Electric Sheep wrote:
Paula KirbyI think that you have raised a very good point there.How many atheists are comfortable with debating theists? I am guessing but I would imagineit is the minority. But we need the number of atheist that are willing to debate and openlyquestion religion to increase. This will not happen if atheist becomes synonymous withabusive terms and people. Also we need the in the closet atheist to come out. This againwill not happen if atheist becomes associated with disrespecting people.As atheist we have to behave in a dignified manor. We have to retain the moral highground, because we cannot maintain that we have the logical and rational positionotherwise.Thank you, Electric Sheep. But whilst I agree with the thrust of what you're saying, I'd justlike to differ in the use of vocabulary. These days I avoid the word "respect" altogether inthis context, because people demanding "respect" for religious beliefs invariably mean"Don't challenge my beliefs!" And I'm not up for that! I will challenge their beliefsvery veryhard indeed (I am
to be a 'militant atheist'!), and I will challenge the privilegedposition of religion in our society very very hard indeed too. I absolutely do NOT respectreligious belief. I am opposed to it on every conceivable level - the rational, the moral, and- er - have run out of levels, but if anyone else can think of any, I don't mind betting I'mopposed to it on those as well!But we have to decide whether we're serious about this campaign, or whether we reallyjust want to be rowdy spectators at a bear fight.How do organisations in OTHER spheres go about raising support for their cause? We canlearn a LOT from business here. I know there's a lot of hostility to business, but I haveworked in academia, for charities, AND for business, and I can tell you from firsthandexperience that business people are extremely switched on. If it's rationality, clear-thinkingand effectiveness you want - I know which sector you're most likely to find it in! (Banksexcluded -
. )How do businesses persuade people to buy their product? Is it by persuasion? By creating agood image of what they're offering? Or is it by telling them they're contemptible iftheydon't buy it?How do charities persuade people to support them? Is it by an appeal to their conscience?By creating the sense that they'll be really good people if they support this cause? Or is it bytelling them they're bastards if they don't?Why do major corporations - not noted for spending money that it's not in their interests tospend - invest hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds each year on PR, to improvetheir image? Why do businesses permit their employees to be as rude as they like about thecompetitors and customers within four walls, but fire them if they repeat their remarks in acompany email?
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