- November 8, 1999 at 12:00 am #3507
I notice that many, not all, of the atheists I’ve known have shown me hostility. I’d be considered an evangelical Christian, and as soon as someone I’m talking to would get any sort of wind of it, on comes the verbal abuse and ranting, or at least a subtle slight. I have a few friends here and there who are atheists, and they of course are exceptions, but more often than not this happens. Why does there seem to be this hostility?
User Detail :Name : Dan, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : na, Race : Chicano, Religion : Pentecostal Christian, Age : 21, City : Los Angeles area, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Social class : Lower middle class, November 9, 1999 at 12:00 am #31613
I’m Jewish, and I sympathize with the athiests you describe. I, too, have been ‘hit on’ by evangelists many times, and I don’t like it. I find it deeply arrogant and intolerant for someone to come to me and tell me that I’m a heathen doomed to eternal hellfire and that my values and morals are inferior. Would you tolerate someone who tells YOU this? I don’t tolerate it, and I suspect that you would feel the same way. I think that when you describe yourself as evangelical, you are grouping yourself with those who do these things, and you should expect to be treated with distrust and hostility.
User Detail :Name : Jesse-Nadel, Gender : M, Religion : Jewish, Age : 40, City : Herzliya, State : NA Country : Israel, Occupation : engineer, November 10, 1999 at 12:00 am #39743
I’d consider myself an atheistic Jew. I don’t have a problem with evangelical Christians, but I know other people like me who resent being preached to by evangelicals. For sure, it is offensive for someone to try to convert you from a belief you’re quite comfortable with. Anyway, atheists may be taking out their bad experience with missionary evangelicals on you, which is not a good idea.
User Detail :Name : Andrew, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 35, City : Huntington, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Reporter, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #16757
I have run into many Christians who try to convert every person they know. I know that many of these people feel they are helping people by showing them the path to eternal salvation. What many people fail to realize is that not everybody is a Chiristian, and not everybody wants to become one. It is insulting and disrespectful to tell someone they are going to hell for their religious beliefs. I have lost friends over this issue because they would not respect my right to my own beliefs. This is extremely hurtful. As a result, when I hear that somebody is a Christain, especially a fundamentalist, my guard goes up. I instinctivly distance myself from that person because it is too risky to become close to them.
User Detail :Name : Jacqueline-C20993, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 25, City : San Jose, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #24792
I am a pagan, and I have encountered the same reaction from many atheists. I know a few who are salt-of-the-earth and wonderful, but the vast majority seem to me to have an incredibly rude, condescending attitude toward any kind of religious belief – not just Christianity. Just peruse the ‘Skeptical Inquirer’ or atheist web sites on the Net and notice the smug, superior attitude and arrogant manner. They seem to adore making fun of religion and spirituality. From my encounters with atheists, they justify this by saying that religious belief is ‘irrational’ and that atheists are more intelligent and have superior reasoning abilities. Most atheists are affluent Anglo people, and I think there is a certain elitism involved.
User Detail :Name : Crystal, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Pagan, Age : 30's, City : Oakland, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Office manager, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #25956
I too have found a lot of hostility and contempt toward religion among atheists. I am a pagan, and find that many atheists consider my beliefs ‘irrational’, ‘deluded’ and ‘superstitious.’ I think this stems from several sources: 1) Atheists throw the baby out with the bath water, seeing only the inhumane and cruel aspects of religion and forgetting the beneficial aspects. 2) Many atheists have grown up with very restrictive religious beliefs and think all religion is like this. 3) Most atheists are well-to-do, educated white people who think that religion is ‘low-brow’ and not for intelligent people.
User Detail :Name : Crystal, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Pagan, Age : 30's, City : Oakland, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Office manager, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #30856
It depends. In my experience as an agnostic who has no relation to the popular view of God and Jesus, not to mention my experience as a gay person fending off attacks from believers, I encounter hostility daily, most from popular opinion and some directed specifically at me, from Christians who are out to condemn people like me who don’t believe in exactly the same thing they believe in. It goes both ways. If you can tell me why I get hostility from Christians for not believing absolutely in their ‘God’, I might be able to tell you why you as a Christian have experienced hostility from atheists.
User Detail :Name : Jay, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Age : 24, City : Asheville, State : NC Country : United States, Social class : Middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #45682
Unfortunately many atheists are hostile to fundamentalist or evangelical Christians simply because they have been treated poorly by these very same groups. Most Christians and religious people I’ve meant feel threatened in the mere presence of an atheist, and I’ve always wondered: Why are they so frightened of us? I am an atheist who grew up in an evangeligal Christian environment where anyone who questioned God’s existence was demonized, shunned, avoided, spit on, verbally abused, etc. Please open your eyes to the fact that atheists are incredibly discriminated against in our society. Of course, such behavior is repulsive and ultimately absurd whether it comes from religious people or atheists. My philosophy is that we should all just ‘agree to disagree’ and live our lives accordingly. You will never convince me of the existence of God, and I could never convince you otherwise, so why be threatened by each other’s opinions?
User Detail :Name : Emma25380, Gender : F, Religion : Atheist, Age : 28, City : Los Angeles, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, November 12, 1999 at 12:00 am #46091
I don’t believe that the hostility you describe is a symptom of Atheism. Rather, I believe it is a symptom of intolerance, which is practiced by individuals the world over, be they Atheist, Cristian, etc. As an Atheist growing up in the USA, I have often been on the receiving end of such hostility. Why is anybody hostile towards others of different belief systems? I’ll venture a guess: because they believe they are victims, and must speak out. Give them no reason to feel victimized and watch them quiet right down (or look around for another reason to feel victimized — lets face it, we all love playing the victim)
User Detail :Name : Matt22005, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 25, City : Munich, State : NA Country : Germany, Occupation : software engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, December 1, 1999 at 12:00 am #42455
The reason some atheists are hostile towards christians , jahova whitnesses etc is because a lot of christians try to convert every atheist they meet-often saying things like ‘your life will be empty/restless/unfulfilling without god/something/a meaning to live for’.Which i, as an atheist find insulting, just as when an atheist who tries to debunk christian miracles would upset christians. Another thing is that atheists get annoyed with Jahova (is that the right spelling?)witnesses cold calling trying to sell you cheaply made religous magazines for a bomb, which feels like intrusion and harassment-if we wanted to know more about a certain aspect of christianity then im sure we would call in at the local church and find out.Some ‘witnesses have even tried to shove their foot in my door!!! How would these people feel if i traipsed through their front garden trying to sell ‘god is a load of bulls**t’ magazines for Â£3.50? im sure they would be hostile too. i know this reply was totally stereotypical but thats how a lot of narrowminded people look at christianity-of course i can only speak for the way people act towards christians in england.
User Detail :Name : jozie, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : english/polish (white), Religion : Atheist, Age : 17, City : p, State : NA Country : United Kingdom, Occupation : student, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower class, December 16, 1999 at 12:00 am #42147
I am very sorry you have been treated poorly by people who call themselves christians. Jesus himself treated those who didn’t believe with respect and love. You may be surprized to know many of those same so called ‘christians’ treat other christians with the same bitter hateful attitude. I may not agree with you or your ideas but I would stand in a court of law or on the field of battle to defend your ideas and beliefs or non beliefs. You see, I sincerely believe I have no right to ‘judge’ you but I do have a responsibility to love you and care for you and that is the difference. bob a
User Detail :Name : Bob A, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 48, City : St. Petersburg, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : Computer technician, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, December 26, 1999 at 12:00 am #28323
first off, yeah there are quite a few hostile atheists, but isn’t that true for christians too? and all other religions for that matter. some people are just mean no matter what their religion is. secondly, atheists should have reached their conclusion through quite a bit of scientific reasoning (i should hope) and they should be able to back their faiths without hostility, and certainly without name-calling. that is just ridiculous. sometimes though, christians (and atheists) are so set in their views and closeminded that it is just sooo frustrating to try arguing with them and then even the most peaceful of us tend to get a bit nasty. if they are hostile from the start, i’d suggest you just leave them be, because you won’t be able to get an intelligent debate out of them anyhow, and if they start really intelligently but get nasty, perhaps take it as a sign that they have reached their quota of evangelism for one day and simply can’t take any more.
User Detail :Name : Krystle, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 16, City : Omaha, State : NE Country : United States, Social class : Middle class, January 6, 2000 at 12:00 am #22810
It is unfortunate that anyone should be treated with hostility and condescension, whether from an atheist or a religious person. But the truth is that religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are one of the most powerful and enduring mechanisms of prejudice. I am an atheist, but also a humanist. I believe that ALL people, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whatever, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I believe that true morality is derived not from fear of God, but from love of mankind! Having said that, look at the history of Christianity. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Galileo and others, the missionaries, the ongoing effort to ‘convert’ everyone to one of hundreds of ‘one true beliefs.’ In a room full of people, what happens to the atheist who announces his status? He is told he is going to hell; he is shunned; he becomes an outcast. Maybe some atheists are reacting with hostility because their approach, from reason, is countered with ‘you just have to believe’ and ‘God acts in mysterious ways.’ I know from personal experience how frustrating it is to put forth the soundest argument rejecting the existence of God, or to point out obvious and undeniable contradictions in the Bible, only to be answered back with one of these empty phrases. Still, that doesn’t excuse hostile behavior. We must learn, both Christians and atheists, to accept each other, to have truly open minds, and to listen to each other. An honest, open dialogue is the only way. Of course, I expect atheism to win out in such a dialogue! One more comment: another respondent felt that atheists tend to be upper-class whites, thus they are ‘elitist.’ As I said before, I am the opposite of an elitist; I believe in the dignity of all persons. But the facts will show a stronger correlation of atheism to education than to wealth. The more education a person has, the more likley he is to be an atheist. Check it out.
User Detail :Name : harry21417, City : melbourne, State : FL Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, February 29, 2000 at 12:00 am #20148
I am a 34-year-old lesbian atheist. Having said that, I am also the most open-minded and fair-minded person I can be. I show nobody any form of hostility for any difference from me. I can’t. If I want people to accept my homosexuality, I have to be tolerant and accepting of their differences. As an example, I have recently met a terrific woman who is Jewish. I accept this as a part of her. To better understand her faith, I recently bought the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism. I may not agree with religion, but at least I can say I am open-minded enough to learn about it.
User Detail :Name : Alix-M, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Lesbian, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 34, City : Flint, State : MI Country : United States, Occupation : Sales, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, May 10, 2000 at 12:00 am #23179
As an athiest myself, I can understand why some of us may come off as irrate. I know more than a lot of people about a variety of religions and I try to be tolerant, but sometimes it’s just too much. I’m not saying that I don’t respect your beliefs, I do. It’s just that after a lifetime of having every religious group near you trying to recruit you, you get tired and fed up. That’s my opinion anyway.
User Detail :Name : Becca, Gender : F, Religion : Atheist, Age : 17, City : St Clair, State : MI Country : United States, Occupation : student,
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