Why the hate?

I’ve seen so many atheists today ranting about Christians and how they’re horrible people for believing atheists are going to hell. My blog post from earlier today showed one atheist attacking another’s principles because the latter was able to have friends who were Christians.

The one I conversed with earlier said to me:

“I’m absolutely intolerant to people that think Im going to hell, or that homosexuality is a sin or that women are subject to men”

I just can’t see how we, who are screaming for fairness, equality and tolerance can ever use the phrase “intolerant of people.” Yeah, the ideas we don’t have to tolerate, but the person? That’s a human being.

I don’t give a flying fuck if a person thinks I’m going to hell. What I *do* care about is whether they’ll respect me and my beliefs enough to not spend all our interactions trying to save me.

If they think homosexuality is a sin? Well, they’re allowed to think what they want. it’s when they start trying to dictate how others should behave or be allowed to live their own private lives that my hackles go up. If they can look at a gay person, who they’ve been taught is a sinner, and can see a human being, then I can respect the Christian the same way.

It is a common knee-jerk reaction for atheists to be angry towards Christians, to expect and automatically defend against fire and brimstone preaching. It’s not necessary. We don’t have to tolerate religion’s insistence that everyone be converted and live the same, pristine life; *that* attitude should be challenged. But why should we close our hearts to perfectly wonderful people whose ideas happen to not align with our own, if their hearts are open to us?

Doesn’t that make us as bad as the people we’re railing against?

How Rational, Really?

I usually try to avoid the same old runaround conversations with theists whose minds I won’t change and who won’t convert me. They’re unproductive, generally devolve into something uncivilized at best, and are a waste of time that could be better spent. I use this blog, often, as a place to present my arguments when I need to get them out. It’s easier to keep them linear and appropriate.

But today, I fell into what I had hoped would be a productive conversation on Twitter. Why did I have hopes? Because the guy (RationalOutlet)  is an atheist. I thought, at least we’re starting with a similar world view. Yeah, it didn’t so much pan out. Here’s how it went (the first bit of the conversation, I was just watching):

RationalOutlet @EmilysPoste Almost all the people around me are atheists. Respect is fundamental to a relationship and the religious do not deserve mine.
about 16 hours ago via web in reply to EmilysPoste

EmilysPoste @atheist_panda @RationalOutlet I can respect people but still disagree with them. I guess that’s the difference between us.
about 6 hours ago via web in reply to atheist_panda

RationalOutlet @EmilysPoste You’re just willing to compromise your principles. That’s the difference between us.
about 6 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to EmilysPoste

EmilysPoste @RationalOutlet Apparently you do, which makes you appear a hypocrite.
about 6 hours ago via web in reply to RationalOutlet

RationalOutlet @EmilysPoste It’s good to know you have no principles.
about 6 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to EmilysPoste

(This is where I felt the need to jump in.)

ymberlenis @EmilysPoste @rationaloutlet. Didn’t know being an atheist meant other atheists get to define your principles for you. How like religion.
about 5 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone from Phoenix Gateway, Phoenix in reply to EmilysPoste

RationalOutlet @ymberlenis If you think religion is harmful then why stay quiet and say nothing. I choose to associate with like-minded individuals.
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ymberlenis

ymberlenis @RationalOutlet @EmilysPoste Maybe so, but like-minded doesn’t equal narrow-minded. Also, choosing not to associate w/ someone is different from insulting them outright. Much of religion’s harm to society is its intolerance of different viewpoints. Your comments sound very much like their dogma and could prove just as harmful. Just asking a little respect for fellow humans, is all.
about 5 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone from Phoenix Gateway, Phoenix in reply to EmilysPoste

RationalOutlet @ymberlenis I’m absolutely intolerant to people that think Im going to hell, or that homosexuality is a sin or that women are subject to men
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ymberlenis

ymberlenis @RationalOutlet @EmilysPoste That’s fine if those are your principles. I disagree, but I respect your right to have them. My objection was to you telling an atheist who chooses to be more tolerant that she lacks principles at all. It’s not fair for you to dictate what we all believe. You don’t have to respect a person’s beliefs, but they have a right to have them. What they don’t have a right to do is force them on others or judge others who don’t share them. That’s what you were doing, and it’s no better than a dogmatic religion.
about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone from Phoenix Gateway, Phoenix in reply to RationalOutlet

RationalOutlet @ymberlenis Im glad you are tolerant of hateful people.
about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ymberlenis

ymberlenis @RationalOutlet Wow. You’re willfully twisting my words. If you’re not interested in my opinion (I realize it was unsolicited), then ignore me. If you genuinely want a conversation, I’m open to helping clarify my views. But if you’re just looking to attack anyone who offers a different idea w/o trying to understand it, you’re as hateful as the religions you scorn. I feel I’ve made my objection clear. Try reading what I wrote, not what you wanted to see.
about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone from Phoenix, AZ in reply to RationalOutlet

RationalOutlet @ymberlenis You don’t understand either. I respect everyones right to speak but their views should not go uncontested. Esp. the religious
about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ymberlenis

ymberlenis @RationalOutlet I never said they shouldn’t. I simply said that it should be done with respect. What you said to @EmilysPoste was very disrespectful. Rationality is about asking questions and making reasonable statements. What you’re doing is making quick judgments that don’t progress your ideas at all. I’m asking you to look at how you speak to people. If you expect someone to consider changing their views, no matter how distasteful you find their ideas, alienating the person first is never going to accomplish that. This is all I’m trying to say. You don’t have to agree with them, but drive change, not conflict.
about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone from Tempe, AZ in reply to RationalOutlet

RationalOutlet @ymberlenis Oh please.
36 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ymberlenis

Yeah, this is where I came here. When a conversation/debate degenerates into “Oh please,” it’s pretty much a lost cause.

I won’t rehash everything I said; I think I made my opinion clear. I’m honestly open to feedback and debate and questions on it. These can even be peppered with scorn and ridiculed if necessary. But I won’t take the scorn and ridicule without something productive to respond to.

</rant> Thanks for listening.