Atheist opinion polls in America

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Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#1  Postby Eduk » May 2nd, 2017, 11:26 am

There seems to be quite a lot of anti-Atheist sentiment reflected in opinion polls. For example atheists are arrogant, condescending, immoral, shrill, dogmatic etc. Certainly these views seem to be present in this forum and seem to apply to all atheists.

Now on the one hand I can understand why a book called The God Delusion or God Is Not Great would certainly be offensive to a number of people. But on their own I don't think they explain the amount or type of negative opinions I have seen reflected.

There is nothing particularly offensive in saying I don't believe in God without empirical evidence, falsifiable predictions and/or logical mechanisms. After all I don't find the reverse particularly offensive. I don't believe all religious people are stupid or immoral, so I kind of assume that atheists should be seen the same way.

So I was wondering where people had formed this opinion and I was reading a YouTube comment and a little light bulb went off. The comment was your standard internet troll, I disagreed with almost all of it and in particular the sentiment, it was basically written deliberately to get a reaction (or written by someone in a bad place). But it was written from an atheist addressing theists. So if I was a theist reading that I might come to the conclusion that atheist are trolls and not very nice and if they are genuine then they are even less nice.

Not being a theist I don't spend a huge amount of time hanging around theist sites, and reading theist FaceBook posts and watching theist YouTube clips. So it struck me that perhaps a lot of people's main experience with atheists is from basically internet trolls?
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Atheist opinion polls in America



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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#2  Postby LuckyR » May 3rd, 2017, 2:48 pm

Eduk wrote:There seems to be quite a lot of anti-Atheist sentiment reflected in opinion polls. For example atheists are arrogant, condescending, immoral, shrill, dogmatic etc. Certainly these views seem to be present in this forum and seem to apply to all atheists.

Now on the one hand I can understand why a book called The God Delusion or God Is Not Great would certainly be offensive to a number of people. But on their own I don't think they explain the amount or type of negative opinions I have seen reflected.

There is nothing particularly offensive in saying I don't believe in God without empirical evidence, falsifiable predictions and/or logical mechanisms. After all I don't find the reverse particularly offensive. I don't believe all religious people are stupid or immoral, so I kind of assume that atheists should be seen the same way.

So I was wondering where people had formed this opinion and I was reading a YouTube comment and a little light bulb went off. The comment was your standard internet troll, I disagreed with almost all of it and in particular the sentiment, it was basically written deliberately to get a reaction (or written by someone in a bad place). But it was written from an atheist addressing theists. So if I was a theist reading that I might come to the conclusion that atheist are trolls and not very nice and if they are genuine then they are even less nice.

Not being a theist I don't spend a huge amount of time hanging around theist sites, and reading theist FaceBook posts and watching theist YouTube clips. So it struck me that perhaps a lot of people's main experience with atheists is from basically internet trolls?


Well, yes and no. If by "atheist" you mean a Card Carrying atheist, then it is true you are going to get some attitude. That is logical since anyone subject to discrimination is going to get testy about that which harms them. OTOH, a huge number of the "religious" don't actually follow the religion (except during times of catastrophe) so aren't really theists. if you include the ambivalent "religious", in the broader "atheist" group, then those are regular folk, no particular attitude noted.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#3  Postby Eduk » May 3rd, 2017, 3:17 pm

What, in your opinion, is a card carrying atheist?
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#4  Postby LuckyR » May 4th, 2017, 11:10 am

Eduk wrote:What, in your opinion, is a card carrying atheist?


Folks who specifically have given the subject matter enough thought to self declare they are an "atheist", as opposed to those who either haven't given it much thought (a large number of individuals), of knee jerk answer that they follow this or that religion yet literally put zero effort into that faith (also a large number of the population).
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#5  Postby Eduk » May 4th, 2017, 11:54 am

So if you disagree with someone you are discriminating against them and harming them? Presumably that works both ways?
I'm just trying to work out why an Atheist 'is going to get some attitude' in your opinion? For example I often don't get any attitude in my day to day life, or even when debating young earth creationists or other Christians.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#6  Postby LuckyR » May 4th, 2017, 12:31 pm

Eduk wrote:So if you disagree with someone you are discriminating against them and harming them? Presumably that works both ways?
I'm just trying to work out why an Atheist 'is going to get some attitude' in your opinion? For example I often don't get any attitude in my day to day life, or even when debating young earth creationists or other Christians.


Nope, disagreements are... disagreements. If you are unaware that there is active, often systemic discrimination against atheists in Modern American culture, then you just aren't paying attention.

As to your red statement, no, I wasn't referring to the (real) attitude that atheists receive routinely, I was calling out atheists on frequently being the SOURCE of attitude (understandably).
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#7  Postby Eduk » May 4th, 2017, 1:34 pm

I still am not clear on your meaning. I originally thought you were saying atheists got attitude because they were discriminating. But that appears not to be the case?
But you are saying atheists are the source of the attitude they receive? And it's understandable?
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#8  Postby LuckyR » May 5th, 2017, 11:04 am

Eduk wrote:I still am not clear on your meaning. I originally thought you were saying atheists got attitude because they were discriminating. But that appears not to be the case?
But you are saying atheists are the source of the attitude they receive? And it's understandable?


Sorry for being so obtuse. I was noting that:

1- It is accurate that activist or "Card Carrying" atheists are on the militant side of the issue thus have a reputation for getting in the face of challengers ie they have an "attitude".

2- This attitude in activist atheists is totally understandable since atheists are commonly discriminated against in a society like the US which is legally secular but de facto religious in the sense that religious folk have claimed the moral high ground and individuals within the religious group would like to turn the society legally religious and there isn't much push back from the religious side, even among those who disagree. Everyone knows that it is natural psychologically for those who feel discriminated against to develop resentment against this real or imagined slight.

3- However, the reputation noted in #1 is actually not representative of the total group of atheists since only a small segment of de facto atheists are self described as such. The "closeted" or undeclared atheists are regular folk and are attitude free. By definition most don't give the issue much thought and therefore almost CAN'T have an attitude about it

Thus bottom line: the observation that most folks' experience with "atheists" can be a bit off-putting, due to some mild militancy about the issue, is accurate to a point but ultimately not truly representative of the group as a whole.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#9  Postby Eduk » May 5th, 2017, 11:21 am

I wouldn't describe myself as militant :) But I have given the topic sufficient thought and I am an atheist. Is that possible?
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#10  Postby LuckyR » May 6th, 2017, 1:52 pm

Eduk wrote:I wouldn't describe myself as militant :) But I have given the topic sufficient thought and I am an atheist. Is that possible?


You are the exception that proves the rule.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#11  Postby Eduk » May 6th, 2017, 2:07 pm

You are the exception that proves the rule.

That saying can be interpreted basically however one wishes :)

I don't think it's fair to say atheists in general are militant. And if you aren't militant then you aren't an proper atheist. I never like that line of argument, a real Muslim wouldn't do, a real Christian wouldn't do that, a real X wouldn't do Y. Evidence rather points to the contrary. It is of course part of the danger of labels, I am an atheist for example but I don't ever label myself as such and wouldn't introduce myself in that way.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#12  Postby Dark Matter » May 6th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Eduk wrote:I wouldn't describe myself as militant :) But I have given the topic sufficient thought and I am an atheist. Is that possible?

Giving it "sufficient thought" (whatever that means) and opening yourself to the other half of the equation are two different things. Was your "sufficient thought" limited to competing ideas?
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#13  Postby LuckyR » May 6th, 2017, 6:15 pm

Eduk wrote:
You are the exception that proves the rule.

That saying can be interpreted basically however one wishes :)

I don't think it's fair to say atheists in general are militant. And if you aren't militant then you aren't an proper atheist. I never like that line of argument, a real Muslim wouldn't do, a real Christian wouldn't do that, a real X wouldn't do Y. Evidence rather points to the contrary. It is of course part of the danger of labels, I am an atheist for example but I don't ever label myself as such and wouldn't introduce myself in that way.


Hence why I used it...

I never said nor implied your blue statement, thus while I stated your green one, mine was not a pejorative.

Regardless, my guess is there is more to why you choose to hide your personal description than what you list in your post.
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#14  Postby Eduk » May 6th, 2017, 7:15 pm

I thought you said card carrying atheist as distinct from 'normal' (in your view atheist). Seems to imply you have different levels of atheism which you apply to people. Presumably applying the lesser label if you don't think they are militant? Again that seems the implication?

my guess is there is more to why you choose to hide your personal description than what you list in your post.

I'm sorry I have no idea what you mean? Could you be a little more precise?

-- Updated May 6th, 2017, 7:17 pm to add the following --

Giving it "sufficient thought" (whatever that means) and opening yourself to the other half of the equation are two different things. Was your "sufficient thought" limited to competing ideas?

Do you mean limited to ideas which agreed with my preconceived ideas? Is it possible for example to be asked if you believe in God a first time? Before you have made your mind up?
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Re: Atheist opinion polls in America

Post Number:#15  Postby -1- » May 6th, 2017, 9:34 pm

Eduk, it seems you derailed the flow of discourse with LuckyR by asking too many questions which, in my opinion, you ought to have worked out yourself by yourself.

People do get tired of answering TOO MANY questions that break down the argument to less-than-bite-sized pieces. It is tiresome and boring for many people to do that.

If I may be so bold as to suggest something, I would like to ask you, why is it important for you to have questions answered that you yourself could work out on your own? It is not a court of law where people's fates are hanging on a decision, and every line of text must be completely unambiguous. Here, on this forum, I feel people are allowed to substitute their own explanations in missing links in logic, and that is completely okay to do so here. If you make a gross mistake by an assumption, you get corrected, that's all, like the blue lined got corrected by LuckyR
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