Laci Green, a young woman whom I’ve admired as a clear voice for skepticism and sex positivity, posted this video a few months ago. It touches on a subject that’s come up quite a bit recently in conversations: Why do some atheists come off as “elitists?” Why do non-believers “look down” on the religious as if they’re better? I rather like her answer:

Do you have your own insights to add? Do you disagree?

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51 thoughts on “Atheist Elitism”

vjack · November 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

Makes sense to me. Our way of thinking requires a fair amount of work. It is more challenging and produces better outcomes than the alternative. Like she says, it isn’t that we’re better people; it is that we are basing our lives on reality.

Wendy Scott · November 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm

‘ too lazy and allow themselves to be ‘spoon fed’ by an institution ‘ — passing judgement and withdrawing respect is unjustified when you don’t have all the answers; Miss Green does seem elitist and intolerant, the very thing religion is accused and is guilty of as well. I’ve always thought there is a fine line between intolerance and the vigilance to insure that religious belief/practice remains outside the public sphere. You can’t have a democracy otherwise.

‘ nothing to contribute ‘ — if you explore the history of religious practice and the good parts of its contribution to humanity, and its ongoing participation, you’ll discover a less clear-cut story. For example, many women in medieval times entered nunneries and took vows to avoid sexism, rape and exploitation. An abby represented a place of shelter, not repression.

Outside the attention and publicity surrounding fundamentalism, there is quite a different group of people involved with their churches who are not ‘lazy’ , are well read and aware of alternate world views. They do not expect a sky fairy to rescue them deux ex machina, they don’t believe the bible literally, i.e. miracles, resurrections, or intelligent creationism, etc., and have no desire to impose themselves or their beliefs on others.

As far as the horror, institutions of all kinds, not exclusively religious ones, are guilty of tremendous atrocities. I believe it is fair to say that it is man’s potential to choose to do harm that frames or governs the institution, no matter religious, government, military, educational… the human capacity for depravity is a difficult concept to confront and explore, one that doesn’t go away if one rejects religion.

I have discovered that religious practice seems to have been part of social infrastructure as far back as we can look with our modern technology. For example, the very ancient city, Catal Hoyuk ( http://http://www.catalhoyuk.com/ ) in modern Turkey, paganism, or the commonality of lore such as flood stories (creationism) offer support that as Voltaire said, ‘ if god did not exist, man would invent him’.

Food for thought, perhaps religion serves more purpose than just a lazy man’s way of answering universal questions or providing codes of conduct or social infrastructure. We do that anyway, so why do we still invent religions?

I am an atheist, but I am also fascinated by what drives us to extend our lives into the imaginative as a source of direction, answers and social comfort, how it has and no doubt will continue to impact our lives, and where/how we cross the line between the fanciful and the concrete when searching for answers. I haven’t figured it out yet.

Andrew Hall · November 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

It’s difficult to be pegged as an elitist when I make such as effort to play the fool.

Bill · November 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I appreciate Laci Green’s discussion. Her intellect is very admirable and she gives me hope for the young people out there. As for the substance she brings up: I personally avoid dealing with religious people. My line of work depends on objective reasoning with no margin for error. Not a prayer! And most of the people avoid discussion of religion at work (thank Zeus!). I agree with her in hoping that a lot of people in religion start to see reality and join us in being critical thinkers. Her point of not accepting dogma (or lazy “thinking”) is well taken. It actually is frightening to think that there are people who insist that they act based on a set of books written hundreds of years ago by white males on some mythical God, who for the most part, is a cruel God. And I like to mention I am writing this while wearing one of my favorite Richard Dawkins’ “Stand Out Campaign” atheist T-shirts. I can be a proud atheist and wear it on my sleeve without being an elitist, can I?

k77 · November 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

It’s not elitism, it’s holding up standards.

Mike · November 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I know this is off topic . . . but I have a quick question concerning happiness again . . . . what . . as an atheist . . . is your ultimate source of happiness and contentment?

    Jim Jones · November 28, 2011 at 1:48 am

    In my case it’s key lime pie. And maybe a good (or bad) SF movie. And regular naps.

    And yes, I am serious!

    Andrew Hall · November 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I love my children, and find meaning making others laugh.

    vjack · November 29, 2011 at 5:05 am

    I’m not sure about any “ultimate source,” but my happiness comes from the little things. Whether it is curling up with a good book, hanging out with friends, playing with my dogs, mentoring a young scientist, etc. My happiness is about the accumulation of the little things.

Jim Jones · November 28, 2011 at 2:03 am

Of course we’re elitists. So are Lance Armstrong, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. They can play professional sports much better than most other people and we can think much better than most other people (in some cases being able to think at all is much better than most people can manage).

I see the same thing in criminal law. Most people just guess as to guilt or innocence and then try to support their guesses with disjointed information gathered mostly from TV. Often they can’t even get basic facts correct – they certainly can’t analyze and judge the facts correctly. When you challenge their comments with facts or logic, they become angry and rant incoherently (and often ungrammatically) at you — or they run away.

So it is with religion. Start asking questions about Simon of Perea or Marcion of Sinope or the authorship of the canonical gospels or the histories of Philo of Byblos and they rapidly reveal that their knowledge is as shallow as a damp patch on a glass. Yet they feel free to ramble on with complete certainty about the characteristics of Jesus (which happen to exactly match their own desires).

Elitists ‘R Us. Deal with it.

John · November 28, 2011 at 5:16 am

There is something one can call elitism as it is practiced by atheists.

It begins with conflating all religious beliefs.

“We are superior thinkers to ALL religions. ALL religions can be conflated with the Judeo Christian paradigm. And because we know that ALL religion is essentially variations on Christianity, we can be dismissive of all religions.”

There are atheistic religions.

Look into it instead of conflating all religions.

    Jim Jones · November 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen F Roberts.

    “And why do you see the twig that is in your brother’s eye but you do not see the beam that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3

    “When you have listed all of the reasons which cause you dismiss the revelations of Joseph Smith and the fellowship of the LDS, you will then have the reasons to dismiss all of Christianity.” – Jim Jones

      crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

      explain

        Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 1:23 am

        No need. To the thinking person, all is clear.

          crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 2:14 am

          You can’t even defend your own statement by explaining it? It must not be a very good one.

          I bet you feel like an intellectually fulfilled atheist right now.

            Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

            You can’t understand simple English. In what sense is there any point in discussing anything with you?

    crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 1:18 am

    No, all religions are not essentially variations on Christianity; they are much different from it. You do not have the right understanding of Christianity or other religions if you really think this. So you would say that Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Baha’I, Jainism, Spiritism, and Wicca are essentially variations on Christianity?
    I would also like your definition of Religion?
    I would define it as dictionary.com does. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. I would say that atheism falls into this category. And if it does, well then by you being an atheist your statement defeats itself.

Mike · November 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

elitism – people like to make themselves seem so much better than everyone else . . . but religion has had positive affects on science . .. . getting us to think of absolute laws, giving the universe a sense of unity, allowing for much creativity due to a belief in the supernatural. Many great scientists and political figures and humanitarians have been religious. There have also been great non-religious thinkers (although some of them unfortunately abused their talent . . . ). No one culture is really superior to another in this respect . . . we are just different. Now . .. religious people may be ignorant when it comes to religion . . .

    Jim Jones · November 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    ” Many great scientists and political figures and humanitarians have been religious.”

    It was always a better choice than being tortured or burned to death for the love of Jesus.

Mike · November 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I know some religious people that are very skilled in their profession . . . yet not very knowledgable about the Bible . .

    Jim Jones · November 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Q: “What is the difference between an American atheist and an American Christian?”

    A: “The atheist probably knows a lot about Christianity.”

Dan · November 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm

This kid has got it right. I admire her courage! Look for big things from her in the future.

Now, how the heck was she holding that cam so steady while walking around????

articulett · November 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

I think theists “need” to find reasons to dislike atheists; it’s much easier to shut them out that way. To a believer, the atheist is a threat to their eternal salvation. It’s easier to whine about their “tone” than listen to what they are actually saying. The theist wants “how” the atheist communicates to be the discussion topic –not whether what they are saying might be TRUE.

    Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 1:18 am

    They sure can’t make a sensible argument. They just repeat defeated nonsense from people no brighter than they are. Sad, really.

      crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 2:34 am

      But you sure try hard to defeat what is put out there yourself don’t you?

      And you dont repeat what others have told you?

      If what others have told me is true, then what is wrong with saying it to others?

        Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

        It isn’t ‘true’; in the sense that the arguments are false.

crawford77757 · December 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I am a theist. A Christian who believes in the God of the Bible and articulett would say that I have no legitimate reason to dislike atheist, so I always turn the table to atheist’s elitist tones? Why build a straw man? I do have logical reasons to believe. I don’t feel at all threaten about losing eternal salvation because I know without a doubt in my mind what is true. The truth has set me free. Has it you? Jesus Christ is truth and He is the one who sets one free. Maybe the truth is you feel threaten that you are wrong and that one day you will be separated from God and His people for all of eternity. For your information, I do listen to what the atheist say and they don’t seem to pull off the best of the intellectual arguments. I have heard it, I have studied it, I went to a secular liberal University for my undergrad, and atheism still does not do the trick. Everything that everyone said was not that at all profound. When one really considers all sides and weighs the evidence, it points to a Creator. If you are reading this, ask yourself the question, have I considered all sides fairly? I don’t want the discussion topic to be how the atheist debates but rather what the atheist debates. If we don’t argue about the actual things that matter then we will never get anywhere. And I want to get somewhere and that is to the point of actual possibly helping some atheist come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    Jim Jones · December 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    “I do have logical reasons to believe.”

    What are they?

    “Jesus Christ is truth and He is the one who sets one free.”

    So is Harry Potter. And James Bond is really good at setting people free. And Superman.

    “Maybe the truth is you feel threaten that you are wrong and that one day you will be separated from God and His people for all of eternity.”

    It’s hard to be threatened by something that doesn’t exist. I’m just as threatened by unicorns and flying horses (actually a lot more by flying horses)!

    “I do listen to what the atheist say and they don’t seem to pull off the best of the intellectual arguments.”

    They still seem to win them all however.

    “When one really considers all sides and weighs the evidence, it points to a Creator.”

    Which one? Any of these?

      crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 12:56 am

      Maybe you believe when you watch the debates that the atheist are winning them, because you have a presupposition placed in your mind that makes you think that atheism is the Only way to go. You are going to interpret the evidence the way your heart so dearly wants to. You cause yourself to disbelieve in God even though it is so very evident that He does in fact exist, because you want to continue to live in your sin guilt free. If you make yourself believe there is no God than you can do whatever you want and not feel ashamed. But the truth is statements like mine, deep down, actually really bothers you. I will give you a few of the reasons that I believe.
      1. A. What We Observe and Experience in Our Universe Is Contingent
      B. A Network of Casually Dependent Contingent Things Cannot Be Infinite
      C. A Network of Casually Dependent Contingent Things Must Be Finite
      Conclusion: There Must Be a First Cause in the Network of Contingent Causes
      The first cause was the eternal God
      2. How what we see in the world around us. As we look around and see the complexity of the world we live in we notice that everything functions in such orderly detail. The life cycles of living organisms and simply looking at the complexity of the human body. When you see all of that around you, it becomes apparent that there had to be a designer.

      For instance DNA is a molecule that is found in all living cells. DNA is in the shape of a ladder that has been twisted. This forms a pattern of base pair triplets that represent amino acid sequences which are the building blocks of proteins. DNA contains the “instructions” to build the organism. Different organisms have different messages. DNA contains information which has a particular expected action which in turn produces an intended purpose. By observational Science the evidence related to DNA points to an intelligent designer, God.

      3. Irreducible Complexity- a single system that is necessarily composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. If you had a mouse trap and took a part of the mouse trap and took a part of that mouse trap away, then the mouse trap would no longer be able to function as it should. We also see things like this in our world. One good example of this is that of the bacterial flagellum. The flagellum as you know works like a motor to move the bacteria around to where it would like to go. It functions a lot like an outboard motor. It includes parts such as the rotor, stator, O-ring, and other parts in the irreducible part of the organism. If one of these parts were taken out the motor would not work. This could not have developed over long periods of time just as an actual outboard motor did not evolve over time. Someone invented the outboard motor. And God invented the Bacterial Flagellum.
      There is more evidence that points to a creator but this is a few.
      And Harry Potter, James Bound, and Super Man can’t save anyone from the judgment of God that is coming do to His righteousness and justice. For one they are all made up characters and we can name the people who invented each one of them. Jesus on the other hand is true. Jesus came to set people free in a totally different way. He came because He loves everyone. He lived a perfect and pure life which we have not done. He did this so that he could be the appropriate payment that could take the place of the payment we owe. It is as if you deserved to go to jail and the judge decided to pay the fine so that you did not have to go. But you must accept what the judge has done for you. You must turn from your sinful ways and admit that you did what is wrong. Then you shout place your trust in Him that he paid the penalty for you. Jesus died on the cross (to pay for your sins), then he was raised from the dead to prove that he is God and that He accomplished the payment for your sins. Will you do that today? Will you place your faith in Jesus today knowing what He has made available to you? You can accept it or reject it, it’s up to you.

        Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 1:16 am

        “Jesus on the other hand is true.”

        There’s no evidence for gospel ‘Jesus’ outside of the NT – and there’s also none IN the NT!

        “Jesus came to set people free in a totally different way.”

        Like … not at all since ‘he’ never existed?

        “He came because He loves everyone.”

        There’s a very bad pun here – but I’ll try to resist!

        “Will you place your faith in Jesus today.”

        Will you place your faith in Harry Potter?

          crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

          No evidence in the NT or outside the NT?
          Why is the NT not historical evidence for Jesus?
          Outside the NT- try some of the secular historians- Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion,
          How about Josephus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Hegesippus, Macrobius, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcos Aurelius, Juvenal, Seneca, Hierocles, just to mention a few of the evidences for the historical Jesus outside of scripture.

            Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

            No, they either are far too late historically or they merely mention Christians. None has any useful confirming evidence for a historical “gospel Jesus”, or, in the case of Josephus, are known forgeries. Where are the references in Philo?

            And the NT consists almost entirely of fiction and forgeries (or pseudepigrapha). All that is ‘good’ are four of the Pauline epistles – and we need to assume their authorship. All else must be rejected.

            crawford77757 · December 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

            Philo? I do not believe I mentioned him.

            Did you even look all the other people up? There was a long list… The truth is you want to live in your sins. Guilt is flowing over your brain right now.

            What makes the NT fiction? you already have presuppositions.

        aerogal · December 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

        This is just stupid. Who here has not read every text of all the major religions (well the ones that are not dead today — there are, to be fair, thousands of dead gods and religions so….) I’m betting this person has not read the text of his/her own.

        Go to a good school. See.. this is where our American educational system is failing our youth of today.

        Which god are you worshiping? Does it matter? Do you pray to all of them to cover your bases… just to be sure? Did you research your religion to make sure it was the right one for you? What about your god? There are thousands of gods. Did you pick the right one?

          Jim Jones · December 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

          Somewhere on the web there’s a huge poster for sale of all of the dead gods – thousands of them.

          I guess you could paste a selection on the Wheel of Fortune and see if you go ‘bankrupt’ (whatever that means in this context)!

Jim Jones · December 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

“Philo? I do not believe I mentioned him.”

Philo lived from 20 BC – 50 AD. He was well aware of happenings in Jerusalem and related ares. Yet he knows nothing of Jesus, despite his other writings. This is because ‘Jesus’ hadn’t been invented yet.

“What makes the NT fiction? you already have presuppositions.”

The gospels are fiction. Compare any gospel to any Harry Potter book and show me what characteristics make it clear that one is fiction and the other is not.

The Harry Potter books are better written and contain fewer inconsistencies.

Maëva · December 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Hi!
I know that my contribution won’t be very impressive to the debate, but I just wanted to say that I am happy to see that I am not the only one constantly processing my thoughts and beliefs on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve had the chance – and I insist on the word – to have not been baptized or obliged to go to Church or any other religious place once a week. I am very critical of the Bible and of other religious texts, so muxh so that all I can think about is the wrongs that have been done because of Religion.
Don’t get me wrong: some of my best friends are velievers, other are like me. But I have this friend of mine who is from a very Catholic family: she goes to Church every Sunday, prays quite regularly, and believes in the Trinity and in the Virgin. She is not happy, though: she tild me more than once that the only reason why she did not commit suicide was because she did not want to go to Hell.
I worry about her, constantly. But I also understand why she and some people I know stick to Religion: it is easier to believe that we are born wtih a purpose than to accept the fact that life, from beginning to end, is random.
Even though I have had my fair share of spiritual phases (I went so far as Buddhism and Paganism), I am today happier to have remained truthful to my judgment. I question myself regularly, and some days it is harder than others, but I believe that one day, I will finally get everything right in my head, and I will be even prouder to have made this journey all by myself.
Also, I am French, so I apologize for my grammar and my vocabulary in case there is any mistake ^^
Thanks for showing me that I am not alone.

    K2 · July 11, 2012 at 4:25 am

    All the wrongs that have been done because of humans.

aerogal · December 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Nice job. I am extremely impressed and could not have said it better myself.

I raised my children without dogma and magic. It is not surprising that they find religion to be funny. However, they also find that their opinions are in the minority and hence they do not volunteer them to their classmates or friends. It is a highly intolerant society to the young whose minds are not cluttered with the hocus-pocus and fairy dust of the god-du-jour.

I agree with Sam Harris, you, and others who take a more direct perspective. I find that my own workplace places me and other atheists in the “out-group.”

From the president of my own company to all the employees: “It’s a time when we pause to reflect on the challenges and blessings of the past year and a time when we focus on relationships with our friends our loved ones, and our God…”

(*eye-roll*)

Whose “god?” And why not “gods?” (where are the Hindus in our company?) Of the less main-stream gods, I happen to take an incredible liking to Horus, myself.

Best.

    Jim Jones · December 30, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I’m a Zeus man myself. Zeus all the way!

      LeetheGirl · February 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Screw Zeus! Thor rocks!

      lol

Ari · January 6, 2012 at 1:52 am

Wow. Honestly, I’m offended. I expected to watch a video intelligently explaining away the elitist attitude of many atheists today. I did not expect her to adopt such an elitist attitude while doing so. She can say she doesn’t think she’s better than theists, but her own words disprove her claim. Calling theists lazy and claiming they have nothing to respect or contribute to the world is quite arrogant and honestly, dare I say it, ELITIST. Just because someone holds a different belief in the existence of a higher power doesn’t make them any less of a person or any less worthy of respect. It just means you simply disagree. Respect isn’t based on whether or not you agree with someone. In fact (and perhaps Miss Green will learn this with time), to show respect for the opinions of others even when those opinions are different from your own shows great personal maturity.

I am glad that she has taken the time to think about the world and form her own conclusions, for there are far too many people who have not, but I can’t stand behind an attitude of “we’re better” among any group of people, be they atheist, theist, or otherwise.

For someone who claims to have done a lot of thinking, she lacks quite a bit of understanding. I’m not sure how it is possible to believe that just because someone believes in God, they haven’t taken the time to question the world as much as those who do not believe in God. It’s important to note that many of the atheists I know, including my own father, decided that there is no god based on little examination at all. You don’t have to explore every facet of human life to become an atheist, nor do you have to to become a theist. It’s arrogant to assume that because you have come to the conclusion that God does not exist, you are better, more knowledgeable, more worthy of respect, and to quote Miss Green, not as “lazy” as those who have put in the same amount of effort in concluding that God does exist.

As far as finding nothing to respect about religion as an institution, well, I can’t say I blame her, but don’t mistake religion for God. Religion is made up of groups of HUMANS. And humans make mistakes and do things that the god they claim they’re following would not agree with. In fact, it’s because of the necessity to reconcile human wrongdoing that Christians believe in Jesus Christ.

To end, I just want to reiterate that not everyone who believes in God is worthy of the disrespect shown in this video. Many theists might surprise you with how knowledgeable they are. Just as many atheists might surprise you with how knowledgeable they are not. It’s an individual matter. Some people are smart and thoughtful, some are not, but no one should think themselves any better or worse in comparison.

I don’t mean to inadvertently cause any conflict or debate with this post; I just felt compelled to share a desire for mutual respect.

    Jim Jones · January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Ari says: “Wow. Honestly, I’m offended. I expected to watch a video intelligently explaining away the elitist attitude of many atheists today. I did not expect her to adopt such an elitist attitude while doing so”.

    Why on earth not? First, I found her far from elitist. If you want an elitist, I’m your man.

    Ari says: “She can say she doesn’t think she’s better than theists, but her own words disprove her claim. Calling theists lazy and claiming they have nothing to respect or contribute to the world is quite arrogant and honestly, dare I say it, ELITIST.”

    No, it’s a true statement. Most atheists have done a lot of study and expended a lot of thought. Theists almost always do neither.

    Ari says: “Just because someone holds a different belief in the existence of a higher power doesn’t make them any less of a person or any less worthy of respect”.

    Yeah, it pretty much does if they reject fantasy for reality..

    Ari says: “It just means you simply disagree”.

    Disagreeing about Britney Spears or the Kardashian family is ‘simple’, because it doesn’t matter. Disagreeing about evolution and science because of old tribal myths created as fiction does, just as it would if all schools were required to teach that Harry Potter was a real wizard and you really can fly on a broomstick.

    Ari says: “Respect isn’t based on whether or not you agree with someone. In fact (and perhaps Miss Green will learn this with time), to show respect for the opinions of others even when those opinions are different from your own shows great personal maturity”.

    Always demonstrated by ‘Christians’ when they steal or destroy the property of atheists or deny them their civil rights based on religion.

    Ari says: “I am glad that she has taken the time to think about the world and form her own conclusions, for there are far too many people who have not, but I can’t stand behind an attitude of “we’re better” among any group of people, be they atheist, theist, or otherwise”.

    Tough noogies.

    Ari says: “For someone who claims to have done a lot of thinking, she lacks quite a bit of understanding”.

    It comes with age. Lack of thinking comes with stupidity.

    Ari says: “I’m not sure how it is possible to believe that just because someone believes in God, they haven’t taken the time to question the world as much as those who do not believe in God”.

    Experience.

    Ari says: “It’s important to note that many of the atheists I know, including my own father, decided that there is no god based on little examination at all”.

    But far from all. Many come to this by overcoming their programming – which is basically lies told to children.

    Ari says: “You don’t have to explore every facet of human life to become an atheist, nor do you have to to become a theist”.

    You don’t have to do anything to be a theist. Your family will jam it down your throat by lying to you.

    Ari says: “It’s arrogant to assume that because you have come to the conclusion that God does not exist, you are better, more knowledgeable, more worthy of respect, and to quote Miss Green, not as “lazy” as those who have put in the same amount of effort in concluding that God does exist”.

    Yet it’s all too true that most theists are ignorant and unthinking.

    Ari says: “As far as finding nothing to respect about religion as an institution, well, I can’t say I blame her, but don’t mistake religion for God”.

    Riiiiight. Because there’s no connection?

    Ari says: “Some people are smart and thoughtful, some are not, but no one should think themselves any better or worse in comparison”.

    Actually they should.

      Ari · January 7, 2012 at 12:30 am

      Sorry, looks like I didn’t reply direct to your comment. Please see my comment below. Thank you! 🙂

Ari · January 7, 2012 at 12:28 am

It might surprise you, but I actually don’t take offense to much in your comment. I understand where you’re coming from. I’ll respond to a couple of things that stood out to me.

After I said that I know many atheists who decided that there is no god based on little examination at all, you said, “But far from all.” I agree. Many atheists do spend considerable time in thought and research on the matter, and many do not. The point I was trying to make in my previous comment is that the same is true of theists.

Yes, way too many theists don’t spend enough time thinking, but, to use the same wording as you, it is “far from all” of them. Just as there are atheists devoted to study on the matter of the existence of a deity, there are theists. There are definitely lazy theists (way way WAY too many), but there are lazy atheists too. Not every atheist grew up in a household that shoved religion at them; some grew up religionless and have never bothered to give much thought to the matter either way.

In my first comment I said, “To show respect for the opinions of others even when those opinions are different from your own shows great personal maturity,” and you replied, “Always demonstrated by ‘Christians’ when they steal or destroy the property of atheists or deny them their civil rights based on religion.”

I agree with this as well. Christians do not display this level respect as they so often SHOULD, but this brings me to the last point, where you said, “Riiiiight. Because there’s no connection?” when I said “Don’t mistake religion for God.” What I meant is that, loosely defined, religion is more or less a system of beliefs and a set of actions to follow based on those beliefs. “Religion” is carried out by humans, not God. Too many “religious” people fail to see that they’re not actually following the principles their god asks of them, but rather, blindly going through the motions while doing whatever they please. So while Christian theists SHOULD display the respect talked about earlier (as should everyone), many often don’t because they’re too caught up in themselves and the traditions of their religion instead of the respectful “love your neighbor” applications that it actually asks of them.

All in all, it’s a sad world out there for non-thinkers on both sides, that’s for sure… there are some things that are just too important to be apathetic about.

Cortez Frisch · February 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

Can’t hear that song without dancing.Drowning in middle-aged nostalgia here, as Soul Train was an early childhood show for me personally.I was also thinking that the 70s were the peak years for Soul Train. Mavis Staples,Gladys Knight,etc.If Don Cornelius died in New Orleans,he’d have a jazz funeral while using Rebirth Brass Band playing “I Seem like Funking it Up” completely back in the cemetary.

Olin Thang · February 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

Watching American Bandstand,then Soul Train on Saturday mornings and dancing like happy epileptics would have been a great way to start the weekend….Singers ought to be those who is capable of doing with dignity.It could be best to have those that appeared on Soul Train during its peak years. Any ideas,hussies?

Kira · April 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Is she saying that anyone who uses critical thinking to evaluate their beliefs will come to just about the same conclusion regarding religion that she has? To me that would seem a bit arrogant and a bit naive.

Also to deny that any religion has contributed to humanity seems a little harsh when most charitable works in the world come from Catholic and Christian organizations.

If she would like to separate herself from all institutions that have ever been responsible for atrocities and crimes against humanity I certainly hope that she doesn’t shop at Wal-mart. haha. That was only sort of a joke. America has been responsible for some pretty terrible things. I don’t want to be a part of them but I think it takes more fortitude to try to shape an institution than to leave it when the going gets tough. All people are capable of both good and evil. To deny that any institution is not capable of both as well seems completely illogical.

    CarefulAtheist · January 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I agree with you Kira that a lot of religious denominations have done good things in the past, but!

    If I was neither here or there with regards to religion and I gave money to homeless man in the morning and then killed my mother-in-law for making a snide remark in the afternoon…which would be the conclusion you would come to with regards to my character? I would suggest you may think me evil.

    Religion is capable of being extremely schizophrenic at the best of times. When faced with a natural disaster you will find most religious people offering to pray for the ones that will be ravaged. Only a small number of them will actually get off their asses and lend a hand. The likelihood of an atheist lending a hand right off the bat is much higher as we are not hampered by religion. We have nothing available to us that will make us feel better for forsaking our fellow man in a time of need. Prayer does that for a religious person.

Bret Lenehan · September 19, 2015 at 8:04 am

Well Ms. Green I believe you just lack understanding. Are most atheists elitist? Yes most are but not all. When you go into the cancer ward with terminally ill children do you talk about your atheism and how great it is? So Mother Theresa was an instrument to hurt humanity? I am a special education teacher of students with severe to profound disabilities. Some of our students must wear diapers. God commands us every human being was created for a purpose. The first will come last in heaven. God identifies with the poor, the disabled, and the suffering. You have no faith which is sad but don’t put down us who do. When Jesus came he was mocked and killed by the elites. The elites mock believers today but they cannot shake the faith of the poor and the suffering because of their faith in Christ. Jesus said if you are ashamed of his teachings than you will be the sorry one. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer at two, Thankfully she has survived and is fine. Atheists believe children who die do not go to heaven, they are just unlucky figures in evolution, just random casualties in an uncaring random universe. But a two year old who dies has an eternal soul that God created, planned individually. He or she has an eternal destiny beyond this life. Atheism is inherently evil. I hope someday you come to realize this. Atheist China is a human rights disaster. Look at the work of the orders of nuns created by Mother Theresa. Some day you will grow in wisdom not just intellect. As for science it is great at what it does. I want to leave you two points so you don’t worship science. The external world cannot be proven, it is an assumption of science. Even Einstein and Hawking realize this.We can only know are own mind.Finally God breaks down the wave function. Quantum physics teaches us observation effects reality. Hope you come around , may God be with you.

The religious dilemma | riotthill.wordpress.com · November 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

[…] is what I wrote to a recent post by Godless Girl: ‘ too lazy and allow themselves to be ‘spoon fed’ by an institution ‘ — passing […]

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