    As a science major, my hubby was taught about evolution and has a very, very strong education in science.
    The Jebbies knew how to do it right. I hope that they are still teaching the same way.

  21. says

    Sorbo is not a rocket scientist, but I think we should react to this interview with a little self-reflection.

    We have a huge image problem in this country. What Sorbo just described here—this is how a lot of people perceive us. And we’re partly to blame. The amount of effort that atheist organizations put into church/state issues—both in an activist capacity and on the internet—is incredibly disproportionate to the amount of effort put into other, more obviously pressing issues (poverty, climate change, etc.).

    On the one hand, this makes sense: these are, after all, atheist organizations that we’re talking about: what else would they do? But the fact remains that it makes them (and by extension us individual atheists) look bitter in the public eye. Worse yet, it gives us the appearance of being purely reactionary: as far as the public is concerned, we exist only to antagonize.

    As anyone who reads this blog or keeps up with the news knows, there are a ton of truly legitimate church/state issues that need to be dealt with. But when I read Sorbo’s interview, I was reminded of the American Humanist Association’s threat of legal action against Lake Elsinore for allowing a roadside memorial to remain on the side of a road for “too long.”

    That particular incident is I think the perfect example of the type of thing that non-atheists find so off-putting about atheists. Was the AHA on the right side of the law? Yes. But really? A fucking roadside memorial? What are we, a bunch of fucking hall monitors?

  22. raven says

    American Humanist Association’s threat of legal action against Lake Elsinore for allowing a roadside memorial to remain on the side of a road for “too long.”

    Yeah, I know how the xians feel. Speaking of image problems:

    I had the same feeling when xian terrorists murdered 8 of my colleagues. Other xian terrorists firebombed the local mosque and one got in a shootout with the cops while on his way to bomb an environmental group.

    I still haven’t gotten used to the fundie xian sacrament of human child sacrifice, even though I’ve seen it more than once.

  23. John Pieret says

    We can start with the basics like all of the hard science and any of the soft ones that profess the universe, the Earth and Man to be far older than they really are.

    Simple, Modus!

    BURN THE WITCH … BURN ‘EM ALL!

    It always worked before!

  24. raven says

    I’ve posted this list a dozen or so times but apparently no one reads it or remembers it. Or well, once again.

    The real haters of academic freedom are the fundie xians. Their instruction manual is Orwell’s 1984 and they are huge fans of Joseph Stalin. They have witch hunts and purges in what passes for their colleges.

    A favorite target for purges are…science suporters in general and especially biologists because of evolution, of course. Here is a list of 16 purged. It’s out of date, Calvin college managed to get rid of another one just recently.

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

  25. John Pieret says

    magistramarla @ 27:

    Yeah, that was my experience with the Jebbies too. My school had a liberal Protestant teaching the Bible who showed through the text that the “God of Abraham” wasn’t a monotheistic god … just one of many and ruler of a small part of the world. (Very Terry Pratchett-like!) Any notion that a professor could impose orthodoxy … pro or anti god … was unthinkable. The kid might have been marked down for making lame arguments (well, as those things are judged) in favor of god, however.

  26. raven says

    We have a huge image problem in this country.

    Oh really? As bad as the fundie xians?

    1. Faith healers sacrifice around 100 children in the USA every year. A few more have been sacrificed in a ritual known as raising a child, by torture murder.

    2. In Africa, xians kill maybe 1,000 alleged child witches a year.

    3. Xian terrorism is a problem in this country and has been for decades. Attacks on family planning clinic, scientists, and nonwhites. There are a whole lot of xian identity kooks running around, white supremacists like the KKK.

    4. The visible xian leaders are people like Bachmann, Palin, Starnes, Wiles, Falwell, Robertson, Jeffers, Cindy Jacobs, George Bush, etc.. Vaguely humanoid toads without any evidence of intelligence and fullup with hate and lies.

    5. The Tea Party/GOP which is the political arm of the christofascists.

    The xian’s image is so great that 2 million people leave the religion every year. When xian became synonymous with liar, hater, ignorant, and sometimes killer, a lot of people didn’t want to be one anymore.

  27. logicgrrl says

    Now, now… I just blame Herc’s mouthing off on the three strokes he’s had. You gotta consider the source people!

  28. John Pieret says

    Raven @ 31:

    You have to update your list in at least one regard! That “hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski” almost, himself, was fired by the by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the mild suggestion that Noah’s flood is “probably best understood as historically rooted in a local event.”

  29. Ichthyic says

    how do you get so angry about something you don’t believe in?

    I believe in YOU Kevin Sorbo.

    …and I’m rightly fucking angry at YOU.

    these idiots just don’t fucking get it, it’s not their fictional notions of deities we are angry at… IT’S THEM for promoting these fictional notions as truth, and using these fictions like a baseball bat to bludgeon discourse with.

  30. Ichthyic says

    d Bill Dembski” almost, himself, was fired by the by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the mild suggestion that Noah’s flood is “probably best understood as historically rooted in a local event.”

    that is definitely something that should have gotten more airtime than it did.

  31. Ichthyic says

    We have a huge image problem in this country. What Sorbo just described here—this is how a lot of people perceive us

    no…. what you should have said there is that this is how religionauts PORTRAY the atheist “image”, and frankly, it wouldn’t matter if we were a bunch of fluffy bunny rabbits.

    please, don’t base your reactions on a fictional narrative the OTHER side of this issue is pushing. That’s exactly what they want you to do.

  32. anubisprime says

    Ichthyic @ 38

    don’t base your reactions on a fictional narrative the OTHER side of this issue is pushing. That’s exactly what they want you to do.

    Divide and conquer…that has been a staple xtian tactic for 2000 yrs.

    Because when push comes to shove, they as theists, of whatever shade of delusional, have an unspoken alliance that when confronted with the greatest threat to all their autonomies of bullshite…given that they hate each other unconditionally and forever, that hate pales into insignificance when the common enemy strolls into sight.

    Atheism is their nightmare…they cannot fight it with the usual tools of social control which only leaves personal attack and concocted lies, falsehoods and rhetorical hyperbola…this ‘film’ is just a slightly more sophisticated example of the circle jerkin’ they all swear by.

    The preferred divide and conquer modus operandi does have some traction, convincing the more naive atheists that in their ranks are disrespectful, arrogant, strident, bitter members that do their ‘ side’ no favours in the ‘debate’.

    This is exemplified by a recent post on ‘Godlessness in Theory’

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/godlessness/2014/08/17/to-the-atheist-tone-police-stop-telling-me-how-to-discuss-my-abuse/

    Anyway whatever…the approach of ‘constructive dialogue’ has never constructed anything really worthwhile and certainly has never wavered the theist ideal, besides which it has never stopped them from breaking their own countries constitution when it suits……the theist agenda is not hard to parse, it is simple really…by whatever means, whatever lies, and whatever actions…

    Atheism must be destroyed. they care not specifically the how…just as long as it is.

    If they can sow discord from the inside so much the better, helps the errr!…division before they isolate the conquered.

  33. says

    It is *not possible* to get a Ph. D. in philosophy and think for a moment that what he says makes any sense at all (even when individual sentences taken in isolation are indeed true).

    Sounds like you’re talking about Yes lyrics.

  34. says

    We have a huge image problem in this country. What Sorbo just described here—this is how a lot of people perceive us. And we’re partly to blame.

    How are atheists “partly to blame” for a stereotypical image created and maintained by generations of Christian propaganda?

    The amount of effort that atheist organizations put into church/state issues—both in an activist capacity and on the internet—is incredibly disproportionate to the amount of effort put into other, more obviously pressing issues (poverty, climate change, etc.).

    First, “church/state issues” are issues of individual liberty, which is pretty important. And second, given the degree to which religious thinking, religious identity-politics, and religious bigotry have poisoned nearly all of our debates about all those “other, more obviously pressing issues,” I’d say we really can’t discuss those issues without being forced to deal with “church/state issues” as well.

  35. scienceavenger says

    Sorbo: It’s weird how they can get nativity scenes pulled down because they say it offends them.

    Just once I’d like to hear one of these so-called professional journalists ask for a single example of someone saying this. It’s got to be the biggest unchallenged lie out there. It’s about violating the constitution, not offense. We find YOU plenty offensive Sorbo, but you’ll notice no one is calling for … well, anything, against you.

    Sorbo: …they’re being persecuted purely for having a faith in God.

    Again, where’s the evidence of it being PURELY for having faith? These idiots get away with equivocating between faith and actions far too much. It’s what you do and say that matters, what you believe is completely irrelevant.

  36. Pierce R. Butler says

    John Pieret @ # 12: Maybe at Regents or Liberty or Oral Roberts “Universities” they can do it … if some kid dares to accept evolution … but nowhere else!

    Well, except Bob Jones University, and Patrick Henry, and a mere plethora or kindred schools…

  37. says

    It would be funny if someone could shoot video featuring concerned people asking church pastors in various places if they needed bodyguards to stand outside their churches during masses because there rumors that Christians were being persecuted.

  38. says

    I hope you don’t think that I was saying that we shouldn’t be dealing with church/state issues. What I was saying is that this is in part an image problem of our own making. Every time an atheist gets on television and aggressively and haughtily browbeats the religious with epithets and overgeneralizations (:::cough:::Bill Maher:::cough:::), every time the American Humanist Association threatens legal action for a roadside memorial, and every time a histrionic internet atheist goes bonkers because someone said something remotely positive about some aspect of religion, every non-atheist reading/watching/listening walks away with the impression that we’re self-righteous bullies at worst, and rule-obsessed hall monitor types at best.

    Again, this is not to say that we aren’t justified in performing certain variations of each of those things I just listed above. My point is that people pay attention to the actions of others—especially when said actions are perceived to negatively effect them. Every lawsuit and every insult—regardless of how justified—will reinforce this negative perception of atheists. We can’t avoid reinforcing it to some degree—there are lawsuits that need to be filed and harsh truths that need to be said—but we can pick our battles.

    How? We can start by saving our legal threats for things that really, truly matter (e.g., Hobby Lobby) instead of trying to get roadside memorials taken down; and we can show how and why people like Ken Ham, Pat Robertson, and Bryan Fischer are completely out to lunch without implying that, for instance, “religion is a mental illness” (a statement that is offensive to both the religious and the mentally ill).

    Ours is a cultural battle, and one doesn’t win cultural battles with unchecked aggression and a “scorched earth” approach. Sorbo’s opinions are shared by countless Americans. I’d like to see that change.

  39. eric says

    What Sorbo just described here—this is how a lot of people perceive us. And we’re partly to blame.

    IMO not in this case. Note that Sorbo doesn’t say he’s met or talked with any atheists, he just says he’s seen some on TV. So I think what’s happened here is he’s based his opinion on TV portrayals of atheists by fundies, or real talks selectively chosen by fundies to make the point that atheists are mean Santa-punchers. But either way, it’s the fundie culture he’s swimming in that’s mostly to blame.

    Think of it this way – Sorbo is a Hollywood actor. No doubt he’s met hundreds if not thousands of atheists, and just doesn’t know it because they go about their lives and do their jobs without advertising their religious beliefs. The view of atheists he’s got is based entirely on the opinions of the people who do actively discuss religion with him, which is fundies.

  40. hexidecima says

    sad to see the usual accomodationist nonsense that blames atheists for Sorbo being an ignorant ass.

    Mr. Sorbo is a failed actor who has no where else to go. This is all he has, and it shows. His actions are the usual lies told by a TrueChristian who shows he doesn’t believe in his religion any more than I do.

  41. says

    I was wondering how long it would take until someone trotted out the “a” word (either that or “concern troll”).

    23 hours.

    Frankly, I’m impressed. I thought it would be a lot sooner.

  42. says

    Proof that it’s not just the Tea Party who loves their “ideological purity” almost as much as they hate anything remotely resembling “compromise.”

  43. Nemo says

    @John Pieret #32:

    My school had a liberal Protestant teaching the Bible who showed through the text that the “God of Abraham” wasn’t a monotheistic god … just one of many and ruler of a small part of the world.

    So, I’m curious: Knowing this truth about the Bible… in what sense was he still a Protestant? Did he believe that Christianity had indeed stumbled on to the One True God, despite its origins in erroneous polytheism? Or what? How did he reconcile his doctrine with his historical understanding?

  44. raven says

    Set K.:

    I was wondering how long it would take until someone trotted out the “a” word (either that or “concern troll”).

    LOL.

    I was wondering if you would realize you were drastically wrong. It takes an idiot to paint themselves into a corner and then whine about persecution and not remember how they got there.

    Set Kouwenhoven, you are just plain stupid. It’s OK, someone has to anchor the lower end of the bell shaped curve.

    We couldn’t get you to join one of the uglier fundie xian cults now, could we? You could make them look bad instead, and really, you would fit it a whole lot better.

  45. raven says

    Speaking of the xian image problem, xian atrocities occur on a near daily basis.

    thestate. com: August 15, 2014 Fort Collins. edited for length

    FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A 7-year-old girl was removed from her northern Colorado home and her parents were arrested because she could not walk or talk and was not being treated for seizures, police said.

    The girl, who weighed just 37 pounds, is in foster care and progressing

    Her parents were arrested this week on felony charges of child abuse

    The girl, now 8, has grown nearly 6 inches and weighs nearly 60 pounds after six months in foster care, authorities said. She is undergoing physical therapy and speech therapy.

    Police said they received a tip about her untreated seizures.

    He told police he did not know whether the spells were caused by a medical or spiritual problem, and that the couple had run into obstacles when they tried to have their home blessed to get rid of bad spirits, documents said

    Here is a typical example of fundie xian child abuse.

    The girl was 7 years old, couldn’t move or talk, and weighed 37 pounds. The parents blamed it on a “spiritual problem”. This is code for Demons!!! It’s always the Demons!!! Except when it is satan!!! Or atheists!!! Or gay people!!!

    FFS, it is the 21st century and millions of xians in the world’s most technologically advanced country think…demons cause disease!!! No xian image problem here of course. Other than the parents are in jail for felony child abuse.

  46. says

    I’m going to be honest with you, that kind of hurt. I’m a long-time admirer of your posts and find myself agreeing with the things you say here on a regular basis. Further, you’ve always come across as wise and friendly. This time around, you seem set on humiliating your opponent (i.e., me), and that’s disappointing. But I won’t be humiliated.

    You see, raven, you’re missing the point of what I have been saying here entirely. I’m not some teen “new atheist” type. I do philosophy for a living, and I observe all of this from the vantage point of a philosopher.

    Partly—from the view of a [this] lay marketer—our public image couldn’t be much worse. As mentioned in post after post after godforsaken post on the Wingnut side of the internet, “atheists wanna take away Santa,” “there’s a war on Christmas,” or “Atheists are forcing a bereaved mother to remove her memorial…” et cetera, et cetera.

    How do you really think all of that effects any nominally religious people who may be viewing/watching/listening? It gives them the impression that we’re a bunch of assholes—and that they may be next.

    Personally, I’d like to integrate into society at large someday. Maybe you have no such wish (and good for you if you don’t). But I am not going to give up my stance (nor could I) on religion. And when I tell others I am an atheist, I don’t want Bill Maher-like caricatures to be the first thing that jumps in their head.

  47. dingojack says

    Set – ” I do philosophy for a living…”
    Oh – so you’re a professional wanker*. ;)

    Ok that aside, let’s look at the numbers ….
    change of religious affiliation of U.S. adults:
    Protestant: -2.6%
    Catholic: -7.5%
    Mormon: -0.1%
    Jehovah’s Witness: 0.1%
    Orthodox: 0.0%
    other Christian: 0.0%

    Buddhist: 0.0%
    Hindu: 0.0%
    Muslim: 0.1%
    Jewish: -0.2%
    other Faiths: 0.9%

    Unaffiliated: 8.8%
    – Atheist: 1.1%
    – Agnostic: N/A
    – ‘Nothing in particular': 5.5%

    Hmmm seems the market doesn’t really agree that Atheists have an image problem. They have a stronger growth in numbers than all religions (and particularly the Christian ‘big two’)**.
    SOURCE.
    Dingo
    ———
    * perhaps being a ‘professional’ philosopher has given you a keen insight into ‘image problems’.
    ** Of Protestant sects the only two growing faster than atheism are: Nondenominational Protestants (3.0%) and non-specific Protestants (1.5%). The former make up 4.3% of U.S. adults, the latter 4.9%.
    In contrast, Unaffiliated make up 16.1% of U.S. adults (‘nothing in particular': 12.1%; Agnostic: 2.4%; Atheist: 1.8%).

  48. says

    If I could find a way to get paid for wanking without being filmed, I would.

    But back to the point: a growth in the number of atheists doesn’t falsify my point, which is that we have a public image problem. It may be the case (and most likely is the case) that atheism is becoming an increasingly attractive position for people to hold for a number of different reasons. Among them: there are fewer outlandish phenomena that one must rationalize away if one discards a belief in a deity, and the wider cultural shift away from the Christian value system (you know, the one that gave us such hits as homophobia and misogyny) has by implication demonstrated to the public that no, one does not in fact need religion in order to act morally—indeed, religion may hinder moral development.

    But it doesn’t follow from atheism’s increasing attractiveness that people want to be part of the atheist community. Though most of my friends are atheists, I can count on one hand the number of them who get together with other atheists for the sole purpose of doing atheist stuff (activism, deity-free bar-hopping, whatever), and it is a commonly-held belief among the rest of them that the atheist community is characterized by abrasiveness, tone-deafness, and an obsession with religion that echoes the Religious Right’s own fixation on homosexuality.

    Having attempted on at least two occasions to integrate myself with local atheist groups, I was disappointed to find this stereotype verified. Not one of the 14-18 members present was interested in thinking critically about anything. Simply parroting Hitchens and Harris was the order of the day, and every topic of conversation seemed to lead back to how stupid Christians are.

    Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself “ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE!!!11!” right now, and you’re right. That’s all I or anyone else has at this point, given the dearth of any substantial studies on the temperament of socially active atheists. Should a study come out and falsify my statements on this board, I will eat my shoe and post a video of me eating my shoe so you can all laugh at just how fucking stupid I am.

    In the meantime, go to any atheist message board or comments section* and see how long it takes for people to begin hating on religion for hatred’s sake. You know you’ve seen it.

    Unless, of course, you’re one of those haters and have no capacity for self-reflection.

    *Ed’s comments section tends to be calmer and more reasonable than most, which is one of the reasons I like to come here. But there are still plenty of posters who can’t seem to write anything more insightful than “hahaha, look at how stupid these believers are!”

  49. dingojack says

    If atheists have an image problem then people are leaving religions and joining this ‘abrasive’ and ‘tone-deaf’ community with a terrible ‘image problem’ in droves.
    I’d say that shows that religions are the ones with an ‘image problem’ wouldn’t you?
    Also an ‘image problem’ with whom exactly? And what exactly is ‘an image problem’?
    You’ve claimed, additionally, that atheism has an ‘image problem’ but shown nothing to substantiate this claim. Dingo

  50. says

    A. It’s 1.1%. That’s impressive, and it’s promising, but I wouldn’t call it “droves.”

    B. Perhaps I was insufficiently clear on this, but being an atheist does not automatically make one a member of the “atheist community.” The atheist community is at this point a bona fide subculture, wouldn’t you agree? Its members identify with the movement, and they identify themselves according to the movement. Much as one can be a Christian without belonging to “the Church,” one can be an atheist without belonging to the “atheist community.”

    What the study seems to indicate is simply that 1.1% are trading one set of beliefs for another, rather than leaving one community to join another (especially given the way that “religious affiliation” is defined in the study you shared).

    The reason I say all of this is to make it clear that it’s not (necessarily) that more people are finding the atheist community more attractive; it’s that they are finding religious belief less attractive. But I am jumping ahead: we don’t know all the details at this point as to exactly why atheism is growing (unless you have access to a study I haven’t seen?).

    I would totally agree that religions have an image problem as well. But since religion is so pervasive in Western culture, it’s tougher to judge individual believers according to the generally negative perception people seem to have of institutionalized religions. Not impossible, of course; just tougher.

    Q: “An image problem with whom?”

    A: The culture at large. As you know, this is largely due to ignorance. A lot of people don’t know that they know an atheist personally, and so atheists are the “scary other.” What they do know is that when they go on the internet, when they watch talk shows, when they see another one of the FFRF’s unnecessarily aggressive billboards, atheists come across as angry and spiteful. That we have good reason to be angry in many cases is inconsequential: people aren’t going to question their first impression unless they have to (say, because their son comes out as atheist, or they find out that they have an atheist coworker). All they see is a group of people who want to tear down another group of people at every turn.

    Just ask yourself this: how do you think a non-atheist would react upon seeing this thread? I mean, really: I have been called a “wanker,” an “idiot,” an “accommodationist,” and “just plain stupid” simply because I expressed an unpopular opinion. I mean, seriously! Just how unsubtle and on-the-nose does evidence supporting my claim have to be?

    As for the substantiation of my claim that we have an image problem: you read Kevin Sorbo’s interview, right? You’re aware that atheists are the most hated minority in the US? You do know that atheists have less of a chance of getting elected than anyone else? Our “image problem” isn’t exactly hiding.

  51. Ichthyic says

    Set… you’re wrong. You KNOW the arguments you present have been torn to shreds, repeated, for years now.

    repeating them again doesn’t make them any more true, it just makes everyone who already realizes they are crap irritated with you.

  52. says

    Which arguments? How have they been torn to shreds? I try my best to alter my beliefs according to the facts, so if I’m using bogus arguments, I’d really like to know.

  53. dingojack says

    And then there would be actually defining what you mean in tangible terms — that’d be a good start.
    Dingo

  54. says

    Which claims do you find doubtful and require specific data for? What terms do you need defined? In any exchange of ideas, we need to be specific with our requests.

  55. says

    Every time an atheist gets on television and aggressively and haughtily browbeats the religious with epithets and overgeneralizations (:::cough:::Bill Maher:::cough:::)…

    How often does anyone see an atheist saying ANYTHING on TV? Atheists have practically ZERO presence on TV, in either fact or fiction (I notice you only gave us :::cough:::one:::example:::cough:::). And today’s fiction shows are crammed full of all manner of supernatural and religious ideas, sometimes disguised as science, or as a clear refutation of the stereotypical atheistic scientist who has eyes to see with and chooses not to see the influence of SATAN!!! (:::cough:::”The Strain”:::cough:::”The Leftovers”:::cough:::))

  56. says

    Guys, I’m always happy to defend my positions in as rigorous a manner as possible, and even to change my mind if provided with sufficiently convincing evidence to the contrary. But I have to be honest with you: all this mocking, antagonistic behavior is really bumming me out, and it reminds me why I distanced myself from the “atheist movement” in the first place.

    I don’t need any more stress in my life than I already have at the moment, so I’m out. Feel free to tell yourself that I’m walking away from this because you “won,” or whatever it is that you need to get through the night, but I don’t have to put up with this shit. So say your “good riddances” and go back to your echo chamber.

    Bye.

  57. dingojack says

    Yeah it’s a total bummer when you make unsubstantiated claims and everyone doesn’t just accept it on faith. Still it sure does give you a good opportunity to flounce off and claim victory on less critical sites*….
    @@
    Dingo
    ———
    * oh and – ‘the projection — it burns !!’

  58. says

    I do philosophy for a living, and I observe all of this from the vantage point of a philosopher.

    Yeah, well, there are plenty of people, both theist and atheist, whose direct real-world experience flatly contradicts what you see from your “vantage point.” Color me unimpressed. Empirical observation trumps philosophy (paid or unpaid) any day.

    Guys, I’m always happy to defend my positions in as rigorous a manner as possible, and even to change my mind if provided with sufficiently convincing evidence to the contrary.

    Your conduct here disproves this assertion: you’ve ignored the substantive points we’ve made, and refused to change anything in response to them; and then you lapse into self-pity and cry about how horrible and unfeeling we are.

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