39 comments on “The challenges facing atheists in the U.S.- CBS Sunday Morning

  • Well, seems this is not here at this point in time (8:17 AM MST USA ) but it is at youtube where I just finished watching it. ( copy above title and paste at youtube )

    Much of the program is set in the bible belt where one can expect the kind of backlash these people interviewed for the program experienced. But the numbers, people who would not vote for an atheist and people who would be upset with a family member marrying an atheist, affect us all. Atheists and those religious who hold these prejudices.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQsdmwCFUL4

    Tried to put the youtube link in here . Shows up in the edit box, but does not show up in the final answer box.



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  • Very good and pertinent stuff. Religion seems to be the only Badge of Goodness in the USA.

    Terrible as the fritzing of critical thinking is in indoctrinated youth, until the indoctrination itself is no longer seen as THE path to morality and “salvation”, progress will remain slow. The moral roadblock precedes that on science and reason. Sean Faircloth was right to tackle morality head on. The stats are with us if they are with anyone.



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  • 4
    aroundtown says:

    Pretty hard for the religious to see the non-believer in any other light – they have been instructed to see atheists as unsaved sinners beyond the grace of god and therefore we are defective people in their eyes. The rules of religion retain the perspective that non-beliver’s should remain ostracized and shunned so how could they possibly see anyone as equal to them, the non-believer is essentially a second class citizen in their mind and at the end of the day they feel that they are the only ones who are relevant.

    Atheists generally live in a world of examination through science and assign no blame to anything/anyone as we look for answers, and we gladly make the observations available for scrutiny/examination and verification. You are never forced into a proposition that you must accept a concept, hypothesis, or theory. It is a conundrum that the religious are threatened by scientific speculation that has advanced the level of comfort they enjoy, but then turn around and reject it out of hand.



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  • you atheists are going to hell. Its not too late. I will pray for you poor lost souls. Richard Dawkins is working for Satan; thats who pays his wages.



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  • Not sure you’re going to win many converts with that strategy, Kay (not that you’ll win any on this site). People usually are offended when you tell them they’re going to hell.



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  • you atheists are going to hell….

    If I was a nice, moral, ethical and socially responsible person, how could I possible exist. Why aren’t I murdering, looting, plundering and raping. How can I be moral if I don’t believe in god. I have been awarded all of those epithets publicly and with citations. I work for and donate to charities. I am socially responsible. I always return my shopping trolleys. I look after three elderly ladies, one is 102 and not even a relative. Why would I do this. I spent all my working life in service to the public and my nation.

    I’m ready to line up my sixty years on this planet with any of the religious.

    Your pastor is not treating you with respect by telling you this obvious untruth Kay.



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  • converts with that strategy, Kay (not that you’ll win any on this site).

    Hi Nordic, yeah it’s an up hill battle because your not just trying to convince atheist that some intelligent cosmic force might exist. Your trying to convince us that it does exist and…..I started to list all of the….questionable advice and actions of god in the Old Testament but I won’t, you’ve heard it before. Your trying to convince us that this god exist and is the kindest, most loving, wisest, most intelligent entity in the universe but once told people to build a fire and burn a priest daughter to death if “she profane herself by playing the whore”. It’s just all ways going to be cognitive dissonance to us.

    I know your a Jesus guy and to you the Bible is all about love, which is cool. There was a early sect of Christianity that thought that Jesus and the god of the Torah were different gods, and that Jesus had come to deliver them from his wrathful vengeance. If I were a Christian I might be tempted to resurrect their sect, but then you’d have to ignore the fact the Jesus was a faithful Jew.

    I was brought up to believe in god and Jesus, but never with much enthusiasm and as I got older the belief just evaporated. To people like me, saying you have a intimate relationship with a (seemingly) invisible supernatural being will never really make sense. What you can do as a Christian on a site like this is what you’ve all ready been doing for years. Make sure that we at least get our theology right. Show that not all religious people are brainwashed fundamentalist, that many are thoughtful and scientifically literate. And show that there is a brand of Christianity that would rather focus on Jesus’s message of love and fellowship (as you see it) ,rather then threats of eternal damnation.



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  • Kay. You will find the denizens of this blog some of the most rational and sincere people on the planet. I would invite you to be a regularly reader, and even a contributor. You may even find that some of what you’ve been told, like your text book quote above, may not be entirely true, or even, heaven forbid, true at all. It is one of the most uplifting and enlightened places on the internet. Enjoy the ride.

    p.s. Satan’s not a very good payer.



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  • So, Kay, your arrogance abounds. You presume to destine people of your choice to your Hell, an authority your Christianity specifically allocates to your God. Something that would get you stoned as a heretic in any theocracy worth it’s salt. You apparently know better, though. Is there any wonder why rational moral people run from religion when your ilk, so faithful, cannot even follow one of its basic tenets? Perhaps you need your Hell so desperately, because your Hell needs you.



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  • 18
    aroundtown says:

    Kay,

    I can imagine a trip to the headwaters of religious skepticism can be troubling but please stick around. I am not going to offer an admonishment suggesting punishment as you have, but an invitation to liberation through education to achieve personal enlightenment. You have to carry some of the water but you will find a great deal of information on RDFRS that will help you if you have an open mind and are willing to question you beliefs.

    Trying to jump into the deep end is going to result in confusion so I suggest measured participation. There is more to the site than just religious material. I would suggest you take a look at the post – Richard asks: Why did you leave your faith? – the answers from those individuals will give you sincere opinions on why it just wasn’t working for them anymore. Anyway, that would be a start and I hope you are young as you have the opportunity to live a long life devoid of a condition that seeks to control your life, and you might find the world is a much bigger place than you have been led to believe.



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  • Nobody is going to hell because they don’t believe. That would make judgement day far too boring for God. His sense of humor is such that the highlight of the day won’t be that we all go to heaven, but that we’re all still stuck with each other.



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  • Kay. This is the first step in your education. A study recently published in the journal Nature, has proposed a mechanism for the construct of morality in higher apes and humans. It relies on evolution, not god. Very interesting actually. It seems that higher apes, (including us) have an evolutionary “Sense of Fairness” built into our genes. We seek fair treatment as a group. Here is the summary of the research and links to the original research, should you wish to test the collected evidence.

    During the evolution of cooperation it may have become critical for individuals to compare their own efforts and pay-offs with those of others. Negative reactions may occur when expectations are violated. One theory proposes that aversion to inequity can explain human cooperation within the bounds of the rational choice model1, and may in fact be more inclusive than previous explanations2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Although there exists substantial cultural variation in its particulars, this ‘sense of fairness’ is probably a human universal9, 10 that has been shown to prevail in a wide variety of circumstances11, 12, 13. However, we are not the only cooperative animals14, hence inequity aversion may not be uniquely human. Many highly cooperative nonhuman species seem guided by a set of expectations about the outcome of cooperation and the division of resources15, 16. Here we demonstrate that a nonhuman primate, the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella), responds negatively to unequal reward distribution in exchanges with a human experimenter. Monkeys refused to participate if they witnessed a conspecific obtain a more attractive reward for equal effort, an effect amplified if the partner received such a reward without any effort at all. These reactions support an early evolutionary origin of inequity aversion.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6955/abs/nature01963.html

    No god required.



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  • The most depressing thing about that piece was the atheist saying how “we need to show them (theists) that we’re good people”.

    No.

    It’s not for the persecuted minority to “prove” themselves, it’s for the bigotted majority to change their ways. They need to rid themselves of their prejudices and see for themselves that atheists are people – good and bad – just like theists.



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  • Kay
    Apr 20, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    you atheists are going to hell. Its not too late. I will pray for you poor lost souls.

    Atheists are likely to be unimpressed by that threat! – Bearing in mind that atheists recognise heaven, hell and gods as imagined figments, which only exist in the minds of indoctrinated fearful believers.

    Unless you visit the village of “Hell” or the El Diablo Restaurant!

    http://worldthruoureyes.com/2015/01/20/lanzarote-canary-islands-volcanic-beauty-on-display/

    Richard Dawkins is working for Satan; thats who pays his wages.

    Richard Dawkins does not believe in gods or Satan. You need to look into the minds of some denominations of Xtians or Satanists to find notions of Satan. (and in the 4th picture on my link)



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  • Kay :

    you atheists are going to hell.

    How do you know that Kay ? Did some preacher spout that nonsense, or was it some other poisonous person ? Or did it come from a book of stories where gentle Jesus is going to cast non-believers into a fiery lake to boil forever ?

    You Christians are all going to die, just like the rest of us, and every other living organism. Make the most of your short time on Earth, – this isn’t a dress rehearsal.



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  • If I could divide the world of non-believers into two parts, they would consist of the Non-Theists and the Anti-Theists. I understand Non-Theists as being characterized by the absence or rejection of theism or any belief in the supernatural, including any god or gods, personal or otherwise. They have the almost Nietzscheian worldview that the question of God’s existence is irrelevant in the same way as questioning the existence of Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster is irrelevant. For them, life goes on quite well without the need for myth or magic. In my view, Non-Theists are skeptical but not cynical, tolerant but not gullible, pragmatic but not dogmatic, altruistic but not without limits.

    Anti-theists, on the other hand, are active opponents of religious institutions and are critical of those who believe in the supernatural and who claim the existence of any god or gods. The anti-theists, of course, are the atheists, which have come the be called the “New Atheists,” and are lead by the four horsemen of atheism – Dennett, Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens. The New Atheists vilify religion, especially the Abrahamic faiths, and blame the religionists for most of the ills of civilization. They are vehement in this cause, sometimes confrontational, often condescending, and seem to take some pleasure from their ridicule and mockery of religion. Ironically, it seems to me that such zealotry has produced the very fundamentalist mind-set that they seek to rout from the religious community!

    I am a non-theist and align myself with the Humanists. Therefore, if it is true that the New Atheists have become intolerant, cynical, judgmental, and have taken on, dare I say it, a holier-than-thou attitude, then, in my view, these should not be the attributes of Humanism, nor acceptable by those of us who call ourselves Humanists. In spite of this however, the New Atheists are becoming increasingly influential in the Humanist movement. Indeed, as these nattering nabobs of negativism become more involved, the term “Humanism” may ultimately be perceived as a euphemism for “Atheism.” In fact, based on recent news media reports, that is the case already. Clearly, it will be a challenge for the Humanists to promote the distinction.

    And even though I am a Non-Theist, I do not consider myself an atheist, much less a New Atheist, nor do I have any interest in ridding the culture of mainstream and mostly passive religious institutions; I don’t feel threatened by the Methodists, or the Mormons, or the Mennonites. (Well, OK, maybe the Mormons.) I believe Humanists should acknowledge that many religions, especially the Christians, render humanitarian aid around the world, provide health care services for the poor, have established and operate world-class hospitals, and are involved in education at all levels, thus improving literacy. Humanists should understand too that the faithful have an emotional investment in their beliefs and that the vast majority use their religion in a passive, non-threatening way to obtain comfort, peace, and joy in these troubled times.

    If the non-theists who believe as I do could get the forgoing message out, maybe the negative public sentiment could be diminished. Or, not.



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  • Herb
    Apr 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Humanists should understand too that the faithful have an emotional investment in their beliefs and that the vast majority use their religion in a passive, non-threatening way to obtain comfort, peace, and joy in these troubled times.

    Unfortunately the biased tribal support switch is built into their indoctrination, so when militant fundamentalist theists need to be restrained from imposing their dogmas on the rest of us they give them support along “tribal” lines. – Hence the religious wars of Catholic V Protestant, Shia V Sunni, Buddhist V Hindu etc.

    If the non-theists who believe as I do could get the forgoing message out, maybe the negative public sentiment could be diminished. Or, not.

    As the negativity against atheists comes from regular does of preaching, it is unlikely that any rational message will have any effect on this, so being a “nicey Humanist” who gives fundamentalists no opposition, in their eyes, is just a doormat to be walked until they “see they can be shown the light of the scriptures”.

    I do not consider myself an atheist, much less a New Atheist, nor do I have any interest in ridding the culture of mainstream and mostly passive religious institutions;

    I would be interested in the definition of “a passive religion”! Most are directly or indirectly politically active and persistently assertive of irrationality.

    for the poor, have established and operate world-class hospitals,

    Where they take the opportunity to deny and oppose some services which conflict with their irrational dogmas.

    and are involved in education at all levels, thus improving literacy.

    For the purpose of insinuating their dogmas into curriculum areas.



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  • Oh yes Herb, peaceful co-existence ! If only the religios would just have their faith and keep it to themselves, then I’m happy to ignore them and their absurd views.

    But of course that doesn’t happen does it ? I know next to little about the Eastern religions, but the three Abrahamic ones are positively toxic to humanity. I’m worried about their knee joints from all that kneeling. I’m worried about the fog that descends upon their vision of the world. I’m worried that their hearing does not permit reason into their brains. I’m worried about the stench of long dead ideas. I’m worried that the touch of the Holy Spirit can inspire them to commit atrocities.

    And as for the taste they leave behind them, perhaps a wine description ? Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, or Skunk Concentrate.



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  • Spoken like a true anti-theist, mockery and all. Thanks for helping to perpetuate the hatred of atheists, while we humanists get caught in the blowback.



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  • Herb
    Apr 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Spoken like a true anti-theist, mockery and all. Thanks for helping to perpetuate the hatred of atheists, while we humanists get caught in the blowback.

    if you want to keep your head down, or if you live in an area where you have to for your own safety;- fine.

    Just don’t take a “Holier than thou”, pose towards those who are working to promote humanist values and reduce theocratic dominance of politics and legal systems.

    Fundamentalist “blowback” is directed at anyone who resists giving them all their own way!



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  • First, you should be aware that, as far as Christians are concerned, the religious wars are over. The Jews and the Muslims are another story. Also, I’ve never heard of a Buddhist army or any empires they created.

    This “nicey humanist” has a couple of born-again Christian fundamentalists in his family. And I have expressed my opinion several times that I would never bow down to a being who, if He exists, would put 6 million of His chosen people through the ovens of Hitler, or subject children to sexual, physical, and mental abuse, or give them horrible, painful diseases. When they argue it’s God’s plan, then I respond by saying that that excuse is a bullshit copout. And the discussion pretty much ends there.

    I view a passive religion as one that, for the most part, minds its own business. I doubt that the Baptist church down the street is planning any more than a cake sale. I don’t lay awake nights worrying that they will blow up my house.

    Likewise, I’ve been to many a church an listened to sermons where the words “atheists or atheism” were never used. And that’s another complaint I have; anti-theists are way too paranoid. Their hyper indignation is way out of proportion to the (mostly exaggerated) threat.

    Yes, there are some religious organizations that impose their dogma on unsuspecting souls. Those institutions, however, are few and far between. I am a regular contributor to the Salvation Army and while I disagree with its religious dogma, the contributions they make to my community far exceeds my objections to their beliefs.

    We non-believers are mostly outliers and are recognized as such. But are there are religious beliefs out there that are worthy of respect. I think, for example, that the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is one of the best philosophies of life out there. Just take out the Jesus part and what’s left might be a pretty good declaration for all people to follow.



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  • Herb
    Apr 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    First, you should be aware that, as far as Christians are concerned, the religious wars are over. The Jews and the Muslims are another story.

    Perhaps the Coptic Xtians in Libya and Egypt who have just been killed by fundamentalist Muslims , or those attacked by Boko Harem, in Africa don’t know this!

    Also, I’ve never heard of a Buddhist army or any empires they created.

    That’s a feature of those who keep their heads down and don’t look!

    http://world.time.com/2013/08/07/jakarta-bomb-a-warning-that-burmas-muslim-buddhist-conflict-may-spread/

    The attack on Ekayana is a grim warning that the Muslim-Buddhist conflict in Burma, officially known as Myanmar, may be spilling over into other parts of Asia. Official persecution of the Muslim Rohingya of western Burma, who are not recognized by the Burmese government as citizens, has driven tens of thousands to flee the country, mostly across the border to squalid camps in Bangladesh or on rickety boats to Malaysia and Indonesia. A violent pogrom in 2012 in the Burmese state of Rakhine, where Rohingya make up about 40% of the population, saw many more killed and displaced after clashes with the Buddhist majority.

    We non-believers are mostly outliers and are recognized as such.

    That depends on where you live. In many parts of Europe non-believers make up a substantial percentage of the population.



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