FRIHOSTFORUMSSEARCHFAQTOSBLOGSCOMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Absurd cases of atheist discrimination





Indi
Discrimination against atheists is real. Let's just get that out of the way. It's a fact, and i can provide proof (and will, shortly). If you want to dispute that discrimination against atheists is real, create a topic and do so - this is not the topic for that.

What makes discrimination against atheists most problematic is that it's one of the very few brands of discrimination that is still acceptable EVERYWHERE. If you're an atheist, there is almost nowhere in the world where you will be welcomed with open arms. There are a few countries where you will be accepted so long as you don't tout your atheism too loudly, but even in those places, you can expect to be frequently publicly accused by the political and cultural leadership as morally bankrupt, untrustworthy, devoid of any sense of meaning or purpose in life, or just annoying; that's the best we have for now.

Of course, there are countless examples of atheist discrimination i could trot out. And to hammer home the point that i'm not just making this up and that this isn't just some imaginary persecution complex, the situation is so bad that even in the US - the most god-crazy country in the first world - their office of religious freedom has admitted that there's a serious problem (though they haven't done anything about it yet).* But i'm not going to pick out the nasty ones - the ones where people have been jailed, beaten or even murdered just for saying their atheist (let alone the ones where people have been jailed, beaten or even murdered for challenging the religions around them). No, i'm going to focus on the really bizarre cases. The ones that are so stupid you can't help but wonder what is going on in people's minds.

This thread is not for discussing your opinions of atheists in general or any particular atheist, whether that's a person in one of these examples or any Frihost atheist or atheists. It is not for discussing whether you think atheist discrimination actually happens or not, or whether you think it's a problem. If you want to discuss those things, you are free to create another thread to do so. This thread is for either posting examples of atheist discrimination, or for discussing the cases that have already been posted. Keep the hate out.


This thread is for people to post examples of discrimination against atheists... but not examples that are horrifying or sad. This thread is for posting examples of discrimination against atheists that are just petty, mean-spirited, silly or hilariously absurd.

Here are the kinds of cases i'm looking for:
  • I want to avoid cases where people are really hurt - like tortured, beaten, killed or jailed for prolonged periods of time. Yes, those happen - often - but i want to keep this list light. I don't want the cases here to be horrifying, just jaw-dropping.

  • I want to focus on cases where the discrimination is specific to atheists, insofar as it is possible to know. If atheists are just one of many groups being affected by a particular form of discrimination, then it's not really a case of atheist discrimination.

  • Cases where the discrimination is petty, or just hilariously pointless, are ideal!

  • Especially loved would be cases where the discrimination actually backfired.

* In Canada, our Office of Religious Freedom has an even more murky story. We are currently under the thumb of a conservative regime - not even close to as bad as the US Republicans, really only as bad as the US Democrats - and they were the ones who set up the office... and the minister in charge came straight out and said that cases of atheist discrimination weren't important enough to care about. There was an explosive outcry of course, because this happened at exactly the same time as the Alexander Aan case. Eventually what happened is that while the minister has never retracted or apologized for the statement, the head of the ORF made some conciliatory gestures toward atheist groups, inviting them to talk, and making a statement that said "okay, yes, it's pretty obvious that atheists are being discriminated against". Sound good? Oh, sure it sounds good. But then there's the reality where the ORF continues to ignore blatant cases of atheist discrimination, and even the head of the ORF has admitted they're "not a priority".

Here is the list. I will add to it as other people provide examples.

════════════════════════════════════════════════════

NO LOVE FOR ATHEISTS

eHarmony is the second biggest relationship site on the Internet (after Match.com). It claims to use complex scientific formulas to match applications based on various "dimensions" of compatibility. Of course, the "science" involved is suspect at best, and its claimed success rate is even more dubious, but nevertheless the site has millions of members.

One of the things eHarmony is most famous for is it's apparently absurdly long questionnaire. I have seen estimates that it can take almost 20 hours to fully complete it. (Some people have even suggested that this might be the secret to eHarmony's popularity; there is a well-known psychological effect where once you have invested heavily in something, you are willing to be crazy-stupid in order to justify that investment long past the point where it was obviously a bad investment.) And, of course, among the over 250 questions you have to answer... are questions about your religious beliefs.

Atheists using the site a few years back noticed something strange. Occasionally, depending on how you answer the questions, eHarmony would respond with a message that no compatible matches could be found. There are, of course, several legitimate reasons for this - such as if your answers are bizarre or contradictory, or if you have some quality that nobody is interested in (for example, if you put your relationship status as "married", pretty much no one wants to start a relationship with you). But atheists were finding that no matter what they put in the rest of the questionnaire, once they admitted they were atheists, they would be told there was no match for them.

Of course, many atheists are quite scientifically minded, so they began doing tests. They would submit identical applications, except one declared atheism and the other did not... and found only the atheist one was rejected. Then they started getting gauche, and began creating profiles for the biggest jerk/cad/****** characters they could imagine, but declared Christian... and got matches. But even when they filled out atheist profiles nicely, with middle-of-the-road character traits... no matches found.

Around 2007, this information burst onto the blogosphere, and got paired with the additional fact eHarmony would not allow gay matching. You see, the founder of eHarmony is a conservative evangelical Christian, and there are reports that the eHarmony workplace is basically a conservative evangelical bastion. The founder made public declarations that he didn't like gays or atheists (though he insisted his "scientific matching technology" was not similarly biased). eHarmony faced a shitstorm of criticism, and several court cases, which they all settled (at least all the ones i know of). Rather than make their flagship site gay-friendly, they actually created a SEPARATE BUT EQUAL site - Compatible Partners - but the claims of discrimination against atheists were largely rejected by eHarmony executives. Sometime in 2007, the height of the public outcry, atheist applications started magically getting accepted.

Ah, but you think it ended there? Hardly. ^_^; You see, even though atheist applications were no longer rejected outright, it seemed that the site was deliberately refusing to match atheists with atheists. I saw many hilarious stories, like this one from late 2007.

I don't know whether this continues to be the situation there, but i know it continued until at least 2010.

════════════════════════════════════════════════════

ATHEIST SHOES RUN AWAY

A group of shoemakers and artists founded a company in Berlin in early 2012, financed by a Kickstarter campaign, to make comfortable, Bauhaus-inspired shoes. They named their company "Atheist Shoes".

Atheist shoes turned out to be fairly popular (don't ask me why, but i guess there is no accounting for taste), and it wasn't long before they were shipping shoes all over the world.

But by the fall of 2012, they began to notice something peculiar. Packages sent to the US were often taking a ridiculously long time to arrive... and were getting lost very often. They wondered why, and suspected that it was because they were sealing their packages with "ATHEIST" branded tape. At this point, most people would have simply fired off an angry blog post complaining... but not these guys. They actually consulted an academic statistician and ran an experiment. They sent out packages with and without the "ATHEIST" tape and... i'll let their infographic speak to the result:

(click for larger size)


Yup. The mere presence of "ATHEIST" tape made packages on average 3 days slower... and ten times more likely to vanish completely. This effect was not observed in controls run in Germany and the rest of the EU.

While the experiment was technically not run by scientists, it was so rigorously done that a number of scientists have come forward and asked permission to publish the results. The US Postal Service chief has even agreed to help with a more extensive study.

════════════════════════════════════════════════════

PRO-LIFE IS NOT A RELIGIOUS POSITION... BUT SERIOUSLY, ****** ATHEISTS

This one is hot off the presses, but may be my favourite of all time.

So abortion is a "hot topic" in public debate these days. But activists who advocate for women's rights have long accused the anti-abortion movement of being an entirely religious movement. Anti-abortion activists loudly deny this, of course, because if their position was strictly religious it wouldn't be a matter of public debate. Instead, they insist this is just an ethical issue, and even try to leverage science (like the presence of foetal heartbeats) for their side. It's never been particularly convincing, but the facade has allowed them to continue the debate in public circles without it being too obviously religious.

Of course, there are non-religious anti-abortion activists and groups. They're just very, very rare. They're not taken seriously in general non-religious circles because, when it comes down to it, there is no secular argument against abortion, so when they try to stand up in non-religious circles, they get quickly laughed down. But at the same time, they're not taken seriously in anti-abortion circles, which should puzzle you. If anti-abortion activism really is just about saving unborn babies, and if anti-abortion activists really are serious about their arguments not being religious, you'd think they'd be quick to point to non-religious anti-abortion activists as proof. Yet they don't. In fact....

Sarah Terzo is an atheist and a pro-life activist, who has written an article complaining about the poor treatment of atheists in the pro-life community. She gives several examples of discrimination in the article - including one instance where she asked a pro-life forum if they would march with her, an atheist. Half of them said flat-out: No.

But my favourite example has to be this: When she tried to volunteer... VOLUNTEER... at her local "crisis pregnancy centre" (which are just places that advertise as somewhere for women to go to get help with their pregnancy, but are actually conservative Christian operations that lie about the science and pressure women against getting abortions (yes, there is a truckload of evidence of this)), this is what happened, in her own words:

Sarah Terzo wrote:
They were open and friendly when I told them I wanted to work there. They listened when I told them I had had a great deal of experience discussing abortion on the internet, and had helped numerous women choose life. Then I told them I was an atheist. “Sorry, we are a Christian ministry” the woman said. “We don’t have atheists or nonchristians working here. But you are free to give a donation.”

I asked them if I could have a position where I wouldn’t be called upon to counsel women. Could I do paperwork or answer the phone? The answer was no. They wanted no help from me.

Ah, but if that's were all this was about, it wouldn't be such a hilarious case. You see, Terzo - despite being a pro-lifer, it appears she still has that atheist drive to do proper science - actually called nine other christ is pre-... i'm sorry, crisis pregnancy centres... and was turned down by ALL of them for being atheist.

See, i disagree with Terzo's beliefs about abortion, but there are probably other things we agree on, and if she wanted to help out with one of those things - while keeping her anti-abortion nonsense to herself - she would be welcomed with open arms. In fact, even a conservative evangelical Christian would be welcomed - again, under the rule that they keep their religion out of whatever the cause happens to be. When you're so bigoted against a group that you won't even associate with them when they want to provide FREE HELP for a cause you're working hard for and passionate about... yeah, your bigotry has become a serious problem to your cause.

And not only that. You see, despite the fact that crisis pregnancy centres are plainly Christian operations that shamelessly spread lies and fear about abortion (again, this is proven), they are actually funded by the government in several states. If Terzo is in one of those states, then those nine CPCs have just committed a federal crime.
Afaceinthematrix
This is interesting. I viewed this religious discrimination in the U.S. as an insider for most of my life and now, I have been viewing religious discrimination as an insider (although I'm not truly an "insider" because I don't understand the society yet) in West Africa - where I've been working for the past few months.

I am in a country where they claim to be extremely religiously tolerant. What that really means is that they're completely accepting of the two major religions that they have here: Christianity and Islam. People here are crazy, nuts religious and one of the first things they do when they meet you is ask if you're a Christian or a Muslim. I was highly advised to just lie (which really bothers me) because it would make my work so extremely difficult here as no one would want to work with an atheist (and I just want my work to go smoothly so that I can get it done effectively and go back home). So I have to live right now with the highly uncomfortable situation of pretending to be a Buddhist (which would be extremely unacceptable for a national of this country but they just pass it off as some crazy American thing; however, they would have flipped out if I had told them that I didn't believe in a god). I chose Buddhism because going to church or mosque for 4 hours every Sunday (or Friday for mosque) certainly doesn't sound fun to me and there are no Buddhist temples here.

I am having to witness things such as public prayers in political situations, workplaces, and I've even vistited a few schools where they have prayers (actually, they all have prayers). Because they claim to be "religiously tolerant," prayers are done by both Muslim and Christian volunteers. Children are forced to take religious morality classes in school and, again, because they are "religiously tolerant" they must take classes on both Islam and Christianity. That probably partially explains why education here is so incredibly bad (I've talked to 16-year-olds that have been in the school system their entire lives but cannot add or subtract, have no clue what a fraction is, do not know that the Earth revolves around the sun, etc.).

I don't want to sit here badmouthing the country that I am currently living in and will be living in for quite a while (and notice, for that reason I did NOT name the country; I merely gave the geographical region). Instead, I will badmouth my home country.

The United States is a very religious country - especially if you go to the deep south. In the Los Angeles area, it's much more "liberal." We have an extremely high Hispanic immigration population which is almost exclusively Catholic - however they don't proselytize or practice much (I think that it is more cultural) and they, for the most part, certainly don't care if you're an atheist or not. When you travel to places like Hollywood you get a mix or every type of person that you can think of (which is why people-watching there is so much fun) and so I don't think that people tend to care much about you because they're used to every type of person that you can think of. When you go to the universities and more affluent places, you get much higher percentages of atheism (especially on the university campuses when you're in certain areas such as the mathematics department building where atheism (or at least non-religious) rates may be as high as 50 percent (depending on the campus). Even in other departments (such as the humanities) where there are much more religious people, they don't seem to care.

I am not denying that religious discrimination is huge and that it is a major problem, I am merely pointing out that in the U.S., there is major differences in the geographical areas and my experience is mostly in the Los Angeles area - where it is much less and certainly isn't institutionalized like it is in other places. In the deep South (like where much of my family is from - Oklahoma), you probably shouldn't advertise that you're an atheist if you're interested in having friends (unless maybe you're in a big city like Tulsa, Ok. or Austin, TX; big cities tend to attract the "younger and more liberal" crowds).

Also, anytime that you do something big such as the London Bus Ads (I'd love to post the link to that but please don't expect frequent or quality posts from me while I'm living here and using very questionable internet) you're bound to cause major problems because even if you're in a very liberal area such as Los Angeles (and I'd guess that London is one of the more liberal areas of England), you'll attract attention all over the place and people will move on in to complain and cause trouble.

So those are my two cents. I experience quite a lot of religious discrimination here in West Africa, I didn't in Los Angeles, I know that there is a ton in the deep South of the U.S.
nickfyoung
In Australia we recently had our first woman prime minister who came to power by knifing the prime minister she was deputy to and taking his job. The few years she had in the job she performed OK up front and held her own in savage attacks in parliament which she claimed were because she was a woman, but her polling steadily fell so badly that the prime minister that she knifed finally got his job back and disposed her. The reason she polled so badly I suspect was because she was a self confessed atheist. She also was the first prime minister to live in the government lodge with her unmarried boyfriend. I think these three facts, the first woman, first atheist and the first prime minister with a live in contributed to her downfall.
Hello_World
I firmly believe that it is easier here to be athiest than Muslim, here in Aus. But I do think that although we suffer very little discrmination compared to extremely religious countries like the US, I agree that athiest discrimination played its part in the downfall of our PM, although there was so many forces against her for other reasons, her downfall was almost inevitable anyway. Sexism was a stronger player, but athiesm was in there.
A lot of people felt that as an athiest she had no right to stop the gay marriage vote, but clearly she made a deal with the Christians not to do it, and that hurt her I believe, along with so many other aspects.
abhinavm24
OMG. i dunno what you actually want to do. Shocked
I think this post has missed has missed the target audience, Confused
better make it over more active forums. Idea
Indi
Hello_World wrote:
I firmly believe that it is easier here to be athiest than Muslim, here in Aus.

It's easier to be an atheist everywhere, because you don't have to "do" anything to be an atheist. If you stay quiet and pretend to be like everyone else (for example, like Afaceinthematrix pretending to be Buddhist), you can live peacefully and without any incident. Unlike with being a Muslim (for example), there are no requirements to do anything or not do anything, and no punishment if you attend services and join in the rituals of a religion you think is bullshit.

Problems only occur when you actually try to identify as an atheist. Or, when you make the completely reasonable and sane request that decisions about the world should be made based on evidence about the world, not vague feelings about what what you think supernatural beings want. When you actually start speaking out as an atheist, or doing atheists stuff, then you'll face anti-atheist discrimination, and the evidence is that you'll face discrimination in many more places than you'll face anti-Muslim discrimination, and it will be much more prevalent. (Even in Australia, which is a fairly atheist country - for example, every time I hear Gillard's downfall mentioned, someone blames it on her being an atheist. How? Why? What atheist stuff did she do, other than just existing? Interestingly, I never see her downfall blamed on her smarmy politicking with the homophobic or anti-immigrant crowds, or sucking up to the Americans.)

════════════════════════════════════════════════════

Reading back over the cases I've listed already, one thing that strikes me is how atheists, when they think they're being discriminated against, will test that theory. Even when they're atheists who are obviously not particularly science-minded (like the anti-abortion atheist), they're still smart and cautious enough to double check their assumptions.

I can't ever recall hearing a case of so-called "Christian discrimination" in the Western world where the Christian being discriminated against actually did a test to confirm whether the discrimination was real, and not just in their head.

Ah well, i have a few more wacky cases to add, but i'll get to them another time.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
It's easier to be an atheist everywhere, because you don't have to "do" anything to be an atheist. If you stay quiet and pretend to be like everyone else (for example, like Afaceinthematrix pretending to be Buddhist)


However, I wouldn't undermine the difficulty of having to pretend to be something you're not. First off, I'm questioned quite a bit about Buddhism and I don't actually know anything about it and so that could cause major problems but since these people here don't know anything about it either I can pretty much just say whatever I want.

Furthermore, having to deal with the constant bullshit of proselytizing or not fitting into the culture that religion creates (some of my counterparts here like to waste quite a bit of time praying about issues while I'm working on trying to fix them). There are many little subtle problems that come with pretending to be something that you're not.
Josso
lol not an organised group yet want to be treated as one. ****** you indi and your sententious tl;dr bullshit. This goes the other way all the time and you know it so don't post a bunch of crap to make you feel better about your insecurities. The reason people get agressive when people mention that they are athiest is because it doesn't really mean anything and people throw it around like it's some kind of lifestyle for the terminally high brow. Can't you just let people have faith and maybe just maybe accept once in a while that mostly organised religion doesn't cause any problems. Plus come on... persecution against athiests? ****** me Indi there's a bunch more stuff persecution to write about than that. You are identical to bikerman with this whole thing, were your parents hardcore christians or something? Sent to a christian school? Stupid assed ideological battles. I see thiests persecuted on this board all the time.
LxGoodies
Indi wrote:
ABSURD cases

Came across one

"It is well known that the Boy Scouts of America excludes atheists both as members and as leaders. Not so well known is why: the Boy Scouts of America asserts that atheists are incapable of being sufficiently moral or patriotic to deserve to be involved with scouting. As a private organization this is their right, however bigoted it is; so long as they receive public assistance and funding, however, their discrimination should be as illegal as it is unethical."

http://atheism.about.com/od/attacksonatheism/p/AtheistBigotry.htm
watersoul
In my area there is a volunteer welfare patrol service that operates through the night at weekends.
It is organised by an interfaith group of local churches and aims to help homeless people and/or weekend clubbers under the influence of alcohol or other substances who are suffering distress.
The work they carry out is excellent to be honest and the local police appreciate their presence on the streets as it relieves them of some of the more social work type problems they encounter regularly.

I spent 15 years working in frontline welfare services for central and local government and also in the charitable sector. I have vast experience of addiction/substance issues, benefits, housing options, and everything in between, including released offender management, and transgender rights advocacy.

Last year I contacted this group to offer my skills and time as a volunteer but they advised me that I needed a referral from a recognised religious faith organisation. I asked if my particular faith mattered, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, etc and was told that it did not. I then explained that I was unable to do this as I do not believe in any gods but I could provide impressive references from various official agencies to show that my experience and knowledge would add to the work they do.
The reply was no.
I explained further that I could provide squeaky clean enhanced checks by the government Disclosure and Barring Service to show I have never been cautioned or convicted of anything that would prevent me working with vulnerable people.
Again, the answer was no, I must be referred by a recognised religious organisation.

So, because I have no faith in any gods I am barred from volunteering to help my local community in a non-spiritual service which offers practical help I have much experience in.
I think this personal example ticks the box for bizarre discrimination. It mattered not which faith I could have had, I would be accepted, but having no faith excludes me from offering my skills and experience.

I carried out some research into their funding to make sure not a penny comes from my local taxes.
The local council does welcome their service and allows a parking space for their 'welfare bus' but they are excluded from any financial grants due to the discrimination against volunteers who are not members of a recognised religious organisation.
I would certainly have made a legal challenge if any of my taxes were helping to run this service but as an internally funded religious organisation they are free to discriminate as they wish, no matter that this means they (and my community) miss out on the valuable contribution I could have offered.

*Edit*
Knowing how it can be here in P&R, I've reconsidered my above posting, so to avoid any potential nit-picking argument, it could be the case that my lack of faith may not be directly discriminated against because the organisation merely require a referral from a recognised religious body such as a church, mosque or temple etc, not a personal declaration of faith.

I have not attempted to contact any religious organisations to establish as fact that my lack of faith would bar me from becoming a member and therefore make me ineligible to gain a referral even after a certain period of attendance in good standing.
Until such time that I discover all locally available places of worship reject me solely due to lack of faith then I shall only state that circumstances draw me to suspect discrimination.
(To be honest though, I don't actually care enough about this personal specific example to carry out the primary research myself)
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Indi wrote:
It's easier to be an atheist everywhere, because you don't have to "do" anything to be an atheist. If you stay quiet and pretend to be like everyone else (for example, like Afaceinthematrix pretending to be Buddhist)


However, I wouldn't undermine the difficulty of having to pretend to be something you're not. First off, I'm questioned quite a bit about Buddhism and I don't actually know anything about it and so that could cause major problems but since these people here don't know anything about it either I can pretty much just say whatever I want.

Furthermore, having to deal with the constant bullshit of proselytizing or not fitting into the culture that religion creates (some of my counterparts here like to waste quite a bit of time praying about issues while I'm working on trying to fix them). There are many little subtle problems that come with pretending to be something that you're not.

But that is not "doing" anything to be an atheist. There is nothing about atheism that requires you to have to pretend to be Buddhist. That is something that a religion is doing to you. It's not atheism's fault. It's that religion's bigotry.

I agree that it's hard to hide your atheism and pretend to be something else... but that's not something atheism does to people. That's the bigotry of the religious. Put the blame where it deserves to be.

(By the way, i happened to mention your case to Anna because she did work in Africa years ago. She said her own religion never even came up - but that's probably because she was a woman and people didn't really ask her opinions on anything. However, she did mention an idea that hadn't occurred to me, but i thought was clever. Rather than pretending to be Buddhist... why not claim to be Humanist? You can word it in pseudo-religious language, you can talk about Humanist rituals (like conferences, and now there are "atheist Sunday services"), you can talk about the sacred scriptures (the Humanist Manifesto), and so on. You can even say how it came from the ancient sages - for example, the ancient Greek sages Democritus and Epicurus. It might not be worth the risk, but on the other hand, it might be a way to appease people's concerns about you being in a religion, while actually avoiding being in one. And "humanist" would probably be easier for people to accept than the "a-word".)

LxGoodies wrote:
"It is well known that the Boy Scouts of America excludes atheists both as members and as leaders. Not so well known is why: the Boy Scouts of America asserts that atheists are incapable of being sufficiently moral or patriotic to deserve to be involved with scouting. As a private organization this is their right, however bigoted it is; so long as they receive public assistance and funding, however, their discrimination should be as illegal as it is unethical."

Ah yes, a classic case. What makes it even worse is that after the BSA was justly and soundly criticized for discriminating against gays and atheists, they "learned their lesson", and changed their ways...

... they now allow gays, but still no atheists. And they still accept federal money and benefits. It's one of the most blatant examples of how pervasive atheist discrimination is in America - atheists are now more hated even than gays.

watersoul wrote:
Knowing how it can be here in P&R, I've reconsidered my above posting, so to avoid any potential nit-picking argument, it could be the case that my lack of faith may not be directly discriminated against because the organisation merely require a referral from a recognised religious body such as a church, mosque or temple etc, not a personal declaration of faith.

I don't know what you mean by "how it can be here", but that seems like a pretty clear-cut case of discrimination against atheists. And yes, a direct case of discrimination, even though a church referral technically doesn't require personal belief. Their position is pretty obviously bigoted - it makes no damn sense otherwise. So they won't accept a pile of recommendations from secular charities and other community service groups - including government certification that you have no black marks on your record... but they'll take a pastor's word without a peep (presumably with no other certification that the applicant isn't a former murderer, thief and child rapist because how would a pastor be aware (unless he was child-raping buddies with the pastor, i guess))? No... dude... that's discrimination. Clearly.

I suppose if you want to be pedantic, you can call it discrimination against atheisM, rather than against atheisTs. But i don't see the point in splitting that hair.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:

(By the way, i happened to mention your case to Anna because she did work in Africa years ago. She said her own religion never even came up - but that's probably because she was a woman and people didn't really ask her opinions on anything. However, she did mention an idea that hadn't occurred to me, but i thought was clever. Rather than pretending to be Buddhist... why not claim to be Humanist? You can word it in pseudo-religious language, you can talk about Humanist rituals (like conferences, and now there are "atheist Sunday services"), you can talk about the sacred scriptures (the Humanist Manifesto), and so on. You can even say how it came from the ancient sages - for example, the ancient Greek sages Democritus and Epicurus. It might not be worth the risk, but on the other hand, it might be a way to appease people's concerns about you being in a religion, while actually avoiding being in one. And "humanist" would probably be easier for people to accept than the "a-word".)


Religion as well as homosexuality issues comes up almost once a day for me. However, I will consider the suggestion that you made. I will consider a way to phrase it and come up with answers for the probable questions. The only issue will be handling the objections (rightfully calling me a liar) from people that I told I was a Buddhist. This will take some time. The issue is that most of my African counterparts are Muslims and so I need to find a way to make them happy. Like I said, I was hired for a job, asked to go to Africa, said, "Sure, why the Hell not?" and now trying to just have the cooperation of my colleagues so that I can accomplish my goals and go home. Despite issues brought on in another post (which I will respond to, just not today or maybe not even this month, given current conditions here in Sierra Leone and the fact that my limited time with internet is just about finished), I am succeeding and accomplishing my goals set by my employers and so maybe I can risk a bit of religious making-up fun...
Indi
You know, i really don't like updates to this thread, because it means that someone out there has been bigoted and hateful to atheists to a ridiculous degree. But the cases just keep coming and coming....

EVERY HUMAN BEING SHOULD BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT... EXCEPT FILTHY ATHEISTS

Above I told the story of an atheist who wanted to volunteer... VOLUNTEER... for an anti-abortion group - while keeping her atheism to herself - but was turned away just for being atheist. But that couldn't happen that often, could it?

Welcome to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where a group of atheists called Upstate Atheists wanted to volunteer to help out at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen.

You can probably guess where this is going. Yes, I did say soup kitchen. Fair warning if you're going to read on, this is going to be depressing.

The soup kitchen's director, one lovely little Christian soul named Lou Landrum, refused to allow the atheists to help. Now, at that point, the atheists were aware that they were being discriminated against just for being atheists - other groups were allowed to volunteer while wearing their organization's logo (and, really, who turns away help from a soup kitchen?!?), but, sadly, they were used to it. So they magnanimously offered to not wear their group's logo or any sign that they were atheists, just so they could help out. They were still refused.

Please note, this all happened months ago, but I didn't bother to mention it because it was such a routine case of atheist discrimination... which is sad in itself... but... it's gotten worse.

You see, after being turned away from the soup kitchen... turned away from the soup kitchen... the atheists came up with a new and better idea. They turned to Kickstarter for support - got overwhelmed with support (gee, Ms. Landrum, wouldn't it have been nice to have that level of support directed at the soup kitchen? ah, never mind, you wouldn't have wanted that dirty atheist money (actually, she really wouldn't, as you'll see in a bit)) - and then used the money to put together "care packages", which have things like socks, gloves, toothpaste, ponchos, flashlights, etc., to hand out to the homeless.

Naturally because Ms. Landrum didn't want those filthy atheists on her property, they had to ask the city for permission to hand out the packages on the public street, and the city approved them handing them out just across the street from the soup kitchen.

But even though she doesn't want atheists sullying her soup kitchen, Ms. Landrum is, after all, a good and decent Christian, so she must have at least been happy that good was being done.

Nah, she flipped her lid in the local paper.

She told the newspaper that she would resign from her job before she let atheists volunteer and be a “disservice to this community”:

Quote:
“This is a ministry to serve God,” she said. “We stand on the principles of God. Do they (atheists) think that our guests are so ignorant that they don’t know what an atheist is? Why are they targeting us? They don’t give any money. I wouldn’t want their money.”

(Please note: Ms. Landrum accuses atheists of not giving her any money, as if there's something wrong with them for not giving her money. But note the next sentence she barfs up. She won't take our money anyway. She will literally turn away atheist money (and we know this is probably true, because she has already turned away atheist volunteers), rather than take it graciously in the spirit it was given and use it to help people.)

Of course, Landrum is now powerless to stop those evil atheists from doing their evil deeds of, ya know, helping people. All she can do is sit in her church soup kitchen and glare angrily at those bastards for their monstrous acts of charity. However:
Quote:
“They can set up across the street from the Soup Kitchen. They can have the devil there with them, but they better not come across the street,” Landrum said.

You can read more on the story, including some background in the Friendly Atheist article on the story. As Mehta frustratedly notes, correctly I think, this story would be all over the news if it was about an atheist soup kitchen treating Christian volunteers so shoddily... but because it's atheists being shit on, there's nary a peep.

So the next time some ****** makes the claim that atheists don't donate/volunteer as much as religious people (which is actually a lie, according to the statistics - statistically atheists donate much more), do like you would with a puppy that just shat on the carpet: grab them and rub their noses in this story, and ask how atheists can possibly be more charitable - let alone why, let's just focus on the "how" - when the established religious charities behave like this and actively prevent atheists from helping out.

(By the way, the title of this story actually comes from the soup kitchen's mission statement. Yes, folks, the soup kitchen claims to respect every human... but apparently not those who "have the devil there with them".)
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
(which is actually a lie, according to the statistics - statistically atheists donate much more)


I don't know the actual statistics but assuming that they are correct, atheists not only donate more but donate in a much better way. Christians believe that you're supposed to donate money to the church and that any donation will "please God" and so they don't really care how they donate because they probably don't care about the cause that they're donating to; they're essentially buying the happiness of their god.

Which is more useful: the Christian donation which is probably to a church - which funds an expensive building and a bunch of staff that aren't actually necessary to our society or the atheists that are donating money to build a library in an inner-city school?

It's obvious that this woman's primary concern is NOT the people that she is sort of helping (but not completely helping or else she'd gladly accept the atheists' groups labor and care packages) but just cares about the happiness of her god. The atheists clearly care about the homeless people (I suppose that it is possible that they don't and that they just did this because someone knew this woman well enough personally to know that she'd throw a fit and they wanted the publicity for their group. I don't think this is true but to be fair I will point out the remote possibility of this alternative). So which will be more effective: the donations of someone that cares or the donations of someone who doesn't care?
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
It's obvious that this woman's primary concern is NOT the people that she is sort of helping (but not completely helping or else she'd gladly accept the atheists' groups labor and care packages) but just cares about the happiness of her god.

I would say she doesn't even care about that. Because if, as is likely, she believes that God is happy when she helps the less fortunate, then she is actually putting her own bigotry ahead of what God wants.

Bear in mind, the atheists had already agreed to keep their atheism to themselves - and she could have kept an eye on them to make sure they did if what she was really worried about was atheist proselytizing. But she wouldn't even allow things to go that far. Clearly her objection is more about her fear that it might make the atheists look good than anything else, like concerns that they might "preach" to the clients.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
(I suppose that it is possible that they don't and that they just did this because someone knew this woman well enough personally to know that she'd throw a fit and they wanted the publicity for their group. I don't think this is true but to be fair I will point out the remote possibility of this alternative).

Well, sure, possible. But even if you presume this is true... so what? Because the atheist group ultimately did help the homeless... MORE than they would have merely by volunteering at the soup kitchen (they ended up volunteering at another soup kitchen (which is also heavily Christian, but apparently not run by an outright bigot) as well as their giveaways (plural, because this most recent one was just the first)).

So let's assume they knew this woman was a bigot, and this was all a scheme to provoke her. One of three things is true:
  1. This good happened as a direct result of deliberately poking the bigot. That is, they wouldn't have bothered with any of this charity work if it weren't for the bigot. If it wasn't for her, they wouldn't have bothered applying to volunteer at any soup kitchens at all. This is possible, but rather unlikely, because they could have just stopped after getting turned away, rather than seeking out a second soup kitchen (with a Christian owner who actually let them help, which undermines their case against Christian bigotry if that's what they were trying to prove) and then all the time, money, and effort spent on the giveaway.
  2. The exact same good would have happened if this woman hadn't been such a bigot. That is, they were going to both volunteer at a soup kitchen and do the giveaway regardless. But that doesn't seem like likely either, because the giveaway was only possible due to outrage caused by the woman's bigotry.
  3. Which leaves as the only option: more good was done because they provoked the bigot. In other words, they strategically provoked the bigot and got national attention... but then turned that into more charity. If this is true, then i don't see anything wrong with it. In fact, if it really was all a clever strategy, it was ****** brilliant, and did a lot of good - the only one harmed was the bigot, and even then only her reputation, so... ****** her. These atheists would have brilliantly turned one ignorant person's bigotry into a huge amount of good that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Good on them!
But of course, like you, i doubt any of this was planned. Nevertheless, if it was... then these guys deserve a medal. If it was deliberate, that was ****** brilliant.
Indi
CONFINED TO PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL FOR THE MENTAL ILLNESS KNOWN AS ATHEISM

There was a rumour floating around the Internet a little while ago about a man who had been forcibly confined to a mental hospital just for being atheist. At first, there was a lot of skepticism - it just seemed too outlandish.

Well, the International Humanist and Ethical Union investigated anyway and, guess what... it's real.

Mubarak Bala is a chemical process engineer who lives in Nigeria, and though he was raised Muslim, after spending some time online he changed his mind and gave up the religion becoming an atheist. Rather than keep it a secret, he openly admitted to his family that he was atheist, and even tried to explain why - basically pointing out that the fables in the Quran were ridiculous. He started hooking up with other atheists on Facebook, and sharing atheist stuff. He even wrote critical essays about the practice of sending kids off for religious education.

Well, his family forced him to go to a doctor, because they were convinced he was mentally ill. Had to be, they figured - he was an atheist, therefore he had to be mentally ill. Unsurprisingly, the doctor dismissed the whole idea as ludicrous.

So the family took him to another doctor, and this time they fabricated ridiculous lies about how Mubarak believed he was a governor. They also pointed to his critical writings and basically argued that anyone who thought they could change the system must be mad. They also made a point of describing the various "blasphemies" he'd made, pointing out how stupid the religious stories were.

This doctor agreed, using the "logic" that everyone needs a god and that "even in Japan they have a god" (not really true, actually). So, on 13 June, Mubarak was forcibly committed to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, doped up, and cut off from contact with the outside world.

Somehow he got a smartphone smuggled in, and when he was in the toilet, he made desperate tweets asking for help. One of his online friends was businessman Bamidele Adeneye. He saw the tweets, and started a campaign to help Mubarak.

Rumours got around, and finally a local branch of the IHEU - Lagos Humanists - was able to get someone in to the hospital and see Mubarak. Mubarak explained the sitation and took some selfies to prove the story was true. He was amused to discover that while he had been drugged, his family had taken his phone and impersonated him on Facebook, making posts that claimed he had rediscovered Islam.

He wasn't mistreated, but he wasn't well fed, and he was medicated quite a bit. But Lagos Humanists got a lawyer for him and after two and a half weeks, he was finally released a couple days ago.

He's fine now - well, ya know, aside from the flurry of death threats he (and Adeneye) have been getting - and looking to get the hell out of northern Nigeria. He wants to try and reconcile with his family before he goes - good luck with that - but it looks like he's going to be okay.

I want to keep these stories light, but it's worth mentioning how happy and relieved Lagos Humanists are that they were able to actually help in this case. Because most cases, they only hear about after it's too late... after the atheist is already dead.

This story, though, seems like it's going to have a happy ending.
Related topics
Homosexuality, is it biologically natural?
A debate of religion, science, and more
Nepal no more a HINDU country
The Middle East Conflict
in name of god?
The myth of positive discrimination
"Its not natural." And that makes it bad?
Philosophy Essays & Philosophy Texts
Atheism in America
This is so absurd, i could not make it up
Norway killings
Religious Discrimination
Discrimination against Christian - a real case :-)
A question to atheists
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Philosophy and Religion

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.