Why can't we all just get along?

by T J Williams
(of the think/RANT podcast)

Click image above to embiggen

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0 Responses to Why can't we all just get along?

  1. As a summary of the recent twitter controversy in the atheist sphere I really love this cartoon. Not just because I ❤ zombies!

    Though I do wonder if most of the high profile spats in atheism are more a result of differences between American and British atheism?

    My impression, which may be flawed, is that despite the claims of various religious groups in the UK about secularism and militant atheism it's a far less prominent issue in public discourse.

    I could be wrong in that. But I think being an atheist is a much "bigger deal" across the pond. In that you could reasonably face exclusion and discrimination. Which is something I think (outside of certain contexts) would generally not occur to the same extent over here.

    This of course could just be cultural chauvinism but I would be interested if any of our visiting cartoon fans had any thoughts on this?

  2. flippertie says:

    That has been my impression too. I’m a Brit, but have lived in Asia for many years so these days I look on both the USA and the UK from the outside. I was 17 or 18 when I first encountered real US style evangelical fundamentalism. My reaction was pretty much “WTF! You mean there really are adults who take this stuff *that* seriously?”

    For the majority of my British contemporaries (now in their mid forties) religious observance was one of those things (like wearing a tie) that you did because it was expected, not because you really wanted to.

    Being an explicitly ‘out’ atheist, even at my Church of England based boarding school was no big deal. In fact it was probably seen as only slightly less irritating than the few ‘in your face’ Christians.

    The irrelevance of religion in the day-to-day lives of most secular Europeans is probably difficult for someone from the Bible Belt to understand, just as is the depth of loathing much of the US population feels towards atheism is outside most Europeans experience.

  3. Ed Cara says:

    The gulf between atheism(s) is pretty prominent inside the US itself too. As a New Yorker, I live in a state that while very proud of its Catholic/Protestant background isn’t peeling back the separation of church and state or trying to outlaw evolution in science classes. The blue states’ brand of religion barely resembles that of the bible belt’s, but they do enable it by simply not speaking up and “getting involved.”

  4. Ambidexter says:

    De Botton is a fan of religion as long as gods are optional.

  5. Lupay says:

    I have to agree with Keir on this one, atheism seems to be a far more prominent issue in the states, within old Blighty you’re often looked upon as strange or traditionalist if you hold religious views, and militance will deal you nothing but alienation within modern culture with the exception of small pockets populated predominantly by the elderly, (in my limited experience.) Being an atheist or agnostic over here seems to be the norm, with most people only stepping into a church to appease their granny’s desperate need for a religious wedding ceremony/Christening. Whereas seemingly, it’s the opposite way around across the pond, I may be wrong.

  6. flippertie says:

    Re De Botton – He has some sort of point.

    Yesterday I attended a funeral. I’m not a christian, nor (to the best of my knowledge) was the deceased and nor I’d guess were the vast majority of the congregation.

    But we all turned up at the church for the service with vicar, choir, eulogy, hymns, readings, book of condolences – the whole show. And why? Because there is no recognised secular equivalent – no way to mark the end of a person’s life.

    And religion will continue to play a part in significant moments of many of our lives as long as we are without alternatives. It may be a husk of what it once meant – limited to ‘hatch, match and despatch’ but we need ritual and ceremony and churches serve that need.

  7. Lupay says:

    Flippertie, we do have an alternative, Humanist funerals are becoming increasingly popular which is a bit of a relief! http://www.humanism.org.uk/ceremonies/humanist-funerals-memorials.

    Could it be a generational thing? I tend to find it’s the older generations in British culture that feel the need to have a religious funeral.

  8. Jeff Johnson says:

    I live in far eastern New Mexico, only 8 miles from the Texas panhandle. My county is around 75-80% Republican. This is a town of around 35,000 people. There are 3 bars, probably 5 restaurants that serve alcohol, and you can not legally buy alcohol on Sunday. Just a few miles from here in the 50s towns had laws banning all alcohol and dancing inside of city limits. So this is what I would call American Taliban country.

    In this small town with 3 bars there are about 125 churches, with marquees in front spreading messages like “Give the Lord what’s right, not what’s left,” or “Man uses duct tape to fix everything, God used nails.”

    I have some atheist bumper stickers on my car, and nobody has shot at me yet, but I don’t feel very safe discussing religious matters around here.

    I used to live in San Francisco which was an entirely different situation. San Francisco is truly secular. The right wing and the religious are a minority that are tolerated, but they don’t run things.

    So it all quite depends on which part of the country you are in.

  9. Lupay says:

    @Jeff I’m really sorry to hear that, buddy. It’s truly depressing that you can’t discuss religious matters without fearing your for your own safety, I hope it improves soon.

  10. I had a falling out with Rebecca Watson over Elevatorgate and her dismissal of Dawkins, so she blocked me on twitter.

    I emailed to apologise for any misunderstandings, tried to be humble, and explained that differences of opinion were natural.

    She took my comments, and made a “meme” photo and emailed it back to me.

    Very mature.

    I agree with the title of the post: Why can’t we all get along? (Or at least be mature)

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