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Mark R. O.
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 107

This shows nothing but your awful analytic skills. The only sample you can
take in this case is your 25 regular posters. If 15 of 25 use the terms in
question, then that means 60% of the sample use those terms. If you
"play it safe" and use 25 out of 25, you have 100%

So, if I understand you, you are saying that the use of
these adjectives is common to those who use them
commonly and this can be extrapolated to all atheists
and agnostics. I like your thinking.

I hope you understand that this reasoning of yours is
going to come back and bite you in the butt some day.


This is just cargo cult intellectualizing.

Now this comment needs some explanation.
I am familiar with the cargo cult scenario.
I would like some clarification on how that scenario
applies to statistical sampling?

Do you support Mark T.'s logic?

M. Orel

A former member
Post #: 220

I suppose I should've clarified in that when trying to talk to hardcore religious people, if one argues with them, they're likely to become more rigid and less likely to consider secularism (thusly doing more harm than good) than if one tried the "soft sell." So, if the goal is, "open their minds to science," flat-out arguing with them wouldn't work. It's human nature. Saying "Have you tried looking at it this way?" would be much more effective.

This is possibly true in many cases. There is a lot of psychological evidence to support this. But...

There is a lot of low-hanging fruit out there waiting to be picked if we just make an effort to make the doubters feel safe to doubt and the closeted feel free to connect with others like them. I think the a huge proportion of people who check the believer box really don't believe that strongly but never thought about doubting or were afraid to doubt or unmotivated to think about it very deeply. Or they do doubt but are afraid to say anything. *These* are the people our actions are going to effect the most.

If on the internet, and often in other venues, these less hardcore people will over hear. I especially want young people who are natural doubters to hear. They may not be directly engaging with us but they are observing. It plants a seed for many people.

There are also many hardcore atheists out there who lost their religion when they studied the Bible. You know who forced them to in many cases? "Angry" debating atheists they wanted to prove wrong. It's not like those people went back the next day and said, "Yep, you are right, I'm atheist now." It may have taken them many years, but it was a major component on their journeys. I'd like to see some research on this topic of how people deconverted. Richard Dawkins has a huge list of letters from people who left religion after reading his book http://richarddawkins...­ The God Delusion which many people found to be "militant". Matt Dillahunty, one of the most in your face atheists out there gets tons of similar letters http://www.atheist-ex...­ Pharyngula is down right now, but he has a series on "Why I am an atheist". Do a search on his blog for that phrase and you will see a wide variety of stories.

Keep in mind that the "soft sell" is what many people like the American Humanists have been doing for decades. Where has it gotten us? Who has paid attention to us until the New Atheists came along?

How did *you* end up here?
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 587
So, if I understand you, you are saying that the use of these adjectives is common to those who use them commonly and this can be extrapolated to all atheists and agnostics. I like your thinking.

Was that the wind? smile
A former member
Post #: 39

How did *you* end up here?

I was raised Catholic, but I suppose never 100% believed it. I believed in God and prayed, but so much about Catholicism just didn't make sense to me. I just went along with the motions because it was expected in the family, even though we weren't particularly religious. We went to PSR (Public School Religion for us dirty children) Monday nights and hated it. I went to church more out of obligation rather than actually enjoying it, and was guilt-tripped by "Mith Thmith" into becoming an altar girl. So church was kind of something I felt I "had" to go to, begrudgingly. Still, I was a "good girl," did what was expected of me, and didn't really want to make waves.

My least favorite part was when the priest would wave around the incense on occasion. It stank, and I asked my mom 1) to make me a "gas mask" out of the program and 2) why did he do that? She said it was because the ancient Christians were persecuted for their beliefs and had to hold church in the catacombs, so the incense made it stink less. This was a tradition from that. I said, "But we're not in catacombs NOW. So why are they still doing it if it makes people like me not able to breathe?" This led to plenty more questions. Tied in with 9/11 and the priest scandals, I really had no taste for Catholicism after that. I went through Confirmation in 8th grade, but after that, stopped going to church.

I wasn't sure what I was anymore, or even if God existed. I figured, "Well, I'll find out when I'm dead. Or not. How CAN we know for sure, anyway?" After seeing "Inherit the Wind" and hearing the word "agnostic," I thought, "Yes! There's a term for what I feel!" So I was agnostic for many years and embraced science as the be-all, end-all all the way from middle school through grad school, later getting into (polite) debates with my Christian boyfriend.

A not-so-polite exchange happened with an older female former coworker of his who was VERY fundamentalist Christian. She believed Obama was Satan, the devil was lurking in everything, and all that jazz. Every other sentence she uttered was punctuated with her "feeling evil" and asking God to "crush it under Your feet." (My heathenous presence was obviously attracting demons). I thought she was nuts, but tried to be polite. Mostly I felt sorry for her. She had been raped, went through three marriages, and had a rough life, so I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. She then proceeded to try and convert me. It was... intense. From what she and my boyfriend's church made it sound like, all I had to do was "say the magic words" and Jesus would "save" me, and in theory, THEN I would be able to feel God's presence, something they made sound wonderful. I was curious (since I never felt that in Catholic church, obviously they were "heathens" too). I did not feel God's presence then either. Something felt very, very wrong about the whole situation at that lady's house, and I ended up in tears.

Later on that bizarre night, she asked me to help her with her computer, and her Skype window was left open. The fiftysomething woman had apparently been having "chat sex" with a young twentysomething Muslim man in Morocco. I called to my boyfriend (the lady was in the bathroom), "Uhh... could you come over here?" He read it and was shocked. Here was the most self-righteous, sanctimonious woman either of us had ever known, who was (surprise, surprise) a total hypocrite (not to mention a "cougar" with a "heathen" Muslim), using filthier language than even I'd ever used.

When she came back and we ate dinner, my boyfriend confronted her about it. She acted like she didn't even hear him. It was literally like, "A----, I am SERIOUS." "Oh, I'm glad you like the spaghetti!" It was the most uncomfortable, bizarre dinner party I had ever been to. However, I felt validated. ("I knew something felt wrong about this.") Leaving was quite awkward too. Her living room was strewn about with books and was a total mess (something my boyfriend said wasn't like her). Before we even finished saying goodbye, she "fell asleep" on the couch, not even bothering to 1) go to her bedroom or 2) shake our hands goodbye before plopping down. It was an equally awkward drive home, but again, I felt relieved, and perhaps a bit smug. My boyfriend couldn't believe it. I was back to being a much happier (and sane) agnostic.

On another day, my boyfriend confronted her again. She "explained" that she was using the "Skype sex" to try to "convert" the young Muslim. "Suuuuuure," I said. We haven't heard from her in years, and I'm more than fine with that. Still, I wish her the best. I hope she found peace (and sanity).

My aunt passed away last year after both my grandma and great-aunt did, all within a very short period of time. My mom was understandably devastated, and I thought, "How could a loving God make someone as nice as her suffer so much?" I looked outside and thought, "Nope. There's definitely no God." (He didn't answer my prayers, nor my boyfriend's, to save my aunt). It took me a while to come to terms with that, but I did. I was then an atheist. I didn't want to be (association with Richard Dawkins, the more "bitchy atheists" on the Internet, and all that), but I was. I found "nicer" role models in the atheist authors of "Parenting Beyond Belief," and thought that if only more atheists were like that (and were more vocal saying "Hey, we're atheists, and we're nice, moral people!"), more people would not feel ashamed about being associated with them. This is why I personally prefer the "soft sell."

This past year, though, has been very... weird (see thread­). I always felt that if it there was enough compelling evidence for a "life beyond," I'd believe it- NOT out of wishful thinking, but because the evidence was too hard to deny. The more case studies I read and tried to debunk, the more I thought, "Ohhhh boy.... it seems like this actually happens." My head hurt for quite a while trying to process all of it. And it had nothing to with traditional fire-and-brimstone Christianity whatsoever. So I guess that puts me more in the "Freethinker" camp now.

Whew! What a long, strange trip it's been!
Mark R. O.
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 110
So, if I understand you, you are saying that the use of these adjectives is common to those who use them commonly and this can be extrapolated to all atheists and agnostics. I like your thinking.

Was that the wind? smile

A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.
- Lewis Mumford

M. Orel
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