Positive Atheism Forum
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Are Atheist Groups Rightly
Seen As Hate Groups?
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From: "Bert Tindall"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 3:46 PM

Hello,

I think in this case we must first make a distinction between anti-religious and atheist. For example, at times I will call myself atheist, meaning simply without a religion -- not believing in a God. However, I would never say that I was anti-religious, because I take that to mean that I am against religion, which I am not.

With this distinction made I do not mean to imply that all anti-religious groups are hate groups. For all practical uses of hate group distinctions I think that they should be made based on the intentions of the group. If there is a group that is planning on going out and doing harm to someone else due to differing beliefs, race, etc. then they are a hate group. To sum up this round about spout of words: When defining a group as a "hate group", it is only their intentions that should be taken into consideration -- not their beliefs.

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From: "Elizabeth Main"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 5:48 PM

I don't think that atheist groups should be seen as hate groups because, basically, I don't feel that we hate anyone. I choose not to believe in religion because it doesn't make sense to me.

I think that our image of hate groups is one of angry people who are not at peace with themselves. I think of the "Marilyn Manson" crowd when I think of hate groups.

In the past, anti-religious groups may have been seen as hate groups because it wasn't the norm. More people have open minds now and don't follow a crowd. Ask people around you. Who goes to church regularly? Who prays every night? Who avoids gambling and premarital sex? Not too many. I feel that an atheist is a person who is at peace with themselves enough to not feel guilty to a "higher being" for activities we enjoy.

On another note, not of particular relation to the above topic: I used to work for a catholic nun/school teacher. She was very, very nice; until I accidentally got on her bad side. Talk about nasty. She made my life awful. I had to quit because she was so mean. I thought all people were God's children? Funny how life is, eh?

Liz

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 8:08 PM

Cliff,

No, it is my deep felt thinking that people do not see us as a hate group. However, we are mostly viewed as anti-god rather than anti-religious, therefore it is easy to find us as some anti-social supremacist group and henceforth we must be a hate group. We are viewed as people who hate God. Interesting enough, racist white supremacy bigots use the bible as a means of defending their warped sense of reality. I shudder to think because of my personal beliefs, I would be associated with such human slime.

I now officially understand and know what it means to be a minority. It is not a comfortable feeling. I do not hate God nor religion. I simply, have come to concede after 42 years of soul searching that I never believed the mythical stories and dogma that becomes necessary for one to be a part of a religious order. Its too bad I can't share my feelings with too many people. I would be thought a lower species than your average Catholic, Methodist, or fill in the religion. I would be a social outcast and immediately thought of as stupid, even though I am currently working toward a doctorate. We are seen as anti-social and we can easily be thrown into the hate circle by a misguided press.

I think the important question we as people should take time to ask, is not whether we are a religious people, but, more importantly, are we a spiritual people?? This would be too far confusing for people to deal with or understand. I believe I am a spiritual person, in that I see my place in the universe. I see the Earth as something very special, and that we as a people have a short time to make the best we can out of not only our lives, but the people whom we touch. This is something that religion has incessantly ignored because beauty and peace with oneself can be done without God or religion. I see I haven't answered this question as much as I merely have vented my frustration. Back to my original premise, I think we can avoid the mistaken references to us as a hate group with education, dedication, and time. I am afraid however, it is not likely to happen in my lifetime.

DS

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1999 3:37 AM

I think the big difference between hate groups and an atheist group is that we don't hate Christians, we're just annoyed by them. Hatred is also not a part of the doctrine of the group. It isn't a requirement to hate anybody to be atheist.

To be a Nazi, you had to hate all sorts of people. But within the Nazis, people hated different folks in addition to those they had to. That's all we have.

Some atheists hate Christians, just as some Christians hate Buddhists. No real group doctrine there, just personal preference. Of course, this is all off the top of my head. I could be wrong.

Jared

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From: "Kelly Jowett"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1999 7:26 AM

Atheist groups are unfortunately labelled as hate groups. This is caused by religious people trying to relate to atheism. Let me explain.

They are all in a focused state of mind that god exists. This concept to them is more real than life itself in most cases. The concept of no god would probably cause most of them to go insane. Secondly, their religion is based upon a profound love for the creator. They are trained as children to love Jesus and the Lord.

Therefore when relating these ideas to Atheists, they come to the conclusion that anyone who doesn't believe god exists (which is to them utterly ridiculous) must have no love or hate god and Jesus.

They see it as we are angry and refusing to see the obvious, which is to them the fact that god created the universe. So through a rather illogical thought process, they can not conceive that atheist groups can be loving or even happy for that matter. They attribute all of these feelings with a close association with a theistic belief.

I hope I helped a little.

Kelly

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From: "Shirley Braverman"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999 6:07 AM

No, of course not.
 

This linking of anti-religious with hate groups begins and ends with Pat Robertson which never mentions a hate group with out calling them atheists or anti-religious. He's said it so often, it's getting picked up by the conservative radio hosts and even some TV hosts. I think American Atheists and other such groups should be sending polite letters to the news media explaining that we are not hate groups. Give them a list of our humanists of the years, etc. The ACLU group that I work with states that not that secular humanism has been recognized by the court as a creed that we should stop asking that the schools be secular and instead use the word religiously neutral. In order to maintain our identity, I think it is important to attempt to write letters to the editors and to the newcasters and let them know the difference.

We also have to "come out" as the gays have done.

Hate groups are like little kids, if something is sacred, they attack it. Thus their "anti-religious" stance is more a rebellion against authority Than anything else.

Shirley

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From: "Nicole"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups
Date: Sunday, August 01, 1999 9:03 AM

Atheists groups are rightly seen as hate groups. I'll try to explain what I have observed.

I have heard some very vocal atheists, jokingly scream: "Priest! Minister! Church!" Instead of screaming "Jesus-Christ!" and "Oh, my God!". Unfortunately, people screaming "Jesus-Christ!" are not considered to be breaking Commandment #2. But if you scream: "Pope!", you are sacrilegious. So atheists group are considered hate groups, but only by religious people.

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From: "Eric Lawson"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Question: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen as Hate Groups?
Date: Friday, August 13, 1999 10:32 PM

Hi Cliff,

You know, I'm kinda getting fed up with Christians calling atheists "religious bigots" and the like. Who are the kings of religious bigotry if not the Christians? Who is it that believes everybody else is going to hell and is a tool of satan or at least very deluded?

If wanting to fight ignorance, misinformation and hypocrisy makes me the member of a hate group then I guess you'll have to sign me up, but the last time I checked I didn't notice that I hate anyone, just the BS they're dishing out. Being anti-religious is kind of like being against totalitarianism, poverty, child pornography and a whole host of other ills that are bad for society on a purely rational basis. The application of rigorous logic makes our fight against religion a very non-arbitrary kind of pursuit. And hey, if religious people weren't trying to make me live their fantasy by casting their votes for would-be theocrats I might be a bit more tolerant but asking me to live by their moral rules and ignore facts of science makes a pretty good case for opposition on purely logical grounds.

Oh, and I should relate an experience I had a while back. A friend of mine and I were talking about astronomy and galaxies, etc, and he was saying, "Oh, they don't really know how far away that stuff really is." And I was thinking, why would someone say something like that? But then it dawned on me that this is a defense from the mother of all refutations of creationism which I can only ascertain goes something like this:

Speed of light, "c" pretty much a non-negotiable fact.

Therefore if the universe is only 6000 years old then all the stuff in the sky must be closer than 6000 light years or we couldn't see it yet. But if you crunch the numbers (I hate math so I have to confess I haven't yet) you'd probably get one helluva black hole so this obviously is impossible as a description of reality so the objects must be farther away than 6000 light years. Unless of course you say something brilliant (i.e. stupid) like those things that look like galaxies of hundreds of billions of stars are actually little local phenomena only 4-5k light years away. I'm not enough of an astronomer to say why this couldn't be specifically but I'm sure you could find someone who is and if anyone could help me flesh this little beauty out a bit (it doesn't make the grade of rigorous logic yet by anyone's standards I 'spose, but it seems a good start) I'd appreciate it.

Oh, and I got a kick out of something I heard about Pat Robertson recently. Did year hear the comment that he thinks we should just assassinate guys like Sadam Hussein and Milosevic? A famous Christian finally showing his true colors, eh?

Thanks again for everything you do, and you know, it's probably high time I checked out the sample issues -- I'm sure I'll be interested in the magazine this year. I'm on a nine month though so checks won't start rolling in again til next month and since I still have to buy gas for my boat, I'm holding off on other luxuries 'til fall.

Eric Lawson

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From: "Ann Murray"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups_9648
Date: Monday, July 17, 2000 6:16 PM

It's very possible to have the fact one is an atheist so grossly misunderstood, your stand as an atheist might be construed as being anti-         (fill in your choice of deity or religion).

It seems inconceivable to many religious people that atheism sort of renders you neutral. It does me. Unquestionably, I am not unique. There are though, certain factions who deliberately bait Christians. I would consider them a hate group if I were a Christian being baited.

There's so little understanding regarding true religious freedom. If you don't stand with them, then you must by default be standing against them. The concept of shaking oneself loose from dogma without a negative agenda, seems too alien to many people. It's almost as though they think they should grab their kids off the street when they see you coming, in case you're spewing out some deadly anti-Christ virus, and are terribly dangerous.

Of course, the subtle sort of implications that are dropped (like bricks) by ambitiously religious communities/churches would naturally take root in the minds of the not so bright, gullible, dependent types who see great danger in dissent. Anything that can shake the foundation of myth with the application of logic is dissent. Therefore we are a threatening body. If we are a threatening body, we are assumed to be aggressive. Ergo, hate group.

Too bad. I can't speak for anyone else, all I want to do is be left alone to believe -- or disbelieve -- what I will, and eat my Doritos undisturbed by the vast assortment of folk who are out there trying to save my godless hide.

Regards,
Ann Murray

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups_9648
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000 8:00 PM

I'm going to answer the question "Are atheists rightly seen as hate groups" before I read the column and other responses to your comments because that way I can go by what I have perceived all my life about atheists from my upbringing in a middle-class, Christian believing community in the Midwest United States and from my experiences and input on atheists up to the time of my realization that I did not believe in any god that I have ever had presented to me through the behavior and beliefs of the believers or through independent study and saw myself as a citizen of a very remarkable country.

My point of view:

I love this site -- it's great. I believe with all my heart that we don't face a belief vs. unbelief battle, we face a freedom vs. bondage battle.

Atheists will be tolerated by the lovers of freedom until they are embraced by the lovers of truth.

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From: "Dr. Newton Joseph"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups_9648
Date: Saturday, June 02, 2001 11:47 PM

THE CREDO OF EMPOWERMENT
All my life I have made it a rule never to permit a religious man or women to take for granted that his or her religious beliefs deserved more consideration than non-religious or anti-religious ones. I never agree with that foolish statement that I ought to respect the views of others when I believe them to be wrong.
                -- Chapman Cohen, Freethought advocate

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From: "Pauline"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: May 25, 2002 12:18 AM
Subject: Are Atheist Groups Rightly Seen As Hate Groups?

Hello,

The only question I have is -- Is there actually organized atheism?

What is organized atheism? Do people get together for parties or something. I am an atheist, but by its very nature it is more of a solitary thing isn't it? Since atheism is the absence of a belief in a God or supreme being then it is a negative. (I don't mean negative as in bad) The term Organized Atheism sounds like atheists have a "Church" to go to every Sunday where they all meet and do something together. Or maybe they get together and have a parade like the Gay Pride Parade. Or maybe they join a group of like minded individuals and have events. Wouldn't people only join a group if it was for something not the absence of something? Hate groups are against a group of individuals because of their colour or beliefs or something else. As a atheist I am against an idea or premise. I am also against communism and fascism and socialism and altruism. I don't think that makes me part of any "hate group". It is the idea or concept or premise that is hated and needs to be changed. (not that I have an answer for that). I actually thought organized religion was dying out, but it sounds like it is growing, especially in the southern United States. Is that true?

I did have one person flip out on me one time and tell me that because I was an atheist that I therefore am into devil worship and child molestation. I am not sure where that leap in logic comes from but it wasn't pleasant.

Pauline

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From: "Many Paths"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups
Date: May 15, 2002 2:28 AM

The term "hate group" as I see it refers to particularly vicious organizations such as; the KKK, neo-Nazis, skinheads, Fred Phelps and the like. Some of the factors that these groups have in common are; authoritarianism, dogmatism, and generally a narrow view point. Atheist organizations on the other hand encourage independence of thought, to search for truth rather than insist that we know everything and are always right. To lump atheists in with these other groups is absurd.

I have never heard of a religious person being violently attacked by a group of atheists (it may have happened once or twice, but I've never heard of it.) The cases of vandalism of churches seem to be done by other religious groups, racist groups, or stupid drunk teenagers -- not atheists. Atheists do not picket funerals of dead religious leaders, they do not have Bible bon-fires, or consider any particular type of person to be unworthy of joining.

The accusation of atheists being hateful and anti-religious comes from the fundamentalists, who seem to believe that unless you agree with everything they say, then you are the enemy. To me that seems more like a hate group; those who are not willing to engage in harmonious co-existence despite our differences. The problem is that the Christian right has been so busy villainizing us and they refuse to take any time to understand us. They make assumptions about atheistic beliefs that are completely inaccurate.

Devin

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From: "Thomas Boyko"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups
Date: June 15, 2002 9:42 PM

I do not think that Atheist groups are seen rightly as hate groups, due to the fact that we do not "hate" anyone.

Do we hate religion?
No, we choose not to believe in it, as we see through it.

Do we hate those who believe in a deity or god?
No. We see them as misled.

Hate is not a thing that should come to mind when the word "Atheist" is mentioned. Possibly "skeptic" or "non-believer", or "rationalist", but not "hate."

-- Thomas Boyko

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From: joseph barnes
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: July 12, 2002 9:16 AM
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups

The Whole act of being an atheist, sounds like just another religion, kinda.

If I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong

Thank you.

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From: Pam White
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: July 19, 2002 2:49 AM
Subject: Are_Atheist_Groups_Rightly_Seen_As_Hate_Groups

I do not hate god because he doesn't exist, but I do hate people who believe in it just because it is ignorant. I am not a positive atheist. I am not a humanitarian. I believe that human life is not as sacred as people think. There are approximately 6 billion people on this earth. If we get more populated we will all die from over pollution. People don't care too much when animals die, so why do they care so much when humans dies. We are still animals, but because of our cognitive development and belief in god, we believe we are above animals. Well not even animals are dumb enough to believe in a God. Humans on whole are smart enough to be the dumbest thing on earth. I mean watching people at church is like watching a bunch of cavemen worshipping fire or the sun. How can a grown person believe in something as childish as God. It's like believing in vampires or werewolves. But what gets me the most is how science proves everything. We have fossil proof that evolution is true. Where did the dinosaurs come from. God sure enough didn't create them or they would have been in the Bible.

So all in all I would say I do hate. But who doesn't. What's funny is how the "children of god" judge the most. Even though they are told by there god not to. Myself as an atheist feel that I do not judge. I only judge those who judge me or those whose views are completely ignorant.

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