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Atheism, Christianity, Politics

The Politics of Tolerance

Today’s entry is a follow up to yesterday’s, in which I discussed a month long experiment in tolerance between a Christian family and an atheist.  I want to follow up with a more in depth discussion of what I believe is a potential roadblock for atheists in America.  It starts with this observation:

Atheists are the minority, but it’s the Christians who feel threatened.

In many ways, Christianity is fear.  Here are just a few ways that the typical Christian doctrines and beliefs cultivate, strengthen, and encourage fear:

  • Fear of death. This is where the whole thing starts, of course.  When a Christian tells you how much peace they get from their beliefs, what they’re really telling you is how much they’re afraid of dying.  But where Christianity (and Islam) stir up a hornets nest is in exacerbating existing fears.  “Jump through the correct magic hoops, or BURN IN UNSPEAKABLE AGONY FOREVER!!!!”  For the true believer, there are huge negative sanctions — emotionally, morally, and politically — for not toeing the party line.
  • Fear of life. If Christianity was just about believing in a savior zombie, it might not have much political impact in the universe, but as we all know, there’s a lot more to it than that.  From the silly to the dysfunctional, Christians believe in all sorts of actions that are also required to get to eternal bliss.  Don’t curse.  Don’t drink.  Don’t have sex.  Don’t be gay.  Don’t have an abortion.  Do give 10% of your income to the church.  Do submit completely to your husband.  Do everything you can to make everyone around you as Christian as you are…  In the end, much of the Christian lifestyle boils down to living in fear of all the things being done or not done by the heathens.
  • Fear of others. If you watched the episode of 30 Days that started me on this line of thought, you saw how much fear Michael, the Christian dad, experienced when he was confronted with Brenda’s non-belief.  Even standing in his own kitchen, he looked like a cornered animal, unable to attack out of social conformity and unable to flee for fear of letting his god and family down.  This is typical of the type and degree of xenophobia that often accompanies American Christianity.  I’ve lived this and seen it in those around me since I was a small child.

If you didn’t read my entry, Us and Them, I bared some of my own demons from growing up to show how xenophobia is a psychological defense for fear.  Here’s the salient excerpt:

[First,] I was painfully shy — primarily because there were precious few children as pious as me with whom I could play and not be tempted to break some holy commandment or another.   Yes, I’m saying I refused friendship with other children because I was afraid of their evil natures.  Second, when I got a little older, my fear of others turned into self-righteousness.  It was a neat trick of backwards rationalization.  My intellect couldn’t accept the fact that I felt alone and afraid, so it turned those emotions into righteous indignation and aloofness.  Instead of wishing I could be a part of the group, I despised the group.  If they weren’t good enough or smart enough to see that they should live like me, why should I help them?

This paragraph is a great example of how all three fears work together to create a self righteous, fearful xenophobe.   More importantly, it should serve as a warning for when we atheist activists begin engaging political battles with Christians.

The Balance of Power

The church is in a position of power in America today.  In some ways, its power is nearly complete.  Beginning with an enormous tax exempt money pool, and extending to the de-facto ban on open atheism in government, it’s good to be a Christian in politics.  There are openly Christian lobbyists at nearly every level, openly throwing gobs of money at lawmakers in an effort to legislate Christianity.  And to a large degree, the efforts have been successful.

But the Christians have one very serious problem — what they’ve done is unconstitutional.  I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I know religion when I see it, and I know that Congress is specifically prohibited from making laws based on religion.  And we have lots of religious laws in America.  Politically active Christians are right to fear atheists with political power, if for no other reason than the tax exempt status of churches.  Given political power, it’s almost certain that we would end that nonsense with near unanimous support from the atheist community.

Even if there are constitutional hairs to be split, they are right to fear us.  Supreme Court justices are instruments of interpretation, and if an atheist-friendly administration stacked the court with atheists, it would mean several decades of atheist friendly interpretations.  The ugly truth for Christians is that it’s easier to rationalize secular decisions than religious decisions based on the Constitution.  And I think most of the savvy Christian legislators know this.

The Politics of Tolerance

Tolerance is a tricky word.  In politics, it’s even trickier.  For Christians, it’s a minefield.  The problem is that the American model of government disagrees with their theology.  And this is no small problem.  Christians have several beliefs — most notably regarding pregnancy and sexual orientation — that tie directly into the freedom of choice and free expression.  So the pious Christian has a choice.  Either be a good American and tolerate intolerable sins, be a good Christian and run roughshod over the American ideal, or be politically savvy and change the American ideal.

It’s safe to say that since the rise of McCarthyism, and especially since the emergence of the Christian Right in the 1970s, the goal of the Christian Party in America has been to move towards a more Christian version of the Constitution and to actively vilify and marginalize anyone who doesn’t toe the moral and political line.  Atheists have been very effectively reduced to them status.  We are not “us.”  We are “them.”  We are not as fully human as they are.  We are less moral.  Less spiritual.  We have holes in our souls.  We are longing for them to show us the light and bring us up to their status as humans.

And as long as things stay that way, tolerance is easy.  We atheists have no political power to speak of.  We are bound by Christian morality laws.  We are socially punished for being open about our nonbelief.  We are rewarded when we are submissive and don’t rock the boat.  As long as we’re very, very quiet about our beliefs, we’re tolerated.

But we’re not being quiet anymore.  The president has acknowledged our existence.  The courts are hearing our anti-discrimination cases, our separation of church and state cases, our science vs. religion in schools cases.  We’re buying billboards and having conferences and meetups.  There are atheist dating sites.

Silencing Dissent

One of the uncomfortable truths about humans is that we have an almost limitless ability to rationalize our actions as good.  Looking back at the history of oppression in the U.S., we see impassioned speeches about how the oppression was really for the good of the oppressed.  Blacks were not fully human, and whites were doing them a favor by letting them work in civilized society.  After all, they were savages when they lived in Africa, right?  A slave in civilization is better than a free barbarian.

Women are frail creatures, incapable of the kind of dog eat dog mentality necessary for the workplace.  They’re best suited for housework.  That’s what makes them happy — being mothers and housekeepers.  If they start working or voting, they’ll just make themselves unhappy.  Best for them that we keep the baser activities of work and politics in the hands of men.  They’ll be happier for it.

Atheists are immoral degenerates.  They’re actively rebelling against God.  And they know that God exists.  They’re just denying it because they want to live their lives of sin, communism, and hatred of the American Way.  They can’t be trusted.  If they come to power, the terrorists win.  If we let them have abortions or gay marriage, everything that’s great about America will crumble and we’ll be like all those horrible countries in the other parts of the world.  It will be awful.  For their own good, we need to keep legislating good moral behavior.  (If this sounds over the top, then you haven’t listened to Rush or Laura recently.  Seriously, I’m paraphrasing what I’ve heard both of them say.)

The key to this kind of oppression working is the belief that there are two classes of people, and the one in power is superior — either morally or intellectually or both.  In the case of both blacks and women, the evidence eventually built up to the point that the truth could not be denied.  Women, whites, and blacks are all equally human, and though there may be real differences, especially between the sexes, they are not differences of value.  They’re just differences.  Most importantly, there are no moral differences between white men, black men, or women of either color.

And that’s where the real danger lies for Christians in the battle for political power in America.

Human Empathy

As I mentioned yesterday, the high point of the episode of 30 Days was when the Christian wife’s emotions kicked in and she began to empathize with the Atheist mom.  When that happened, she could no longer view her as some kind of godless monster.  Most importantly, she volunteered the opinion that being Christian or atheist doesn’t mean that someone is more or less moral.  And she said this during a Bible Study!  With other Christians around.

Like blacks and women, atheists have one very powerful weapon — the truth.  We aren’t monsters.  We are moral, and we do love life, our families, and our children.  We do want the best for others.  We do value freedom.  We do respect and even demand the freedom to believe whatever makes the most sense.   We’re just as human as they are.  In every way.

The biggest threat to oppression is human empathy.  Most humans cannot oppress other humans in good conscience when they can honestly and openly see things from the point of view of the oppressed.  This fact is powerful, and should not be overlooked when we are formulating political strategies.

Visibility

Here’s where things get difficult.  In every movement for political equality, there is pain and suffering when the oppressed begin to demand their rights.  The last fifty years of Christian political dominance in America have created severe social sanctions against being openly atheist.  And it’s worked.  Until just a few years ago, atheists were the silent unseen minority.  Now, they’re a very vocal minority, but there’s something that’s still missing.  Generally speaking, most atheists are vocal in limited ways.  We write blogs and books.  We petition Congress.  We buy ads.

What’s missing is the human element.  The building of empathy.  Out of fear, practicality, or politeness, we keep our atheism in the realm of politics and virtual reality.  We are not actively integrating ourselves into open society, and I believe this is a grave error.  It has been powerfully demonstrated that the human psyche cannot maintain impersonal, judgmental attitudes about “them” when “they” are integrated into our lives.  In other words, when humans develop emotional attachments to other humans, they lose prejudice.  This is our most powerful weapon as atheists.

And what we’re doing is not wrong on any level.  We are just as moral as any other group in America.  We are loving, caring, and empathetic.  We are capable of being fair and open-minded as legislators, and we do want equality for all Americans.   We don’t want to legislate atheism.  We don’t want to restrict the rights of Christians to practice their moral beliefs.  If they don’t want abortions, they don’t have to get them.  If they don’t want to permit gay unions, they don’t have to.  And we’d be fine with all of that if they’d just practice it within their own churches and leave the legislation alone.

What I’m suggesting is not “In Your Face Atheism.”  I don’t expect everybody to start debating theists on the street or trash talking religion in bars.  That’s not what this is about at all.  This is about visibility.  It’s about people knowing that there are lots of atheists around.  That’s all.  Just knowing that we’re everywhere.  Most theists don’t know it, but they know lots of atheists.  Many of the people theists are quite attached to are atheists.  And that’s the key to ending the oppression of atheism in America.  At least, that’s the way it seems to me.

I want every theist in America to have to look at atheism if they go out their door.  They need to see that their friends, their coworkers, their neighbors all have perfectly normal, reasonably happy, functional lives.  I want them to have to face their own prejudices.  They need to ask the question — “If atheists are so evil, why are all the atheists I know so normal?”

Think of it this way:  Blacks account for about 12% of the U.S. population.  That’s less than the atheist/agnostic population.  I’m willing to guess that pretty much every white person who reads this blog has at least one black friend.   Or at the very least, lives or works in close proximity to a black person or family.  And the most important thing is this — once a white person has had a close black friend, racism becomes very, very difficult to maintain.

So if we atheists are more populous than blacks, why are there so many people who say they don’t even know an atheist?  We’re doing a bad job of creating human empathy.

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Discussion

22 thoughts on “The Politics of Tolerance

  1. This is actually why I’m a vocal critic of some of the things coming from “The Atheist Movement” it’s all about public image and schemas.

    I feel I have to do this even more since I’m an atheist. It was relativily easy to brush off as a Deist, because they weren’t tarnishing my title. [I sometimes ponder if my time as a Deist was just a desperate attempt to not be associated with some of the movements but that’s another topic]

    I mean, there are schemas everywhere and to break them we have to work against it.

    The schema of feminists being man hating lesbians isn’t helped when a feminist goes on a clear anti-man rant on her blogs.

    Saying not all critisism of Obama is ignorant or racist is hard to prove when a bunch on conservatives rally up and call Obama is an “abortion loving Muslim Communist”

    This of course works for both Theists and atheists, if Christians don’t want to have a schema of them being gay hating abortion clinic bombers, then they need to promote the more tolerant interputations of Christianity that tolerate gay marriage and condemn clinic bombings.

    Posted by Alison | March 17, 2010, 6:22 pm
  2. Alison, there was a pretty intense debate at an atheist conference a few years ago when Sam Harris suggested ditching the label of “atheist” in favor of something without all the social stigma. The one side thought that was preposterous. “Atheist” describes what we are. If we come up with another name, we’ll just transfer the social stigma to that name. Theists may be deluded, but they’re not stupid. On the other side, people said no, it’s the word. If we focus on calling ourselves something that doesn’t directly threaten their theist status, they’ll see us as different but not as threatening.

    Personally I agree with the first group. Atheists aren’t reviled because of the name atheist. It’s because we’re a big threat to theists and everybody on both sides knows it. It’s because they’re taught from childhood that we’re evil, degenerate monsters who eat kittens and kill babies for sport.

    This is why I’ve been focusing a lot on emotional investment recently. The paper I cited recently that hypothesizes General Intelligence as a domain specific adaptation has really got my brain working on new directions. So much of religious behavior and belief is evolutionarily familiar, I’ve been wondering if there aren’t clever ways to tap into other evolutionarily familiar behaviors/environments in theists and essentially trigger unconscious shifts in emotional perception. Because the battle of intellects isn’t going to prevail by itself.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 17, 2010, 6:50 pm
  3. Personally I agree with the first group. Atheists aren’t reviled because of the name atheist. It’s because we’re a big threat to theists and everybody on both sides knows it. It’s because they’re taught from childhood that we’re evil, degenerate monsters who eat kittens and kill babies for sport.

    We should fight against the schemas that atheists are portrayed as and we should fight against the schemas Theists are portrayed by

    So much of religious behavior and belief is evolutionarily familiar, I’ve been wondering if there aren’t clever ways to tap into other evolutionarily familiar behaviors/environments in theists and essentially trigger unconscious shifts in emotional perception. Because the battle of intellects isn’t going to prevail by itself.

    ………..This seems familiar

    Posted by Alison | March 17, 2010, 8:17 pm
  4. Damn, I wish you would make your points instead of alluding to them.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2010, 2:58 am
  5. I think you have made an excellent point here—that increasing the visibility of atheists will in general lead to more empathy and tolerance. There is also a huge advantage in this being a very peaceful non-confrontational approach.

    I also think there is concern that some of the more outspoken atheists are too aggressive, leaders such as Dawkins and Harris—but I do think that they play a vital role in advancing the position of all atheists. If not for their ability to speak out and act as lightning rods, drawing attention to our existence and making it easier to come out, many of us would still be silent.
    Most of us do not have the position and prestige of a Dawkins to enable us to speak out as he does, but all of us can do as you suggest—be normal, happy, caring and moral people who just also happen to be atheists.
    We really do have a PR problem.

    Posted by bill | March 18, 2010, 1:02 pm
  6. Damn, I wish you would make your points instead of alluding to them.

    The first post was pretty clear. We should improve the public image of atheists and change starts from within. The atheist movement can’t really demand Theists use science and reason in there claims, if the atheist movement doesn’t use it themselves.

    The second one was that the part I quoted sounded a damn lot like what I’ve been saying over the years and what I linked to from Atran.

    Posted by Alison | March 18, 2010, 3:36 pm
  7. I’ve never disagreed with you on the emotional component of religion, Alison. Were you trying to be snarky? This leads me down the old “I think you don’t get what I’m saying” road.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2010, 6:33 pm
  8. Bill, yes we do have a PR problem. The biggest part of it is that we need Dawkins and Harris, but when they do what we need them to do, it gives us a bad image, which makes it harder to do some of the other things we need to do. It’s kind of a pick your poison thing.

    The thing is, Dawkins, et al, are correct. There are a lot of very big, very nasty problems caused on a large scale by religion and theism. As a matter of human kindness, someone needs to be making the public aware of the problem. And that’s what they’re doing. And they’re also correct that this isn’t really a compromise situation. Either we use science or we use faith. There really isn’t a way to split the difference.

    But… if we’re going to make much headway socially, we need empathy from theists, which is hard to get when we’re pointing out that they’re delusional and that we think they’re causing all kinds of problems for the good people of the world.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2010, 6:37 pm
  9. I have been an atheist for a while. I came to a point in my life when I had to say it out loud. I have never been one to care much what others thought of me, I am who I am. I didn’t even know about Dawkins and Harris prior to socializing with other atheists. They do not scare me, but I can see why they scare the traditional religious folk and even the wishy-washy sorta christian folk. Times are changing and that means a change in the equalization of power as well as subliminal changes.

    My grandmother, thankfully always an open-minded person, would be able to recall the day when folks were astounded to be sharing the same diner as a black family. I do not recall that period in our history, but it was a major change up – emotionally. Sharing the same eatery with an atheist is not quite as visually apparent, but all people need to get used to the fact they are currently in the midst of atheists. Is that guy with darker skin a Muslim or a christian? Does it matter? There are atheists, in and out of the closet, that range all facets of visual appearances. I know there was a day when I thought EVERYONE in America was a christian no matter what they looked like.

    We need all types and we have all types!

    Posted by PaigeB | March 18, 2010, 7:21 pm
  10. I agree with your point about the ‘human connection’, Hamby, but I think I would take it a few steps further than just being ‘out’. (Speaking of the importance of simply being ‘out’, I highly recommend the movie Milk, about Harvey Milk and the beginnings of the gay movement.)

    I was actually kind of expecting you to go in this direction and was surprised when you didn’t, especially considering this post is a follow up to the one about the TV show:

    More than just being out and known, we need to be outspoken and undeniable. After all, the ‘black friend’ or ‘some of my best friends are gay’ are classic examples of denial-based bigotry. We’re seeing it now with atheists: Oh, sure atheists might have a point, but why do they have to be so shrill and militant? Some of my best friends are atheists, and they just shut the hell up, so I have no problem with them. But these ‘new atheists’ (!), … blah blah blah…

    “What I’m suggesting is not “In Your Face Atheism.” I don’t expect everybody to start debating theists on the street or trash talking religion in bars. That’s not what this is about at all. This is about visibility. It’s about people knowing that there are lots of atheists around. That’s all.”

    I don’t think the two can be separated. In-your-face — I prefer the name unapologetic — atheism is a necessary component of achieving the desired visibility. Yes, we need ‘normal’ atheists who merely make their presence known, but we also need the ‘extreme’ (scare-quotes) atheists who make it safe for the normal atheists.

    There are two aspects of this that I’d like to focus on.

    First, and most obvious, is that being an unapologetic atheist is not a negative thing, and statements like this from Alison just highlight the importance and need for loud, outspoken, and unapologetic atheists: “We should improve the public image of atheists and change starts from within. The atheist movement can’t really demand Theists use science and reason in there claims, if the atheist movement doesn’t use it themselves.”

    No, Alison, we *can* demand theists use science and reason in their claims, even if we don’t necessarily rely on it in our skepticism of their claims. Burden of proof, silly. If theists don’t want their claims ridiculed, they should give up their ridiculous beliefs, or present the science and reason which supports them. We are under no obligation to treat ridiculous claims with circumspect deference. And ridicule is not a crime. And we don’t have to apologize for it.

    Second, and less obvious, is that being unapologetic doesn’t always require using ridicule or ‘negative’ tactics. There are other ways of promoting the human connection to atheists which can also be considered unapologetic tactics. For example, by portraying atheists and atheist worldviews as integral parts of popular culture.

    One of the huge turning points in the last decade or two has been not just the *normalization* of gays, but the *popularization* of themselves. Ellen DeGeneres, anyone? Likewise, remember the days when an action movie would have the token ‘black buddy’ who was inevitably the only ‘good guy’ to die? Now you’ve got Will Smith and Denzel Washington making the biggest action movies as the stars.

    I cannot emphasize this point enough, but I find perhaps I’m not very good at expressing it. I’ll just try to draw a quick sketch: Today you cannot find a serious representation of an *actual* atheist perspective in any form of popular media. What the public sees in popular media, like it or not (I don’t), is what the public will believe. I consider popular media, especially in America, as the modern evolution of religion. It presents a mythology, a false, but familiar reality, a consensus of consciousness. I will consider the atheist ‘movement’ to have finally been successful when the DeGeneres shift happens for us. The TV show you mentioned Hamby, if it was really orchestrated as you conjecture that the producers orchestrated it, would be a perfect example of this kind of shift.

    Part of the purpose of wonderism is to popularize science and reason, and I would love to see it come about that our movement shifts into the popular media, whether that’s in music, television, movies, novels, kids shows, games, whatever. This is where it needs to go from here. Good or bad, this is how to break through into the mainstream consciousness beyond simply being the ‘atheist buddy’.

    Posted by Wonderist | March 18, 2010, 8:13 pm
  11. Great post Hamby! I agree…all I keep saying is if you just change your status to atheist that’s all the atheist movement needs from you!

    But just like PaigeB said “We need all types and we have all types!”

    Posted by Jessica Anderson | March 18, 2010, 10:01 pm
  12. Wonderist, the point is in order to spread science and reason, we should use it.

    This isn’t about holding back critisisms of religion.

    I think that claims both from religion [such as the Earth is 6000 years old] and about religion [such as religion causes this or that].

    Calling atheist to apply critical thinking and applying reason and science to claims about religion from the atheist community in no way prevents or discourages them from doing the same to claims from religion.

    I mean if you are to stress the importance of empirical evidence, then you should use it even if it means applying it to claims about religion.

    One thing I agree with Hamby is that we should be selling science and reason. So every claim that discards science and reason hurts our cause.

    What credibility will the atheist movement have if our claims can be refuted by anybody who took an intro course to stats?

    Hamby also said that by not actively condemning something you are silently condoning it.

    I for one refuse to condone the use of bad science.

    Posted by Alison | March 19, 2010, 2:01 am
  13. I was actually kind of expecting you to go in this direction and was surprised when you didn’t, especially considering this post is a follow up to the one about the TV show:

    I actually intend to do a whole entry about this, Wonderist. I didn’t go in this direction for length considerations.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 19, 2010, 2:45 am
  14. Alison: We have the fossils = We win type arguments? I have found the xians adept at dodging direct answers to empirical evidence. The common response is personal experience tells them thus and so – or some other such drivel. They are not swayed by inconsistencies in their own book either. I would lay money on the fact that many such answers might lead the xian to look for a better answer for their future arguments…at some point…but I am rational, I want answers. They think they have the answer so they don’t look until it is uncomfortable to do anything else.
    We HAVE to stay in meaningless dialog with them just to stay in the dialog at all. We have to keep answering the same questions over and over for them. We are spreading reason and science this way.

    Posted by PaigeB | March 19, 2010, 3:12 am
  15. PaigeB, I’m not saying cut dialog with Theists. I’m saying if we want people to apply science and logic to our claims we should set the example.

    For example, we can’t disprove God’s existence, all we can do is evaluate claims that God exists and check for empirical evidence and logic.

    If a Theists does make a claim such as the Earth is 6000 years old, then we can show data that the Earth is 4.5 billion. This is an example of actually using science and reason to evaluate claims.

    But when an atheist for example claims that America’s high murder rate is due to it’s high religiousity, then shouldn’t this claim be held up to scientific empirical standard?

    A certain atheist blog author who will remain namelesss likes to throw around “It’s obvious” like candy.

    What message are we sending with that? That we should rely on our internal feelings and intuition? I mean is that really the message we want to sent Theists?

    Or should we send the message that we should rely on empirical evidence and logic even if it goes against our intuition and feelings?

    Posted by Alison | March 19, 2010, 2:53 pm
  16. Alison, shame on you. I’ve never said it’s obvious that murder is linked to religiosity. I’ve gone out of my way to point out that Japan has very strict gun laws that probably have something to do with their low murder rates.

    I’ve said that faith based reasoning is clearly linked to dysfunctional behavior. You’ve completely ignored my simple proof of that. Only theists say magic words over their food to try to keep from getting food poisoning. That’s dysfunctional, and it’s causally linked to faith.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 19, 2010, 3:17 pm
  17. Alison, shame on you. I’ve never said it’s obvious that murder is linked to religiosity

    Sorry for the confusion. “The America murder rate” was suppose to be a rehtorical question to get people illustrate my point and the “obvious” comment was a seperate comment and not suppose to be portrayed as an unnamed atheist blog author’s answer to said rehtorical question.

    I’ve said that faith based reasoning is clearly linked to dysfunctional behavior. You’ve completely ignored my simple proof of that. Only theists say magic words over their food to try to keep from getting food poisoning. That’s dysfunctional, and it’s causally linked to faith.

    I think it’s rather funny that you constantly accuse me of not understanding your points while you don’t seem to understand mine.

    I never said that people would still say magic words over their food, or still push ID into schools, or still wear Jebus pajamas if religion was gone.

    Posted by Alison | March 19, 2010, 3:34 pm
  18. “The America murder rate” was suppose to be a rehtorical question to get people illustrate my point

    Oops, I meant that it was suppose to get people to think about my point and to ignore my shitty grammar.

    Posted by Alison | March 19, 2010, 3:36 pm
  19. Alison – I agree with you. I guess I should have said that right out the first time. We have to be very careful and use empirical evidence. I added my BELIEF that they don’t get it – that they don’t care to get it. Like little children we must keep them entertained while we get to the empirical evidence again and again.
    It is impossible to prove a negative, I feel the burden of evidence is on them.

    Posted by PaigeB | March 21, 2010, 4:47 am
  20. It is impossible to prove a negative, I feel the burden of evidence is on them.

    Of course.

    I’m not talking about negative claims [such as there is no God], I’m talking about the positive claims. [such as why they are believers because they just don’t care about counter evidence etc…]

    And to go with the comments on the Christian philosopher entry as an example.

    Posted by Alison | March 22, 2010, 1:28 am
  21. Hello Hamby,
    I assume you did not get my previous email, so I repeat it.
    I would like to send you a newly published, very unusual, atheistic book as a gift.
    Would you, please, supply me with the address where I can mail the book?
    Thank you. Mark Ofshtein – publisher.
    Phone : 305-395-7955
    Email : markofshtein@aol.com
    Website : http://www.ageoflogic.com
    P.S. Please, don’t let the title “You Will Be Forced To Become Wealthy” confuse you. This title fits like a glove, and after you read it, you will see why.

    Posted by Mark Ofshtein | March 29, 2010, 10:52 am
  22. Give me a week or two, Mark, and I’ll be able to get back with you with a P.O. box number. I hope you’ll forgive me that I don’t give out my mailing address to anyone I don’t know. Too much potential vulnerability.

    But I am interested in reading and reviewing your book.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 31, 2010, 5:02 pm

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