13 18

LINK How (and Why) Americans Were Taught to Hate Atheists

By Scorpio_gurl6
Actions Follow Post Like

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

13 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

0

The demonization of atheists and atheism has existed since the Great Awakening in the 1730 and has existed ever since the strong emergence of evangelical Calvinism in America. The article is wrong.

To all evangelicals, a key element in their belief is the promise of a heavenly afterlife to be awarded to those persist in their belief through the travails of life. ANYTHING which challenges that promise is viewed as a great threat to be condemned. Ergo, evangelicals tend to believe that atheists are to be both condemned and persecuted.

wordywalt Level 8 Apr 13, 2019
0

Excellent post! Too bad there are many of those whom choose to keep their minds closed to reason

2

Nice post. I'm old enough to remember Ike and all that went on in the 1950's. I was young but knew the politics behind this later on because I study those things. Obviously America was "godly" while the communists were the opposite, and the "commies" were the bad guys. Everybody knew that you had to have good and bad guys. The bible had this and it just made sense. Theists to this day believe in some divine purpose that you have in your life. This makes you special and sets you aside from everyone else. Of course you are a white Evangelical. Trump and his friends still live in 1950 and this is one of the main problems. The cure is right around the corner. It's almost time for a lot of these bastards to die off. As white Americans lose power it will be interesting to see "the Amerigod" die a timely death.

DenoPenno Level 8 Apr 13, 2019
2

Great article, it makes a lot of sense to me having grown up in the 50s and 60s. I remember sitting in church and hearing sermons about the evils of communism. I remember the Cuban Missile crisis in October of 1962. They told us to pray because of a possible attack. It was scary times... I understand the reasoning behind pushing religion down our throats.

19dacar52 Level 7 Apr 13, 2019
0

Americans as in each and every one?..... Let it sink for a sec

IamNobody Level 8 Apr 13, 2019
4

Fascinating. In short: it's still 1950 in America. Except cost of living, of course.

4

I'm somebody that's old enough to vaguely remember Eisenhower. I can even remember the "I Like Ike" buttons that the kids in fourth grade were wearing in school. I tend to be an optimist and I really believe that maybe the tide will change. We have a gay man running for president and early polling shows he doing OK. The LGBTQ movement was not really that accepted until recently. I know we unbelievers have a long way to go but we might yet gain a critical mass wherein a majority will no longer demonize us.

gearl Level 7 Apr 12, 2019

I hope you're right, but for the present we are in about the same place as queer people were in 1980 as far as America.

1

Thx 4 ur post

Thx4luh Level 4 Apr 12, 2019
5

Eisenhower capitalised on one of the habits of the masses: failure to use their brains.

irascible Level 8 Apr 12, 2019
9

Yes, the ever-popular conflation of atheism with various forms of totalitarianism. Few things are more tiresome to deal with in public attitudes toward unbelief and areligion.

Eisenhower said to attend the church "of your choice" but given the attitudes toward Catholics in that era, much less Muslims or Buddhists and such, it was really, at its core, a campaign to push Protestantism, especially the evangelical flavor thereof. This is when the likes of Billy Graham initially gained access to the White House and evangelicals began to dream of, and court, temporal power and influence. Eventually, they were to sell their very souls for it, if they ever had any to begin with. I literally had an evangelical tell me recently that he sees nothing, morally speaking, that he can't overlook in Donald Trump, given the hyper-conservative judiciary appointments he's provided. That's how far they've sunk, that they can't see the problem with that.

When I was coming of age in the evangelical world, I was taught that politics was beneath our lofty concerns. What I didn't realize is that this was already a disingenuous position, and by the 1990s a complete sea change would have taken place. The doctrine younger than a MacDonald's Happy Meal -- the notion that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder -- was invented out of whole cloth. Organizations like the Moral Majority were formed. The National Prayer Breakfast had become an entrenched institution. And the rest is history.

mordant Level 8 Apr 12, 2019

Did you know it's now "irreligion"? Which is really sorta funny. Irregardless isn't a word, irreligion is. Or so someone coined.

Yes. How many people realize that many nazis were church going catholics and lutherans. Stalin was in a religious school early on and the communism was only applied to the government, but the people were mostly orthodox christians. Have been to Russia three times. The place is full of churches and the average village dweller is close to a fundamentalist.

@Healthydoc70 In fact IIRC Stalin's mother wanted him to prepare for the priesthood. When in power, Stalin used the Russian Orthodox church as one of many fulcrums to manipulate the people. Religion is far too useful for autocrats to want to do away with.

@Healthydoc70 Some former friends of mine mother got very heated about my mentioning that Nazis were christians as well as the KKK and said I didn't know what I was talking about. Maybe I may be mistaken on exactly what religion but in my view they are all one and the same when they believe in a supreme being.

@Looking4-Others The KKK is not an official church organization, but it is what could be fairly called a "para-church" organization. It is very much an ideology that claims for itself the mantle of Christianity (or, more exactly, "white" Christianity). It is disingenuous to hide behind the technicality that the KKK isn't officially Christian when it has historically counted among its members, Christian pastors and other community leaders, and requires its members to swear to uphold "Christian morality". Which is, basically, Christian fundamentalism (as well as, often, anti-Catholicism).

Yes, virtually every Christian denomination has "denounced" the KKK. They have distanced themselves officially. But can you find significant instances where Christian church members have been censured in any way, much less expelled, over involvement with or sympathies to the KKK? Not that I'm aware of. There's a reason for those pointed hoods. So long as your pastor can't be seen leading a lynch mob, the church isn't going to require him to disavow and speak out against lynch mobs.

So it may be overdetermined to stake out an un-nuanced position that the KKK is Christian, or that slavery in the American South had the support of Christianity, or that Nazis were explicitly Christian. But it's also quite fair to critique the church for looking the other way. Especially when it comes to the Nazis. The protestants, and in particular, the Catholics, made agreements with the Nazi leadership, that basically said, you leave us alone and let us do our thing, and we'll not speak out against you. The Nazis double-crossed the Catholics on that, largely because the RCC had so many attractive assets to seize (the Italian fascists arguably had a better symbiotic relationship with the RCC). I'm not sure how it worked out for the Lutherans, etc., but get the impression it was a mixed bag.

@mordant Good point

5

I would be interested in polling data that said what % of Americans identified themselves as non-believers, Atheist or Agnostic. I'm guessing the total would still be about 5% or less. I know that in my area most people would still be distrustful or at least uncomfortable with you after finding out you were a non-believer. Only about 25% -30% of the women's profiles I see on Batch indicate that they would be willing to date someone who is non-religious.

Most people have always felt threatened or uncomfortable with anyone who is non-conforming to the mainstream norms of society, whether it be people who are childless by choice, a different race or non-believers. Most people find the unfamiliar or different in other people scary and we, as non-believers, are still in a place of cultural non-acceptance and non- familiarity that gay and lesbian people were decades ago. Partly because we are, like them, a fairly small % of the society, but also because we are still way less visible or known by most than queer folk.

You're right. If you look at the U.S. Census Bureau site, the footnotes clearly state that non = no sect chosen and none = atheists, but not really because the sample size was too small to estimate. (NOT my words, that's how it's explained by our government.) People are so excited over this whole nons-are-here! idea that really isn't.

@SeaGreenEyez You and I both live in the US, I think. I figured all the hoopla over the increase in nons and their overall size in the population was all hype. Thanks for the confirmation. My intuition and personal experience had already make me suspect that.

@TomMcGiverin

I don't know if I agree with you both. Yes in generation X I think we are only around 5 percent, but I think the number is much greater with millennials.

I live in the Bible Belt. I don't discuss science or religion with people from my generation or older. It always comes back to haunt me when I do.

Surprisingly, here in hillybillyville, I would say about 15 to 20 percent of the millennials I have met are agnostic. The majority of them do not believe in the good of Abriham.

@TomMcGiverin it may be that you are discounting the size of the young population and the urban population though? Or even the coastal... My experience is the opposite!

3

The religious hatred for Atheists, well ANYONE who was NOT a Christian in fact, began very early in the establishment of the insanity that became Christianity, i.e. somewhere back around the 4th or 5th Century C.E.
As for its rise in the U.S. it most likely began almost as soon a the first 'pilgrims' set their feet on the dry land in my opinion, after all, it IS the nature of the Religious Monster to hate, detest and strive to eradicate anything, everything and anyone who does NOT subscribe to their archaic belief system.

Triphid Level 8 Apr 12, 2019
2

I did not know a lot of this, not having been brought up in the US. Good to see it in print!

Allamanda Level 7 Apr 12, 2019
Write Comment
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer
  • Agnostic.com is the largest non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others happy without religion!