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  #1  
Old 8th May 2012, 08:23 PM
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Default Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

Among my many beloved friends and family are a small number of people who question my attendance at the GAC, querying the philosophical validity of such an event. "Isn't that just like a religious gathering?" is the common gist of the queries.

With the religious members of my circle I gently explained that the difference between a gathering of atheists and a religious observance is that the atheists don't think they have to attend. Everyone who attends does so based on no greater reward than attendance, and those who don't attend need fear no retribution, now or after death. This explanation was well received, or at least shut the line of enquiry down, which counts as well received in my dealings with theists keen to discuss atheism, and hopefully got my interlocutors thinking about their relationship with their church and fellow adherents a bit more than usual.

When atheists took this line with me, I turned the volume up to eleven and gave exactly the same explanation, only with added flecks of rage spittle. Any atheist not being told by other atheists that they are bad people for not supporting the event should realise the point I make without my needing to make it, and I feel comfortable making them feel every bit as idiotic as their idiotic question warrants. Fuck me! Are these people atheists because they thought about and chose not to accept faith claims or because they failed to boot up to basic thought processes in the first place?
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:33 PM
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Tis a tad frustrating WLB. I even get it about this forum, from everyone from full on god bothers to other atheists
"it's just like a church group"
I am so sick and tired of it.
Sick sick sick
Tired tired tired
( giggle that reminds me of an old bill Cosby skit)
Tired of explaining myself.
Tired of people thinking they know me and my friends because they know I am an atheist.
Now I'm just whining
Edit: that really is very whiney isn't it, and not very helpful.
Some people will never be able to see a difference, because they don't understand that one can just be as they are, without the need for a "group" to answer to.
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Last edited by Mjt; 8th May 2012 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 8th May 2012, 10:04 PM
pedrointas pedrointas is offline
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

Living in Tassie after growing up in Melb, I told my brother I was coming back for the weekend to attend the GAC. His immediate response was why? I stammered out something about the amazing speakers attending, and then left it at that.

I realised later that ultimately, his position is one of agnostic apathy and that it's a position that a large proportion of Australian's hold. They can't stand the crap of religion, and are certainly intelligent enough to think the claims of religion are complete bullshit, but they don't want to face the idea of atheism (and it's rejection of the supernatural) because they want to hold on to the concept of some form of afterlife. Ask them for proof of the supernatural and, naturally, they have nothing concrete.

I guess it just takes some cognitive leap to accept the finality of our existence and a lot of people aren't prepared to face that.

Some people at work were completely jealous of my attendance at the GAC (the closet atheists, though more are coming out). Others (the religious ones), were both inquisitive and revulsed, wanted to know more and asked the usual questions (a boss, in particular came out with the "how does a universe come from nothing?" but didn't want to take it too far and far more have been silent on the matter (they're just not prepared for a debate that challenges their fears)). The vast majority however, just couldn't care less.
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Old 8th May 2012, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

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Originally Posted by pedrointas View Post
Living in Tassie after growing up in Melb, I told my brother I was coming back for the weekend to attend the GAC. His immediate response was why? I stammered out something about the amazing speakers attending, and then left it at that.

I realised later that ultimately, his position is one of agnostic apathy and that it's a position that a large proportion of Australian's hold. They can't stand the crap of religion, and are certainly intelligent enough to think the claims of religion are complete bullshit, but they don't want to face the idea of atheism (and it's rejection of the supernatural) because they want to hold on to the concept of some form of afterlife. Ask them for proof of the supernatural and, naturally, they have nothing concrete.

I guess it just takes some cognitive leap to accept the finality of our existence and a lot of people aren't prepared to face that.

Some people at work were completely jealous of my attendance at the GAC (the closet atheists, though more are coming out). Others (the religious ones), were both inquisitive and revulsed, wanted to know more and asked the usual questions (a boss, in particular came out with the "how does a universe come from nothing?" but didn't want to take it too far and far more have been silent on the matter (they're just not prepared for a debate that challenges their fears)). The vast majority however, just couldn't care less.
As my motto is, apathy is death. Trust me, the name of this site is SCARY. Fortunately the stayers are nice company

I guess one way forward is to challenge his ideals. Ask him what he thinks of homoeopathy, for example (a good hook for people who dislike bullshit). If he says 'it's bullshit', then say "do you support your taxdollars subsidising bullshit". Good because it's topical.

I think the rest writes itself.

Atheism shouldn't be a leap from a biblecoddler to Dawkins. I would have been agnostic for 4-6 years prior (starting from when I was ten and figured this prayer thing was completely bs, despite honouring the tradition that was within the Scouts movement)

Small steps. The mind likes to open itself to new information, not to have more crammed in. Appeal to one's critical thinking process is powerful.
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

What utter twaddle.

It was nothing like a religious gathering.

There wasn't a collection plate in sight, for starters.



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Old 8th May 2012, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

Well, maybe they could get Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lawrence Krause, Ben Elton and Geoffrey Robertson Q. C and the like to speak at their church services and I'd probably go every week.
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Old 9th May 2012, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

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Originally Posted by simonecuttlefish View Post
Well, maybe they could get Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lawrence Krause, Ben Elton and Geoffrey Robertson Q. C and the like to speak at their church services and I'd probably go every week.
I would go to church if Hitch turned up to speak!
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Old 9th May 2012, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwinsbulldog
I would go to church if Hitch turned up to speak!
Fuck that, I would go to that church to see him resurrected.

Coat.hat.door.gone.
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Old 9th May 2012, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Dealing with the "isn't that just like a religious gathering" comment

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Fuck that, I would go to that church to see him resurrected.

Coat.hat.door.gone.
Indeed, he would forbid us to worship him though The bastard!
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Old 9th May 2012, 01:41 PM
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Great way of putting it WLB. I could have done with your wisdom during the convention as I was fending off cheap blows from so called friends.

One was saying my religion has its faith in science. Not enough words.
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