Opening the Lines, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

The assertion of non-belief is neither aggressive nor evangelizing. Frankly, this attitude is a deep offense to most atheists, myself included.

The thing that makes me really angry is that people think it’s okay to say that an atheist is a bad person simply because he or she is an atheist. I am not a bad person because I refuse to agree with someone’s opinion about God. Neither is someone a bad person because they do believe in a non-existent all-powerful deity.

People make strongly pro-religious posts on Facebook all the time. No one displays any concern or takes responsibility for my offense with these kinds of posts. In fact, I rarely comment on them, even though I do find them deeply offensive.

People are entitled to their opinions. But let’s be clear: an opinion is a conclusion reached based upon facts in evidence. Opinions demand respect. A belief is not an opinion. I can make up all sorts of crazy beliefs. I could worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and hope to be touched by his noodley appendage. Belief is the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. A belief neither deserves nor is entitled to the slightest respect.

And while it may be easier not to talk about these issues, and just sweep the tension under the rug, it’s not better to do that. In the long run, it just leads to festering resentment that eventually spills over to violence. It’s time to give up the luxury of pretending these differences don’t exist, and start talking about them, explaining our views and where they come from, and finding ways to accommodate one another. We have to live on this planet together. We have to use the same Internet. So we may as well all get used to there being someone out there who disagrees with our core beliefs.

I always invite anyone to engage in discussion with me at any time.

Return to Part 1.

Category(s): Philosophy, Prejudice, Religion, Society
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52 Responses to Opening the Lines, Part 2

  1. Sing it brother! Although, fortunately in Colorado, I do have to say, I feel largely accepted here.

    • I’m having difficuilty distinguishing between your definition of belief and opinion. Explain! I thought opinion was just that, “opinion”, as in evewrybody has one (w/out supporting facts). i thought a belief had some facts in its foundation.

      • The distinction is about fact. An opinion is a definable concrete idea based upon existent facts. The facts are generally undisputed though often open to interpretation. Opinions cannot be made up – they have a framework based upon the actual, real world we live in.

        A belief requires no facts, no basis in reality and no points of reference. You can just make one up on the fly out of nothing.

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