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Is calling someone an Atheist a slur?


theguru

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My friend calls me today and says you need to hear this (he is dating online). A woman contacted him and said, "You sure are attractive, too bad you are an Atheist."

 

Is that a slur or not?

 

I found this online, thought it was interesting:

 

In American politics, calling someone an atheist, or even calling someone a person who associates with atheists is such a slur that it is considered slander. Bigotry against atheists is one of the last generally accepted forms of discrimination in America.

 

Some people have a puzzling hatred of those who don't share their belief in God and they feel it is fine to express that hatred, no matter who is hurt. I believe their hatred comes from a misunderstanding of who and what atheists actually are.

 

An Atheist View

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You won't find me using the word "atheist" or its adjective form "atheistic" in any negative connotation. I can guarantee you that. I do think others do, however, and I find it weird why people care what other people's take on God is. Some of the brightest minds in the entire world think the very thought of a higher power intricately affecting our universe and setting things in place is remote at best. I think it's silly to not entertain thoughts other than those which you're comfortable with. There's a great quote by Galileo: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." I think it's applicable in the sense that people aren't using that same sense and reason when they use the word "atheist" with a negative connotation or as a "slur."

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Yes, and it says so in his dating profile. And this was an unsolicited email and there had been no previous contact between the two parties.

 

I don't have a problem with it, nor do I think it's a slur in this situation. Religious beliefs can be crucial to a relationship.

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Sounds to me like she's interested in your friend, but not in a relationship with your friend.

 

His move.

 

He made a move, but before I share it, and have to move this to Hot Topics, I am interested on some more opinions on slur or no slur?

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Yes, and it says so in his dating profile. And this was an unsolicited email and there had been no previous contact between the two parties.

 

Was it a slur? No. I think it was just being used in a somewhat hurtful or mean-hearted manor. I might suggest replacing the word with something like "liberal" or "right winger". Is it a slur to be described as a liberal? No. However, it could be seen as mean-hearted if someone said "too bad you're a liberal".

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I don't know. I don't think of the term, or use the term, as a slur. Then again, I used to never think of the term "liberal" as a slur, but it sure has become such with the way the hard right has redefined it.

 

I'd like to get the take from our resident atheist, FKYW.

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It matters to the person if it is a slur or not. Some black men think calling them a "boy" is a slur I personally don't. Besides some just want to have a reason to cause trouble. One last thing, I don't judge a person or look down on them because they don't believe in God or my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the following reason.

 

When he returns:

 

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Phil 2:9-11 (KJV)

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I don't have a problem with it, nor do I think it's a slur in this situation. Religious beliefs can be crucial to a relationship.

 

This.

 

I do think unfortunately, all too often some people who call themselves Christians do spew some hatred towards those who don't, especially atheists. But in this case, it sounds probable that the woman wants to date someone who shares her theistic views and she regrets that your friend doesn't.

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I don't consider it a slur as it is exactly what I am. But quite often it is used negatively as if there is something wrong with being an atheist.

 

I can emphathize with your friend. Living deep in the bible belt open atheism can be a hindrance in the relationship department.

 

I think in this case she meant it as at least a slight putdown. For instance, let's say the woman's profile listed highest level of education completed as high school. Your friend sends her a message that says, "you sure are hot, too bad you didn't go to college". In this hypothetical situation he is speaking the truth however I would sense he didn't mean it as a compliment.

Edited by formerkywrestler
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