Random thing I Read Today of the day

New segment? I visit a lot of blogs and I often see some really great discussions in the comments and sometimes a particular reply is really well-put or raises an interesting issue so I thought maybe I’d start posting some of these so I can share some things that really spoke to me.

The first is from Friendly Atheist in a post that puts militancy (i.e., the term “militant atheist”) in perspective. I think this comment hit the nail on the head.

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5 responses to “Random thing I Read Today of the day

  1. benandcoopersdad

    I think the term “militant” is meant as “confrontational.” I’ve heard nonviolent African Americans proudly claim to be militant blacks, same for militant feminists, although I’ve heard it used to marginalize in both contexts too.

    For prosthletizing Christians, (particularly Mormons) “militant” isn’t used because there are far better words to use to marginalize them, and don’t pretend you don’t know a few.

    Here’s my question direct to you: from your other recent atheist post, you self-describe as a “weak atheist.” If so, why label at all? Why oversimplify your beliefs into a hypenated word so that people can quickly put you into a bin? You seem more complex than that.

    Tell your wiccan cousin or whomever: I have a firm grasp on what I believe, but it doesn’t fit your easy label, so if you want to understand, it’ll take some investment on your part. If she gives you shit, tell her wicca and all other religions are cop-outs because attaching yourself to them means someone else has already done your thinking for you, so instead of “wiccan,” from now on you’ll call her “lazy.” It’ll at least shut her up.

  2. Kimbo Jones

    I think the term “militant” is meant as “confrontational.”

    The point the commenter was trying to make, in the context of the cartoon that was presented in the article and the response of one of the commenters, is that the term militant is used quit readily for atheists (as in to mean confrontational), but not for other groups. Militancy is accused in atheists and feminists just for talking about beliefs, but violence is assumed to be a prime condition for other groups’ militancy. I think she astutely pointed out this double-standard, which another commenter misinterpreted from the comic.

    Why oversimplify your beliefs into a hypenated word so that people can quickly put you into a bin?

    Although I am a complex individual with complex thoughts, we live in a world and I work in a medium where language means something. We label things. That’s how we work. It’s as shallow as that. I also use the term “weak atheist” to distinguish from “strong atheist”, which is what most people think of when they hear simply “atheist”, often followed by this accusation: “you’re just as much of a religion as we are.” I like to take the wind out of those sails from the get go. “Weak atheist” only provides context for my belief in god, not *all* of my beliefs.

    I don’t have a wiccan cousin, or was that just an example?

  3. Kimbo Jones

    Ah I see. I went back and read that “weak atheist” comment I made. I see that I wasn’t clear. I’m met with “you’re just as much of a religion…” when I say I’m an atheist so that still happens sometimes when I’m too tired to say “weak atheist”. So I end up trading one education conversation for another. But I prefer “weak atheist” in the “what are you?” conversations because generally no one knows what that means so I get to explain fully without launching into a tirade on my own. This way they ask me what it is rather than me assuming they want a complicated description of myself.

  4. benandcoopersdad

    Oh, sorry, the Wiccan thing was from Patrick, another commenter on your Criticism vs Censorship post. I really should only do one thing at once.

  5. benandcoopersdad

    Hey, what the heck is my thumbnail over there, hybrid flying spaghetti monster?