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Author Topic:   Atheism and freedom of speech
sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 108 (340496)
08-16-2006 12:00 PM



I have often wondered if atheists here find it difficult in their locality to speak out as being a non believer in the general public or if they find that they are ostrasized by family or friends and just how they feel about that.

Personally I am always willing to tackle someone who is trying to make a case for their beliefs and I quite enjoy it when I get the door knockers come to my place since I often sit down with them for long periods of time arguing about their position. I never try to belittle them and offer them refreshments and have always managed to keep it civil. I had one gentlemen come around with his wife for the better part of a year every sunday and probably still would if I had not moved.

The funny thing is that as time went along we talked less and less about the God / no god issue and more and more about life in general.
I think I am lucky to be living in this country and I wonder how much difficulty it is for others in the rest of the world.


Replies to this message:
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AdminSchraf
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 108 (340497)
08-16-2006 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


Where would you like this to go?

Faith and Belief?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 108 (340764)
08-17-2006 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminSchraf
08-16-2006 12:04 PM


Adminschraf

I think Miscellaneous would be best


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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 108 (341367)
08-19-2006 11:49 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 108 (341374)
08-19-2006 12:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


I try not to bring it up with my family, and they try not to bring it up with me. When they offer their religion as some kind of panacea for issues that I have, I politely decline.

It doesn't really come up at work. I'm not interested in targeting believers, and nobody at my job seems to be evangelical enough to take an interest in other people's religious status.

I did have to swear an oath to God in order to get my job, which I didn't particularly enjoy, but the advantage of atheism is that I don't have a deity breathing down my neck about feigned piety. I guess as a principle I could have asked to use different language, but it didn't seem very important at the time - less important than getting a job, I guess.


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nator
Member (Idle past 273 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 6 of 108 (341375)
08-19-2006 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by crashfrog
08-19-2006 12:03 PM


So, in a sense, you were forced to compomise your principles by the imposition of religion upon what shouldn't have had any religious component at all; your job with the government.
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 108 (341376)
08-19-2006 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by nator
08-19-2006 12:07 PM


Pretty much.
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nator
Member (Idle past 273 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 8 of 108 (341381)
08-19-2006 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


I had a pretty significant row with my oldest sister after she found out that I not only wasn't a Catholic (the religion of our childhood and hers still), but I wasn't a believer at all anymore.

She seemed very threatened and was actually rather insulting. She assumed many, many things about my worldview without asking me a single thing about it. I don't think she has ever specifically known many Atheists or Agnostics, despite her being a professional woman living in a large city, so when she found out that her sister was one, well, I'm sure that was confusing and scary.

I have lived in some pretty liberal places and have worked in at least one business where diversity and difference were very much embraced. I've had great discussions with coworkers all along the religious spectrum, although mostly I've encountered Christians of all sorts, Buddhists, Jews, Wiccans, Deists, and non-believers. Buth my workplace was unique, I am afraid.

In general, I don't mention my Agnosticism unless I have some sign from my audience that it is OK to do so. I have no interest in making others uncomfortable or arguing with then nor do I particularly want to become the object of an conversion attempt.


"Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends! Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!"
- Ned Flanders

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson


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CK
Member (Idle past 2231 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 9 of 108 (341383)
08-19-2006 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


here's the thing - it never never comes up. In the UK religion is a very private thing. It's your business and whatever you believe, good for you but keep it to yourself. I'd never bring up religious matter when with friends and family.

In certain areas it goes further than that, I always see American politicians talk about their faith in the lord. In the uk to openly talk about your faith in such a way is seen as a dangerous character flaw.

so yes we are all free and equal to keep our mouths shut and not bother other people!

Edited by CK, : typos


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 10 of 108 (341390)
08-19-2006 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


I am in a town where religion is a big deal -- church attendance is a big part of socializing around here. And many of the cars sport bumper stickers that positively gloat at how the unsaved are going to hell.

That said, I have experienced no problems being an atheist. Many of the people I work with know I'm an atheist, but no one seems to care much -- of course, I teach at the local college, so maybe that isn't surprising.

A few months ago, I was talking with my neighbor. I think she was going to invite me to church. Anyway, when she asked me whether I went to church, I said, "no," and she asked whether I believed in god, and I said, "no." The poor lady. She was rather shocked, and had a hard time believing that I was an atheist and accepted evolution and all that. I was trying not to laugh -- she was so earnest, but so nice. I haven't noticed that it has caused any problems between us, though -- we still chat when we see each other, and she is very, very nice. Even brings me things like banana bread every once in a while.

Anyway, she must have told the pastor of her church about me, because he introduced himself at the coffee shop in town where we both hang out in the mornings. But even though we have discussed some fairly deep things about life in general, religion never comes up in our conversations. I'm not sure whether my neighbor's church is more "liberal" than she is, or whether the pastor is just being a gentleman about it.

Anyway, such has been my experience.


"These monkeys are at once the ugliest and the most beautiful creatures on the planet./ And the monkeys don't want to be monkeys; they want to be something else./ But they're not."
-- Ernie Cline
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 616 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 11 of 108 (341401)
08-19-2006 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Chiroptera
08-19-2006 1:32 PM


I know the feeling. I used to live in southwest virginia. onservative heartland and bible belt rolled into one (except for one county that still votes democrat--the union influence in a coal mining county)

The only place that I was comfortable discussing my atheism was in my philosophy class in high school. It was kind off odd, being the only atheist, and the fact thta none of others wanted to kill me--I got the feeling they already suspected as much, or they just didn't care what I believed in. But outside of my school, ummm. let's put it this way--if you want to make eagle scout, you better not be an atheist. It's the only religion (or the lack therof)the BSA doesn't recognize.

shh . . .don't tell anyone (the eagle part and me being atheist):)


All a man's knowledge comes from his experiences
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 12 of 108 (341425)
08-19-2006 3:45 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by CK
08-19-2006 12:31 PM


Why not?
here's the thing - it never never comes up. In the UK religion is a very private thing. It's your business and whatever you believe, good for you but keep it to yourself. I'd never bring up religious matter when with friends and family.

How does anyone ever conclude within themselves whether or not God exists if it never comes up in discussion? Why is it such a private matter? Why is it the dirty little secret that we are theists are atheists? I've never understood this. Now, I can understand the good advice of, when in a setting where you are entertaining many guests, the cardinal rule is, don't bring up politics and don't bring up religion. But within your own family or your circle of friends, this seems odd to me.

In certain areas it goes further than that, I always see American politicians talk about their faith in the lord. In the uk to openly talk about your faith in such a way is seen as a dangerous character flaw.

That pretty much sums up the entire disposition of modern-day Europe, not just the UK.


“It is in vain, O' man, that you seek within yourselves the cure for all your miseries. All your insight has led you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good.” -Blaise Pascal
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ramoss
Member
Posts: 3100
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 13 of 108 (341476)
08-19-2006 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sidelined
08-16-2006 12:00 PM


In general, I don't discuss my lack of religious belief with many people. They are aware I don't practice any religion, but that is different that them knowing if I believe in a diety or not. The ones that know of my athiesm are pretty relaxed about it. On the other hand, my family is all pretty much agnostic or atheistic. Of course, of the coworkers that know of my skeptism have noticed I respect their beliefs.
When one of my coworkers parent died, I went to the wake with another co-worker. The priest started a small very Catholic prayer during the wake (he explained that during this time, a lot of people start having doubts, and this is to help them reinforce their faith.. all the things that pushed my buttons when it comes to indoctrination about religion).

My co-worker who I went with was a Jehovah Witness, and left the room.I did not, out of respect for my other co-worker. My co-worker noticed. She did share how her skeptism on religion later on (at least organised religion).


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 616 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 14 of 108 (341488)
08-19-2006 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Hyroglyphx
08-19-2006 3:45 PM


Re: Why not?
why do you need social group discussion to come to your beliefs about God?

after all, if it is up to the individual person to decide whether or not God exists, shouldn't he be left to come to that conclusion on his own?

seems better to me like that. you've got no one telling you what is or isn't, just yourself and your own exploration.

or is religion(faith, if yu don't like organized religion) so weak here in the US that it needs this social confirmation?


All a man's knowledge comes from his experiences
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 15 of 108 (341513)
08-19-2006 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by kuresu
08-19-2006 7:15 PM


Re: Why not?
why do you need social group discussion to come to your beliefs about God?

Nobody needs to as I already shared. What I said was, I think its odd to not, at some point, have the discussion come up amongst a good circle of friends or within a family.

after all, if it is up to the individual person to decide whether or not God exists, shouldn't he be left to come to that conclusion on his own?

Yes, but why share every aspect of one's life except this one thing?

you've got no one telling you what is or isn't, just yourself and your own exploration.

Someone is always going to tell us how we should live. Its whether we think they are full of manure that is up to us.

or is religion(faith, if yu don't like organized religion) so weak here in the US that it needs this social confirmation?

What mean by social confirmation?


“It is in vain, O' man, that you seek within yourselves the cure for all your miseries. All your insight has led you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good.” -Blaise Pascal
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