Would You Consider Heathen To Be An Insulting Term – Someone looked at the words written on the blackboard above and the question mark. The words “where, when, why, how and who”.
Hispanic Americans were asked: “Are you in this country legally?” Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are asked: “How do you have sex?” Transgender people were asked: “Have you had surgery?” Asking an African American: “Can I touch your hair?”
Would You Consider Heathen To Be An Insulting Term
Every marginalized group has some questions or queries that are frequently asked of them, which lead them to the point; Inherent in asking derogatory, communal, or dehumanizing questions.
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Sometimes questions are asked sincerely, with genuine ignorance of the offensive assumptions behind them. Sometimes they are asked in a hostile, passive-aggressive, “I asked you a question” way. But it’s not right to ask them.
These questions are not questions that open up real inquiry and conversation – they are questions that close minds, not open them. Even though it wasn’t meant to be. Most people who care about bigotry, marginalization, and social justice (or just care about good behavior) don’t ask.
Here are nine questions you should never ask an atheist. I’ll answer it, just this once, and then explain why you shouldn’t ask, and why many atheists will be condemned if you ask.
Answer: Atheists are moral for the same reason believers are moral: because we have a sense of compassion and a sense of justice. Humans are social creatures, and like other social animals, certain basic moral values are hardwired into our brains: concern for justice, concern for loyalty, and concern when others are harmed.
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If you are a believer and you do not believe that this is the reason why believers are moral, ask yourself: If I could convince you today with 100% certainty that there is no god and no life after death, would you come to terms with it? -suddenly started stealing? Murder, burning of buildings? If not – why?
If not…whatever stops you from doing those things is the same thing that stops atheists from doing them. (If you want, remind me not to come to you.)
Ask yourself this too: If you accept some parts of your scriptures and reject others – on what basis do you do so? It is wrong to throw stones at adulterers, but helping the poor is a good thing, no matter what your party says; Planting different crops in the same field is not a problem, but adulteration is very confusing; Slavery was terrible, but loving your neighbor as yourself is a good idea…that’s what atheists say about right and wrong.
Humans are good—even if we don’t express it this way—because we have an innate understanding of the basic foundation of morality: the understanding that other people are as important as ourselves, whatever their motives. The reason why one of us acts as if we are more important than the other. This applies to both atheists and believers.
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Why you shouldn’t ask: This is a very embarrassing question. Being moral, caring and affectionate towards others is a basic element of humanity.
To question whether atheists can be moral, to express confusion about how to care for others without believing in a supernatural creator, is to question whether we are fully human.
And did you know? This question is also very insulting to religious people. It basically says that the only reason believers are moral is because of fear of punishment and desire for reward. It is said that believers do not act from a sense of goodness or justice. It is said that the morality of believers is at best childish and at worst self-serving.
Sometimes, “Don’t you feel sad or sad?” Or, “If you don’t believe in God or heaven, why not commit suicide?”
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Answer: Atheists find meaning and happiness in the same activities that other people do. We see it in big things like family, friendship, work, nature, art, learning, and love. We see it in little things like cakes, World of Warcraft, and playing with kittens.
The only differences are (a) believers add “pleasing my god and gain benefits in the afterlife” to the list (often placing it at the top), and (b) believers consider the words to convey meaning . Their god or gods, who according to our own understanding are atheists, are willing to accept that responsibility.
It is true that, for many atheists, the fact that life is finite provides more meaning, not less meaning. When we eliminate “we have no good reason to please God” from our “means” list, we can focus more on providing the rest. When we accept that life will inevitably end, we will be more motivated to make every moment count.
Why don’t you ask: What is meant by “humanization”? Experiencing meaning and value in life is ingrained in humans. When you treat atheists as if we are dead because we don’t believe in a supernatural creator or the immortality of ourselves… you treat us like we are not fully human. Please do not.
At Home And Among ‘heathens’
3. ‘Does it take a lot of faith to be an atheist in order to be a believer?’
Slightly longer answer: This question assumes that “atheism” means “100% certainty that God does not exist, a willingness to question, and no room for doubt.”
For most people who call themselves atheists, that is not what “atheism” means. For most atheists, “atheism” means “reasonably convinced that there is no god” or, “having come to a tentative conclusion based on the evidence we have seen and the arguments we have considered, that there is no god”.
No, we cannot be 100% sure that there is no god. We cannot be 100% sure that unicorns do not exist. But we are determined. Not believing in unicorns does not constitute “faith.” And there is no faith in God.
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Why you shouldn’t ask it: The assumption behind this question is that atheists don’t bother to think about our atheism. This assumption is stupid and insulting.
Most atheists have carefully considered the question of whether God exists or not. Most of us were raised religious and left that religion to search our hearts and minds. Even those of us who were raised as non-believers (mostly) grew up in a society steeped in religion.
It takes a fair amount of questioning and thinking to refute ideas that everyone around you believes.
When you ask this question, you also reveal your own narrow-mindedness. Instead of “faith,” you indicate that you cannot imagine the possibility of anyone drawing conclusions about religion based on evidence, logic, and ideas of what might appear to be true.
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Slightly longer answer: Unless you define “religion” as “the way people make decisions about the world” or “a community of shared ideas,” then no.
If your definition of “religion” includes atheism, include Amnesty International, the Audubon Society, heliocentrism, acceptance of the theory of evolution, Justin Bieber fan clubs, and the Democratic Party. By any useful definition of the word “religion,” atheism is not a religion.
Why you shouldn’t ask: Same reason as #3. Calling atheism a religion assumes that atheism is a dogma accepted on faith, not a conclusion based on thought and evidence. This shows that not only does someone have a different opinion about religion than you, but you are also unwilling to consider the possibility that they have a different opinion.
5. ‘What are the advantages of atheist groups? How can you build a society based on something you don’t believe in?’
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Remember when I said that atheists are people? Humans are social creatures. We want to spend time with other people who share our interests and values. We enjoy working with others to achieve the same goals. Moreover, when atheists reveal our atheism, many of us lose friends, family, and communities or have strained and painful relationships with them.
Atheists create communities so that we can be honest about who we are and what we think, but not be alone.
Why you shouldn’t ask: It’s really a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” dilemma. Atheists are always told that religion is necessary for the society that provides it: forcing people to abandon religion is cruel or pointless, or both, because religious institutions have more social support.
This shows us how ridiculous it is that people often lose religion when they replace it with atheism. (Or us