Video: Should Atheists Be Kind To Believers?

Video: Should Atheists Be Kind To Believers? June 11, 2018

I’m always surprised by just how many atheists on the internet are rude to people who profess a belief in the divine. Often, I will be having a great, mutually respectful discussion with a believer on Twitter or Instagram when one of my followers will jump in with name-calling. The believer, who had been perfectly nice to me during our discussion, will be called a moron, an idiot or mentally ill. It completely derails the conversation and sends a theist off believing atheists are awful people when we had been on track to him realizing the opposite.

I get so upset when this happens. I don’t mind if you jump into the conversation. In fact, I love when my social media connections jump in with better arguments than I could ever muster. I can’t stand it when you jump in and call names, though. All that says to me is that you’re of lower intelligence than the rest of us, and you have no arguments because people who have a good argument don’t resort to name-calling.

As an outspoken atheist with a platform, this has become a huge pet-peeve and one of the many reasons I’ve refrained from debating on Twitter as much as I used to. If I engage with a theist, it almost always means they will be the target of abuse later and I absolutely loathe that. In my conversations with other outspoken atheists who also have decent sized platforms, I found they felt the same way. So, we thought we’d have a chat about it. Here are Nichole Terry, Donovan Badrock and I discussing why we ought to be nice to believers:

I want to know what you think. Do you think it’s beneficial for us to be kind to believers? Do you treat theists any differently than you treat atheists? Let me know in the comments and fill me in on your reasoning behind your answer, as well.

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Image: Copyright Courtney Heard

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Atheisticus

    I believe in being polite and courteous to theists until they show themselves to be trolls, which does happen from time to time.

  • Tawreos

    Most of the people that get the rude comments have either offered rudeness to begin with or we have seen them time after time bring up the same points and completely ignore every answer they have been given. People like that don’t deserve kindness and considered opinion. I also find that if people go from 0 to rude they will usually be able to explain why. Sadly, they won’t all have a good reason because theists don’t have a monopoly on trolls.

  • Kevin K

    Around these parts, “conversations” with Christians are usually:

    1. Them raising a PRATT.
    2. You dismissing the PRATT as a PRATT.
    3. Them declaring you’ll be sorry when you’re dead.

    Rinse and repeat.

  • Jim Jones

    It’s more effective to be polite – while utterly destroying their claims.

    However far too many people are stunningly, “how do these people survive one day?” stupid.

    There are best ways to proceed.

  • Michael Neville

    Likewise I’m polite to anyone on the intertubes until they’re not polite to me. I will put up with name calling and foul language (I’m a retired Navy Chief, foul language has no effect on me). However I won’t put up with being called a liar or someone questioning my motivations, i.e., after I explain why I’m an atheist someone refusing to accept my explanation and substituting their own reasons for my atheism. I also don’t take kindly to threats (yer goin’ ta Hell ’cause you don’t believe in my loving, merciful gawd). I’ll generally issue a warning before I go into attack mode but if that warning is disregarded and the unpleasant behavior continues then stand by to stand by.

  • Clancy

    My wife is a progressive Christian, and our daughter is a minister in a progressive denomination. I attend church nearly every week, and have met many very respectable Christians there. I give every theist a chance to prove they are an asshole first.

  • Sometimes it’s difficult for me, but I do try to be nice even when they are not nice or they’re clearly trolling. I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the atheist can be the better person.

  • I disagree. I think that when a theist is being rude, it’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the audience that the atheist can be the one with superior morality by being the better person. I such, I try to remain unbothered by people who are rude to me. and treat them with the same kindness I hope they can offer back one day.

  • It’s always more effective to be polite – it’s also an instance where the theist is being rude and the atheist remains calm and kind. Wonderful opportunity to show that atheists don’t deserve the bad rep we have.

  • That’s a great attitude to have.

  • Steve Williams

    Even though I’m an anti-theist I try to be polite and have civil conversations with theists but “You’re going to burn in hell…” et al will do it every time. Constantly repeating that atheism is a religion even when shown to be wrong normally guarantees a troll-like conversation will ensue. This raises my hackles and I just stop replying to them.

    I do most of my commenting over at the Friendly Atheist and most theists there are jumped upon as soon as entering. Those that stay normally indulge in the above behaviour and they’re shut down and (impolitely) told to leave.

  • Yeah, I try to just walk away when they succeed in getting under my skin. I’d rather ignore than lose my cool. Thank you so much for watching!

  • Tawreos

    Well, you have more patience than I do. I’ll work on it. =)

  • Clancy

    Since I was raised unchurched, I am not a deconvert, so there are no triggers. Sometimes I feel like a spy, though.

  • Peter Damian

    I am nice to theists who are civilized. I am certainly not nice to ones who are not.

  • Peter Damian

    How do you be nice, to theists who insist you eat babies, are a moral less person who cannot have morals without their gawd? How do you be nice to theists who state to you, you deserve to be put to death because you stand up for equal rights for lgbt’s. How do you be nice to theists who insult you, degrade you and defame you? How do you be nice to theist fascists who demand that lgbt’s, atheists and pagans and others should be put to death? You don’t be nice to psychotic freak shows like this in my opinion. I am a firm believer in taking two verses out of their buybulls and telling them, as they have sown, so should they reap and as they want to do unto others? Should be done right back to them and see how they like it.

    But I am one who works exposing these nutbag haters and also exposing their pedophiles and other criminals, so I am a target by these Christians who hate people like me who expose these truths about them. And I am subject to a whole lot of hate and threats of being murdered or beaten And I learned a long time ago, never to back down to punks like these.

  • Yes, I feel similarly. I don’t feel threatened by the idea of going to church. I was never a believer so it just holds no power over me.

  • I try to be nice to both.

  • Easily – if they assert these things and I respond with kindness, the exchange is the perfect illustration that atheists can be better than theists, totally destroying his argument.

  • Peter Damian

    I do not do that myself, because I believe respect and being nice to someone who is nasty and disgusting sends them the wrong message. But hey, to each their own.

  • I do it because it’s the perfect opportunity to illustrate that in a situation with an atheist and a theist, the atheist can be the better person. It totally destroys their morality argument.

  • Peter Damian

    I have destroyed their morality argument with the ones I stand up to. All those pedophile perverted priests and pastors I report on. Or all those psycho theist pastors of hate. But that does not mean I play the nice game to them.

    To gain respect from me? You got to earn it. I do not give out respect to people who think because they believe in some invisible dude in the sky, that they should have the right to brutally murder people they cherry pick buybull verses for, nor who stand up and defend the disgusting rampant pedophilia among their ranks of their clergy.

    Someone has to stand up to them the way I do and someone has to stand up to them the way you do. As the saying goes, some of us are statesmen, some of us are politicians, and some of us, are warriors.

  • Peter Damian

    A saying from my martial arts dojo I went to.

    Master, if we seek the way of peace, why do we learn how to fight?

    The Master responded, it is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a time of war.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    I block jerks on Disqus. I have better things to do than let jerks bother me.