Throughout history atheists have been persecuted, tortured, and killed. It is extremely important to remember history and value it because the events of the past are only a few actions away from happening again. With that being said, I am sure then, as well as now, that not all theists were the people that we hear about. I’m sure most theists are living their lives oblivious to the fact that atheists exist or what it even means to be an atheist. Most theists that are polled today don’t even consider themselves to be religious.
In a recent video, I challenged atheists to stop being so hostile in their interactions with theists.
Whether we want to admit it or not, the impression we leave on theists will affect how they view atheists as a whole. As much as we don’t want that to happen, we have to understand that most of the time atheists have nothing in common except for the lack of a belief in a god. If that’s true, why do theists continue to mischaracterize and misunderstand us? The simple answer, I believe, is that most theists have not encountered atheists outside of the internet. If they have, they are probably encountering the most outspoken atheists, or anti-theists. Atheists are just like everyone else. They are living their day to day life and are probably not out actively promoting atheism, kind of like most theists! Chances are if theists have been told about atheists, they heard it from their pastor or someone who had a bad experience. Maybe even worse, their holy text has asserted that atheists are immoral and/or evil.
All of this makes the chances of you encountering theists who have flawed preconceived notions about atheists extremely high. Whether they know what an atheist is or not, I think we should demonstrate the positive side of atheism by living it. Showing them that we can be good people too. Giving theists the benefit of the doubt, unless they show us otherwise. Many theists have had their beliefs reinforced their entire lives and have never had their beliefs questioned. If you are going to embark on a mission to challenge their beliefs, do so rationally, calmly, and politely.
This is of course circumstantial, as with most things, so if they prove to be willfully ignorant and intolerant of new information the only other tool in our toolbox is ridicule. Just don’t be that guy (or gal) who defaults to ridicule 100% of the time because not all theists want to harm, hurt, or humiliate you.
Intro/Outro Song — Losing My Mind http://apple.co/1EEMrXv
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