donnyton wrote:Right, but how do rational atheists deal with them then? Sure we know what they're doing is wrong and their claim to atheism is irrelevant, but we can't explain this to EVERY theist out there (and unfortuntately it's the minority that poses the biggest threat).
Well, you just have to kind of accept that you can't explain everything to every theist. If we could, theists wouldn't exist.
But I see where you're coming from. Atheism has a lot of extremely negative stereotypes attached to it, and occasionally rogue individuals come along who fit the stereotype and provide confirming examples for the religious mind that buys into it. What do we do about that?
In my opinion, we need to emphasize the positive aspects of our philosophical worldviews, and get the message out there that we're not just nihilists who don't believe in anything. We need to show that atheistic philosophies can be positive, life-affirming things, and they can also be negative, life-destroying things, just like the various theistic philosophical systems out there. The difference lies not in the belief or disbelief in any deity, but in the philosophical and moral maturity of the individual thinker.
If we can cram into the public understanding the idea that there exist atheists who are out there doing moral things, we might be able to overcome this stereotype. The best way to do that, I think, is just to be an openly atheist person who sets a good example for others. If we really outnumber the Jews in this country, then we have the numbers to reach that threshhold where most people have enough experience with atheists to know that the bad stereotypes about them are false, much like the Jews have done. Most Christians realize that you don't have to believe in Jesus Christ to be moral. We just have to do the same to God. While admittedly a harder challenge, I see no reason to think it unfeasible.
If you think atheists have it bad now, think about how far we've made it in the past 500 years, and be thankful you live in the 21st century. Heck, just look at Iran or Saudi Arabia and be thankful you don't live there. Believe it or not, we're making progress, and we have to just trudge forward.
â€œOh Neddy, it was terrifying. I thought I was headed for the eternal bliss of paradise!â€