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Atheist Community of Austin
Negative and Positive are Conceptual

From reading various Websites it is obvious that many atheists are becoming very defensive in order to counter the accusations against them from the usual suspects, that atheists are "negative" people. If there is a campaign against atheists (and there is) then the atheists are not creating the negative situation. Ever since some atheists decided to become activists (vocal and visible) there has been a backlash. No other group that was discriminated against in the past would ever have accomplished anything by keeping there mouths shut and ignoring the appalling situation in order to prevent someone from calling them negative. I have come to the conclusion that many atheists think that they need to prove things about themselves that they don't need to spend any time on. Atheists are not making any claims about anyone's disposition or integrity (but they sure could) atheists don't need to prove a thing in order to be afforded the same rights as functioning illiterates enjoy.

Theists often promote the idea that society would fall apart without religion and there would be no morality (a claim that has been proven false by studies) and so have their feeble minded attempts at proving that religion benefits mankind. The primary reason for spreading these kinds of fabrications is to strengthen their position against non-belief. What people think about the existence of any god is neither positive nor negative (you believe it or you don't) but that can be positive or negative depending on your position. If some atheists are finding out that there is deception concerning the validity of religion it is a positive thing for people who are insulted and vilified for non-belief, but it might be very negative thing for those people who are benefiting from religion. In math a negative time a positive gives a negative, and in this case it is the theists who have caused the negative result. Therefore, I guess I could say that there is mathematical proof that theists are negative, but it's really (I think) more a proof of concept than anything. I don't think that anyone would be going bonkers about atheists writing books debunking religion if there wasn't a lot to cover up. In fairness, there are some people who claim to be atheists who have also complained about the books that atheists have written. I guess these people want to be "atheists" but they don't want to pay the price, because some of the very same people are ignoring the god-fearing authors of books that criticize science and deny evolution and the big bang.

No American should ignore bigotry unless they are delighted with the status quo. I'm not happy at all knowing that some very brilliant people could not be considered for certain positions because they wouldn't accept religious indoctrination. A positive situation for atheists would be just as positive for everyone else; that is because everyone in a free country should be allowed to think whatever they want to think, and talk about it openly with no intimidation. There are other groups that are being suppressed; it's not just the atheists. We can't achieve anything until certain things that may be unpleasant (negative) are brought to light.

The accusations made against atheists are only diversions from the actual issues; and those issues are the situations that many people face every day. The reason for making people pay if they speak out is so that nobody will speak out. If very many people stopped walking in lock step it would be a threat to certain interests that want to control people. Some groups that were hated themselves in the past are not supporting the atheists, who are protesting, and I'm not sure why they haven't supported them. It could be because of their fear of repercussions, once you consider the fact that there is more hatred against atheists in America than any other group, and numerous studies has reported the same findings. There is vicious speech against atheists, and very few people in this country consider that wrong. It is still socially and morally acceptable to malign and discriminate against atheists and they are the only group where this is the case. If atheists have to stay in the closet to keep from losing their jobs or from being harassed how can that be positive? I guess if bad things are happening to others, but not to me, I should put my head in the sand like an ostrich. I just read some comments on another Website describing things that are happening to some atheists, and one of them said that if everyone would come out of the closet it would be better for everyone. I know the level of fear that is existing out there for ordinary people - one person wrote that they were in fear of losing their business.

There is nothing to be positive about concerning the attitudes toward atheists in this country, and there are interests who don't want attention brought to that situation. If anyone shines a light on the truth of the matter a campaign against atheists is whipped up. They accuse atheists of being immoral, negative and hate mongers (atheists didn't start the KKK). I love it when these bigots call atheists narrow-minded. If it weren't for all of this the atheists would just have it made.

If I wanted to waste my time on trivialities I could easily join a church, since my mailbox is full of their invitations everyday. Today I got a letter from a church inviting us to come hear their sermon on sex next Sunday. Before that they had offered us coffee and doughnuts and card games, etc. now they are going to tell us about sex. If the sermon is about biblical sex I don't need to hear it - first you rape - then you pillage - and then you burn.

Some of the critics of atheists think that their anti-atheist campaign has put them back into their closets; by convincing atheists that there isn't any real support for them, and playing up the rewards for those who believe. They think that there will be no real opposition to their plans of turning America into a theocracy, because nobody wants to be the only one speaking out. That's why it is so important for atheists to keep their mouths shut. I think that it's high time people spoke out and not just the atheists. There will always be a backlash when anyone goes after the "old guard". I'm not interested in 'happy talk' and I don't care who doesn't like it, I'm "serious as a heart attack".

-The End -

excellent topic and post Linda.

theists (for the most part) will show respect for another theists beliefs..but have no respect at all for those who claim non-belief.

the blatant rudeness of their attitude is also lost on them.

just from a standpoint of good manners, (never mind morality or legality) theists fail, they act like stubborn children who aren't getting their way.

when i hear nonsensical terms like "militant" being applied to atheists, i simply remind the speaker why people like Harris and Hitchens and Dawkins are out in public, why atheists are coming out of the closet...9/11.

when the towers fell, it was bad enough to discover the perpetrators were religious extremists. but for many of us, this horrible tragedy was made insanely worse by religious leaders in our own country. we sat stunned by the stupidity coming out of the mouths of Pat Robinson and Jerry Falwell. Their same attitudes were then expressed on many occasions by our president.

sickening. just disgusting. religion being used on both sides to motivate sheep into killing each other.

is it negative to stand up and say, "stop this madness!" ?

Right on. I think it is so interesting how the religious right want to portray themselves as "family friendly" and "positive" and characterize atheists and humanists as "negative." I say to them, if that's the case, how "positive" were Martin Luther's anti-Semitic statements? How "family friendly" were the witch trials? Was Queen Isabella a "positive" person during the Spanish Inquisition? I'll take Dawkins or Darwin over them any day.

Is it fair to infer from the posts on this page that you're all holding religion responsible for 9/11 and other atrocities committed by believers in the name of their gods? Do you honestly think that humanity would become peaceful simply by rejecting religion?

As far as I can tell, people commit acts of violence for many different reasons and religion is only used as an umbrella cloaking other motives. The true source of violence and intolerance is not a belief (or non-belief) in mysticism or deities. It's mostly about fear of not having one's needs met, fear of perceived threats, fear of lacking control over the chaotic circumstances of life, and fear of the unknown. Atheists are every bit as subject to the problem of being human as are believers.

I just don't get the need to classify "them" as "them" over and over using generalizations basting in vitriol. People are people. We all have the same basic needs. It's a shame that we live in a world and a society that tends to raise a collective eyebrow at those of us who don't buy into the dominant theist paradigm, but that doesn't render skillful statements like the following from cdo: "just from a standpoint of good manners, (never mind morality or legality) theists fail, they act like stubborn children who aren't getting their way."

Correct me if I'm misinterpreting, but are you not asserting that people who believe in God (the vast majority of Americans) act like stubborn children? And by setting up the duality of "us" vs. "them" are you not implying that atheists don't display similar behavior?

If it's necessary to demonize those with whom I disagree, then perhaps I should heed the words of my friend Reuben: "...the issue of God or no God is unimportant, and mostly comes from fear of remaining with what is. To be for it or against it is equally tiring, and immediately spins off into concepts and beliefs which are ultimately unsatisfying. I'd rather read Doestoevsky and drink vegetable juice."

I think what cdo is talking about are the altar calls and blame game performances by the self-righteous evangelicals in response to every disaster including the attacks on the Trade Towers. Most intelligent people found them repulsive. Atheists are very aware of the tactics of evangelicals since the disasters were connected to punishment from god for sin and non-belief. It's much easier for these self-righteous cowards to blame the victims than to blame the negligence of an administration that ignored all the warning.

What we are referring to is the disgusting ignorance and bigotry espoused against atheists who are never given equal time in the media. The "spoiled brats" have been slandering and blaming people for years for things that it makes no sense to blame them for. They can't speak the truth to power so they attack what they perceive to be the weakest people in this country, and that is the atheist minority.

Cdo commented that, "just from a standpoint of good manners, (never mind morality or legality) theists fail, they act like stubborn children who aren't getting their way."

Truer words were never spoken! Speaking of vitriolic behavior. The fanatics had an apoplectic fit when they found out that the author of the Golden Compass Philip Pullman is an atheist. They were calling for the removal of Northern Lights, which is the book that "The Golden Compass" is based on, from school libraries in America, and to boycott the film. They claimed the author was trying to send an atheist message. What ignorance, it makes you wonder what they are afraid of.

Watch out bookshelves if they find out that some of the most famous authors in history were atheists or non-Christians. Most of the authors of the American Constitution were not Christians. Thomas Paine, a writer and one of the most influential patriots, fervently implored Americans to pursue independence. Thomas Paine was an atheist and you can read his criticism of the Bible in the "Age of Reason".

Many atheists have very strong resentments against these hypocrites who have been extremely hostile, and absolutely unfair. They really do believe that the atheists have no right to speak, especially when a former right wing President opined that atheists shouldn't be considered citizens. Most atheists and other sensible people (humanists) want to see the end of the superstitious nonsense (religion) so that we can address the real problems in the world. The idea that evangelicals are a necessary factor for morality, peace or harmony is just laughable. They want people to sit around fearing god and doing nothing while they wait on Armageddon, and at that point every knee will be bowed to them, including the atheists and the Jews. We will all convert or go to hell and that's their idea of heaven.

An atheist is someone who "gets it". Atheists do not believe in any deity, worship anything or follow any religious dogma. Most atheists know what the issues are because they have experienced them; accusing the author of "The Golden Compass" of peddling candy-coated atheism is one good example. Well, I guess atheists needn't bother writing any more books, music or practicing medicine etc. according to these imbeciles.

Atheists are speaking out and writing books, and the fanatics can't stand it. Atheists and other like-minded groups are teaming up to voice their objections to the discrimination. Atheists in Foxholes from all over the world met to speak about discrimination against Atheists in the military.

It's already happening and nobody needs doorstops who only get in the way either. People who don't understand or want to be involved in this issue don't have be. They don't have a voice in the matter anyway.

OK, I cede the point that SOME theists cause disproportionate harm to our collective welfare with their insanity. I just don't like lumping all believers together with the likes of Pat Robertson and the hysterical evangelicals who want to censor books and promote museums displaying dinosaurs and humans living together as the Flintstones once did. The Flintstones are our evolutionary ancestors and should not be confused with modern humans.

My defense of believers arises from my many wonderful friends who have varying degrees of belief in something bigger than themselves, which most of them refer to as "God." Their intended meaning in using that ill-defined word is always unique to the individual using it. I cannot buy into a wholesale rejection of those who believe when I see in them behaviors that contradict the general indictment of believers as found in this thread.

Rejecting fundamentalists and evangelicals? Sign me up! Just don't tell me that a typical member of the Church of Conscious Harmony is a threat to anything you hold dear. They, like many other churches (Unitarian Universality, Unity, liberal Methodists, etc.) would be among the first to stand up and defend the rights of atheists, gays, and others who are persecuted by the more dogmatic of believers.

Nobody mentioned the groups that you have thrown into this topic; it wasn't there, and it appears that you want to put something there so you will have a valid point of contention. The rights of the religious is not what is at stake, therefore it is not what this conversation is about. I think most atheists know by now that Christianity is not a philosophy that lives by what it preaches, and I have had problems with people in some of those very groups that you mentioned. However, that was not the point. The point as far as the atheists are concerned is that religious groups are being treated more equal than atheists and other groups. Religious organizations should be taxed like any other. Any money used for charity is tax deductible for all groups, but money that is collected that is making those in charge rich or helping them build an empire, needs to be taxed. This chat is also about keeping religion out of government. As an atheist who happens to know many other atheists, we don't want religion shoved down our throats through executive action. Such as, lobbyists who attempt to push legislation through that serves no purpose but to force everyone to live by their religious guidelines.

There is an international atheist convention March 12-14 2010. The Global Atheist Convention (also called The Rise of Atheism) that will be an international meeting of atheists in Melbourne, Australia, sponsored by the Atheist Foundation of Australia. It is sold out.

The leaders of religious philosophy do not defend the rights of atheists; it's not in their best interest. Accepting the fact that people have the right to be atheists is not the same as advocating for atheist views. There are many atheists around the globe that know exactly what the issues are and those who do not grasp what they are don't really need to be involved. I'm sure that there were people who wanted other protesters throughout history to go away and stop bothering everyone, because they don't approve of that war or hate people that are different, but please shut up about the people that do. I think the atheist's perspective would take precedence over any other view if that person were an atheist.

I don't think anyone who is an atheist is confused about who/what the problems are about, and since they have had unintelligent designs on the government, education and the workplace for years, I think it is more than high time to start being against them. These are the issues, so don't try to make it about some other issue.

The Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia will be the largest gathering of non-theists in Australia's history. The presenters will be evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, along with American biologist, Professor P. Z. Myers, host of the world's top-ranked science blog, Pharyngula. Dan Barker, former evangelicals pastor. Barker, author of Losing Faith in Faith, now heads America's Freedom from Religion Foundation and hosts America's first atheist radio program, Freethought Radio on Air America. The Australian speakers are philosopher and professor of bioethics, Peter Singer, broadcaster Phillip Adams, and Age columnist, Catherine Deveny. The speakers are donating their time free and there is no support from the government. Despite the fact that non-believers in Australia are about 50%, the last thing I read stated that the atheists asked for government funds to help defray the cost of the convention and so far there has been no answer. This convention was very costly, and there is great a deal of interest in this movement worldwide because of the conflicts that are increasing around the world that are fueled politically and with religiosity.

The Australians non-believers are not the minority as they are in America but they have the same problem with a Christian minority trying to run the government. The atheists in America need to get on board with this movement and stop sitting back and watching the Christian influence on political and civil rights issues going unchallenged. I'm delighted with the "new atheists" who are finally trying to have a voice and to actually change things. This is what has been needed for a very long time. I hope that this will lead to a much stronger advocacy for science, Separation of Church and State, and freedom from religion that we have not had up to now. The Rise of Atheism Convention will bring together atheists from around the country, and across the world. Australians are preparing to stand-up and be counted, and no longer sit quietly on the sidelines while good policies are derailed by religious dogma and America needs to do the same thing.

It is apparent that extreme coercion to force religion on people through economic and other forms of religious tyranny is spreading like an infectious disease. The atheists who understand the problem know religious oppression has denied people equal opportunities, which others take for granted, and atheist need and deserve to have some support.

There is growing hostility toward atheists because the religious people are now being met with demands for evidence. The reality of the matter is that anyone could come up with untold numbers of imaginary things that nobody can prove do not exist, and they think this is a reasonable argument for their deity. The difference in talking to people who believe that there is a God is that they are people who choose to keep themselves ignorant, and that doesn't deserve any more respect than any other inane idea.

Anyone who wants to know enough about the issues in order to discuss them should read some of books on the topic. There are many best-selling books on the subject, including Dawkins' The God Delusion, Sam Harris' The End of Faith, and Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

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