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Do Atheists Have the Reputation of ‘Not Listening?’

Does Our Intellectualism Get in the Way?

Of all the things Atheists have been blamed for in this society, “not listening” may sound like the most benign.  But that complaint generally comes from people that Atheists could have the most positive effect on: those who are seeking an alternative to religion, those who are on the borderline, those who want clear cut answers to religion’s quandaries. And those are the very people who complain: Atheists do not listen to us!

“Too often, Atheists do not take seriously what religious people say,” says Linda Blaikie, L.C.S.W., therapist and group leader at NYC Atheists’ “Living With Atheism” support group. “We laugh at religious people. That is not kind or productive.”

Blaikie speculates that this is probably because Atheists are generally intellectual in outlook and tend to engage in debate rather than listening to the questions, qualms or confusions of the person to whom they are talking. 

Atheists Quick to Quarrel

“Atheists go head to head rather than carefully listening and getting to the essence of what the other person is saying,” Blaikie notes, adding, “ and this, in many cases, extends to the private lives of these Atheists.”

So how do you listen constructively?  It isn’t just being quiet, it appears. It’s paying close attention not only to the words the person is saying but to their body language, their emotions, figuring out what they really want to know, assessing what they are really saying. That takes wisdom, courage, patience and a depth of understanding and outreach based on your sensitivity to a fellow human being who may be in deep anguish but not able to tell you that because their pride is in the way.

What Are They Really Saying?

Come on Wednesday, October 9, and learn from a person whose very profession hinges on listening:  A therapist. Who knows how to listen constructively better than a therapist?  Come and learn how to deal with those in your life to whom you must listen. 



                      AND THE OBSTACLES THAT GET IN OUR WAY.”

                       An NYC Atheists’ support group discussion led by 

                       therapist Linda Blaikie, L.C.S.W.

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 9, 2013

                       7 p.m.


                       449 Third Ave. (at 31st St.)

                        Second Floor

COST:         Free to members of NYC Atheists Inc.

                     Participants are expected to purchase

                      food/drink to compensate Moonstruck.

New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to promoting the Atheist lifestyle and values.



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  • William C.

    I do agreee it was an exceptional Meetup. Maybe it was because more women attended?

    October 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great to meet y'all!!

    October 9, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Absolutely fabulous group meeting! For the first time I can remember in the entire 10 years I've been in the Atheist movement, we had MORE WOMEN THAN MEN! There were what I consider the perfect number of people for a dinner discussion group--13--and seven of them were women! And what smart, delightful women they were. I especially enjoyed the comments of newbies Bonnie, Paula, Sarah, Yi and Jin. And, SURPRISE!--our Sunday Brunch speaker, Paul Herzich, showed up to add a little levity and wisdom to the group! Good talk, good people, lots of intriguing questions brought up and Linda at her perfect best. A perfect Atheist group evening, folks!

    October 9, 2013

  • Dinara

    Is this event free only to those who have NYC Atheists membership or to the meetup members as well?

    October 1, 2013

    • Dinara

      I have a little bit different issues. I've never been a religious person but grew up in a predominantly Muslim society where you risk to become an outcast by mentioning your atheist life perspectives. I had to deal with religious fanatics who are completely blind and deaf to any reasonable arguments I was trying to make and in response to which I was just told to burn in hell. Moreover, I have many friends who are religious, not deeply but to a certain extent and I was hoping that this group might help me to find a way how to get along with them without bringing up this morbid theme of religion.

      October 1, 2013

    • Jane E.

      This is an interesting and compelling topic, Dinara. I think it might be worth a whole session in itself: How does one get along with one's friends, who are mostly religious, without mentioning religion? How do you avoid the topic of religion? I will bring this to the attention of Linda Blaikie and see if she will consider it as a topic for a Support group session this year. Meanwhile, you can come to the Oct. session and bring it up under the topic of Listening--which, I daresay, you may have to do a lot with religious friends! I.e., how do you tune them out?

      October 2, 2013

  • Jane E.

    Hmmm, I'm not sure what you mean, Greg, but why don't you come to this support group and tell us? Linda Blaikie, herself a very devoted Catholic until her 20s, found it hard to break away from the many aspects of religion that permeate a devout person's life. But she did it--and as a therapist, decided that she wanted to help others going through this same separation from the clutches of religion. I think you may be saying that there really is no trauma in losing one's religion? Fortunately for you, that may be true. But for others it may be wrenching. These people have lost their community, their support system, their rites and rituals, often their families, who remain religious. It takes time to find the freedom and fresh air of Atheism

    October 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The title of this month's meetup makes atheism sound like we suffer from a disease or are guardian to a severely disabled child. As if the conclusion entails lifelong disappointment and the need for coping strategies to relieve a burden.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    October 1, 2013

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