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Feb 26 2012

Interfaith dialog

I have had this conversation so many times.

Read the whole thing. It’s only failing is that the atheist side of the argument is presented so politely.

60 comments

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  1. 1
    Dick the Damned

    Religion should be mocked. Why do i believe this?

    Religion is dangerous, but it’s socially sanctioned to such an extent that the dangers are mostly overlooked. If someone has a problem to solve, they need correct information to help them come to a good answer. And so it is with life, & seeking what Aristotle called eudaemonia, or human flourishing.

    Religion, being false, is bound to provide wrong answers, (except in the ‘trivial’ sense that it provides social cohesion to members of its various in-groups). Without the attempts at social engineering made by religion operating in the public sphere, society could discuss & implement democratically sanctioned ethics & mores.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    The main complaint many goddists have about atheists is our refusal to acknowledge religion’s privilege.

  3. 3
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    But you have to see it from their point of view, y’see. The mere existence of us atheists means that have to waste time praying for us in order to save our immoral souls. Time they could have spent basking in their smug glow of certainty of being comp’d into the Big Disco In The Sky (what, I can’t use the glitter-sparkle tag any more?Damn).

    So obviously we’re rude, just for existing.

  4. 4
    Gregory Greenwood

    Interfaith dialog

    Fundie, quote-mining idiots attempting to spin this into “PZ admits that atheism is just another religion” in 3… 2… 1…

  5. 5
    Glen Davidson

    Because stereotyping isn’t rude.

    Glen Davidson

  6. 6
    reasonbeing

    I love how the religious want us to respect only their religion. They don’t respect us. They don’t respect other religions. Yet somehow, we are the offensive party when we do not respect everyone all the time. We are seen as rude. It has been a while since I read the bible cover to cover…I am going to take an educated guess and say that the topic of hypocrisy is not covered anywhere in its pages.

  7. 7
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Reasonbeing

    Actually, you’re very very wrong. Jesus has very strong words for such people.

  8. 8
    Sastra

    The pastor’s complaint (“atheists are so rude and disrespectful and coarse and blasphemous and arrogant and uneducated and terrible”) could have been set off by virtually anything an atheist has done. I think that’s one thing accomodationists fail to properly appreciate.

    As far as I know, Richard Dawkins doesn’t “make blasphemous sexual and scatological jokes” about anyone’s spiritual heroes and he is often used as the poster boy of the rude, disrespectful, terrible atheist. Oh, that horrible Professor Dawkins: he actually told someone there was no good epistemological reason to believe their faith beliefs were true — and he did it to their face! In public! During a discussion on that topic, yes — but still!

    I used to think the proper response to “you atheists are so rude/angry/disrespectful” was to point out the many atheists who are nice. They’re tame. They won’t bother you. They just want to be left alone, is all. I stopped thinking that, though.

    As PZ argued in the other post, it just buys into their frame that there is something seriously wrong and mean and unfair about public expressions of atheism. The better response is a nice respectful little push back. Let’s place religious faith on common ground. Yes. Let’s. With all the implications — and all the fall out.

    If I believed the utter crap they did I’d be pushing for a more “respectful” dialogue, too — one that consisted of a mutual agreement to agree to disagree and treat each other with kid gloves (at least, until the atheist leaves the room.) But we’re not a “faith” belief. We don’t need to pursue the strategy designed for Mutually Assured Destruction based on the concept that we “choose” our beliefs based on who we are and what we want/need to believe and it’s all very deeply felt and unresolvable. We can win. Game on.

  9. 9
    Sastra

    It’s only failing is that the atheist side of the argument is presented so politely.

    I disagree. I think that can piss them off even more.

  10. 10
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I disagree. I think that can piss them off even more.

    I am sure that this is from experience.

    (The last statement is actually snark free.)

  11. 11
    'Tis Himself

    I can remember many discussion with goddists on this blog and its previous incarnation. I particularly remember how Sastra would be the voice of light and reason while the rest of us were doing our junkyard dog imitations. I noticed that Sastra’s calm, polite logic was exactly as effective as the sarcastic, obscene yelling of everyone else. We don’t believe in their gods, we don’t accept faith as a sufficient reason for belief, and we reject presupposition as a basis for belief. Since faith and presupposition are the basis for most goddists’ beliefs, they object to our denial of such a basis. We don’t have to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable for goddists to ignore our arguments. The tone doesn’t really matter, except as a source for tone trolls’ whines.

  12. 12
    'Tis Himself

    (The last statement is actually snark free.)

    Janine, are you feeling all right?

    </snark>

  13. 13
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    ‘Tis, you just demonstrated why I added that last line, I have a reputation.

  14. 14
    garrettgutierrez

    Take it from me, PZ Myers and other internet atheist pals who have no qualms against treating the sacred beliefs not-so-sacredly: sometimes, even being as polite as possible isn’t enough. Many theists are offended by the mere fact that you are an atheist. It doesn’t matter what you say or what else you think. To be an atheist is to be an arrogant, rebellious, God-hater. Some people simply cannot accept the fact that people reject their most precious beliefs, and to vocalize the rationalization for your rejection is to assault them with ultimate disrespect. If you have ever told someone that you were an atheist, and heard them say “WHAAT?!?!? YOU’RE AN ***ATHEIST***?!?!!?” right back, you probably know what I am talking about.

  15. 15
    Bronze Dog

    Sometimes I like to add a level of meta when I happen upon a concern troll or whiny fundie who complains about rudeness:

    “Isn’t it kind of immature to change the subject to perceived rudeness? Shouldn’t you try setting a better example by stoically addressing the actual substance of the argument, and not dignifying the little side jabs?”

    Quite frankly, a lot of people who obsess over rudeness seem like over-inhibited children more interested in making polite sounds and following The Rules than they are about actually communicating.

  16. 16
    Sastra

    janine #10 wrote:

    I am sure that this is from experience.

    Hard to say. I haven’t tried any real test, with control group or anything. Being polite does seem to frustrate them, though. They’re also probably put off by the fact that I’m a middle-aged woman from the Midwest and look fairly non-threatening. They can’t use any of the usual arguments about my being mad at God or rebelling against my parents or obviously just looking for an excuse to sin. Or, if they do, they usually don’t hammer them very hard.

    What I have noticed though is that I get really, really pissed off when the dumbest, most trivial, most insulting arguments are brought up with a kind, gentle demeanor and tone — as if I’m going to get sucked in, nodding in acquiescence in a glow of mutual harmony and spiritual togetherness. It’s damned annoying. I then work on the assumption that the religious are probably not so different than me.

    I’ve also noticed that Christians and other opponents often remark on how unexpected PZ is in person. So mild-mannered, so reasonably-spoken, so civil, so … seemingly harmless. I do not think PZ regrets this and wishes that he instead met their expectations for someone red-faced, loud, and pugnacious. I secretly suspect he uses it as a tactic, too — and does not really think the atheist side of the argument here was presented “too politely.”

    Throw them off balance. Heh.

  17. 17
    Moggie

    One thing demonstrated by the atheist bus and billboard ad campaigns of the past few years is that no matter how innocuous the atheist message, it will be met with pearl-clutching and threats of violence. For example, there was the Cincinnati billboard whose message pretty much equated to “atheists exist”, which had to be moved because of death threats. We’re being rude and strident just by getting noticed.

  18. 18
    Lynna, OM

    The author of the blog hosting the cartoon conversation, Daniel from Perth, is an ex-mormon as well as an atheist.

    One of his 85 posts on mormonism talks about the Book of Mormon.
    http://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Mormonism

    Here’s a snippet from that post:

    The Book of Mormon’s a terrible guide for moral living! Here’s what you’ll find:

    Cutting someone’s head off because you think God has told you to

    Dark skin as a curse

    Predictably Victorian notions about the chastity of women

    War after tedious war

    Jesus kills entire cities full of people, and brags about it from the sky while the people wail for their dead friends and family

    Unforgivably torpid prose

    Pretty much spot on.

  19. 19
    ikesolem

    @gg – A nice tactic for refuting the ‘atheism is just another religion’ line is to bring up the multiple working hypothesis concept. That’s what most scientists use when tackling some area of the unknown – but you don’t believe in any of them, they’re just a series of mental constructs (theories) that you plan on testing via experiment and observation.

    If atheism were to be a religion, there would be several requirements – a holy text to dogmatically quote, a long record of violent persecution of anyone who thought differently, and a priesthood of fat lazy slobs preying on the ignorant… ouch, there went the politeness, right out the window. Have to work on that.

    Okay, to be fair (and historically accurate) certain incarnations of atheism have behaved this way – the holy book of Marx, the destruction of Tibetan shrines & temples by Chinese Communists, the apparatchiks of the People’s Cultural Ministries, etc. This forms the basis of the “atheism is just a religion” claim. What’s interesting though is that such “non-theist religions” play the same social role as “theist religions” – rigid authoritarian control of society from the top down.

    One thing you can say with certainty is that organized religion of all stripes, theistic or not, is deeply opposed to the concepts of democratic government and academic freedom. They always want to be the “recognized authority” on all matters, and boy are they bitter about losing that authority – and the fiscal rewards that go with it.

  20. 20
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    On the other hand, telling someone they are an abomination that deserves to be sentenced to eternal torment is perfectly nice and respectful.

  21. 21
    Lynna, OM

    This is an excerpt from one of Daniel’s posts on the Broadway play, Book of Mormon:

    There’s the epistemological side, too: Believing in something (which is likely to be wrong) is worse than believing in nothing. When you believe in nothing, you may at least be open to learning something. But when you believe in something wrong, you think you’re right, and it’s very difficult to shift. Bad information is worse than no information. Faith actually blocks understanding.

    I like the economical way the Daniel describes misinformation as blocking real information.

    Fill the heads of the sheeple with a grid for holding craptastic info, and then proceed to hang all manner of false stuff from that grid. End result: narrow minded humans who are incapable of taking in real information about, for example, homosexuality.

    Link: http://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/ex-missionary-in-book-of-mormon.html

    In that post, Daniel also talks about an ex-missionary that is part of the LDS cast. From the what the ex-missionary writes, I think he is still suffering from religious brain damage.

  22. 22
    David Marjanović

    I’ve also noticed that Christians and other opponents often remark on how unexpected PZ is in person.

    Yeah. They probably expected the Spanish Inquisition.

    a priesthood of fat lazy slobs

    On behalf of lazy slobs everywhere, including the fat ones, I demand an apology.

  23. 23
    Ingdigo Jump

    Fill the heads of the sheeple with a grid for holding craptastic info,

    *eye twitch*

  24. 24
    ikesolem

    “In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman” – George Carlin

    Or, “why am I an atheist? It’s this guy’s fault”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

  25. 25
    ChristineRose

    Christians, as a theological group, regularly claim atheists are going to hell, that atheists have no morals, and that atheists are inherently arrogant. The evidence for the former comes down to “some people who agreed with me wrote a book about it, and the book has some literary value” and the evidence contradicts the latter claims. That’s rude. It really is. If you’re going to rude to people, people will tend to be rude back to you.

    You can present evidence them that their book is not unique, that their myths are not unique, that their promises remain unfulfilled, that the observable natural world contradicts their claims, and they’ll throw up their arms and tell you that it’s obvious that they’re right and that you’re only pretending to disagree with them because of a self-serving “addiction to sin.”

    At one time in my life I spent a lot of time searching for the intelligent reasonable Christians who accept all this and still choose to believe in Jesus, and even gave coherent reasons for why. I think these people did exist once, probably when it was was all but impossible to even find another atheist (except possibly for red-faced anti-social blowhards who no longer cared what people thought of them) and no one gave a damn (pun intended) who discriminated against whom. But now I think society is moving on. Religion has less and less to offer to people who aren’t interested in reinforcing their own personal angry, paranoid, prejudiced worldview.

  26. 26
    anchor

    I often flare in distemper because I just can’t get over how polite, respectful, patient, virtuous, innocent, harmless, inoffensive, thoughtful, tolerant and kind religious people are. I despair of ever attaining their standards and wallow inconsolably in the heat of envy. Oh, throw me a bone to gnaw on.

  27. 27
    robro

    I had an uncle who was a heavy drinker. Every Saturday he would be at home drinking to unwind from a stressful job, when the Jehovah Witnesses would show up at his door and start bothering him about his soul. I don’t know if he was an atheist, but he wasn’t interested in religion so to get rid of them, he’d give them some change and take a track. The next Saturday they would be right back, of course. This went on for some years, until one Saturday he was pretty lit when they arrived and so he invited them in. When they were all seated and comfortable, he held up his drink and asked if they cared to join him. They left…and never came back.

  28. 28
    Bronze Dog

    Christians, as a theological group, regularly claim atheists are going to hell, that atheists have no morals, and that atheists are inherently arrogant. The evidence for the former comes down to “some people who agreed with me wrote a book about it, and the book has some literary value” and the evidence contradicts the latter claims. That’s rude. It really is. If you’re going to rude to people, people will tend to be rude back to you.

    Heh. You ended up making me think of another angle to press, sometime. Even if someone could politely say that they believe I deserve to be tortured for eternity, with good hygiene, perfect posture, proper enunciation, and their pinky extended, they’re still a very disgustingly immoral person who should be shunned by civilized society. Raising my voice is peanuts compared to a fundie’s defense of torture.

  29. 29
    Lynna, OM

    I think it was in a past chapter of The Endless Thread that we decided we should all just accept the title of “Satan” and wear T-shirts attesting to the fact.

    That might also discourage Jehovah’s Witnesses from witnessing.

  30. 30
    No One

    “Tone is the last refuge of rogues and scoundrels”

  31. 31
    piranhaintheguppytank

    “The thing about atheists…”

    Whenever a conversation starts like this, it usually leads to the internet being called a tool of Satan.

  32. 32
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    I adore the discussion in the thread about the efficacy of entrails as implements of strangulation.

  33. 33
    Koshka

    I remember when I first saw a video of PZ refuting some muslim scholars about some nonsense. I was expecting a fire breathing dragon.

    Instead he came across as a well spoken, calm and even polite person. He gave them a chance to speak and responded to what they had to say.

  34. 34
    Anthony K

    I can remember many discussion with goddists on this blog and its previous incarnation. I particularly remember how Sastra would be the voice of light and reason while the rest of us were doing our junkyard dog imitations. I noticed that Sastra’s calm, polite logic was exactly as effective as the sarcastic, obscene yelling of everyone else. We don’t believe in their gods, we don’t accept faith as a sufficient reason for belief, and we reject presupposition as a basis for belief. Since faith and presupposition are the basis for most goddists’ beliefs, they object to our denial of such a basis. We don’t have to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable for goddists to ignore our arguments. The tone doesn’t really matter, except as a source for tone trolls’ whines.

    Indeed. Nothing undercuts one’s claim of faith underlain by rigorous, well-considered argument than ignoring Sastra to instead discuss my sarcastic potty-mouth.

  35. 35
    RW Ahrens

    He gave them a chance to speak and responded to what they had to say.

    Even as they failed to give him the same courtesy.

  36. 36
    Koshka

    #35,
    In the video I saw, PZ was given the chance to speak. However they certainly didn’t respond to what PZ said.

    I was surprised by how calm PZ was when they refused to respond to his points. Talk about polite.

  37. 37
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    In the video I saw, PZ was given the chance to speak. However they certainly didn’t respond to what PZ said.

    What is the difference, effectively, between not listening and not allowing someone else to speak?

  38. 38
    DLC

    I sometimes lose heart at the thought that any time I utter anything less than fawning deference to the theists, I will be accused of mockery/insult/derision/assault on their precious yaweh. I keep wondering, why is this, when, if Elohim were so powerful, he could come and tell me to stuff it himself, instead of needing an intermediary. Further, if Allah is so great, how come he can’t stop someone burning his stupid book of bullshit ?
    It’s what I like to call the Captain Kirk argument:
    “What does God need with a Starship?”

  39. 39
    sonofrojblake
    I’ve also noticed that Christians and other opponents often remark on how unexpected PZ is in person.

    Yeah. They probably expected the Spanish Inquisition.

    NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  40. 40
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    Sorry, PZ, but you’re extremely wrong. “It’s only failing is…”? I shall have to come over and beat you to death with a giant stone apostrophe.

  41. 41
    HaggisForBrains

    @ Sastra #9

    It’s only failing is that the atheist side of the argument is presented so politely.

    I disagree. I think that can piss them off even more.

    Richard Dawkins proves your point almost every day, and particularly lately.

  42. 42
    concernedjoe

    OK I have said this before .. but this thread prompts me to say it again:

    Religion (USA) is protected by the highest law of the land – The Constitution. The anti-establish clause (1st Amendment) cuts mostly in favor of religion. It was designed that way and remains that way.

    This is a very important point – and one that gives reason to why the irrationality and influence of religion exists so predominately in USA society as opposed to other modern politically free societies.

    The main protection – one that far exceeds the benefits of things like tax exemptions and the like – is the prohibitions that it it engenders that render it near impossible to teach let alone foster critical thinking about religion.

    Chilling fact: most children/young adults are educated in State institutions. Teachers or even college professors – those employed by the State (in some fashion) – canNOT efficiently show the absurdity of religion and supernatural beliefs.

    Oh yes – one can teach critical thinking and logic – but try honing in on religion specifically and that will raise some sort of red flag. You – as a State representative – canNOT do it. You have to dance around it.

    Why I doubt PZ could efficiently show to a believer student in his college level classroom how absurd their belief in “god of the gaps” is; that is, he’d have to confine the teaching to presenting the evidence for scientific concept he’s teaching – and hope the student connects the dots on their own.

    That backdoor way for sure is not efficient rebuttal nor efficiently staging intellectual honesty about religion in the student. The hope is that is effective – but the chances are it not as effective as more efficient challenges.

    This phenomena protects religion more than just about anything else in the USA. Religion is not challenged when challenging would do the most good. Especially in highly religious areas of the USA where any notion that “religious freedom” is being challenged would be met by a mob with pitchforks.

    Progress is slower (yes we are gaining) than it should be and needs to be because our most efficient forums are hamstrung by the Constitution. And for every victory we win in the 1st Amendment setting it potentially gives reciprocal juice to the religious aims.

    Something to consider: in context of children during formative years, what forums do we have to efficiently and more effectively combat religious indoctrination?

  43. 43
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to field test any responses to the question of ‘Why are atheists so rude?’ but wouldn’t a person be obligated to ask how the ‘asker’ treats atheists? If they respond that they are just the daintiest and politest peach on the planet, one would have to then ask if the person had ever mentioned the atheist going to hell or needing to be prayed for (preyed upon), or any of those mindless recitals of glop. If the atheist points out the rudeness of those liturgies of lameness and the person doesn’t think they were being rude…well, then it’s time to get rude, and possibly mean rude, to the point where your statements are psyche-scarring and blistering. If the genuinely clueless aren’t traumatized, how will they learn?

    Man…I’ve been reading too many of Janine’s posts, haven’t I?

    (j/k – please don’t kill me!)

  44. 44
    David Marjanović

    Quite frankly, a lot of people who obsess over rudeness seem like over-inhibited children more interested in making polite sounds and following The Rules than they are about actually communicating.

    QFT.

  45. 45
    Conor Sans Pantaloons

    I just want to thank the wonderful horde for their consistent insights and jabs that brighten my day. At my job I am surrounded by the ever so tolerant religious types who say things like, “We shouldn’t be sitting here in judgment of joe paterno because football. That is god’s job.” Or, “Obama is a muslim socialist who communism. Also, other parts of the world don’t matter/exist.” I used those quote marks incorrectly because I do not have the capacity to keep the exactness of their stupidity in my head. And by capacity I mean desire/tolerance/insanity. The snark provided here helps me get through the surrounding vapid horror show without throwing a water fountain through the nearest window. I occasionally need reminders that there are other folks out there who observe and understand the truths of reality as opposed to making the truth up. Thanks again.

    5 more hours to go.

  46. 46
    HaggisForBrains

    OK Conor, keep your pants on!

  47. 47
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Bronze Dog and David M: Actually, they sound more interested in making polite sounds and following The Rules than they are about being right. Or being good people. Disdain for genuine communication is a part of that.

  48. 48
    sonofrojblake

    Doesn’t rudeness distract and detract? Sure, there’s a minority of people who are impressed and entertained torrents of swearing and exhortations to perform sexual acts with the corpses of wildlife, and similar. But ultimately it makes the swearer come across as an abusive child who’s just learned to cuss, and whatever substantive point they may or may not have had is either tarnished by association or ignored altogether. That is, unless the person being sworn at employs completely emotionless adherence to the substance, rather than the tone of the conversation – but why should only one side be expected to do that? And why, moreover, the side that’s likely the one most divorced from logic and reason in the first place.

    tl;dr:
    What’s wrong with being polite?

  49. 49
    rr

    People of faith don’t want an exchange of ideas and opinions, they must protect their faith from the reality that surrounds them. So, in keeping with time-honored traditions of human stupidity, their solution is to shoot the messenger.

  50. 50
    Ingdigo Jump

    What’s wrong with being polite?

    That wooshing sound was the point.

  51. 51
    Ingdigo Jump

    Rude is such a poorly defined term.

    If someone uses language that sounds pleasant but is clear insulting and they know it is that rude? Even if the other person doesn’t pick up on the insult? If for example you suddenly became a vassal to a middle ages king and convinced them that the term “Tool” is one of endearment rather than insult would you be rude or polite every time you secretly insulted them to their face?

  52. 52
    myeck waters

    I prefer beating them over the head with the wholly rude.

  53. 53
    frog

    I remember being on the receiving end of a “don’t be a tone troll” conversation a few years back (on a topic other than atheism). I didn’t understand why people had to be rude, as it seemed to me that it just shuts down the conversation and makes it impossible to advance the conversation.

    I’m ashamed, now, that I was That Idiot, the tone-troll. A couple of years of active atheism and seeing how it plays from the other side has made it clearer to me.

    Sometimes screaming and yelling is necessary to get people to understand that no, this isn’t a simple disagreement; this is a fucking problem.

    Billboards that read “Come to our Sunday services, at 10am and 2pm” don’t bother me. Some folks want to attend, and this is a way of telling them where they can get their Jesus on.

    But then there’s the billboards that qualify as assault by religiosity (I love in goddist-billboard land). These don’t slightly annoy me, or even perturb me. When I see “You’re going to hell unless you are Christian” billboards, it scares the ever-loving FUCK out of me. The folks who put that up are two triggering events from leading an anti-atheist mob to start burning down houses. (Or only one triggering event from leading an anti-atheist mob to threaten death and rape to a teenage girl on the internet.)

    So, yeah, screaming and yelling and being rude? Are a way to make it clear that this topic is extremely serious to atheists, that it isn’t just an academic discussion we’re having here, but one that has very large and real consequences.

  54. 54
    frog

    Argh, I LIVE in goddist-billboard land.

    (I love here, too, but that wasn’t the point of the sentence.)

  55. 55
    markr1957

    So how exactly do I politely respond when someone says “Praise Baldr” or “All Hail Zeus” or otherwise refers to a god of whatever religion they adher to?

    My point is that I just don’t know HOW to politely respond to any supposedly educated adult who professes faith in ANY myth and/or legend. I don’t want to be rude but I cannot respect any adult who insists on believing in unverifiable fairy stories.

  56. 56
    frog

    Markr1957, I let context be my guide. If it’s an environment where people are actively discussing religion or UFOs or ghosts, then it’s all fair game.

    (That said, I let a ghost discussion go unremarked last week. As I and the other “out” atheist in the group are usually quite talkative in this group, our silence spoke far louder than any arguing we might have done. Everyone knew we were being silent strictly as an alternative to engaging in a pointless argument. Since no one was making assertions of Truth, only discussing “weird” things, it seemed reasonable to just let it go.)

    There’s a reason why etiquette books say that “religion and politics” are not proper topics of discourse in social occasions: because they can lead to acrimony, even if everyone involved are reasonable people.

    If someone else says “Praise Baldr” etc., I do often find a way to work a causal mention of my atheism into the conversation shortly thereafter. Goose and gander, I figure, and it doesn’t hurt to remind them that atheists exist.

    If they persist, they rapidly become the “rude” one, trying to harass someone who doesn’t want to have that discussion. If they refuse to let it go, then I start dismantling their bullshit.

    In summary: Everyone has unprovable bullshit they believe, ranging from religion to “My child is the most beautiful/most athletic/smartest child in the world!” If their bullshit isn’t getting in the way of the rest of the conversation, then I don’t feel it necessary to call them on it.

  57. 57
    Rich Woods

    @concernedjoe #42:

    Something to consider: in context of children during formative years, what forums do we have to efficiently and more effectively combat religious indoctrination?

    Thunderdome?

  58. 58
    Rich Woods

    Well, that or your local school board / state legislature / Congress. But good luck with that.

  59. 59
    =8)-DX

    “Was it on the internet? Everyone’s a jerk on the internet.”
    *Raises hand, waves enthusiastically
    Yes, yes, that’s me!

  60. 60
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Brownian

    Indeed. Nothing undercuts one’s claim of faith underlain by rigorous, well-considered argument than ignoring Sastra to instead discuss my sarcastic potty-mouth.

    Well, to be fair, your sarcastic potty-mouth is a very interesting and refined one. My rather amateurish sarcastic potty-mouth, on the other hand, tends to get ignored at least as much as Sastra’s well-considered arguments. And my attempts at well-considered arguments have almost never received a response. Especially since changing my nym to something that rhymes with Laura.

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