Home Discussion Forum Two questions for Atheists...?

Two questions for Atheists…?

Hi, before asking anything, let me just say that while I myself am a man of faith, I strongly support the right of a person to be an Atheist or follow any faith of their choice depending on their personal convictions.
So here is what I would like to ask:
(1) What do Atheists do in times of great personal crises? People of faith generally do the best they can, and then turn to prayer. Do Atheists do the best they can and hope for the best, as opposed to praying? What do you do at a time of personal or spiritual crisis? Are there times when you need to believe in something greater than all of us?
(2) Something that disturbs me is that while people such as myself grant Atheists the right to believe as they wish, people of faith are always met with mockery, ridicule and snide comments by Atheists. I realize that Atheists are sometimes incorrectly demonized, but there are people out there who are very much tolerant. Even my close Atheist or Agnostic friends often times tease me about my faith. I believe that is kind of hypocritical. Don’t you think tolerance should be a two-way street?
BTW Thanks for the overwheling response. 37 answers and counting… =)

43 COMMENTS

  1. 1. We lean on real things to get us through. Just like you do. Family. Friends. Reflective contemplation is just like prayer only without begging a deity who supposedly has a master plan to alter it because you are sad.
    2. you didn’t grant us a thing buddy. don’t try to pretend like you did. our forefathers built this nation on a freedom of religion and a freedom of speech.

  2. 1) We work through it like adults.
    2) Most books of “faith” prescribe death for atheism… You’d think a little mockery wouldn’t hurt your feelings too much. I tolerate your beliefs to the point you require myself or others to believe them as well.

  3. 1. I rely on my friends and family, and I have personal ways to deal with things, like listening to my favorite music.
    2. I do tolerate others. But what do you expect when it’s your side (not just you, but the whole group) that is the reason why atheists are the least trusted minority in the US. It’s because of misinformation spread by your team, and I rarely seeing any Christian correcting another Christian about that misinformation. So essentially, it just keeps getting perpetuated.

  4. 1. I help myself when I can. I ask friends/family when in dire need.
    2. Teasing/Joking is not as harmful compared to an insult of threat. Example: You’re going to Hell. As long as they respect my belief I respect anyone regardless of their religion.

  5. 1.we take care of it, actually, i dont know of any atheist who has had one.
    2.tolerance, hahaha, much tolerance we want, no tolerance given by the church.
    hurray intolerance

  6. Crises – Not for me. Usually crises to me means war – wars are usually started by religion.
    Tolerance – well I can hardly tolerate people who beleive in an invisible sky daddy. They are ripe for mockery

  7. 1. friends and family. or if all else fails do what my drill sergeant said – suck it up and drive on
    2. your faith is irrelevant to atheists until it is forced upon their schools, libraries and courts.

  8. Maybe if you didn’t see all atheists as the same you wouldn’t be ridiculed so much. Why is it that every Christian hates gays? Why is it that every Christian is a Catholic?

  9. (1) I workout the problem and do often hope for the best, but I just keep and open mind and things do turn out better,
    (2) Yes tolerence is a 2 way street, and yeah there’s insults, questions, and hate on both sides. People in general hate and have issues with what they don’t understand and aren’t like each other.

  10. In regards to your first question. In times of crisis I stand back look at whats going on and do my best to fix or what ever I can I use and do everything i can until its either solved or until it is what it is. I don’t pray or leave it up to chance I trust in myself and know That given enough time and energy I can change my life or the situation. But if all else fails you just live with it and move on.
    question 2. It’s just funny cause your all so uptight about it. I think if god existed he would have a sense of humor and so should you. Give it right back at us it usually all in good fun. On the other hand some people are just mean people.

  11. 1. Either get help from family or feel sorry for myself for a day or so then shake myself and get on with life.
    2. Tolerence doesn’t mean you are protected from humour. Many theists (not all by a long way) are too pompous to laugh at themselves and so get insulted when mocked, even if its in a friendly way.

  12. 1. You answered this question yourself. We hope for the best, go to our friends and family for support, and get through it.
    2. You are incorrect. Something really stuck out at me about your question, and I think you have a misconception about the reality between Atheists and Christians. Atheists are OUTNUMBERED and underspoken. Even in highschool (where I am) it is better to be Christian than Atheist, despite the common myth that Atheism is “cool”.
    Both Atheists and Christians lash out in equal measure. And personally, I think it is the Christians who are the hypocritical ones considering they have a manual that specifically states for one to do the opposite.

  13. for number 1 i hope things get better
    2 i only ridicule people that disrespect me because they don’t deserve my respect i am usually very respectful of all religion just as long as they don’t disrespect me and as long as there religious beliefs don’t interfere in politics and education

  14. (1) Rely on myself, others, quick thinking, problem solving, etc.
    (2) You absolutely have the right to believe what you like. You do NOT, however, have the right to be shielded from criticism.

  15. We get over it. We don’t waste our time praying, we try to get over it by ourselves and if we can’t we turn to family or friends.

  16. 1) “What do Atheists do in times of great personal crises? People of faith generally do the best they can, and then turn to prayer.”
    More fool you, we don’t bother wasting time hoping for something to happen based on praying, we look for real world solutions.
    2) “Something that disturbs me is that while people such as myself grant Atheists the right to believe as they wish, people of faith are always met with mockery, ridicule and snide comments by Atheists.” Nice generalisation, but valid criticism of “belief” isn’t mockery or ridicule any more than laughing at people who believe if fairies, a flat earth or that the earth is hollow. Actually, it is, but so it deserves to be.
    Welcome to the 21st century, where there is now a significant body of educated people who don’t fall for first millennium descriptions of gods making the world or creating mankind from clay whilst listening to our pleadings and mumbo-jumbo rituals. We grew out of sacrificing virgins to make the crops grow a long time ago because we realised it didn’t work. Maybe it’s now time for the next step for all mankind to realise the true reason why, there are no gods out there listening.

  17. 1) I rely on my family, friends, and my inner strength.
    Certainly I believe there are things greater than us. Lions, for example. Or the universe. And that’s not snark. But that thought never gives me any comfort. I’d rather rely on myself to solve my own problems. I have yet to face a crisis I wasn’t equipped to handle. And I’ve dealt w/ cancer, alcoholism, family turmoil, financial debt, and various other traumatic experiences.
    2) I try not to mock other people’s religious choices. I may not agree w/ them, but they’re still worthy of respect, assuming they don’t advocate harming others.

  18. 1 I do the best I can, then I continue doing the best I can instead of giving up and hoping somebody else will solve it.
    2 I experienced many aggressive remarks from religious people about my non belief. Yes, tolerance should be a 2 way street. But as long as people claim that they have a loving god that will have me burnt for eternity, I will point out the fallacies in their religion.

  19. 1) You square your shoulders and do what you can do to fix things, you hope for the best and work towards it, and you just keep going. Why would I need to believe in anything greater than all of us when I’m in a crisis? How does that help? I’m not being snarky – I really don’t see how it would change or affect anything.
    2) I sure would trade the outright hatred we’re often greeted with by people of faith for some really witty mockery. I’m just saying.
    Like so…
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AtUSR.iRlKvpPPe29l9TY6zwDH1G;_ylv=3?qid=20090720105418AA9emDy
    The difference here is that I think that religious belief is silly, but I don’t think that all people who believe are somehow evil or damaged. The same cannot be said in return.

  20. 1. During personal crisis, I do the same as anyone else, the best I can. I simply do not pray. Praying and turning a crisis over to god, in my opinion, is more like “hoping for the best”. I have support from friends and family. I also try to keep a level head and think logically and rationally. It’s pretty simple and it works for me.
    2. Yes, tolerance goes both ways. I am more than willing to be respectful of someone who is open to my beliefs as well. But it is also good to be open for debate.

  21. 1/ In times of crisis I look for solutions. If no solution then I look to allow my emotions.
    2/ Yes tolerance is a two-way street. I have always had great respect for those who have faith. I do not agree with them. The only area that I have difficulty with is the brainwashing of children. It is ok to brainwash your own but others, no way.

  22. 1. I get by with a little help from my friends.
    2. Sometimes mockery is a good way to get a person to look at what they say they believe. For example, if you believe that a man lived in the belly of a great fish (is that a shark of some kind???), well, you need to use the old noggin a bit more.

  23. 1. In times of crisis we act. We are pro active. This as opposed to simply wishing something [praying], which is useless.
    2. Theists can belive what they like, but claiming to worship an invisible magic sky fairy, being willfuly ignorant of science, brain washing young minds with religious clap trap, and wanting to have the church rule the state, then they cannot expect to be respected, tollerated or popular.

  24. 1. We do what you do except we don’t pray about it. I take credit and responsibility for everything in my life. If something goes wrong, I deal with it or ask for help from my family. If something goes right, I celebrate myself.
    2. How would you feel if, even the nicest, most tolerant christian tries to convince you that no matter what good you do in the community, no matter how well you treat others, that you are doomed to hell? And then that person offers to pray for your evil soul? Would you be a little bit bitter?

  25. 1. Usually, do the best I can. Occasionally *flubbleubbleubbleubble*. Costs more than prayer, but it’s no less effective.
    2. The day the faithful stop trying to enact the whims and caprices of their imaginary friends into the Law of the Land is the day I will begin to consider thinking about giving them a teeny weeny bit of respect.

  26. (1) I remember all that is, has been and will be good in my life.
    (2)Ignorance. I see it as working both ways. Yes there are atheists who mock religious people but there are also many religious people who not only mock atheists but threaten them (will going to hell) and persistently tell them they are wrong and living in sin. There are also people of religion who mock people who follow a different religion to themselves. I believe it is simply down to a lack of understanding.

  27. 1. People face what needs to be faced in life and we do the best we can. A belief in any god is not necessary.
    2. People are sick and tired of fundie nonsense forced into our laws, our government, and our schools.

  28. 1) I rationalize that great personal crisis. I come to peace realizing that most things do happen in natural world without reason. There is no need to go cross the boundary of rationality and assume that a supernatural intelligent being is behind all these.
    2) We don’t believe in bombing buildings, killing abortion doctors, political movements to strip certain group’s rights, etc. We ridicule because that’s a peaceful way to challenge someone to think for themselves. Think about Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.”. If you can really understand why he said this, you can understand why some atheists ridicule.

  29. 1) We do the best we can and hope for the best, just as you say, or, at least, I do.
    2) Yes, however I don’t make snide comments at religious people just because they are religious. BUT, I do make snide comments about people who ask questions that are patently rediculous or make statements that show blinkered ignorance or bigotry.

  30. To your first point: We try to solve the problem…we don’t understand why a person would even begin to believe in a supernatural force coming along and solving the problem…to us, the outsider of religion, your “turning to prayer” is just as effective as “turning to meditation” in an Eastern Religion context; it may give you a sort of mental satisfaction, but it does nothing to solve the problem.
    Your secong point realize less on religion itself, and more on the socio-political situations concerning religion in society…you probably get a lot more heckling on this forum than you ever do in day-to-day life away from a computer forum, but since your question can sort of be related to “Why are atheists on the R&S forum?” (because by heckling the religions, they are detracting from a discussion about religion within it’s own ideology), I would say atheists are on the Religion forum because they have concerns about the consequences of religion moving unchecked throughout a society.
    It’s not to destroy your belief in a God, but to try and get you to understand the absurdities of embracing every superstitious statement that is “revealed” through your religious leaders.
    Believing in a God who loves you and wants the best for you may be quite comforting…believing in a God who hates everybody that does not share a sycophantic relationship with a 2000 year old text is not only counter-productive to the former description, it’s built upon a dangerous paranoia that is unhealthy for any society.

  31. 1- I live in reality, I deal with it because everyone knows life is not perfect. We all have ups and downs I just choose to believe in MYSELF and other people and not a god.
    2- You are generalizing and not putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. If an Atheist was to ask this, they would say the same thing. Tolerance should be something all people should have. Just being religious does not make you tolerant or a better person. When religion stops being pushed upon me then you can call us non-religious people hypocritical and intolerant but until then you need to open your eyes and see that everything you’ve been through… IS A TWO WAY STREET.

  32. I’m an agnostic, but I thought I’d answer your questions anyway.
    1. In times of great crises I would be, understandably, upset. I would do the best I can, as you put it, and try to remain positive. Not believing in a higher power (or not knowing in my case) does not mean that you can’t believe in the power of hope and positive thinking. When you stay calm, positive, and try to fill your time with peaceful activities that will help others, you will feel better about yourself and your problems. You also have to remember that life is short and so you must make the most of the time you do have.
    2. I think that for the most part, it is a two-way street. There are people out there on all sides that will not be accepting of differences in others. Although many Christians are accepting of atheists, they do sometimes criticize other religions such as Judaism or Islam. Some atheists are critical of Christians because they are the majority in this country and therefore an easier target. So basically, all groups are critical of one another, but it may seem like Christians get the most heat in this country because there are so many of them. I think this has very little to do with religion and everything to do with people not accepting differences in others.

  33. Something that disturbs me is that people such as yourself think that you grant atheists the right to believe as they wish.

  34. 1. I get off my butt and do something about it. I rely on practical, tangible means of resolving real-life problems. I don’t ask an invisible being to help me or do it for me. If things don’t work out, I come to the realization that life isn’t fair and sometimes you have to take hardship as a learning experience.
    2. You don’t “grant” me anything, don’t be condescending. Maybe that’s why you’re being ridiculed or attacked. Your friends who give you a hard time about your faith are probably doing it because they’d like to see you start using your rational mind to live your life instead of falling back on ancient superstition. Maybe they do it because they care.

  35. 1) We try to learn from our past mistakes…we hope for the best and don everything to make it better…we prefer not to sit around when you lose hope and pray to a higher being that they can help you with all your problems….we over come everything by emotionaly strong and chose the smart way decision making if you will…
    2) There are atheist (like myself) that aren’t rude but there are some just like religious ppl that are mean…ppl have different personalities whether they have religion or not….yeah tolerance should be but its not just atheists that are teasing and ridiculing others..

  36. 1) I usually listen to music or something. I don’t try to turn to an all powerful being in the sky for answers.
    2) I rarely come across a religious person who doesn’t bother me about being atheist. My own uncle totally tried to bash me for it. The only reason I would mock a religious person is because the concept of god seems so childish.

  37. 1) I rely on myself, first and foremost, and my family and friends, in times of need – just as they can rely on me when they are in need. Yes, I do the best I can and hope for the best. I have never, since becoming an atheist, felt the need to believe in something “greater” – as learned long ago that it is useless to do so. The “greater” thing never helped me when I believed in it, when I prayed to it, when I needed it. I learned, from experience, to stop hoping for any help from above, and to trust in the real people in my life.
    2) First off, you “grant” so such thing, and you make yourself sound very arrogant with that statement. My right to be an atheist is not by your grace.
    You are also generalizing. SOME atheists mock and ridicule – not all of them do. SOME believers mock and ridicule atheists – not all of them do. Yes, it is a two-way street. There are good and bad people on BOTH sides. So you know some atheists who tease you… that does not mean all atheists would tease you. I don’t mock or tease believers. So maybe you DON’T demonize atheists – but many people who share your beliefs DO. I can’t control the thoughts or actions of other atheists – I can only control myself. Just as you have control over no one but yourself.

  38. 1. I seek support from real things like family and friends. Just like a doctor wouldn’t tell a patient with cancer that he actually hasn’t got cancer to comfort him, false hope in God and prayer is not going to really help anyone. It’s better to accept the truth no matter how comforting another idea may be. There are times when I have a spiritual feeling when looking to the skies. Our universe is beautiful; there is order and elegance, and it is far more grand than any imaginary human-like God.
    2. from an atheist’s point of view, a belief in God is equivalent, in terms of evidence, to a belief in fairies or invisible dragons, so naturally, it’s difficult to maintain a quality of respectability concerning religion. I do think tolerance should be a two-way street, but based on my experience atheists have been victims of intolerance far more often than christians or any other major religious group has. This is natural though because atheists make up such a minority of the population and are widely misunderstood by the general public (in part due to the intolerance of “heathens” in many religious texts).
    We’ve had a US president say that atheists should not even be considered citizens. Accordin to a univeristy of Minnesota study, more than any other minority (gays, muslims, etc.) atheists are viewed as having the “least proper vision of american society.”
    It’s obvious that atheist are the victims far more often than Christians are.

  39. 1) I have faith in myself and my wife. I know myself and while I have my wife I can achieve anything. I don’t have the luxury of praying for things to be better. I have to get up and make things better. There is no time that I would believe in something more. If things go wrong, it’s my fault. I can’t blame others.
    2) Well done, you have joined the legion of stereotypers. You have just assumed that because you have met an atheist/agnostic who has no respect for diversity, we are all the same. How would you feel if we called you a paedophile, murderer, sodomite based on what was read in the bible? Not really fair, is it? Tolerance is a two way street. I would never mock a religious person. I have my views, you have yours. We could both be right. If your friends tease you about your faith, you may find that it is not about being atheist, but about being human, and knowing how to get a reaction from you. Have you thought that many religious people openly display their faith whereas atheists generally don’t. Ergo, religious people are more open to attack than atheists. Look at the response to the atheist bus campaign. Churches can display religious slogans all over the world, but god forbid atheists put a slogan on the side of a bus;)

  40. Well only speaking for myself when times get rough I just suck it up take some deep breaths and keep going forward .Second answer not to me there isn’t what would I believing in ? An imaginary person or being ?Why should that matter to me in the least?
    It doesnt.Grant atheists the right? No offense but that definitely doesn’t look right you and no one else grants anyone the right to speak thats called being an American being human freedom of speech in this country we’re entitled to that …most of us anyways.I am more than willing to be tolerant to other beliefs my mind is very open I’ve even had friends and random strangers pray for me I just say thank you thats very kind of you even though I don’t believe in it or understand why they are doing it to begin with.
    As far as tolerance you are right it is a two-way street which means it works BOTH ways not just one way .I’ve seen a LOT of intolerance hate and ignorance from many different religions and trust me when I say it isn’t Atheists that react that way the most it is some Christians .I’m sorry but this is just common sense here I’m not gonna bash you for what you believe in feel free just do not shove your beliefs down my throat and we will be fine with one another.
    Thats how it works its funny how I constantly hear the words tolerance coming from a lot of Christians especially when it seems that they don’t even know what the words mean to begin with.For example how is telling people who are gay that they are going to burn in some wicked sadistic place full of fire considered tolerant? I see hate and ignorance nothing more certainly no tolerance there im afraid to say.
    I’ve even had Christians of all people wish AIDS on me just because of my sexuality. Even on Y/A’s I had one specific individual belittling the life of a friend of mine who passed last month .He said he got what he deserved if he was gay because God condemns it.How can people respect such a hateful religion that condemns those who are different and makes them feel like outcasts and freaks of nature?That’s not love thats not compassion that is out right HATE period.

  41. 1)I realize that I live in the natural world…there are consequneces and repercussions for action and inaction. Some we ahve control over, some we do not. Some things work themselves out naturally, some dont. Accidents happen. Life is life…it goes on. I treat life like I treat the wind. I cant do anything to stop it…I need to deal with it, or avoid it. Sometimes you jsut cant avoid it, so you have to deal with it. Time of personal crises i reach out to friends and families, I remember and refer to my past experiences…I ask others who may have some insight on things…ask older people who have been around. A good night sleep helps…exercise so you forget about things for a while and have a clearer head when you come back to it. I usually dont hope for the best as opposed to praying. I do everything that I can, and understand that sometimes the best isnt good enough…and sometimes there are other factor of which I have absolutely no control over. At no point in time do I have times where I need to beleive in something greater than all of us. We are insignifcant…are problems and issues are insignificant…the sun is 90million miles away…the closest star is more than 4-5 light years away (5.9 trillion miles per light year equals about 24 trillion miles away). We are so so so insignificant it is laughable…and at the same time, it is an atrocity that tehre are people who dont food to eat, water to drink, or beds to sleep in. Hope…F*ck hope…go do something. 2 hands working better than 200,000 praying. Praying…a way to feel like you’re doing something when you are doing absolutley nothing.
    2)If a friend of mine REALLY believed that 2+2=5 or that the tooth fairy or santa claus were actual people, then hell yes I would ridicule and make fun of them. YOU’RE AN ADULT…USE YOUR BRAIN. THINK FOR YOURSELF.
    However, I do not do this…I have open and frank discussions…I find that valid points I make are disregarded and ignored as opposed to given a fair answer.
    Atheists have to and have had to deal with way more cr*p from believers than beleivers ever will. Hell, in the bible itself, how many unbelievers did god smite!?!? All the way up through Darwin christianity had a pretty good hold on things (at least they stopped all the killing and indulgences and crusades and inquisitions)…and then there was another theory as to how we came to be…and then Madelyn Murray Ohare got prayers out of public schools which should never have been in there. And now the gay and equal rights questions are coming up.
    If atheists are mad, then damn right they should be. You put your foot on someones neck for long enough, when they get out from underneath you, they will be justifiably ANGRY and looking to settle scores.
    My issue has more to do with belief in the bible, than belief in god. There being a creator of all, I can understand…there is so much that is unknown, there could be something repsonisble for it all. But for the writings of desert people to be taken as an accurate account of history AND of a description of a creator which MAY exist, I have issues with. You really have to be a little bit off to take THAT book on faith.
    the only other thing I dont get is the conversations or feelings people get from Jesus/god…it is such bull…and a misfiring of something in the head. I understand that sometimes all people have is hope…but is false hope really a good thing? A lot of people had what they believed was real returns with Bernie Madoff…only to realize that their false hope of returns is much more damaging once it is revealed to be false.

  42. Firstly no-one can speak for atheists.
    We are not an organisation. There is no Atheist Vatican. We do not have a set of rules we all subscribe to.
    Although we obviously share the same basic morality as all of the rest of humanity. Evolution has bequeathed us all with a set of values. Primarily the so called Golden Rule
    So I will only speak for myself.
    Really, I do the same as you in time of crisis.
    I believe you are simply turning your thoughts inward and holding an internal conversation to try and cope. I do the same. But I don’t call it praying or talking with God.
    Perhaps atheists learn to be a bit more stoical about a personal crisis, which accounts for the “deal with it” replies.
    One thing is certain, I do not look for meaning in tragedy. I have learnt to accept bad luck as just that – random chance. It is actually a comfort believe it or not.
    On the teasing issue, it’s wrong. But I can understand why it happens.
    Firstly, religion has not been noted for its tolerance over the years.
    Religion has been thrust upon us all from a very early age, and has dominated our history for a very long time and still dominates a lot of public discourse. There is an element of getting our own back.
    Secondly – this sounds very patronising so I’m sorry – but once you have broken the conditioning that makes you take very very unlikely things “on faith”. The whole business looks quite ridiculous.
    Here are some examples, there are a great many more. Snakes do not talk, virgins do not become pregnant, dead men do not come to life. Bread and water do not turn into flesh and blood and so on…
    No offence intended, and you would probably have a good chuckle about some Pagan, Muslim, Roman, Nordic beliefs because you too are an atheist about many (probably all) beliefs, except your own.

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