26 votes

A humble request

I've said this a few times and it gets ignored, so what the heck.

Discussions about religion or topics with religions implications (homosexuality, evolution, etc.) suffer from a -severe- lack of respect. Now, I realize this is the Internet, and a degree of abrasiveness and hostility is to be expected.

Still, religiously-sensitive topics suffer from it far more than others.

So here's my request: can we PLEASE, all of us, be at least somewhat respectful? Can we please not descend into mockery or accusations of ill intent or bad motive?

To atheists: believe it or not, most of us religious folk don't hate freedom, and at least on this forum, I think it's safe to say a majority base their views on solid reasoning and interpretation of evidence. As far as I know, none of us are secretly gay, nor do we hate gay people. We don't want to force our religion on you; like you, we want to convince you of our position, that's all.

To my fellow theists: I realize what I'm about to say is shocking, but to the best of my knowledge, the atheists on this forum do not want to violently stamp out religion, nor do the majority want to force us to support things that our religions oppose. Like us, they just believe that their position is correct, and they want to convince us of that.

Seriously, guys, the religion topics are embarrassing.

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Good point! Something we

Good point! Something we should consider in all topics, but especially in topics that delve into religion.

When it's a joke -

When the prevailing mindset of a certain side of an argument believes the argument itself is a joke, not worthy of serious consideration and only good for a laugh, they are more liable to get pretty nasty in that debate. Not only does their irreverence itself effectively convey their argument without using any logic whatsoever, the opposing side is liable to match the tone with aggression. Especially with any "religious" topic, this type of debate-progression is almost expected by both sides here is the West.

Request denied.

Respect is something that is earned. It is not an entitlement.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

I disagree and agree

It depends on how you define respect.

I'm using it in the sense of basic decency and maturity; you can lose that kind of respect, but at the start it's just sort of assumed that one deserves it.

In the sense of looking up to someone or using them as an example, sure. THEN it has to be earned.

But I think that, until they demonstrate otherwise, everyone is deserving of basic respectful treatment in debate.

That's not respect, is it? I

That's not respect, is it? I think we tend to misuse the word. Websters first definition is ": a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.".

WRT conversation and debate, one should tolerate the right of everyone to hold their beliefs and to express those beliefs, but that doesn't mean that one necessarily need respect the beliefs or the choice of the belief holder to publicly express those beliefs, and when those beliefs run counter to one's own it might be considered disrespectful to express that disagreement, but it's not intolerant.

What you're requesting is courtesy, and that's a reasonable request. I put myself at the top of the list of those who can do a better job at being courteous.

You know who is a master and a great role model of courtesy? Dr. Ron Paul.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

In that case,

I concede the point. Courtesy is indeed a better word for what I'm searching for.

Seems like a reasonable request

Or maybe people could just not discuss those kinds of things here.

I agree having spirited debate is awful!!!!!!!!!

so everyone should just agree with my centrist evolving one world Religion and then the world will be a better place.

We could then all vibrate as one.

The only thing more silly than believing in a far left and a far right is believing their is a middle for everything. I know; in your mind there is a perfect middle and you don't understand whats wrong with all those extremist.


I'm all for spirited debate. I love spirited debate more than a lot of people do; I thrive on it. I love controversy and passionate discussion.

What I object to is the level of condescension, mockery, and baseless ad hominem attacks (not to mention pseudo-science and fake psychology) that get thrown around wildly by BOTH sides on threads that involve religion.

For the record, I do not believe there is any kind of "perfect middle ground." You take a position and you stand on it. I understand exactly what's going on in the minds of those who resort to mockery and sarcasm, because on multiple occasions I have done it as well; even now it's still something that is a severe temptation, especially when emotions run high.

All I'm asking for is discussion and debate, instead of ridicule and hostility. I have NO issue with an atheist telling me I'm wrong; I absolutely have an issue with an atheist telling me that I'm a closet gay Nazi who wants to oppress everyone. I have no issue with a Christian telling an atheist they're wrong; I absolutely have an issue with a Christian telling an atheist that they're jackbooted Communists who support depravity and pedophilia.

I get

what your saying. :)

No Respect


For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

I applaud and support your efforts

Unfortunately, it's the religious folk that post this social conservative crap on here that has nothing to do with reducing the size of government. Then the live-and-let live libertarians respond with reason and scorn. You guys stop posting this crap, and we will stop ridiculing you.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

If two people who supposedly

If two people who supposedly have the same goals (reducing government) have different opinions, maybe its better to try to understand the other opinion rather than immediately resort to scorn and ridicule. That was the OP's point. If there's a difference of opinion, perhaps it's from a lack of understanding and not always an unbridgeable difference in principle.

The government doesn't exist and operate in a vacuum. It gets its mandate to grow when the public accede to its natural desire to expand its power. When does the public accept government expansion? When responsibility for private behavior and social interaction seem to collapse first.

The government doesn't improve the situation, but the public gives its blessing for its expansion when the private society seems to drop its responsible role in providing some necessary pillar or structure of society.

If people suddenly became much more violent, and the weak felt very vulnerable to the predation of the powerful, and communities and families failed to provide self defense, then an expanded role of the government would be embraced by the cowed public.

But all those initial preconditions are 'moral conditions.' The violence, the cowardice, the absence of responsible provision of defense on a level below the government apparatus. Those are reflections of the moral character of the people.

The government is big because the people demand the government take up the role that people have abandoned. Regulating their own lives and behavior, educating their children to character and discipline, taking care of their sick and poor, and so on.

If people abandon social responsibility or responsibility for law and order, the victims will form a constituency for some pack of tax wolves to provide these services from the state. You can condemn them for it, but you won't stop them from pursuing self interest in the absence of alternatives.

And people who abuse the system to their own advantage, even when they have no indisputable need not being met, are case studies in moral collapse. Their moral compass is broken if they want to use the state to take from others for their own purely personal advantage. Abusing unemployment, abusing disability, abusing political office.

As the founders understood, you can't have political liberty without virtue in the people. You can't legislate liberty without a moral society.

You might not agree with the opinions some have about what constitutes virtue, but to pretend its not a legitimate discussion, having an impact on the size of government, that is just false.

To compound the naivete with hostility and immaturity is error.

Perhaps you should step back and check your anger at the door when responding to people who are offering understanding and patience to get through differences.

pot calling the kettle black

You go out of your way to ridicule the conspiracy theorists on this site. Why? Because you find their beliefs preposterous and irrational. You just can't help yourself. It amuses you. Do you build bridges or try to understand their point of view?

So what if some people feel about socons the way you feel about conspiracy theorists? Just trying help you understand :)

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Well the kettle is still

Well the kettle is still black.

The fact that I satirize some of the more over the top conspiracy types shouldn't prevent you from being civil with someone else like the OP.

I don't think the OP was condemning humor, parody, or debate. He was condemning vitriolic personal abuse and hatred for people with different beliefs.

If someone who believes the Queen of England and the Jesuits run the world through the American Bar Association wants to lay the facts before me, I am all ears and civil. I make constant efforts to get them to lay their facts out.

I guess you can try to make religion an analogy to the conspiracy-centric faction, but I would try to persuade you otherwise.

I guess it boils down to which arguments have weight, and most of my comment was about why moral conditions are important to a stable small government. Your commitment to being in a state of conflict with the "social conservative" outgroup causes you to ignore my points and make it into a personal tit for tat.

That's what the OP was hoping to discourage, so you are making yourself a perfect case in point of the problem. And sadly the sourness seems to be in direct proportion to getting it wrong so often and having to flee the argument.

I understand how it must be tough to always initiate the debate and always have to break off in defeat. I have no personal experience with it but imagine it must be hard to do all the time!

Fortunately each time it happens you are a little less wrong next time.


Though you have not defined morality,

one could argue that the Japanese are more moral than Americans. They have less crime in just about every category, are more polite, more socially conservative, and more family oriented. They are also more xenophobic and keep their women in check, two traits you seem to sympathize with. Do they have a smaller government than the U.S.?

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

One aspect of morality would

One aspect of morality would be to not steal, another would be to take care of those in genuine need without being forced. Those two together would get rid of most of the government. Throw in not murdering others for their goods, and you're down to very little government.

Of course, you could say that these precepts could be adopted by anyone. But the question is why anyone would adopt them. The fact that they might be advantageous for society in the longer term by itself has very little power to get people to live a certain way.

We're animals. If we believe that is all we are and nothing more, I wouldn't expect us to behave any better. We may be more cunning and subtle and cruel in our conflict and competition for resources, but if we really believe we are nothing more than animals, then nothing is really wrong to advance our interests and those of our immediate loved ones. What could be more right? Why have any obligation beyond that?

You might think because you stumbled into libertarian beliefs as an intellectual interest, that others should also be expected to arrive at your views purely intellectually. Well, they don't. Not only do they not care, but in most cases don't have the mental hardware to play with such concepts and fit them into such a delicate order to believe your beliefs.

The average person will not adopt an attitude of respect and reverence for the property, lives and rights of others if he truly believes we are nothing more than short lived animals in a genetic competition with billions of other similar animals on a crowded planet, with diminishing resources, and where political violence ultimately settles all disputes not settled by propaganda.

And truthfully, if that's all we are I really can't see any strong reasons to desire libertarianism except insofar as it advances my particular interests. For those who's interests it doesn't immediately advance, it would seem foolish to adopt it just for the well being of others. If you can put through a good argument, I am all ears.

SteveMT's picture

Japan may not be the best example of morals.

Japan's homeless recruited for Fukushima cleanup at minimum wage

The male population is about to further decrease. Who will be left to keep their women in check?

if you consider everything that BILL3 writes.....

as a parody. he suddenly makes perfect sense.

What about us Deist's?

why are we always left out in the cold?

Deist is still

theist, if I'm not mistaken. Don't y'all believe that there is a God, just that He isn't interventionist? Or am I messing up the definition of theist?


the Deist position, like the agnostic position, is inherently non-confrontational. Deists and agnostics have nothing to prove, are secure in their views, and do not push their beliefs onto others. I salute you guys.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Back in the day, people chose

Back in the day, people chose their words carefully. They watched what they said. Not out of political correctness, but because everyone had a gun, guys were tough, hell women were tough, you didn't get thrown in jail for every little scuffle, and people just plain had a sense of decency and respect. Today people are taught to blurt out the first thing that comes out of their mouth, and that they can do it without repercussions. After all, that's what the entertaining idiot characters on TV sitcoms do.

It's been my experience that

It's been my experience that there are more than a few here who want to convince others that their religion (or lack of it) is wrong. They state that religion is so important to them that they must proselytize lest a sinner not be saved.

It seems to me more reasonable to ask that everyone respect the right of each of us to choose our religion (or lack of one, whatever the case may be) and stop the proselytizing.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein


such hostility towards the agnostics and igtheists in not even including them. (That was sarcasm, in case someone can't see purple).

In all seriousness, I agree with you 100% but I think we can even do a little better. In the spirit of personal responsibility, not only should we approach issues and argue our points with respect for the views of others, but I feel we should all grow thicker skin to respond less emotionally when someone does offend us. My ridiculous statement above should demonstrate why.

I AM is all that is. Everything else is malleable.

Excellent point.

I'll be the first to admit that I tend to overreact to things, it's something I have to work on.

Just out of curiousity, what the heck is an igtheist?

A branch of

Ignosticism I think?
Not sure, hard to keep track of all the ism's.

Definitely a "reminder to self" for me as well. I've been trying to give the other person the last word lately, but it does take some restraint.

I AM is all that is. Everything else is malleable.

if it was ichtheist

that would be people who worship fish. Or maybe just one fish. The alternative would polyichtheism. Ichtheologically speaking.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

What about people that worship clams?

And people that worship starfish?
What do you call them?

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Marine theologists?

Marine theologists?