Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friendly vs Outspoken Atheism

Another guest post from Mark:

Now that I've had a little bit of booze in me... I don't know much about Christmas, but Bailey's, Peppermint Schnapps, and chocolate milk is fine by me.

My hat goes out to Jen here. I would not be able to blog every half hour. I don't have that many things to say.

That being said, here's Guest Post #3 from me!

I was asked by Jen to discuss the difference between the so called “Friendly Atheist” vs the so called “Outspoken Atheist.”

Here, I think, are the pros and cons of each at their most extreme:

The Friendly Atheist is sort of seen as the apologetic atheist. They are there to be a spokesperson of atheism to religion. As a result, these people tend to be less outspoken about their own atheism in hopes that they can act as ambassador to the religious.

On the other hand, we have the Outspoken Atheist. The Outspoken Atheist is out there to let people know that he exists and doesn't care about your shenanigans. If you say or do something stupid, they will let you know because they're Atheists and they are the guardians of logic and the path of scientific enlightenment.

I think it is possible to conserve the best traits of each. It is possible to be an Atheist who is quite staunch in his beliefs and not be a dick about it. Certainly you may come across people with stupid beliefs. However, in my opinion, if they aren't bothering you, it is perfectly fine to leave them the heck alone.

As a general rule, when I meet a person, I try to judge them on their merits. I am, indeed willing to ignore the faults of a person if I find they are a positive influence on my life.

For example, a very close friend of mine, “Barry,” is very religious. He went to a school system run by a Baptist church and is a very active member of his congregation and a very religious individual. However, as a person, he is an incredibly good one. He's a talented musician of many stripes, an incredibly intelligent person, and an all around good guy. As a result, I have no problem with him as one of my closest friends. Sure, we disagree on certain things, religion being tantamount among them, but that is a small part of our relationship. We recognize that we have an incredibly different opinion, and recognize that, in the end, we are unlikely to change each others we don't bother mentioning it. Incidentally, he helped to build the museum that we are going to in two weeks. (LOL *cough*)

It is possible to be an ambassador to other faiths without compromising your integrity just as it is possible to be outspoken without being intrusive.

When it comes to these two archetypes, I don't think they need to be different.

This is post 31 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.


  1. Oops, this accidentally got posted early...oh, whatever


  3. Holy crap. It's like I dove into the Hot Tub Time Machine early this year.

    Alternately, seems like good reasoning, but not too much beyond "Keep the gun in your holster, and don't start shootin' 'til you see them reach for theirs."

    Which doesn't preclude someone from being a dick, really. <.<

  4. I am so incredibly sad that I know what Hot Tub Time Machine is.

  5. I'm glad someone other than me knows, honestly.

    I just feel bad that I'm going to try to see it on opening night. I can't miss that for the world.

  6. I can see the alcohol is having an effect, Mark.

    I mean...looks great. LOL.

    Anyway. Mark. I think being Friendly is the way to go. We can't paint ourselves as...dicks. Now, I agree that we need to defend ourselves, vigorously, when insulted or slandered. But that doesn't mean we need to throw our atheism in people's faces.

  7. Then, brother Veritas, what should we throw in people's faces?

  8. "It is possible to be an ambassador to other faiths without compromising your integrity just as it is possible to be outspoken without being intrusive."

    Well said!

    (This has been a Random Blogathonner Drive-By Commenting)

  9. Like I said, anything that make us...lesser. If we are slandered. People attribute attributes to us that we aren't.

  10. That either doesn't answer the question as humorously as I was expecting, or I'm not all here at the moment. I'll assume the latter.

  11. I made some funny errors based on tiredness. Sorry.


  12. We need to take a stand, Brother Andre. When someone comes to us with open hands, we take it, and firmly. But when someone uses his palm to slap our cheek, we slap back. We hit hard, and firm, and with the righteous fury of the maimed and repressed!

  13. Hmmm ... I do wonder about saying how I am "less outspoken about their own atheism" being a friendly atheist.

    I would love to see an example on my site of when I am not proudly speaking about atheism and why I believe it's rational and right.

    I think we can spread our message more if religious people are listening to us, and that doesn't happen often. You have to give them credit where it's due, even if the basis of their actions are wrong. I try to do that.

    But I don't hide or shy away from my own atheism -- or pointing out when religious people are wrong.

  14. See, Hemant (as always) has said what I wanted to say. He's so much more articulate than I am at this time of night.

  15. He always does. Mostly for what I wanted to say, as well, save that I tend to see things from the 'utter jerkass' side of things more.

    It's not the way I conduct myself by any stretch, but it is the viewpoint I slide closer toward more often than not.

    Also: That's more like it!

  16. I guess I would be categorized as an outspoken atheist. When I encounter people with stupid beliefs, I will not hesitate to point it out and make fun of them:

  17. Hahaha, thanks man.

    Yeah, I will be honest, I Stumbled on H's blog first. And I was impressed. He has a certain...magnanimity to his writings.

  18. Nothing has ever been achieved by being nice.

    The rules of ettiquette exist only to maintain the status quo, and to follow them only leads to being manipulated. Only those who transcend societal norms are able to make any progress.

    "The essense of life is struggle and its goal is domination. There are higher goals and deeper meanings, but they exist only within the mind of man. The reality of lifeis war." -- Fredrick J. Lovrett, "The Way and the Power"

  19. Hemant, Mark wasn't talking explicitly talking about you. He was just using the word "Friendly" as an adjective. Maybe another choice of words would have been more appropriate.

  20. @ Hemant

    That was not at all directed towards you.

    I was specifically taking two extremes of how people act as Atheists toward the religious and trying to say that the extremes never work and it is most profitable for all involved to take a little bit from each camp.

    I in no way was trying to imply that you, in particular, displayed any of the negative characteristics of the term. I'm sorry if that's what you thought.