Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Atheists] Why The Hell Do They Care?

Posted by Lex Fear on January 21, 2009

Friendly Atheist Trina Hoaks ponders on the climate of Hell now that President Obama is, well, black and President.

Well, today was a cold day, to be sure, but I wouldn’t equate the location (our nation) to Hell. But, if this is what Hell is like, I say sign me up! Oh, yeah… I forgot, according to many religious people, that is exactly where I am going whether I sign up or not.

Can an atheist explain to me what they think Hell actually is and why atheists are so offended by something they don’t believe in?

Hey if someone told me I when I die I was going to be condemned to the leek soup bowl by the flying spaghetti monster, I think I’d just laugh then back away slowly.

Seriously, why are so many atheists bothered by Hell?

Advertisements

15 Responses to “[Atheists] Why The Hell Do They Care?”

  1. morsec0de said

    “Seriously, why are so many atheists bothered by Hell?”

    I think you should be taken into my sub basement where there is a dungeon, and there be beaten and tortured for all eternity. Not only that, but I think you deserve it merely because you don’t agree with my atheism.

    Now, if a large amount of people believed that of you, would you or would you not take offense? Regardless if you believed I even had a sub basement or dungeon.

  2. The post you linked to was a joke. Why did you take it so seriously?

  3. scaryreasoner said

    Because it is completely obvious to atheists that religion is one, not remotely harmless and two, that it is completely stupid.

  4. Lex Fear said

    @Morsec0de

    Aren’t you being slightly intellectually dishonest? If I take it as granted that you exist, as I would anyone I met in person, behind the threat of a basement-beating is the very real possibility it could happen (and if you had suggested this upon me first meeting you in person, I would feel a little creeped out). Whereas with Hell, it’s something you either believe or you don’t.

    You may scorn people who believe in fairies, but you’re the one getting angry at all the fairy dust that gets sprinkled over everything (hint: if there’s no fairies, there’s no fairy dust).

    But really, what is about Hell that bothers you? Do you even know what it is? Who’s to say you wouldn’t enjoy yourself?

    @probabilityzero

    It helps to be super-angry and salty so that I can understand the mind of an anti-theist. 🙂

    @scaryreasoner

    Deep. I mean, if you’re philosophical assertions are correct, then this could have huge theological ramifications for the whole of Christendom.

  5. Someone telling me I’m going to hell wouldn’t bother me, despite the fact that I’m an atheist. But I can’t account for the feelings of all atheists.

    I can, however, understand why some may feel it’s insulting to be told one is going to hell. It’s not the threat of hell itself, which is obviously imaginary (even many Christians don’t believe in hell), it’s the anger and spitefulness of the person making the statement. Just like how you might be offended by someone telling you that “you deserve to die,” even though just saying that has no physical effect on you.

    That said, I read the post you linked to and it didn’t sound like the author was angry or offended at all.

  6. Lex Fear said

    @prob0

    Well I understand the sentiment, however most of those spiteful people who tell you you’re going to Hell are usually suffering an inner turmoil themselves and are thus projecting. This causes an ‘atheist-bounce’ – in which the athiest projects (and sometimes mimmicks) that minority characteristic back onto the majority.

    To your original point however, I knew then intent of the author, it just gave me a good excuse to bring up the issue which I know is not isolated to this author or the subject of black Presidents.

    So why does the mention of Hell cause atheists upset, rather than, say, Heaven or angels and demons..?

  7. So why does the mention of Hell cause atheists upset, rather than, say, Heaven or angels and demons..?

    Like I said, I think it’s the intent of the comment that they find offensive. The offensive part is that the person wants you to be in hell — or at the very least thinks you deserve — not the concept of hell itself. So I guess if they said something like “I hope demons rise from the ground and consume you” it should have the same effect.

    This causes an ‘atheist-bounce’ – in which the athiest projects (and sometimes mimmicks) that minority characteristic back onto the majority.

    Sure, some atheists make generalizations about “religious people.” And some people make generalizations about atheists, like you just did.

    Why do you care so much about this issue? You’re making a big deal out out of it, and I don’t really see why it matters so much.

  8. morsec0de said

    “You may scorn people who believe in fairies, but you’re the one getting angry at all the fairy dust that gets sprinkled over everything”

    I would if they believed that the fairy dust would kill me.

    How large of a step does it take a person to go from “you deserve to be tortured for eternity” to “you deserve to die” to “I’m going to kill you”.

    Not large enough.

  9. Lex Fear said

    @prob0

    And there you go, operative word is wants.

    Unless you’ve wronged someone in some way, no-one really wants you to go to Hell (well apart from the loonies at Westboro Baptist Church but lets face it they want everyone to go to Hell, even Christians like me).

    No, even the less offensive Christians who would seek to make you aware you’re going to Hell do so not because they hate you but because they want you to ‘repent and be saved’. Just because their approach is all wrong and misguided and you don’t personally believe what they believe, it doesn’t mean that they are doing it out of spite.

    Why do you care so much about this issue? You’re making a big deal out out of it, and I don’t really see why it matters so much.

    I hardly think 1 post out of nearly 500 counts for making a big deal out of the issue, however since I have a blog I am wont to post about whatever I like. No one is forcing you to comment, however you keep coming back to do so. It seems the issue is bigger for you than you make out.

    @morsec0de

    Interesting, do you scorn highway services for putting up signs warning you of danger on the road ahead?

    It just seems a bit too simplistic to rebuke everyone before carefully considering their message.

    I’d be interested to know how you respond to people solicit you on the street with flyers for goods and services. We have many in London, it’s a bit annoying to be honest but I don’t pour scorn on them, I just ignore them.

    How large of a step does it take a person to go from “you deserve to be tortured for eternity” to “you deserve to die” to “I’m going to kill you”.

    Evidently you have experience of this?

    I’m still waiting to hear how you define Hell or if you even know what it is. You seem to think you have a good knowledge of something that supposedly doesn’t exist and yet, if you were to parse the different religions and their texts to get a consensual definition of Hell I don’t think you would arrive at anything like the allegories you have used so far.

    This tells me at least two things.

    1) You are prone to assumptions
    2) You have some issues with torture, killing and dungeons*

    *I have not yet given a definition of Hell, all the imagery, true or false, has been supplied by you.

  10. morsec0de said

    “Evidently you have experience of this?”

    Spanish Inquisition.
    Witch Trials.
    Abortion Doctor Murders.
    9/11.

  11. Lex Fear said

    Spanish Inquisition.
    Witch Trials.
    Abortion Doctor Murders.
    9/11.

    You have evidently lived a long time then to experience all this! 🙂

    This is off-topic though, so rather than write a response here, I’m just going to refer you to this post, which should enlighten you on the difference between religion and human nature:

    The War Against Theism

  12. Unless you’ve wronged someone in some way, no-one really wants you to go to Hell

    I’m sorry, we’re talking about two different things. It’s hard because your original post was so vague about what it is exactly that bothers you about atheists and the use of the word “hell.” I was trying to imagine a situation where I, as an atheist, would be offended by a christian using the word “hell,” and the situations I imagined involved something like yelling “go to hell, you bastard” rather than “I’ll pray for your soul so you don’t go to hell.” I think you’ll have a lot of trouble finding someone offended by the latter remark. Do you seriously think the author of the blog you referenced in your post would be offended by such a sentiment?

    I hardly think 1 post out of nearly 500 counts for making a big deal out of the issue, however since I have a blog I am wont to post about whatever I like. No one is forcing you to comment, however you keep coming back to do so. It seems the issue is bigger for you than you make out.

    You misunderstood me. You’re free to post whatever you want on your blog, just as I’m free to comment when I see a problem.

    The basis for my “why do you care so much” comment was just the fact that you’re so eager for a philosophical debate about why atheists are offended by hell, when you’ve given no reasons to think they are. From the perspective of someone like me, it looks like you’re completely overreacting to a post jokingly referencing the colloquial saying “a cold day in hell.”

    In a way, it reminds me of when I was talking with a fundamentalist christian a few years ago, and I (out of reflex) said “god damn.” He yelled out “Ha! So you do believe in god! You can’t use that word and not believe in him! I just proved you believe in god!” and I just facepalm’ed and walked away. This discussion is a bit more fun, though, and I think you’re more reasonable than he was, so I might not walk away just yet.

    Anyway, I’ve stated that I have no problem with the word “hell,” and despite your generalizations I think the same is true for most atheists. How many atheists have you actually met? Not the angry 14-year old “new atheists” all over youtube these days, but actual, every day people that happen to be atheists?

  13. Siamang said

    I can only speak for myself. I’m not bothered by it personally, as it’s merely a sign I’m speaking to a person with a problem telling fantasy from reality. Usually if someone threatens me with hell in an online discussion, I try to calm them down, and kind of try to convince them to get some emotional perspective.

    I don’t have people in real life talking to me about hell, but I imagine that if someone did that I would be more concerned for their psychological well-being, mostly because this would be a person that I knew, and so it would be much more incumbent on me to make sure that they got the help they needed.

    Now as a doctrine, I abhor it. Mostly because it was used by adults to frighten me as a child, and I imagine it is still used by adults to frighten children into following a set of beliefs that they wouldn’t otherwise adhere to.

    I have also seen families torn up by belief in and fear of hell. That’s very sad. I often say “Hell is a Christian father who kicks his teenage gay son out of his house, ironically to try and get him to be a Christian.”

    And yes, I’ve seen that actually happen to a friend of mine. It’s very, very sad.

  14. Lex Fear said

    I’m sorry, we’re talking about two different things. It’s hard because your original post was so vague about what it is exactly that bothers you about atheists and the use of the word “hell.”

    It doesn’t bother me, it amuses me.

    I was trying to imagine a situation where I, as an atheist, would be offended by a christian using the word “hell,” and the situations I imagined involved something like yelling “go to hell, you bastard” rather than “I’ll pray for your soul so you don’t go to hell.” I think you’ll have a lot of trouble finding someone offended by the latter remark.

    Well from what I’ve read on forums and such, some atheists get just as bothered by the latter. If you don’t kudos to you, you’re probably less of a reactionary than our friend morsec0de for example.

    The basis for my “why do you care so much” comment was just the fact that you’re so eager for a philosophical debate about why atheists are offended by hell, when you’ve given no reasons to think they are.

    Well, I wasn’t expecting to enter into a philosophical debate, but when your discussing these things, philosophy is a large part of the problem so naturally it’s going to get philosophical.

    I have been given reason to think that atheists are bothered by Hell. Obviously you’re a bit more progressive but there are many examples all over rd.net forums or other blogs of atheists practically being wound up over hell. I hardly think it’s necessary to provide links of course, but if you want me to, about half an hour googling is all it should take.

    From the perspective of someone like me, it looks like you’re completely overreacting to a post jokingly referencing the colloquial saying “a cold day in hell.”

    You paint the picture as though I’m flailing my arms and holding a petition to get this author off the ‘tubes – that would be an overreaction. No, my post is anecdotal, and as I explained, the ‘joke’ brought to my mind a something I’ve observed over time.

    This discussion is a bit more fun, though, and I think you’re more reasonable than he was, so I might not walk away just yet.

    Well I shall take that as a compliment. I also find your tone moderate and as long as your happy to carry on this conversation then I’ll be here.

    Anyway, I’ve stated that I have no problem with the word “hell,” and despite your generalizations I think the same is true for most atheists. How many atheists have you actually met? Not the angry 14-year old “new atheists” all over youtube these days, but actual, every day people that happen to be atheists?

    That made me laugh! I am beginning to like you.

    Well, I was born and raised in England, so I went to school with atheists, I work with atheists and I have friends who are atheists (unfortunately I have lost contact with some of them, the rest are spread out all over the globe).

    In the UK, believers are the minority (don’t believe official statistics, most people in the UK think ‘Christian’ is being born in a ‘Christian’ country – ie. you don’t have to believe in God – church attendance gives a better representation).

  15. shamelesslyatheist said

    We atheists are not bothered by hell, any more than we are bothered by leprechauns. But being told I am going to hell (and usually smugly so, at that) is like me telling you that I hope you get hit by a bus because you don’t believe the same things I do. It is amoral behavior at best, a way of dehumanizing others and diminishing their worth. That the one stating that I am going to hell is sure in knowledge that they can’t possibly have and don’t even see it as offensive doesn’t sit well either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: