Humanist.com

56 26

Why are atheist so obsessed by religion? I get this question all the time usually in the form of an attack.
I will briefly give my reply but I would like to know what you think and how you respond to it.

I was indoctrinated as a child into Christianity by a very religious family. The teachings of Christianity I found to be harmful and are endorsed and promoted openly in the United States. The religion led to a suicide attempt whem I was 14 years old due to the guilt of not being good enough for god. It promotes sexism, bigotry and has often led to war against "unbelievers" to just scratch the surface.
I care about religion because it directly affects my life as it is imposed on me and the culture I live in. The idea that if I ignore it it won't hurt me is a misnomer.
I address religion to minimize its harm to society. I am passionate about it, no doubt. The term obssesion is a bit strong meant to invoke emotive misrepresentation.

What are your thoughts on this?

DavidLaDeau 8 Jan 14

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

56 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

10

Why are people who have survived being hit by cars so obsessed with looking both ways before they cross the street?

Obviously because they just hate all travel and can not face the fact that cars can not hurt people.

10

I'm vigilant and proactive with regard to conservative religions, one, in particular, that is having an impact on U.S. legislation. We shouldn't let our guard down. The religious right is flushed with cash and has an army of religiously conservative attorneys, such as Alliance Defending Freedom. That is code for "only our rights matter."

"It’s time for Americans to wake up to the harsh reality that the religious right, fueled by their fear of loss of power from the changing demographics in our country and their support from the Trump administration, is emboldened and aggressively pursuing all means possible to maintain white Christian power in America,” Rachel Laser, president of Americans United For Separation of Church and State

As to other discussions about religion, I find the subject interesting from a neurological, psychological and sociological standpoint because it has such a huge impact on our species.

Speaking about Trump, is it just me, because I don’t believe he’s a Christian at all.

@woodstar He's an opportunist and so are the Christians that support him.

People don't generally understand why I a hard atheist is so interested in religion. It appears that you certainly do. Even if it did not directly affect my life I would find it very interesting.

Well said, my friend.

@Grecio Thank you. 🙂

10

I’m British and even though I live in probably the most religious (and most religiously divided) part of the UK...Northern Ireland, I rarely feel the need to ever talk about religion in my daily life. I don’t think I’ve actually talked about religion in my entire life, as much as I have in the past 18 months since I joined this site...on that I do agree with @273kelvin and @Geoffrey51. My sympathies go out to all of you who live in the “Bible Belt” of the USA and who have to deal with constantly being confronted with religion or having to answer questions as to what you believe or don’t believe. That would be my idea of hell!

It is much like having to answer the question " how do you like your anal sex?" At the grocery store every time by random strangers. Even if you liked it do you really need to be confrinted about it every time you leave the house? If you did not like it should you be expected to and shunned if you didn't?

Believe me brother, it is hell on Earth.

10

You are mistaken. As an atheist since age 13, I feel tired of being hassled by Christians about my lack of belief. An example:

Hassled by a Christian Psychologist

Ken, a 66-year-old psychologist from Portland, Oregon. His first message:

  • "I really like your playful, creative, giving being. You're more 'spiritual' than most religious people. I'm curious how an 'atheist' can live that way."*

My response:

Ken,

During two Skype sessions, I repeatedly asked to change the subject. I was tired of talking about religion.

"We should be able to talk about anything," you insisted. "I don't want to talk about hiking. Hiking is not a deep subject." With this you shut me down. This is controlling behavior. I felt pressured and hassled by you about religion and spirituality.

Talking with you is not fun for me. I've had enough. I do not want to spend another minute being grilled by you about why I am an atheist, religion and spirituality.

Yesterday a man I used to date, Rich, dropped by as I was kneading four loaves of bread. With a master degree, Rich is highly intelligent and an atheist. Unlike you, Rich immediately saw the insult in your first message.

I told Rich you could not understand how I can have loving kindness without attending church and believing in a god. "I get asked that by Christians all the time," Rich replied.

I would never corner Christians and demand that they explain themselves. Yet you and your compatriots think this is acceptable behavior. "I enjoyed the couple of conversations we had," you wrote. It was not fun for me.

Christians who don't know me often demand, as you did, that I explain:

  1. Why I am an atheist.
  2. How the universe began (as if being an atheist automatically makes me an astrophysicist). "Nobody knows," I reply. "Science is advancing every year."
  3. What happens when people die. "Nobody knows," I reply.
  4. What is "spirituality."

You may think your questions were unique. They were not. Rich and I both find being grilled by Christians rude and tiresome. I suggest you see a therapist to discuss your bias against atheists.

Yes, I am perfectly capable of "agreeing to disagree." How else do you think I live peacefully in an area dominated by Republicans and Christians?

Ken, atheists like me are often hassled by Christians, demanding that we justify our beliefs. I don't have to justify my lack of belief in an invisible deity to anyone.

Kathleen

"I suggest you see a therapist to discuss your bias against atheists."
I'm keeping that one!

8

Because we're angry. Angry at how it has perverted every aspect of our lives and society and we want it to stop.

8

The conservatives would rule us or burn us at the stake

That sounds like an outragious statement... that I agree with!

8

Have you ever been driving and seen a big mutilated corpse by the side of the road, probably a deer? You slow down and maybe stop to check it out and try to figure out what happened to it. It's just too disturbing to look away.

That's religion to me.

7

It is in our faces all time, shoved down our throats by an ignorant populace. And we are often attacked for NOT believing in it. Of course we sound off. Fuck them

Very true.

7

My usual reply

7

As I've answered several times when someone has asked why the members of a website devoted to discussions of atheism and agnosticism such as this one would spend so much time discussing religion - well, of course. People on websites devoted to sustainable transport talk about cars and people on websites devoted to veganism and animal rights talk about the meat industry, so why would be not talk about the one thing that brought us all here?

Jnei Level 8 Jan 14, 2020

We are forbidden by GOD!

7

I ask the counter-question: Why are religionists so obsessed with atheists? (And, for that matter, with adherents of other religions?)

Because, while it's good enough for most atheists to let the believers live and believe whatever they want, it's not good enough for the believers to extend the same courtesy to atheists. Unless all bend the knee (or at least follow the rules they impose in the name of their god- and specifically their god), the believers aren't going to be satisfied.

So maybe if religion withdraws from the public sphere and stops trying to pass laws regarding how atheists behave, atheists can forget religion exists, too.

Much like do as I say not as I do.

@DavidLaDeau Considering how many religious figures have been caught up in sex scandals, how many self-appointed "moral guardians" are on their fourth or fifth marriage, how many public homophobes have turned out to be in the closet all their lives... quite definitely this saying applies in their cases.

I wanted to make this point in my original reply but it just didn't flow well.

@Paul4747 That kills me about writing. I want to hit every point at the same time! I have to be very careful not to ramble.

6

I am "obsessed" with religion for several reasons. One is because I am obsessed with myth and the two are intricately intertwined. Although Barry Powell says that they are separate, they are not: myth is the underpinning of religion.

Another is because ancient history fascinates me and religion is intricately intertwined with culture. To study Egypt necessitates the study of their religion.

Three is the concept of a belief in deity (not religion) and how/why/when it arose is fascinating.

Four, our lives and cultures are saturated with religion.

Five, my life has been saturated with religion.

In an ongoing attempt to understand people, cultures, and myself, it is necessary to examine what parts religion has influenced us since before recorded time. The unexamined life (and history) is not worth living.

Well said. Very good.

@Grecio TY 🙂

6

I am not obsessed by religion. The religious are sometimes obsessed by atheism. I don't care what people believe as long as they don't legislate, adjudicate, execute or bully it into my life or the lives of others.

g

Seems like every Sunday they get together to raise cane about Non Belief.

@twill I assume you refer to christians. (so what if they do, as long as they leave us alone?) and i further assume you mean cain, not sugar or bamboo.

g

@genessa Ha! I did type in cain first, but it was underlined like a misspelling, so I changed it to cane.

NOT leaving us alone, seems to be part of the cain they raise. Varies by cain level.

@twill some versions of spellcheck incomprehensibly underline perfectly good contractions and any proper names (such as cain) they fail to recognize. Take spellcheck with about a ton of salt lol

g

6

I don't care so much about deconverting people. My focus is on promoting the idea that skepticism is not bad, and their neighbors who do not agree are not automatically communist hippie sex and drug addict radicals.

You mean unbelievers might be humans? Who would believe such a thing?

6

To me, asking me why I am "obsessed" by religion is to ignore the first 25 years of my life.

I am an Ignostic

I was raised a believer
AS a believer I thought understanding God of the utmost import.
SO I studied that.

This was the 60's. 70's and early 80's, there was no internet. So it was travel and churches, temples, ashrams, and lots and lots of reading. More even than that was interpersonal conversations. If I met someone with a different religious belief I would seek to grasp how they saw the world and what they believed.

That remains very much unchanged. If I do not think or believe in the same fashion as you do, miscommunication is very easy. If I come to see HOW you use language rather than how "I" interpret that language, miscommunication is reduced.

Comparative religious study was a slow evolution of thought for me, over two decades. As a child both home life and society indoctrinated me into a God belief, an undefinable all powerful something. I believed in that at probably 3, through sunday school and songs. Religion began early to teach about God, but I was precocious and I started reading the book, and church history, and the age of reason (after they taught us about Paine's "Common Sense" in school)

So I was dissatisfied with the religions explanations and understanding of God, what I thought ought to be of paramount import. As a boy I still had magical thinking and as such thought "Gee, if I have enough Faith I should be able to act like Elijah, and call fire down from heaven to end the Vietnam War!" The Rev telling me "God don't do such things anymore" showed me we did not have the same definition of God, "you do not get to say what the ALMIGHTY will do in the future!", I thought, and my trust for religious leaders was permanantly altered. I saw them all as other people, struggling to understand as I was, but not having the answers themselves while claimin they did.

Life circumstance then bounced me through six households, all Christian and all of differing denominations as a ward of the state due to my mothers paralytic disability. So as a young teen I saw that the denominations had very different ideas about God, Jesus, salvation, sin, and hell. All of those leaders had the same feet of clay as Daniel wrote too . . .

Blind leading the Blind, but that did not disprove my God assumption. So on to comparative religions, occultist idea's like Theosophy, Hermatic order of the Golden Dawn, the works of Aquinas and Augustine, onto taoism, Buddhism Hinduism, shamanic ideas and various native tribal studies, replete with the psychadelics, and yet all along that path it simply never occurred to me to ask

"Why am I assuming there is such a thing as a God, and then seeking evidence of that?"

So my position evolved over that time from a stauch theist, to a deist, to an agnostic deist, to an agnostic atheist, to an Ignostic, because, well which God idea are we talking about?
Is it actually well defined?
Is it a mystery?
What is the point in making an assumption about what you admit is a mystery, an unknown?

Ignosticism is an Epistomologic position; it is a set of ideas refuting the importance of determining the existence of God. It claims that knowledge regarding the reality of God is altogether unprofitable.

It is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts; including (but not limited to) concepts of faith, spirituality, heaven, hell, afterlife, damnation, salvation, sin and the soul.

Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the term god has no coherent and unambiguous definition.

IF you cannot even define what you are talking about, or consider it beyond human understanding, how is it you can claim to know anything about it and keep your intellectual integrity intact?

So I have been Agnostic Atheist/ Ignostic for three plus decades. Until the rise of the tea Party, I paid religion no mind at all, I just lived. The only contact I had were those poor unfortunates who would come to my door with their religious idea. Those I invited in and had long discussions with, but that ended after three or four years as they put me on their "No Knock" lists.

The Tea Party however was a different thing, that is religious Ideology all wrapped up in a psuedo patriotism. As an American Citizen and a Vet, that was something I needed to speak out against as I saw it in trw, so I became a Public Open Atheist, but that is political, not religious. Freedom of religion must equal freedom from religion or the equation is unbalanced.

So the answer today to "why am I obsessed with religion" is, because I believe in Liberty and religion is actively seeking to squash liberty through legislation and beaurocratic methodology.

@WilliamFleming "Americans who support the conservative Christian movement, sometimes known as the religious right, also overwhelmingly support the Tea Party."

[pewforum.org]

@WilliamFleming My personal experience was that was its method, but its population was strong evangelical and fundamentalist who saw all others as "of the world".

My son, then 18, went to see what one of their first meetings here in state was about. He was in a band, and a history buff, so mowed his hair into a mowhawk (in honor of the original teapartiers) and went.
They labeled him in seconds based on the Mowhawk, as an "infiltrator" a "liberal spy", a "non-believer" (despite no religious discussion at all) an 80 yr old self declared "Good Christian Woman" spat on him.

The next day I was a public Atheist.

@WilliamFleming The article doesn't associate the two. It simply states that the Teaparty is strongly supported by the religious right.

@WilliamFleming She did not suggest that. She only indicated the corrilation.

@WilliamFleming Nope, do you see any?

As I said above"My personal experience was that was its method, but its population was strong evangelical and fundamentalist who saw all others as "of the world".

If the membership of the group purports a balanced budget AND is strongly fundamentalist, what exactly do you think they want cut from any budget in order to balance it?

And that is what it became, a group who stood on small gov and bqalanced budgets but were and are strongly fundamentalist and seeking to balance budgets by cutting provisions for womens health and granting tax boons to the aristocrats we call Corprations.

5

I am not obsessed with religion. But when I see a harm, I should do something about it. If it is something I cannot do anything immediate about it, I should speak out against it. It isn't just religion that I am unhappy about. There are lots of things in life that should be questioned.

It does far more harm than it does good. But that doesn't mean I care about religion. In fact, I don't care about religion at all.

We are morally bankrupt. We don't know right from wrong and have no morals. You could not possibly care about people heathen! Oops I just vomited out some of my past.

@DavidLaDeau

Well, luckily for me, I don't give a shit about what the faithful thinks of me.

5

I personally am not obsessed with religion. For the most part, any displays of religion in town I pretty much ignore. My grandma, may she rest in peace, use to say all the time, "I just let God take care of me."

I normally just ignored her God quotes, and just continued our conversations. I felt no need to be concerned or interested in religion when discussing anything. I live in a city so most people are concerned about trying to make a living, or anything other than religion really. You get a few religious people trying to spread their religious views. In the city, religion is pretty meaningless. The culture of the city probably affected my attention to religion now that I am thinking about it.

When I'm online, I don't debate religion, I debate politics; well really I debate economics because I love Capitalist economics, so I don't really get into no religious conversations because I don't care about it. Unless someone is talking religion with me, then I would discuss religion, but that is rare and only happened to me once when I was explaining the non-physicality of moral principles on YouTube and a Christian contacted me.

5

Why are fucking god botherers so obsessed wih Atheists.

They want us to conform to their beliefs in order to validate their beliefs. They fail tomunderstand that group think can be wrong.

5

In some countries, atheism is pretty much the default, and as a result it's probably not on peoples' minds that much. When few believe, there's not much impetus to discuss it. In the United States, though, many many people believe, in one way or another. There is such a wide variety of beliefs, and such polarization, that it is an important subject and has a real impact on everyone's lives. Even here, of course, there are atheists and agnostics who really don't think that much about it, and that's fine. Personally, I just find it difficult to avoid noticing all the ways that religion is having a negative impact. It's not entirely bad, but it's mostly bad.

When one takes the good with the bad there is never balence.

Everyone I know has no interest in atheist or not atheist. The default position is who actually gives a fuck. “Pass me another beer from the fridge and a snag from the barbie”.

I think lot of you guys stuck in the Bieber belt would find it refreshing.

@Geoffrey51 The thing is theist commonly don't think about religion until they are aware their beliefs are challenged. Say athiest and they become instantly ultra religious.

@DavidLaDeau So true

5

I would simply say: "I am obsessed with religion for the same reasons you should be obsessed with what somebody tries to use their penis. If it is in private and everybody consents, I don't care about it. If you whip it out in public and try to force it down somebody else's throat, we have a problem."

Okay lets go with this. When everywhere you go in public everyone wants to tell you their penis is the best it really gets old. All the penises begin to look look alike which is sad becuase you don't care in the first place. When you say I don't care about hearing about your penis or want dick pics you are accused of being obsessed with penises.

@DavidLaDeau Remember to whom this was initially addressed, a Christian who asks why atheist are "obsessed" with religion. It drives the point home about how it is less obsession and more about public decency with an example they can understand.

5

If you are beholden to doctrine then your reasoning and logic abilities are suppressed and retarded.
Basically, I'm sick of dealing with retards which are caused from religious indoctrination.

At first I was not happy seeing the word retard. But then I finished the sentence, very well said and appropiately used!

@DavidLaDeau it's a word with negative connotations but the appropriate word to use for those beholden to doctrine.

5

I don’t think all atheists/agnostic are obsessed with religion, however the one ‘s from the US seem to be. Maybe because religion is so prevalent in some or a lot of US society.

@Greatlakesgal Well said.

5

I've decided not to waste any more time on it..

5

I grew up Christian and felt terrible about myself most of my life. Once I gave it up, I turned a new leaf and learned to love myself and not blame things on “God”. I realized things just happen and are out of mine or anyone’s hands. I am passionate about it because I’m thankful I was able to educate myself and move on & would like for others to have that freedom as well. Everyone should get to be themselves without feeling guilty about it!

5

because i have empathy. because i live in the buy bull belt, where dating and other factors cause an issue. because i was a theist and now that the veil of lies has been exposed i want others to understand it. the harm it causes. the clergy that use it to get at kids. though i would not call it obsession. theist generally catch me on an atheist page or group, an assume thats all i do. the better question back at theist is, why don't you care that its been shown to be a lie? why don't you care about the harm thats caused by false beliefs and bad reasoning that effects every human on this planet?

It is my impression that non-believers are haters and can not have empathy. At least that is the cannon ball shot over my bow.

@DavidLaDeau haters, baby eaters, satan worship, possed by demons. immoral . i have had it all tossed at me over the years. fact is atheist win in all moral contest. thinking people tend to get better results across the board

@MichaelSpinler Actually humanism is so elementary one should not have to think about it.

@DavidLaDeau one would think.

@DavidLaDeau If anything, it is the opposite. mankind doesn't need religion in order to have morals. Some of the most hateful people I know are believers.

@Grecio Religion becomes a platform for excused hate.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:449146
Humanist does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.