Thursday, June 23, 2011

Focusing On The Wrong Details

"Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood." - H. L. Mencken

Another fantastic video about (or rather not about) religion:

And here's the link for those who can't see embeds:

One thing being discussed in the comments of said video is that sometimes people ask about others' beliefs because they are genuinely curious. Often times that curiosity fits into one of the three reasons he outlined in the video, though. I think one of the few times someone can be curious just for the sake of curiosity regarding this would be if you already know someone pretty well, and want to see what kind of theology is involved with the worldview you already know they have.

It also reinforces my point in the Groups Are Memes post that while Hank says he's not an authority on these matters, a portion of his viewership thinks of him that way.

The core message of this video, at least how I'm interpreting it, is that it doesn't matter what you believe so much as how it affects you and your life. It really shouldn't matter what boxes people fall into, because each box is so big that it doesn't really tell you anything about them, and just encourages the use of stereotypes.

And then I find this article and am completely baffled. I honestly don't believe some of that stuff. And it makes me want to never ever move away from this city, because at least here people are tolerant enough that I wasn't even aware of this widespread hatred. And I don't even identify as atheist anymore. (Note: However, I do find the "Millions are good without God" billboards offensive...despite being one of said millions. Go figure.)



  1. So, I'm not really going to talk about your post, other than to express happiness that your corner of the world isn't unwelcoming and ask why you found the millions good ad offensive, mainly because I agree with it ;) But I thought I'd mention that lest I come across as an insensitive jerk.

    In my epistomology class we defined knowing something to be 1) believing it to be true, 2) it being true, and 3) having a good reason to believe that it is true. Without condition 3 you can accidentally "know" all sorts of crazy things that just happen to be true. Of course, because condition 3 I don't actually believe that we can know anything, so I guess I'm some sort of crazy skeptic. But at least I'm not an atheist, right? (just kidding, and gracefully segueing as well)

    I think the article could probably have been better titled 10 Horrible Stories about Things Happening to Atheists, considering that most of the ranking was anecdotal, which he acknowledges at the end. But maybe expecting better reasoned arguments from atheists than other religious groups is one of those stereotyping of religion things Hank was talking about...

    Idaho- I'd always interpreted that verse to mean that if your beliefs are not accepted by a community, you should shake it off after leaving, rather than carrying resentment with you to the next place you go.

    Alabama- Gah! I'm pretty sure there is at least one biblical parable about people of other religions being our neighbors. Of course, if he is saying that they are not brothers and sisters in Christ, that is technically true, but they are still his neighbors, and, as such, fall under than pesky, "Love your neighbor," clause in the Bible. In regard to secular clubs, I'm not exactly sure what they are, but I would guess that they actually are not secular. But I'm just guessing that it is an atheist group, and I could be wrong, and even if it is, it should be able to meet at school if any other religious affiliated groups are. Of course, I could be wrong and it could be a group devoted to, um, doing stuff that isn't religious... you know, like a chess club... or yearbook... You know, when you think of it most clubs at school are secular clubs, why do we need another?

    Texas: Yikes!

  2. Oh, I definitely agree that millions are good without god. Like I said, I'm one of them. However, I think most atheists (which I am not, really) tend to be arrogant and condescending towards theists. "Millions are good without God" to me comes across as "Haha we're not dependent on religion to give us morals you guys are weak-minded sheep."

  3. On the other hand, I think there is a tendency among believers to view atheists as amoral, at best, and even immoral, so if one reads this as a refutation to that, "Although we do not believe in God we still are good people," it seems a perfectly reasonable, non-insulting message.

    Also, my sister also wrote a post inspired by Hank's video, and I directed her here to yours, so I thought I'd point you over towards hers as well, and it is here.


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