Fellow Atheists/Agnostic Atheists - Let's Chat: Do you feel it is risky being "out" these days?

Taken elsewhere. By magical unicorns, of course.

Lucan wrote:
LarryC wrote:
Lucan:
I get first dibs on the tea you're going to sell, m'kay?

Damn. My first customer. I like this business plan already.

Just wondering, if there were such a genuine divine substance that would provide intense religious feelings, how long before it will be outlawed?

If you could make a compelling case that Meth use was an expression of religious freedom, it would be given far more consideration than it would otherwise deserve. That is the nature of the wide berth that religion receives.

Lucan wrote:
Just wondering, if there were such a genuine divine substance that would provide intense religious feelings, how long before it will be outlawed?

You mean like this?

Paleocon:

Well, to be specific, certain kinds of atheists extend the disrespect persecutory theists generally have for nearly all religions to encompass all religions. It is my understanding that since atheism is a belief that no gods exist, that it is possible for a Buddhist or a Confucianist to be atheist also.

Is it risky to be known as an atheistic Buddhist in the US?

LarryC wrote:
Paleocon:

Well, to be specific, certain kinds of atheists extend the disrespect persecutory theists generally have for nearly all religions to encompass all religions. It is my understanding that since atheism is a belief that no gods exist, that it is possible for a Buddhist or a Confucianist to be atheist also.

Is it risky to be known as an atheistic Buddhist in the US?

You would have to search pretty hard to find examples that approach any semblance of moral equivalency in the US at least. You might find one or two powerless kooks, but nowhere are you going to find an American atheist conspiracy with the sort of power the southern Baptist convention, Mormon church or even the church of Scientology wields.

When it comes to persecution, it isn't ever David vs Goliath. It's Bambi vs multiple Godzillas.

Er, about the risky being an atheist part?

What I find, typically is "churches" that are not inherently dogmatic-Buddhist, Unitarian, with true open doors often provide a community for lapsed Christians, Jews, Muslims who embrace atheism. Other people may join a local secular humanist group, skeptic group.

I was not raised in the Church, as I said. So I suffered no sense of loss.

LarryC wrote:
Is it risky to be known as an atheistic Buddhist in the US?

Is it risky to be known as an outsider? Obviously.
Is it risky like russian roulette is risky? No, but the risk depends entirely on each personal situation. I don't think you can say categorically that not being a member of the predominant gang will be bad, but it doesn't take much imagination, or much scrutiny to find examples where otherwise good people have been harmed by having outed themselves as rational to people holding irrational beliefs.

That said: I watched Trollhunter on Netflix last night and found it hilarious that

Spoiler:
the cameraman was outed as a Christian to his group of Atheist friends because Trolls can smell the blood of Christians.

LarryC wrote:
Paleocon:

Well, to be specific, certain kinds of atheists extend the disrespect persecutory theists generally have for nearly all religions to encompass all religions. It is my understanding that since atheism is a belief that no gods exist, that it is possible for a Buddhist or a Confucianist to be atheist also.

Is it risky to be known as an atheistic Buddhist in the US?

Please don't do *this* (the highlighted part). We've been down that road before. We know what you think. We know you think that atheists are rude and throw their atheism in the faces of theists. Let us have this thread. Please.

Rezzy:

I was speaking specifically about atheist Buddhists. I mean, if you consider atheist Buddhists to be atheist, too.

Atheists like to couch the persecution as being theist vs. atheist, but I was wondering if that's really the case. A Buddhist who is part of a Temple could still be completely atheist depending on his variation of Buddhism. Is his belief in Buddhism rational, then? Would he be at risk in America? It sounds, er, somewhat turn-of-the-century.

DSGamer:

I was actually using that statement to say that not all atheists are like that. It felt like Paleocon was saying that all atheists were equally disrespectful to all religions. So he's the guy to finger that on, if you like.

LarryC wrote:
It sounds, er, somewhat turn-of-the-century.

Sounds like you're beginning to understand American culture.

LarryC wrote:
I was speaking specifically about atheist Buddhists. I mean, if you consider atheist Buddhists to be atheist, too.

Atheists like to couch the persecution as being theist vs. atheist, but I was wondering if that's really the case. A Buddhist who is part of a Temple could still be completely atheist depending on his variation of Buddhism.


So your question is: would a Buddhist be targeted by Christians?
The answer is yes. Without Jesus Buddhists are just another group of lost souls destroying America and must be shown the error of their ways.
Why would anyone else care?

EDIT: And if your question is: Can a Buddhist be an Atheist... then you'll have to ask the Buddhist. My understanding is that there is still some 'magical' thinking involved which would run afoul of a person looking for evidence.

Seriously? Youch. You guys really have a tolerance problem. I think I can see why the melting pot isn't melting.

Re: magical thinking

The definition of an atheist is that he doesn't believe in god, or a god. It doesn't require that he be completely rational, or that he doesn't engage in magical thinking. In some sects of Buddhism, Buddha is seen as a great leader, the one who showed the way to enlightenment - the first person to get to Nirvana. But he's still just the first guy in, and it's not like he's around anymore. There's no god to worship.

Tolerance is a dirty word to many Christians over here. I can recall from my college days hearing preachers and other go on vitriolic screeds about how evil tolerance is.

LarryC wrote:
The definition of an atheist is that he doesn't believe in god, or a god. It doesn't require that he be completely rational, or that he doesn't engage in magical thinking.

*shrug* I can only come at it from my perspective. If you know the answers then why are you here?
EDIT: To rephrase and maybe make it sound less confrontational: Why ask a question if you have the answer? You asked about what I/We/Atheists think of that combination and I replied from my position. Denying a God and then calling a similar thing Buddha sounds disingenuous to me if one claims to be an atheist. But as you say, there are many branches, just how many Christians are Atheists.

Rezzy:

I don't. From my perspective, many Buddhists are atheistic. As are many Confucianists and Taoists, since none of those "religions" espouse a god as a central figure. I was just asking if Americans considered them atheists, too, and if American atheists considered them atheists, as well.

Would it be correct to say that an American Atheist would consider a non-god-worshipping Buddhist to NOT be an atheist, despite the definition?

LarryC wrote:
Would it be correct to say that an American Atheist would not consider a non-god-worshipping Buddhist to NOT be an atheist, despite the definition?

I can only answer for myself. A point that has been repeated (and ignored) time and time again is that there is no such thing as an over-arching Atheist Authority.

EDIT: I think a lot of the confusion comes from your narrow definition of 'God.'

Rezzy:

Well, that's just the thing. To some Buddists, yes, Buddha may as well be God. But that's not how it is to all Buddhists. To some, he's just the guy who found the way to Nirvana - and look, he left directions behind. How's that anything like God, or even a god? It's no different than following a trail guide up a mountain.

Is this not atheism, to you personally?

Buddhism, in general, is compatible with evidence until it reaches reincarnation, which is not supported by anything we have yet discovered.

Religion in general is compatible with science as well. It's only Biblical literalism that definitively is not.

Reincarnation is simply unproven; Biblical literalism is actively disproven. The Bible is provably incorrect about a number of things. And this is the source of conflict between many American Christians and the scientific method.

LarryC wrote:
I was just asking if Americans considered them atheists

In general, American Evangelical and Fundamentalist churches would see them as worshiping a false idol and corrupting everyone while attempting to destroy "God's one true country"© through the devil's work. And they truly do believe that America is God's only one true perfect country doing his work (not every church, but a large number of them).

EDIT: Nevermind.

Ah, crap. I know where this is going now.

Malor wrote:
Buddhism, in general, is compatible with evidence until it reaches reincarnation, which is not supported by anything we have yet discovered.

Religion in general is compatible with science as well. It's only Biblical literalism that definitively is not.

Reincarnation is simply unproven; Biblical literalism is actively disproven. The Bible is provably incorrect about a number of things. And this is the source of conflict between many American Christians and the scientific method.

Heh, Malor Tannhausered me.

I've actually been reading into some Buddhist material, as my personal philosophy shares a lot with what I've seen and heard from speeches and conversations involving the Dalai Lama.

LarryC wrote:
Rezzy:

Well, that's just the thing. To some Christians, yes, Jesus may as well be God. But that's not how it is to all Christians. To some, he's just the guy who found the way to Heaven - and look, he left directions behind. How's that anything like God, or even a god? It's no different than following a trail guide up a mountain.

Is this not atheism, to you personally?

Does the flip help make it clear? Just because there isn't a singular 'god' presence does not mean they aren't worshiping the divine. A belief in Nirvana is as close to a belief in a 'God' that it makes no difference in my opinion.

Also, I'm disappointed that this thread has turned into the same old crappy "theism versus atheism" debate. It was far more interesting before that point.

Short version, for Larry and anyone else who doesn't live in the US: yes, unfortunately, the general culture of religion (specifically Christian Conservativism) towards atheists has grown more and more intolerant and hateful over the last few decades.

When I was a Christian, I felt completely comfortable being open about my beliefs with pretty much anyone and everyone.

Since realizing I am an atheist (agnostic atheist, yes, but an atheist nonetheless) I have found that I am very, very uncomfortable openly acknowledging my perspective (it is not a belief per se) with people outside of a very small circle of individuals, and here on GWJ where I can enjoy a certain amount of anonymity.

Rezzy:

It's actually quite different. Don't want to get into theism, but Jesus is revered as a God, and people who don't simply are not Christians by any modern understanding of the term. That's actually a theist topic - better discussed in the theist thread.

In many Eastern ways of thinking, Nirvana or other spiritual realms are real and coterminous - as real as Mount Fuji or Tibet. So Buddha leaving directions is literally, almost completely, similar to a trail guide leaving down instructions to go up Mount Everest, or perhaps a karate master leaving behind a discipline for fighting.

It is not equivalent in the least, I'm afraid.

Edit: So to you, what makes an atheist is non belief in the supernatural, not non belief in a god? To you, belief in anything supernatural is the same as belief in god, even if that supernatural thing is a place or a state we are all believed to be capable of achieving, without any outside help?

LarryC wrote:

It is not equivalent in the least, I'm afraid.

Widen your gaze. It isn't only your God out there.

LarryC wrote:
In many Eastern ways of thinking, Nirvana or other spiritual realms are real and coterminous - as real as Mount Fuji or Tibet. So Buddha leaving directions is literally, almost completely, similar to a trail guide leaving down instructions to go up Mount Everest, or perhaps a karate master leaving behind a discipline for fighting.

So Christians don't believe that Heaven and Hell are real and coterminous? They're just fictional constructs for the purpose of inventing parables used for teaching moral lessons?

Farscry wrote:
Also, I'm disappointed that this thread has turned into the same old crappy "theism versus atheism" debate. It was far more interesting before that point.

I tried, but...

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/lEtoX.jpg)

Rezzy:

I am aware that some Buddhists worship Buddha as a god. I have already acknowledged this. I am also emphasizing that to many other Buddhists, this is emphatically NOT the case. Buddha is a man, he was only ever a man, and he's dead now, end of story.

The question is quite clear here: is any belief in anything you consider supernatural to you, a belief in a god? I'm asking because that is an incredibly far-reaching definition that I've never heard of. If a person believes he has any kind of supernatural portion (soul, ki, whatever), does that mean he worships a god, to you?