Dear Atheists…

This is why normal people hate you.  When your hatred of Christians turns you into the rigid, inhuman dogmatist who tramples on grieving families–you know, the sort of person that you claim to oppose–you are doing it wrong.

  • Tom

    The worst are the commenters haranguing the family for having some kind of sense of entitlement. You have to be a real specimen if your reaction to a grieving family is “(No) God! Stop acting like you’re so special!”

  • Hematite

    So if there is no God, why should these dower jerks care if someone else acts is if there were? It’s not is if it were going to make any difference in the long run if someone disagrees with them as everything will be lost and forgotten. It’s almost as if Christian symbals and expressions of faith made them nervious and a bit spooked.

  • S. Murphy

    A suave, urbane, passive-aggressive Westboro. Or at least, Bill Donahue on his bad days. Most of the atheists I know would be ashamed to be associated.

  • Dave G.

    This isn’t the first time. A similar lawsuit was filed some years ago out west, and we had some in our own area while I lived in Kentucky make the same claim. The protest is that it’s on public ground and is tended by government employees who fall under public tax supported expenses. These are religious symbols. That’s the case. It’s also a portent of things to come.

  • Jared Clark

    Hi, young person here. Not fleeing the Church because a Catholic blogger is rightly angry over this. In fact, I love the Church, as do my young friends and acquaintances.

    • Alex Symczak

      Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg. One so huge that it causes families to disown their children, atheists to be effectively banned from major political office, and homosexuals to face discrimination. Many people realize this and are fleeing from organized religion. Perhaps you will join them in the future.

      http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100260301/america-is-turning-secular-much-faster-than-we-realise/

      • Benjamin2.0

        atheists to be effectively banned from major political office… homosexuals to face discrimination
        Your use of narrative-constructing equivocations makes you difficult to take seriously. One can only balk at the things you take for granted for which you ought to argue in this venue. The “organized religion is bad because it has behavioral standards” assertion invalidates itself. Like moral relativism (its major premise, though, you presented no argument again), it establishes a morality while simultaneously attempting to negate morality qua morality. “Behavioral standards are wrong” is a behavioral standard.
        If it were your goal to establish that the precipitous drop in Protestant enrollment (look at those rock solid Catholic numbers! We’re converting them as fast as they can leave) was due to extreme gullibility and susceptibility to a political narrative crammed artificially into every crevice of our society, you could have done no better.

    • joey_in_NC

      I love the Church too, but I think Mark should be completely ashamed of himself with the words he has chosen. Please, don’t defend him on this.

  • BHG

    This is also why these examples get a little muddy. If indeed the memorial exceeded local time limits, it was at the very least unwise of the family not to remove it when it was time to do so. Time limits seem like a reasonable accommodation for this sort of thing and help defray pressure on the local government to disallow them altogether. Opposing Christian expression in the public square is wrong indeed, but is it really OK to assume that any private individual has a right to co-opt shared property indefinitely for his own purposes?

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      This makes sense to me.

      *edit* I will go further. If Christians want to get along with our atheist/agnostic neighbors in a pluralistic society, we should do our part to make sure we’re not being ourselves obnoxious. Now, I admit, a grieving family is probably not trying to be obnoxious, but as soon as this became a “thing”, their pastor should have taken the opportunity to lead them through the process of being good neighbors and working through their grief in other ways.

      That doesn’t excuse any atheists of being human toothaches, but it also doesn’t put them in the false position of looking like human toothaches even when they’re just following the law.

  • joey_in_NC

    Mark, I’m extremely disappointed with the rhetoric of this post (specifically that first sentence). It’s as if you’re condoning “hatred” toward fellow human beings, or suggesting that “hate” is reasonable.

  • joey_in_NC

    I now know just what kind of person you are.

    I have been a frequent reader of Mark’s and I have enjoyed many of his posts throughout the years, but I am simply flabbergasted at the language that he used for this post. I’m going to give him a shot to set this right and apologize, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he posted this out of character by having his emotions get the best of him.

    But if he doesn’t set this right, then it will be fair for me to conclude that he is not the type of person I thought he was.

    • chezami

      Oh please. My point is obvious and is made perfectly well by Shem elsewhere in the thread. As long as emotionally stunted jackasses like the atheists in this story are the public face of atheism, the atheist community will continue to be despised by normal people–including other atheists. In short, my word to atheists is: clean your own house before going on crusades against the rest of us.

  • https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SteveFarrell Shem the Penman

    I’m an atheist, and I agree with Mark.

    There is something abnormal about having so little empathy that some admittedly tacky roadside cross becomes a fit target for our spite and resentment. This isn’t a case where pseudoscience is being pushed in public schools, or religious leaders are opposing marriage equality. Any reasonable person recognizes that the issue of separation of Church and State involved in this religious roadside display (and others like it) should be balanced against our compassion for a family’s grief. But in the pathologically indifferent imagination of the New Atheist, emotions are irrelevant.

    This is why I despair of ever seeing nonbelief normalized in an overwhelmingly religious nation like the USA. Believers never see atheists doing constructive things in society. Stunts like these make sure that the vast majority of people only see atheists when we’re on another of our nitpicking crusades, riding roughshod over everyday notions of propriety and civility, smug in our delusion that people hate us because we’re so right.

    • chezami

      Thank you!

      • joey_in_NC

        Disqus is broken. For some reason I can’t see chemazi’s response to my post down below when I’m logged in (I can see it when I’m logged out). So I’ll reply to the post here…

        Oh please. My point is obvious and is made perfectly well by Shem elsewhere in the thread. As long as emotionally stunted jackasses like the atheists in this story are the public face of atheism, the atheist community will continue to be despised by normal people–including other atheists. In short, my word to atheists is: clean your own house before going on crusades against the rest of us.

        Is this post for real? Is all of this satire that I’m just not getting?

        How is your post any different from an atheist blogger who makes a post entitled dear “Dear Christians…” and then begins the post exactly like this…

        This is why normal people hate you. When your hatred of soldiers turns you into the rigid, inhuman dogmatist…

        And that the atheist blogger expects Christians to “clean your own house before” blah blah blah.

        Would it be right to lump all Christians with the Westboro Baptist Church? Would it be right to say that this is the reason why “normal people hate” Christians?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t consider itself or it’s members to be Christians. They insist, and have for quite sometime, that they are Tachmonites or somesuch. Not entirely sure what a Tachmonite is, but it ain’t Christian.

    • joey_in_NC

      You can agree with Mark all you want regarding the tasteless actions of the American Humanist Association (heck, I agree with you guys as well), but that doesn’t excuse Mark for lumping all atheists together and stating that “normal people hate” atheists.

      • chezami

        I don’t lump all atheists together. And I don’t recommend hating atheists. I’m saying that atheist have a serious image problem because the public face of atheism is this kind of jerk behavior, as atheist reader Shem points out elsewhere in these comboxes.

        • joey_in_NC

          I don’t lump all atheists together.

          “Dear atheists…This is why normal people hate you.”

          You didn’t exactly specify what type of atheist normal people hate. So I take it as a general comment. Atheists generally agree with everything the AHA does, which is why normal people hate atheists.

          Do you consider yourself a “normal” person?

          I’m saying that atheist have a serious image problem because the public face of atheism is this kind of jerk behavior, as atheist reader Shem points out elsewhere in these comboxes.

          You certainly didn’t word your point that way. Again, I’m criticizing your rhetoric. It’s inflammatory…and hateful. It boggles my mind that you still don’t see this.

      • https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SteveFarrell Shem the Penman

        I gather our host Mark has a pretty clear lack of respect for nonbelievers; in this case I’d say it’s justified.

        In typical Gnu Atheist fashion, people at the Atheist channel are pretending this roadside cross matter is all about the Constitution and predicting theocracy gulags by June. The lack of empathy for grieving families is astounding.

        I want to make it clear that I’m a longtime atheist who resents religious influence in public policy. I’m pro-choice, pro-evolution, and pro-marriage equality. But the way atheists cry foul every time we see a cross is getting tiresome even to me. Right now there’s a brouhaha over the WTC Cross being displayed in a museum at Ground Zero, and the same voices are howling in outrage that the Constitution is being violated and secularism is under siege. I’m fighting a losing battle to try to explain that people have every right to distrust atheists if we go to such lengths to make it seem like we think the worst thing that happened on 9/11 is that first responders put up a cross in the debris.

        I’d like to see nonbelief make inroads in our society’s discourse. But stunts like these are going to make us only marginally more tolerable to the average American than 9/11 truthers.

        • chezami

          I have plenty of respect for nonbelievers who demonstrate common courtesy, such as yourself. The problem is, on the internet, virtually all my dealings are with the sort of people you describe over at the Atheist channel. It confirms again my working hypothesis that an awful lot of the atheist subculture tends to attract people with some sort of social/affective personality disorder that keeps them from being able to pick up on the sort of emotional and social cues that ordinary people can easily perceive. Couple with pride and dogmatic worship of their own intellect, they tend to regard the shock and horror their actions often elicit from Normals as proof of their own superiority, persecuted by unintellectual wahoos. I would to God there were more atheists like you or Phil Plait or Stephen J. Gould.


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