Yesterday on Twitter I came across a really interesting Tweet by a person who has rather strong feelings about Atheists. I quote him verbatim: ” I hate Atheists. If Trump made atheism illegal you would be forced to believe in God or go to hell”
Aside from the fact, that his Tweet makes no sense whatsoever it’s certainly interesting why some people have a distaste for Atheists. I personally don’t experience a lot of Backlash from Theists in my real life outside of Twitter but I did feel some animosity from Theists in my online life.
So why is it, that some Theists just don’t like us? First and foremost I think the reason is, because they don’t know how many Atheists actually surround them. I think it can be argued, that many people who identify as nonreligious are really nonbelievers who just don’t like the term “Atheist” . Why do they not like it? Because there was and still is a certain stigma to the term “Atheist” . Some people think we’re immoral. Some people think we worship Satan. It’s easier for those people to keep quiet about it, especially if they really don’t care about theology and Philosophy of religion.
So whether you realize it or not your neighbor may be an Atheist. Your doctor could be an Atheist. Your best friend who’s gay, your coworker with whom you eat lunch everyday may be Atheists.
Many Atheists (as well as Theists or deists) don’t talk about this stuff, because they don’t care all that much.
The only Atheists he has seen were probably Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens etc. who are of course loud and proud militant Atheists. If you are deeply religious, then you probably don’t like them so to a degree I can understand his view. He’s unaware of all the others who he might not realize are Atheists and so his first encounters were with the outspoken ones who hold strong views with which he doesn’t agree. Add to that the old clishees and that’s his conclusion.
Still with statements like these where he tells the world that he hates an entire demographic of people simply for not believing in God he fuels the fire and spreads hate against us.
What he probably doesn’t realize, is that people like him are one of the reasons we speak out. It is among other reasons hatred based on religious views, towards Atheists but also towards other minorities, that we speak out.
It’s a vicious circle in a sense: We speak out against religion against religious discrimination and bigotry and as a result some people will hate us even more.
But I think we can and should stop this bigotry but I think we’re not entirely innocent:
My first reaction was pure outrage and in my anger I posted this:
” And the award for dumbest Tweet of the day goes to… (name of Twitter user) Congratulations buddy you earned it! ”
In retrospective though I think that might have been a mistake on my part. I won’t delete the Tweet, because I won’t hide my missteps but I think in general I think I could and should have been more friendly to set a better example.
There is a fine line between righteous mockery and hateful mockery and I think in this instance I might’ve crossed that line.Because Theists (most of them) aren’t stupid. There are unintelligent Theists of course, as there are unintelligent Atheists. We’re not all smarter and better than them, we’re just correct (from my point of view). Beliefs deserve to be mocked and bigotry should be called out but we cannot allow ourselves to be carried away.
When you’re correct, you have no need for insults. We can win the argument in a civilized friendly manner. We should try to keep our cool. Sure it can always happen that we can get carried away after all we’re only human.
What I’m saying and suggesting is, that we are conscious of it and that we always try to attack to attack the idea and not the person and that we argue with our brains not our hearts as often as we can, even though mistakes will be made.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation