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Typical atheists vs. Online atheists

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Orbit, Dec 1, 2022.

  1. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    This is an interesting article that deals with this: most atheists rarely get involved in online discussions of atheism. This creates a potential problem. Most atheists are pretty quiet about it, but a few people drive most of the online discussion of atheism. This creates a potential mismatch between typical atheists and the most visible atheists, to the extent that there are predictable differences between the two groups. Sure, the two groups differ in social media usage, but might they differ in other important ways as well?

    The few, the loud: How 'very online atheists' differ from other atheists

    Are atheists who are online different from the typical atheist? Are the most vocal really representative of the group?
     
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  2. Exaltist Ethan

    Exaltist Ethan Synverse Shaper

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    People in general act differently online than they do in real life. Christians, atheists, and everything in between. I myself is able to express myself better typing than I am talking. Even when I talk to my therapist I say, "umm, yeah, right" a lot. I cut the garbage out when I type here and when I pause to type I don't fill it with silence because there's a difference between talking and typing. Talking is an engaging activity that takes time, typing is more passive and can be edited on a whim. I grew up with the Internet as a Gen Y 30-something so naturally I can express myself better on here than say the same thing out loud. And that's true with just about every one. Some people are better talkers, others are better typers. Doesn't matter if they are atheists, Christians, or even Earthseed shapers. :D
     
    #2 Exaltist Ethan, Dec 1, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2022
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  3. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    I guess I'm a visible atheist on RF and a typical atheists when not in front of a computer.
     
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  4. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    They are totally different.
    By Australian standards I'm kinda vocal about atheism purely by the fact that I denote myself as such, and will happily talk about religion. Most of my friends know I'm an atheist, as does my family. But it's almost never a point of discussion.

    I don't think I'd be described as a loud, evangelizing atheist here, but the fact that I would even bother logging in makes me waaaay louder and more invested than the vast majority of Australian atheists, who wouldn't even use the word to self-describe.
     
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  5. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    I'm actually monotheist.

    Someone gave me a kitchen God statue.
    Kind of a dubious gift.
    But i set him up where he can keep check
    on me.
     
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  6. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Atheism doesn't offer much to discuss.
    But religion...that is fertile ground.
     
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  7. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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  8. Alien826

    Alien826 Older than dirt

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    What struck me about the article was that it seemed to apply mainly to atheists in the USA. In the UK, Christians are more likely to keep quiet about their faith than atheists, as they tend to be seen as odd by the average person.

    The other thing was the idea that atheists are less to be trusted than believers because they don't have a moral system to control them. I never heard that in the UK. Actually, I'm not sure that people there tend to label non-believers as "atheist". You are either a Christian (or whatever) or a "normal person".
     
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  9. F1fan

    F1fan Veteran Member

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    In my experience most people do not like to debate about anything in person, especially not religion. Recently my sister and me were talking and religion came up. She asked me about my faith and I said I was an atheist. She was stunned. She had no idea. She asked me why and I explained for about 5 minutes or so and she was getting a bit upset. Theists do best in an environment that does not challenge them, and the exceptions are theists online. They have learned how to be resilient.
     
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  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I wonder how different this is from any other group.
     
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  11. The Sum of Awe

    The Sum of Awe Brought to you by the moment that spacetime began.

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    It's so unfortunate how true that is. I find religion to be a more intriguing conversation than politics; in some cases a more useful conversation than politics as well. (The reason I mention politics is because that's socially acceptable to debate in person)
     
  12. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
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    The Australian scene might differ in that most seem to not care that much either way

    But I will say, the online atheist community did undergo something of an interesting online evolution.
    At least the ones I followed on social media.
    They started out just mocking creationism and cultivated themselves as “debate bros.”
    Then a lot fell in with the “facts don’t care about your feelings” crowd. Which I think surprised many at the time.
    Now there’s seemingly a surge of leftist atheists who deliberately do the opposite.
    But that’s all very niche and confined, really
     
  13. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    Why don't we talk about "typical humans versus on-line humans?"

    The fact is, most people don't care to get involved in debates with strangers, or even those close to them. We could call them "typical humans," and it doesn't matter about what they believe, what hobbies they prefer, what sports they watch, or participate in. Typical humans, mostly, just get on with their lives. That would includes Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and atheists and humanists, and biologists and philatelists and numismatists and waiters and bartenders and the occasional mathematician -- among others.

    And then there are the odd ducks, the non-typical humans -- whatever our beliefs, hobbies, sports and what-not -- who really like to argue, to duke it out with people for the sake of argument itself (or maybe just for the sake of listening to ourselves and gloating about our own brilliance).

    I know that I am one of the latter. I like to debate. I thrive on listening to the opinions of others, and then taking them to task for what they've missed that I've so brilliantly understood. (This, of course, means that I might well be taken to task for what I've missed or misunderstood or am ignorant about -- it's a risk, but one I'm willing to take, like most of the posters here.)
     
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  14. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    I think the same kind of analysis would find similar results with believers. I know my perception of @Kenny is very different than those who post big chunks of the Bible ;)

    I'm also tempted to create a thread entitled Four Horsemen of New Atheism which I read in the article.
     
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  15. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    One of the worst arguments used by some theists is that a God is necessary to keep them on the straight and narrow. It is a rather odd argument since they are only declaring their own flaws and not the flaws of others. It only works where atheists are low in number or very soft spoken because then one can make all sorts of false claims about them.

    As to the OP, I do not regularly go around shouting "I'm an atheist! I'm an atheist!" I still get along with my brother who is a Seventh Day Adventist and his family. I do not wish to "convert" them. And oddly enough they are all bright enough to see through the lies and deceits of Trump so we do not even have political arguments.
     
  16. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    You can watch and listen to those "Four Horsemen" at your leisure, and as you do, it would be interesting if you could point out where you think they say something that is demonstrably incorrect.



    There is, I think we might all agree if we thought about it carefully, an idea that somehow religion ought to be held apart from all of the things that we humans can talk rationally about, that we can challenge. And I think it's also likely true that religion is the ONLY such taboo area.
     
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  17. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    This same issue happens across demographics, for better or worse. It also happens across media types and hits at a weakness in human psychology. That weakness is our perceptions of reality are based not on reason, but on recency of exposure and frequency of exposure. This means loud idiots have a disproportionate impact on our impressions of entire groups. It is unfortunate, and something I always aim to keep in mind with groups I am not exactly warm to.
     
  18. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I've noticed that anyone who holds a position online tends to come across differently than what might be considered typical or more of a real world example. People who are passionate about an issue or care enough to talk about it at length are probably going to become more visible and seem louder than others.
     
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  19. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    I was actually thinking of who on RF I might nominate.

    Any deeply held belief is that way. Politics is another especially any challenge to a very deeply rooted belief. Many would get very very angry and fall all over themselves to denounce what I had written.
     
  20. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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