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Thread: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    I've seen a few tentative atheists wondering through lately, and I've also seen a lot of smack talk about atheists based on these 10 Common Misconceptions (both here in the Atheist section, and elsewhere in my wondering), so it is nice to see them all addresses clearly in one place:

    Ten Common Misconceptions About Atheism
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    ...Although, the picture in #2 was very poorly thought out--Ben, TJ, and Abe were likely not atheists (in the way that we would understand atheism to be). Ben waffled but was mostly a deist, TJ was a deist, and Abe was interesting (I'd call it an non-Christian natural theology). While none of the bunch were particularly Christian in the way we think of it (which was actually quite normal for the time period before the Second Great Awakening), none of them denied the existence of a Creator/Divine Providence/Nature's God and all of them employed the language of such a god publically and privately.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    Ya know what? The section was titled "Most Great Minds are Atheists" in an article titled "Ten Misconceptions about Atheists," and i saw Franklin & Lincoln, and figured (without reading the caption) that they were great minds who were not atheists.

    Now that I look closer, I see Einstein and Twain (who were) and - if that guy with the beard is Darwin - who wasn't...

    Mixed up picture...

    Yupper, poorly considered...
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    There's really a number one missing. One that I get personally. Even on this very forum.
    atheists are not anti theist.

    Just because I don't believe in deity doesn't mean I hate that you believe in deity.
    And also following those lines, just because I question your belief in deity and ask for your reasoning beyond what your holy texts tells you to believe, doesn't mean I am anti theist. It means I have a brain and I'm asking a question to something I don't understand.

    Just because I don't understand doesn't mean I hate theists.

    I like theists. I just don't believe in what theists believe.

    Oh. Atheist. We eat babies. Oh we eat em all up.
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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    Oh, yeah...that is Darwin. I'd forgotten about that painting of him; didn't recognize him at first. But yeah, he was (in his own words) an agnostic and not an atheist (towards the end of his life) and earlier (at the writing of Origin) a believer in a Prime Mover/Ultimate Writer of Nature's Laws (like Natural Selection) god--in fact, in Origin of Species, he explicitly says that "To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual". But no, he did not believe in the Bible, nor in miracles, nor (by the time of Descent) in the idea that morality and religion were derived from god (he thought that both had selection-based reasons for existing)...which some people, I think have mistaken for being atheistic.

    … the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker.

    (Darwin's 1876 autobiography)
    In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.

    a 1879 letter to John Fordyce (in respose to this letter)
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  6. #6
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    There's really a number one missing. One that I get personally. Even on this very forum.
    atheists are not anti theist.

    Just because I don't believe in deity doesn't mean I hate that you believe in deity.
    And also following those lines, just because I question your belief in deity and ask for your reasoning beyond what your holy texts tells you to believe, doesn't mean I am anti theist. It means I have a brain and I'm asking a question to something I don't understand.

    Just because I don't understand doesn't mean I hate theists.
    I think this is a result of a few things that work together -

    1. It is often hard for people to separate the concepts "I don't like that" from "If you like that, you are a boob."

    2. Since atheists are often aware of the dangers that can arise from certain types of religious thought and action, and they tend to point them out, people sometimes confuse "that is dangerous" with "if you do/think that, you are committing atroticites."

    3. It is hard for some people who really value something to understand that another person doesn't value it, without taking it personally.

    4. It is easy to shoot down certain thoughts, in front of certain audiences, by claiming that those who have them are evil enough to be anti-God, and thus avoid the actual issue that may be much harder to address.

    and finally -

    5. As an atheist, I have to admit that I sometimes get ticked off by the crap people say about me & my ilk, and don't always make a real good ambassador...
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.

  7. #7
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Ten common misconceptions about atheists

    I like this thread. I'd also like to add to the list..again.

    atheists do know about religion. Not the propaganda. But your actual religion. And I think it pisses some people off.



    *but I'm going to add this so I'm not on a high horse. atheists can be some of the dumbest bigoted douches I know.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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