Author Topic: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists  (Read 2983 times)

Nearly Sane

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The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« on: August 11, 2015, 09:15:23 PM »

I read this on a post from The Atheist Experience. Rarely does the astounding approach to judging others as different because they think slightly differently get expressed so clearly. It is well written. It is clear. I allow the writer some leeway because of their position but they are still an area rejecting attempts at comfort. Me old sainted mother often tells me she prays me for me. I would be a dick of the highest order to consider she was only doing it to make herself feel better or that it would stop her doing something that I considered more practical.

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/blog/kevin-davis/atheist-s-open-letter-those-praying-his-son?awt_l=GYlGk&awt_m=3tAPaj3jmAWHhWh

Shaker

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2015, 09:21:19 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 09:24:13 PM by Shaker »
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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 09:32:52 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.

So so when me old sainted mother tells me that age is praying for me, I should tell the selfish old bitch off?

As for being non empathetic the assumption that theists who are praying will not make what you and I regard as practical efforts is demonstrably wrong and seems to exist simply to make an incorrect point about superiority.


I have been helped through some dark spots in my life by friends telling me in their own way that they are thinking of me and that they care. To judge some of those expressions as being selfish simply because of the word pray would seem to me a witless lack of empathy.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 09:44:57 PM by Nearly Sane »

Hope

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2015, 09:44:05 PM »
I find this such a May I pick up on something that Mr Davis says:

Quote
Thereís a reason that the sick go to hospitals full of doctors and nurses when they need healing, instead of seeking out faith healers or priests, or staying home to pray as their only means of treatment. Itís because most believers realize that prayer isnít an effective cure for anything.
This is a massive misunderstanding of what 'most believers realize'.  The vast majority of the believers I have had had dealings with over the last 60-odd years believe that not only is prayer a valuable means of cure, but God has provided skills to individuals that he uses to answer those prayers.  Perhaps even more importantly they realise that those skills aren't restricted to people who believe in him, but are given to people both of faith and of no-faith.

As such, for me, Mr Davies' argument grinds to a halt at this point

I was going to respond to various  other sections of the blog, but as his argument doesn't seem to go anywhere after this, I'm not sure that there is any point.
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Emergence-The Musical

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 09:52:12 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.
I'm not sure I would have the emotional or mental space to give a lecture others on a channel of religiously motivated ire such as 'The atheist experience'.
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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 09:55:33 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.
I'm not sure I would have the emotional or mental space to give a lecture others on a channel of religiously motivated ire such as 'The atheist experience'.

It isn't on it. But then you just spunked that post on your wipe clean ouija board, didn't you?

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 09:59:17 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.
I'm not sure I would have the emotional or mental space to give a lecture others on a channel of religiously motivated ire such as 'The atheist experience'.

It isn't on it. But then you just spunked that post on your wipe clean ouija board, didn't you?
Did you not say you had read it on the atheist experience in your opening post?
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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2015, 10:01:24 PM »
I disagree.

I think it's a gracious (where did you get a lack of empathy from?), excellently written but unassailably well argued piece which says much as the same that I feel. One of the best things I've read in a while - quite magnificent, in my opinion.
I'm not sure I would have the emotional or mental space to give a lecture others on a channel of religiously motivated ire such as 'The atheist experience'.

It isn't on it. But then you just spunked that post on your wipe clean ouija board, didn't you?
Bid you not say you had read it on the atheist experience in your opening post?

No. On/from differnt

Shaker

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2015, 10:12:57 PM »
So so when me old sainted mother tells me that age is praying for me, I should tell the selfish old bitch off?
You could, if you wanted to.

Or you could politely explain that since you're not a believer, you don't think that she's doing anything useful, meaningful or worthwhile for you at all, although you appreciate that you know that she believes she is.

Quote
As for being non empathetic the assumption that theists who are praying will not make what you and I regard as practical efforts is demonstrably wrong and seems to exist simply to make an incorrect point about superiority.
As I said on the very same subject only yesterday (or maybe the day before - but very recently) this is bet-hedging, though, isn't it? If you do the God-and-medical-science-both shtick and medical science carries the day, quite apart from the unfalsifiability angle, guess which of the two tends to get the credit? Alan Burns confidently asserts that human beings are God's hands in the world, to which you can say, well, in that case how can you tell the difference between human beings who are God's hands, and no God and human beings just doing human being things? You can't. It's deliberately rendered unfalsifiable - always leaving the God hypothesis intact, you'll notice - and therefore junk as hypotheses go.

Quote
I have been helped through some dark spots in my life by friends telling me in their own way that they are thinking of me and that they care. To judge some of those expressions as being selfish simply because of the word pray would seem to me a witless lack of empathy.

We're not going to agree on this, but here's my take.

Have you heard of Greta Christina? Not nearly as well known in this country as she is in the USA, where she's famous on the atheist and LGBT-issues blog scene. She tends to blog mostly about both things - being an atheist in America and LGBT-related issues.

In June 2011 she wrote an article (Atheists in the Pride Parade: Some Thoughts on Churlishness and Integrity), based on her activity in the recent San Francisco Pride parade, in which she made some observations on the similarities between American atheism and LGBT rights - as many have done, of course - but more importantly on what she sees as the most salient difference between the two. The day I read it, over four years ago now, I thought the point was so well made that I saved the article (I save tons of stuff as it is ...) and I've referred to it before. I may even have provided this particular passage (it's only an excerpt: the whole is much longer) beforehand, for all I know. I'm not sure. In any case, some won't have seen this before and may well enjoy and agree with this as much as I do:

Quote
Atheists talk a lot about the parallels between the LGBT movement and the atheist movement. I talk a lot about it myself. But I think we need to remember that, for all the parallels between the two movements, there are some important differences. And one of the biggest differences is this:

There is nothing about saying, "I am queer," that implies, "You are mistaken to be straight." But there is something about saying, "I am an atheist," that implies, "You are mistaken to believe in God." Coming out as queer is a subjective statement about what is true for you personally. Coming out as atheist is an assertion about what you think is objectively true about the external world. When we come out as atheists, we're not just saying what's true for us. We're saying what we think is true in the world. And by implication, we're saying that people who disagree with us are wrong. Even if we're not actively trying to persuade people out of religion - heck, even if we don't care whether people believe in religion - we're still saying that we think religion is wrong.

We need to cop to that.

We need to acknowledge that, for atheists, coming out is different than it is for queers. We need to acknowledge that, for atheists, even the gentlest, least-confrontational, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone" forms of coming out are, in fact, still confrontational. Not just because people don't want to hear it; not just because the conventional etiquette demands that we not say it. Because it is. Because we're telling people that they're wrong.

I think we need to accept that. And I think we need to take responsibility for it.

There are a lot of different ways for us to say it. We can say it in gentle, diplomatic, "You can be good without God" ways. We can say it in snarky, in-your-face, "You know it's a myth" ways. We can say it in bald, statement-of-fact, "There's probably no God" ways. There is room for both confrontationalism and diplomacy in this movement, and in fact the movement is stronger with both methods than it would be with just one or the other.

But I think we need to accept that this is always going to be a difficult topic. I think we need to accept that being honest about who we are and what we think is always going to ruffle some feathers. I think we need to accept that ruffling feathers is not the worst thing human beings can do to one another. It's not even in the Top Ten. And I think we need to accept that being out as atheists, and maintaining our integrity as out atheists, may always be seen - and feel - a little bit churlish.

Because it is.

That's just going to have to be okay with us.

http://goo.gl/g2jKHW
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 10:26:46 PM by Shaker »
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Emergence-The Musical

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 10:38:41 PM »


Have you heard of Greta Christina? Not nearly as well known in this country as she is in the USA, where she's famous on the atheist and LGBT-issues blog scene. She tends to blog mostly about both things - being an atheist in America and LGBT-related issues.

In June 2011 she wrote an article (Atheists in the Pride Parade: Some Thoughts on Churlishness and Integrity), based on her activity in the recent San Francisco Pride parade, in which she made some observations on the similarities between American atheism and LGBT rights - as many have done, of course - but more importantly on what she sees as the most salient difference between the two. The day I read it, over four years ago now, I thought the point was so well made that I saved the article (I save tons of stuff as it is ...) and I've referred to it before. I may even have provided this particular passage (it's only an excerpt: the whole is much longer) beforehand, for all I know. I'm not sure. In any case, some won't have seen this before and may well enjoy and agree with this as much as I do:

Quote
Atheists talk a lot about the parallels between the LGBT movement and the atheist movement. I talk a lot about it myself. But I think we need to remember that, for all the parallels between the two movements, there are some important differences. And one of the biggest differences is this:

There is nothing about saying, "I am queer," that implies, "You are mistaken to be straight." But there is something about saying, "I am an atheist," that implies, "You are mistaken to believe in God." Coming out as queer is a subjective statement about what is true for you personally. Coming out as atheist is an assertion about what you think is objectively true about the external world. When we come out as atheists, we're not just saying what's true for us. We're saying what we think is true in the world. And by implication, we're saying that people who disagree with us are wrong. Even if we're not actively trying to persuade people out of religion - heck, even if we don't care whether people believe in religion - we're still saying that we think religion is wrong.

We need to cop to that.

We need to acknowledge that, for atheists, coming out is different than it is for queers. We need to acknowledge that, for atheists, even the gentlest, least-confrontational, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone" forms of coming out are, in fact, still confrontational. Not just because people don't want to hear it; not just because the conventional etiquette demands that we not say it. Because it is. Because we're telling people that they're wrong.

I think we need to accept that. And I think we need to take responsibility for it.

There are a lot of different ways for us to say it. We can say it in gentle, diplomatic, "You can be good without God" ways. We can say it in snarky, in-your-face, "You know it's a myth" ways. We can say it in bald, statement-of-fact, "There's probably no God" ways. There is room for both confrontationalism and diplomacy in this movement, and in fact the movement is stronger with both methods than it would be with just one or the other.

But I think we need to accept that this is always going to be a difficult topic. I think we need to accept that being honest about who we are and what we think is always going to ruffle some feathers. I think we need to accept that ruffling feathers is not the worst thing human beings can do to one another. It's not even in the Top Ten. And I think we need to accept that being out as atheists, and maintaining our integrity as out atheists, may always be seen - and feel - a little bit churlish.

Because it is.

That's just going to have to be okay with us.

http://goo.gl/g2jKHW
Might wash in the States but this is the GB where the boot is clearly on the other foot.
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Shaker

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2015, 10:53:38 PM »
And you needed to quote all that just to tack on fewer than twenty words, did you?
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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2015, 11:01:00 PM »
And you needed to quote all that just to tack on fewer than twenty words, did you?

Though in Vlad's world that is 2 Ouija wanks

Emergence-The Musical

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2015, 11:05:48 PM »
And you needed to quote all that just to tack on fewer than twenty words, did you?
Yep.........for effect.
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Shaker

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 11:09:47 PM »
Yes, but that effect was "Jeez ... what a monumental Jack and Danny. Doesn't he know or care that we have at least two visually impaired members who rely on screenreaders?"
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jeremyp

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2015, 11:34:43 PM »

I read this on a post from The Atheist Experience. Rarely does the astounding approach to judging others as different because they think slightly differently get expressed so clearly. It is well written. It is clear. I allow the writer some leeway because of their position but they are still an area rejecting attempts at comfort.

I don't know where you got that idea from.  It's not in the article.

Quote
I would be a dick of the highest order to consider she was only doing it to make herself feel better

Neither is that.  What he says is

Quote
Iím going to be gracious and say thank you. But know this ó your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.

That is a statement that is unarguably true.  It does not mean he thinks that the person praying is only doing it to make themselves feel better.  He argues that the only effect is to make them feel better which he assumes is not the only effect  they want.

« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 11:37:01 PM by jeremyp »
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jeremyp

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 11:35:46 PM »

So so when me old sainted mother tells me that age is praying for me, I should tell the selfish old bitch off?


Of course not and neither does the writer of the article.

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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2015, 11:39:11 PM »

So so when me old sainted mother tells me that age is praying for me, I should tell the selfish old bitch off?


Of course not and neither does the writer of the article.


Except in saying that it does more to make the person feel.better, he implies that is the motivation. Rather than just accepting it and moving on he portrays it as mere selfishness

jeremyp

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 12:00:01 AM »

Except in saying that it does more to make the person feel.better, he implies that is the motivation.


No he doesn't.  He nowhere implies that is the motivation.  In fact, he explicitly states he understands they think they are helping him and his son.

Your interpretation is so at odds with mine, I'm not sure we are reading the same article.  Does this link go to your article?

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/blog/kevin-davis/atheist-s-open-letter-those-praying-his-son
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Nearly Sane

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 12:09:18 AM »
You mean the article that posits that effectively because of prayer that will preclude a theist from anything more practical. The one that effectively states that someone saying they care for you in a way you wouldn't should be told off for it?


When sainted old mother tells me, she is praying for me, it;s simply her expressing one of the ways she is willing to care. And yet according to the writer. Shaker and you, I am supposed to take time out of whatever issue is at the time causing her to offer sympathy in her way, to say 'That's useless you old bar, and you obviously won't do anything useful for me'



jeremyp

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2015, 12:25:24 AM »
You mean the article that posits that effectively because of prayer that will preclude a theist from anything more practical. The one that effectively states that someone saying they care for you in a way you wouldn't should be told off for it?

Yep, must be a different article I read.  The one I read doesn't say prayer precludes people from doing anything else.


Quote
When sainted old mother tells me, she is praying for me, it;s simply her expressing one of the ways she is willing to care. And yet according to the writer. Shaker and you, I am supposed to take time out of whatever issue is at the time causing her to offer sympathy in her way, to say 'That's useless you old bar, and you obviously won't do anything useful for me'
None of the three of us have suggested anything like that.
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Shaker

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 02:04:27 AM »
I suspect that without the sainted mother NS wouldn't have taken the matter as personally as he clearly does and may have read the article as written.
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Sassy

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 02:06:50 AM »

I read this on a post from The Atheist Experience. Rarely does the astounding approach to judging others as different because they think slightly differently get expressed so clearly. It is well written. It is clear. I allow the writer some leeway because of their position but they are still an area rejecting attempts at comfort. Me old sainted mother often tells me she prays me for me. I would be a dick of the highest order to consider she was only doing it to make herself feel better or that it would stop her doing something that I considered more practical.

http://www.atheistrepublic.com/blog/kevin-davis/atheist-s-open-letter-those-praying-his-son?awt_l=GYlGk&awt_m=3tAPaj3jmAWHhWh
Without God men would never have developed medicine and the modern ways that save people.
Truth is God made man and has given him the knowledge of these things. God used herbal medicines in the bible.. It would please the atheist but the realist know that what we have all came from God.
Man has his knowledge and skills because of the tools he provided.


See how man sets himself above everything...
Only God has the last say...
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SusanDoris

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 06:34:13 AM »
Interesting piece. I read the posts here before reading it, and I agree with Shaker's view. A dear friend who died nearly four years ago used to say to me, 'god bless you' and then, 'I hope you don't mind my saying that.' Of course I didn't! She was a very dear, life-long  friend and could say whatever she liked as far as I was concerned!
She was always somewhat puzzled that I am such a confident, happy person without believing in God!

Since my Bishop of Dover post, I've been wondering how I could write to CofE Bishops in the UK and say something on the lines of: How can you possibly, in the face of Science and all the other disciplines which have given us real, practical, factual knowledge of the universe, medicine, etc,  stand there and tell people that God loves them, will hear our prayers, had a son who died to save us from death, when you must know the whole thing is a myth, totally lacking in any objective evidence? How dare you!
I tried googling 'blogs about bishops' and tried writing something to send to all of them, but don't think I'll manage it!!
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 06:37:15 AM by SusanDoris »
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Maeght

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Re: The Astonishing Lack of Empathy of Some who are Atheists
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2015, 07:31:38 AM »

Without God men would never have developed medicine and the modern ways that save people.
Truth is God made man and has given him the knowledge of these things. God used herbal medicines in the bible.. It would please the atheist but the realist know that what we have all came from God.
Man has his knowledge and skills because of the tools he provided.

See how man sets himself above everything...
Only God has the last say...

Of course you believe that Sassy but it is not the 'truth' nor what a realist would think - it is a matter of belief.

I don't really understand the OP - reading the article I don't see any lack of empathy and it seems a very well written piece to me.

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