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Herding Cats?
neilmarr
It has been said that organising atheists is a piece of cake -- every bit as easy as herding cats.

I'm kinda thankful for that; so yesterday, I got to wondering why it is so many of us cogregate at this and other forums.

My own excuse is that I came across Atheists.com a couple of years ago and bobbed in out of plain ol' atheistic curiosity. What I found was that, after only a couple of lurker visits, my own thoughts began to crystalise.

Although a lifelong atheist, my contact with others since then and the further reading that's suggested -- even video links posted -- have equipped me to more plainly state and illustrate my case ... to myself and to others.

Along the way, I feel that good frienships have developed. But that aside, there's rarely a day when I don't learn something new or find a facet of my stance reinforced.

How about you other heathen felines? Why do you join the herd here?

Neil
 
Bob of QF
I began my journey away from theism more than 30 years ago-- maybe longer (I'm 50, as I write this).

The past several years, I discovered on-line forums-- it was a new social outlet for me, something I really needed (I tend to be solitary, which they tell me is not that healthy. I dunno, I feel fine...<heh>Wink

At that time, I had finally discarded the last trappings of theism, so I started out with the moniker "Unbeliever". This was in 04 or 05 I think.

Here it is 3 years later, and I've enjoyed the give-and-take of forum writing.

I like argument, if it's really a give-and-take. Simple name calling, I find merely amusing.

This forum seems somewhat tame, but it's young. Who knows? Maybe arguments will emerge, as diversity increases.

It ought to be interesting, at the very least.

And, it's a nice breath of fresh air, from dealing with religious zealots over on Topix....

-----
As for herding cats? That's easy: put an open plate of tuna into the place you want them to go, and they will herd themselves...

...maybe this forum can be that metaphorical plate of tuna. Grin
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
Skeeve
As with Neil, I stumbled upon atheists.com around '02-'03 and thought it was the greatest forum evah. ;headbang; I chose the name of this site as a continuation of that...to "bring it forward", as it were.

The diversity of atheists.com was what really hooked me. So many different types of people, proof that atheists are not all alike in their mindset, just sharing disbelief in a god or gods.

I'm still not sure how I'll feel when we gain our first theist members, or start experiencing the fundie driveby. I, for one, will not be debating anyone over religion. Everything that could possibly be said about it has been done, a thousandfold. Not that anyone should feel restricted, debate and argue with them as much as you want, I just won't be joining those threads.

Back to the original question...I'm here for the atheists! ;dancesing;
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
seeker
I think a lot of my attraction to forums like this comes from the lack of commonality I have with the general thinking of most people. One of the things I'm really aware of on a constant basis is that peiple around me are constantly praying for this, sacrificing to that and believing some of the most bizarre things. Its like I live in a world where certain forms of insanity are considered acceptable by 90% od the public and fora like this are my rational retreat.
 
derF
As most of the old gang from atheists.com recall we had a lot of fundies who visited us with the intention of scaring away the darkness of atheism with the bright light of religion. Some were, as mentioned, merely drive by believers while others stuck around for a while. There was even one case where the worshipful actually put up an intelligent (though unconvincing) argument. I must say that those threads were some of the most interesting, entertaining and humorous conversations I can remember from the old site. I am not sure we converted anyone to atheism but I am sure we planted a few seeds of doubt in some of them. Personally I think that should be an ongoing concern at sites like this. The advancement of atheism. Religion is ignorance. Ignorance is the enemy.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
catman
derF: I agree, but I must say that I did get very tired of seeing the same arguments over and over again from fundies, each of whom seemed to think that we'd never heard them before. The 'bright light of religion' blinded them. Some of them were unintentionally funny, though.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Bob of QF
catman wrote:
derF: I agree, but I must say that I did get very tired of seeing the same arguments over and over again from fundies, each of whom seemed to think that we'd never heard them before. The 'bright light of religion' blinded them. Some of them were unintentionally funny, though.


Regarding the "same old arguments" could we, when they eventually show up, start a thread, and number these?

We could start with the tired old Pascal's wager as #1, for example, and post a reasonable response to it.

Then when the fungiodits show up, we just reply with "see #2" and such.

It could be more fun that way, maybe?
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
RayvenAlandria
I got so tired of debating the same old arguments that at one site I proposed to start a list of the typical religious BS, and that when a theist came to the site and started shit we'd refrain from the normal argument and just say "Sorry, you're pulling a #whatever, please go read this list." Then we could direct them to a post that ripped apart all the normal *points* thiests bring up.

We never bothered to create the list. I think some people enjoy having the same debates a thousand times. I got to the point I just ignored the theists posts when they went that direction.

 
derF
Actually I think Neilmarr has created a document that, with a bit of modification, could serve as a basis for that list you are thinking about.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
catman
derF: I agree. It's in the FAQ section entitled Atheism. If fundies appear, they should be directed to it before commencing to spout. It would save us all a lot of bother.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
neilmarr
Yep, the idea of the piece was to save tedious repetition. I think it covers most basic (boring) arguments. It's on the Articles page under 'Interview with an Atheist'. Neil
 
catman
Ah, OK. I didn't realize it was in two places. (I just tested them both.) We are harder for the fundies to find nowadays, which is not a bad thing. I certainly don't want to go looking for them.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
neilmarr
They bring little if anything to the table, Cat. I think their only value is that their feeble arguments are so puerile that our own stance is strengthened whenever they call by to state their ridiculous case. Neil
 
Hypatia
I began looking for atheist forums as a way to interact and socialize with other atheists. For various reasons I'm pretty much a 'home-body', and the majority of my closest friends, who aren't theists or aren't strong theists, live in other states. It seems I'm surrounded by theists of some kind so much of the time.

I was one of a group of four people who started the local Atheist Meetup group here about six years ago and very much enjoyed getting together with the others and watching the group grow some. After a while I slacked off on going regularly, and since then the membership has grown quite a bit. I occasionally attend the Meetups but find I don't enjoy them as much as I used to. For one thing the noise level is always so high it's difficult to carry on conversations and I kind of end up 'zoning out'. It's great the membership has grown, but I don't usually enjoy large gatherings much anyway, unless maybe it's at a concert or such.

I found Atheists.com after doing searches on the Net and it was the one site that just felt like 'home' - the people, the atmosphere, the pace. Some atheist sites I've been to seem to have, IMO, too many 'cliques' and people who are rude and make the place otherwise unpleasant in some way or another. That wasn't the case at Atheists.com, and I found CDs site, and this one, to be the same.

The idea of directing theists who become repetitive or annoying in discussions or debates to Neil's piece, and also to a thread with certain points already laid out, is a very good one, I think. I think most of us are open to discussion with those who want just that - but so often that turns out not to be the case with visiting theists, so we need to be able to direct them somewhere on the site where they can choose to either read and learn and stop whatever disruptive behavior they may be displaying, choose to participate in conversation again in a positive way, or choose to leave.


 
neilmarr
With very, very few exceptions, there tend to be two types of theist poster:

1) Those who come in with polite and reasonable questions, and then quickly deteriorate to dogmatic preachers. Heading them off at the pass by answering simple, basic questions through the FAQ piece might be effective.

2) Those who open with dogmatic preaching, pasted texts, etc. These should be scorned, insulted, or (in my opinion) absolutely ignored.

Neil
 
catman
You are right. They almost always either begin with, or move on to (once they think they have gained our respect or lulled us to sleep) preaching their particular brand of rubbish.;blackcat;
Edited by catman on 09/03/2008 01:35
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Doubting Thomas
I come here because I don't know of anywhere else to talk to other atheists. There certainly aren't many here, and if there are they are as closeted as I am. It's not something you want to advertise here.
 
catman
I am in the same situation. Atheism isn't a qualification one casually mentions in conversation as a rule here either, although most of my friends know.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
derF
Not sure, but I think it was Christopher Hitchens who said something to the effect of, "I believe there are a lot more atheists out there than people let on. Just look at how many people are out and about on a Sunday when church services are being held."
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
derF
Not sure, but I think it was Christopher Hitchens who said something to the effect of, "I believe there are a lot more atheists out there than people let on. Just look at how many people are out and about on a Sunday when church services are being held."

(Hmmmm!!!!! There seems to be an echo in here!)
(Hmmmm!!!!! There seems to be an echo in here!)
Edited by derF on 09/03/2008 18:03
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
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