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Atheist / Theist Reconciliation Thread

OlNate

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?
 

bluesmoke

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?


It's difficult to have a discussion when we don't have definition of subject matter, or exclude what else should be in the range of subject.

Many people are not atheist but rather agnostic and may not know it but for giving some further, critical thought to the matter. Agnostics are more about science and recognize that the supernatural being cannot be proven but cannot be disproven either. Therefore, however slim the possibility, the existence of a supernatural being is "possible". An atheist believes there is no such thing and can't be any such thing. That it's an impossibility. Pretty much black and white. Einstein, for instance, was agnostic. Though he might just have said he's not an agnostic, he's a scientist.

Anyway, to your point, it bothers me when people do not practice what they expect of others, whether they be theist, atheist, agnostic, naturalist or what. It can make me angry when any group attempts to force, legally binding, their belief upon others that must be followed. I will add that it is much easier to practice atheism/agnosticism/naturalism or even deism than to practice some form of religion and say you practice what you preach. Much easier.
 

Dragonfly

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?
Interesting thread.

Important distinction here. Are you asking about how people act and react to topics and comments here at DP, or are you asking more about "real life" interactions?

I do wonder, am I perceived as an "angry atheist" here at DP? I'd guess yes would be the answer.

I can tell you for sure I'm not an "angry atheist" in the real world.
I doubt anyone outside of my spouse and children have the slightest clue that I'm an atheist.

And again, I have Jehovah's Witnesses for in-laws. :shock:
 

OlNate

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It's difficult to have a discussion when we don't have definition of subject matter, or exclude what else should be in the range of subject.

Many people are not atheist but rather agnostic and may not know it but for giving some further, critical thought to the matter. Agnostics are more about science and recognize that the supernatural being cannot be proven but cannot be disproven either. Therefore, however slim the possibility, the existence of a supernatural being is "possible". An atheist believes there is no such thing and can't be any such thing. That it's an impossibility. Pretty much black and white. Einstein, for instance, was agnostic. Though he might just have said he's not an agnostic, he's a scientist.

Anyway, to your point, it bothers me when people do not practice what they expect of others, whether they be theist, atheist, agnostic, naturalist or what. It can make me angry when any group attempts to force, legally binding, their belief upon others that must be followed. I will add that it is much easier to practice atheism/agnosticism/naturalism or even deism than to practice some form of religion and say you practice what you preach. Much easier.
RE: the bolded - what do you need to make it clear? Legit asking, if I f-ed up the OP, let me know how.
 

Dragonfly

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An atheist believes there is no such thing and can't be any such thing.
That's not true at all.

Atheism is simply that there's not sufficient evidence to prove a god/gods exists.
There's no "positive" statement that god/gods don't exist, or can't exist, or never could have existed.

Not for the vast majority of atheists anyway.

Most are smart enough to know they can't make a positive statement about something that can't be proved.
 

soylentgreen

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?
For a start theists could finally accept that they do not in fact have evidence or even a good reason for the existence of a god, it is purely faith based.

Then you could drop the "angry" crap. That is nothing more than theists whinging that they are once again being persecuted for being told their arguments are pure ****. And that sentence is a deliberate example of how a theist will through some ridiculous moral belief system turn words such as crap and **** into proclamations of anger. Where as in fact they are nothing more than another atheist refusing to play the foolish morality of a theist.

And finally and more importantly than amusing myself with pointing out how silly the arguments of theists are, there is the dealing with the already mentioned ridiculous morality of a theist who insists that their moral judgments are sound because they come from a badly written book of fiction.

The list really can go on much further but it is really a case of listening to each individual theist and pointing out why they are wrong rather than just accepting their nonsense.
 

OlNate

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Interesting thread.

Important distinction here. Are you asking about how people act and react to topics and comments here at DP, or are you asking more about "real life" interactions?

I do wonder, am I perceived as an "angry atheist" here at DP? I'd guess yes would be the answer.

I can tell you for sure I'm not an "angry atheist" in the real world.
I doubt anyone outside of my spouse and children have the slightest clue that I'm an atheist.

And again, I have Jehovah's Witnesses for in-laws. :shock:
First, I'm not trying to define anyone with this... It's not about who's what, there's lots of callouts in other threads, and they generally turn to **** as a result. :)

As for the distinction, I'd accept either, but I suppose I'm most interested in what goes on here - or online, anonymously, if that works. What would it take to say "I believe because" or "I don't believe because", without adding "and because you're the opposite, you're a dummy" - either literally, or with the chosen tone of responses, and the cavalier disrespect shown for differing opinions.

I'm going heavy with the disclaimers in this thread, so I'll add that I'm not centering out theists over atheists, or vice versa. I've seen it from both sides, and both sides have gotten mad at me for calling it out. ;) :)
 

OlNate

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For a start theists could finally accept that they do not in fact have evidence or even a good reason for the existence of a god, it is purely faith based.

Then you could drop the "angry" crap. That is nothing more than theists whinging that they are once again being persecuted for being told their arguments are pure ****. And that sentence is a deliberate example of how a theist will through some ridiculous moral belief system turn words such as crap and **** into proclamations of anger. Where as in fact they are nothing more than another atheist refusing to play the foolish morality of a theist.

And finally and more importantly than amusing myself with pointing out how silly the arguments of theists are, there is the dealing with the already mentioned ridiculous morality of a theist who insists that their moral judgments are sound because they come from a badly written book of fiction.

The list really can go on much further but it is really a case of listening to each individual theist and pointing out why they are wrong rather than just accepting their nonsense.
Ok, cool...I hear all that. (not brushing over what you said, thank you for contributing, but I promised in the OP not to argue, only ask questions)

Do you see anything YOU could do to bring about these changes you'd like to see in the conversation? Do you see anything YOU could do, to help theists see that, despite appearances, and quotable tones (which could absolutely be demonstrated on both sides, which I note so you don't think I'm centering out atheists), you aren't actually disrespecting their way of life? Do you see anything in your own approach that might cause confusion in this regard?
 

OlNate

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For a start theists could finally accept that they do not in fact have evidence or even a good reason for the existence of a god, it is purely faith based.

Then you could drop the "angry" crap. That is nothing more than theists whinging that they are once again being persecuted for being told their arguments are pure ****. And that sentence is a deliberate example of how a theist will through some ridiculous moral belief system turn words such as crap and **** into proclamations of anger. Where as in fact they are nothing more than another atheist refusing to play the foolish morality of a theist.

And finally and more importantly than amusing myself with pointing out how silly the arguments of theists are, there is the dealing with the already mentioned ridiculous morality of a theist who insists that their moral judgments are sound because they come from a badly written book of fiction.

The list really can go on much further but it is really a case of listening to each individual theist and pointing out why they are wrong rather than just accepting their nonsense.
Will add one more thing, just for clarification's sake. I was careful with the word angry, which I took time to give a definition for in the OP, and I applied it evenly to both sides. This isn't the typical rant against "angry atheists".

Just wanted to clarify where I'm coming from.
 

Felis Leo

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?
I consider myself a "happy" atheist, and I feel just as comfortable among the deeply religious as I do among the deeply irreligious. If anything, I generally find myself standing against ideological anti-theistic atheists who openly desire to seek the annihilation of religion in public life far more often than religious theocrats trying to impose their religious views on others, if only because the 1980s are dead and gone and there isn't as much Bible-thumping anymore.

My main thought when it comes to religion is to simply leave people alone and let them live their lives as they see fit.
 

OlNate

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I consider myself a "happy" atheist, and I feel just as comfortable among the deeply religious as I do among the deeply irreligious. If anything, I generally find myself standing against ideological anti-theistic atheists who openly desire to seek the annihilation of religion in public life far more often than religious theocrats trying to impose their religious views on others, if only because the 1980s are dead and gone and there isn't as much Bible-thumping anymore.

My main thought when it comes to religion is to simply leave people alone and let them live their lives as they see fit.
I appreciate that. :)

But I think it's important to understand why this anger exists, and then take steps to reconcile. I'm going to break my own rule here, and insert an opinion, but only to clarify the intent of the thread. A lot of damage has been done by the Church. A lot of good too, but it doesn't erase the bad. It's very easy to get offended by the reaction to that, but it's a laziness that folks in a privileged position (which the church has always enjoyed, and still does in many ways) can indulge in, myself certainly included. What I'm trying to understand is if there is any meaningful way to have these conversations that acknowledges that without making the situation worse by devolving into the usual scraps that tend to break out down here.
 

Felis Leo

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Based on what information?
I do not see as many news stories of ultra-conservative religious people trying to impose school prayers, for example, as I do anti-religious people trying to take down war memorials and monuments that are in the shape of crosses. Perhaps you see a lot in your particular area. I certainly do not in mine.
 

swing_voter

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As Christians, people who follow the teachings of Jesus, we are directed to love atheists.
 

OlNate

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As Christians, people who follow the teachings of Jesus, we are directed to love atheists.
Yes we are. So, why do you think some of us have such a difficult time tolerating their challenges?
 

btthegreat

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It's difficult to have a discussion when we don't have definition of subject matter, or exclude what else should be in the range of subject.

Many people are not atheist but rather agnostic and may not know it but for giving some further, critical thought to the matter. Agnostics are more about science and recognize that the supernatural being cannot be proven but cannot be disproven either. Therefore, however slim the possibility, the existence of a supernatural being is "possible". An atheist believes there is no such thing and can't be any such thing. That it's an impossibility. Pretty much black and white. Einstein, for instance, was agnostic. Though he might just have said he's not an agnostic, he's a scientist.

Anyway, to your point, it bothers me when people do not practice what they expect of others, whether they be theist, atheist, agnostic, naturalist or what. It can make me angry when any group attempts to force, legally binding, their belief upon others that must be followed. I will add that it is much easier to practice atheism/agnosticism/naturalism or even deism than to practice some form of religion and say you practice what you preach. Much easier.
One of the weird things about this often nasty and depressing debate, is that is starts with competing definitions of the terms like 'atheist' 'agnostic' 'science' and 'faith' with each side digging in for future advantage in the semantics. The last thing I wouldt to do, for peace and harmony here is to start by defining terms because the bomb throwers start there too.

I don't care whether they call me an atheist or agnostic or a humanist or a secularist as long as they don't tell me what I think what I believe or why I think or believe it.
 

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“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
 

ttwtt78640

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Both atheism (there is no god) and theism (there is a god) are belief systems (opinions?) based on faith (assumptions which cannot be proven/disproven). For someone having one belief system to accept (assume) the other's belief system is true then they must accept (assume) that their own belief system is false. What difference of opinion could possibly be harder to reconcile?
 

calamity

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Starting Point: This is NOT a thread about the existence of God, or gods. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. In fact, I'm going to try to do my best to stay out of this one, outside of the initial question. Not making any promises, but that's the intent. I'm posting this to learn something. At most I'll ask for clarification, if required.

Rather, this is a discussion around what it would take to bridge the gap we see here, between atheists and theists. We see a lot of angry posting here, that goes well beyond the academic debate of "real or not real", from both sides. Is there a way to deal with that anger, or is this a manifestation of the overly combative climate we find ourselves in generally?

Of course I have my own thoughts, but I'm trying to leave this wide open.

Important note: It is important to acknowledge that not all atheists and theists fall into the "angry" category. Many folks are happy to live and let live, irrespective of what camp they have landed in. If you are not "angry", which we'll define for this thread as going out of your way to disrespect someone for their lack of belief or belief as a starting point, then I am not attempting to say that you are.

So...if you're "angry" at atheists, what would it take your to not be? And, if you're "angry" at theists, what would it take to not be?
As an atheist, I could easily tolerate the religious if:

1. They stay the **** out of politics
2. They stay the **** away from abortion clinics
3. They stay the **** away from me
4. They stay the **** off the goddamned TV
5. They pray in private like the good lord asked them to.
 

OlNate

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“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
So...how do we bridge the gap? What can we do to tone down the rhetoric, to not take things so personally, to not escalate the division? Simply identifying as theist and atheist draws the line in the sand. We know we disagree, and will likely never stop. How do we put an end to the mutual abuse? What can YOU, personally, do?

That's more what I'm looking for here. :)
 

ttwtt78640

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“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
It's a bit deeper than that - do we owe that creator (a power larger than ourselves) anything (and if so, what?) or are we free to do as we please?
 

OlNate

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As an atheist, I could easily tolerate the religious if:

1. They stay the **** out of politics
2. They stay the **** away from abortion clinics
3. They stay the **** away from me
4. They stay the **** off the goddamned TV
5. They pray in private like the good lord asked them to.
Ok, Cal, thanks for all of that.

It sounds like you put all the onus on theists. Do atheists play a role in simmering things down, in your mind? As they say, it takes two to tango. Essentially your solution is that we should make ourselves silent and invisible. Am I understanding that correctly?
 

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So...how do we bridge the gap? What can we do to tone down the rhetoric, to not take things so personally, to not escalate the division? Simply identifying as theist and atheist draws the line in the sand. We know we disagree, and will likely never stop. How do we put an end to the mutual abuse? What can YOU, personally, do?

That's more what I'm looking for here. :)
That's the point of the quote...I don't think you can...
 

Elvira

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It's a bit deeper than that - do we owe that creator (a power larger than ourselves) anything or are we free to do as we please?
That is a choice only each one of us can make for ourselves...I've learned, through life experiences, His way works much better in the long run than doing as I please...
 

OlNate

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Both atheism (there is no god) and theism (there is a god) are belief systems (opinions?) based on faith (assumptions which cannot be proven/disproven). For someone having one belief system to accept (assume) the other's belief system is true then they must accept (assume) that their own belief system is false. What difference of opinion could possibly be harder to reconcile?
I agree, it's tough. And yet, cooperation has always been essential to our survival as a species. Traditionally "cooperation" has been achievable through coercion. Less so now. I'm not trying to figure out how to reconcile ideologies. I, personally, believe that to be impossible. Rather, I'm trying to figure out how to reconcile people, despite their holding differing ideologies.

Do you have any thoughts on how this could be done?
 
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