Open Thread: What Do You Admire About Atheists? December 19, 2007

Open Thread: What Do You Admire About Atheists?

Per reader suggestion (Thanks Bjorn!), here’s an open thread to serve as a follow-up for the Questions for Atheists and Questions for Christians discussions.

What do you admire about atheists?

If you’d like to respond to what you admire about Christians, go to this thread.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian, Christianity[/tags]

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  • Carol

    I’ve believed in Christianity as long as I can remember. I respected the “Catholic” religion but didn’t grow in my ‘awareness’ of JC until I pursued it. I read a lot of the “Case for Christ” stuff and haven’t been convinced by Darwinism or Evolution.

    What do I like about atheists? What’s not to like? I don’t like Christians any group s that tries to get me to join ‘their team’ based upon what THEY say. It’s wrong to use the ‘you better convert or else’ approach. Why insists on girls be on boys’ teams and vice-versa, what’s wrong with all Black colleges? I don’t expect foreigners to ‘learn the language’ just become they visit America…

    From my own experience I’ve never met an ‘atheist’ who’s been anything but a nice person, or someone I wouldn’t help. I don’t even know the belief systems of people in need – do I have too?

    I only wonder about why it’s so important to not say “Merry Christmas” with or without Christ. It’s been a tradition since the United States were founded. I don’t mind someone wishing me a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” or sending me a Valentine when I don’t believe in “St. Patrick” or Cupid..? I like Christmas because that’s when work shuts down for 2 weeks, just as much as the day off for the 4th of July and I’m Canadian.

  • 1.
    I’m amazed that they have the courage to live their lives without God, without the expectation of eternal life, something better than this one, just accepting death.

    2. & that they don’t blame God for anything, no “why did this have to happen to me???!!! What’s the purpose???”. They just move on instead.

  • I’d like to respond to simple z if I may:

    1) We cannot do otherwise, as we see no evidence for gods, eternal life or supernatural paradises. You might have well have said that you’re amazed that we have the courage to be happy without the promise of gifts from Santa, the joys of riding unicorns or the expectation of being saved from certain disaster by Superman.

    2) Again, without any evidence of gods, why would we blame them? We treat the contemporary theistic gods in the same way that you don’t blame Jupiter, Athene, Ganesh or Ahura Mazda (delete as appropriate).

  • Rik

    What I admire about atheists is their ability to shake off the social stigma of not having religious belief system. Additionally, I also admire the fact that many have been able to overcome the traditional brainwashing to reach their “enlightenment”.

  • Null
    My words were only meant as compliments of the strength of atheist individuals, nothing else

    Especially point number 2, which, clarified, means: that you don’t wine about your situation as we christians can do.

  • simple z:

    yes, I understood that, thank you. I was just giving you reasons for why we might do so.

    At the same time, for point 2, I’m not averse to asking “why me?”. However, I don’t associate it with any kind of divine providence, merely circumstance. It helps me to back-trace the cause-effect chain that led to the current situation, and helps me understand where I might have made a bad decision, and if the chance arises, make a better choice in future (or appropriate restitution if possible).

  • QrazyQat

    They can be good without fearing massive, everlasting punishment.

    They would actually vote for a person who believes in god as long as that person were qualified for the office.

    When they give to charity, it’s to actually help people rather than to help those only like themselves or to promote hate and divisions between peoples; they also give to provide help for people before those people die rather than giving to “help” people after those people die.

  • Hemant,

    Haven’t you tortured us enough already? It’s Christmas, for crying out loud! And I can’t tear myself away from here to go shopping!! You’re simply evil! 😉

    I’m sure I can add many more thoughts, but the first thought that comes to mind is that I admire atheists because generally, they are not afraid to speak what’s really on their minds. Which, in turn, frees me to tell them what I think in an honest way.

  • Honesty


    Disregard for peer pressure

    Thinking for themselves

    Compassion, generosity, and morality not based on fear of punishment

    Appreciation of humanity and human goodness (every good deed is God)

    Placing the blame for evil where it belongs, on humans (not Satan)

    Bravery to face life knowing we will die and not exist forever

  • I meant “not saying every good deed is God”

  • Arlen

    I admire atheists because they embrace a profoundly simple world-view. I admire atheists because they are so committed to their beliefs that they are willing to risk the “eternal damnation and hellfire” for which a significant portion of the world believes they are destined. I admire atheists because they have a largely unwavering faith in science and the power of science to eventually be able to describe all of existence.

  • writerdd
    ….ehm…cough…., you wouldn’t, by any chance….
    happen to be an atheist yourself?

  • Yes, I used to be a Christian, but now I am an atheist. I find that atheists are what they present themselves to be, and that is quite refreshing.

    Many, but not all, of the Christians I knew were one way to outsiders–presenting a front of unconditional love, acceptance, and so forth–and another way to insiders–once you are a member you have to live up to the code or you are ostracized or punished.

    Why wouldn’t I be part of the group I hold in higher regard? I’m certainly not ashamed to be an athesit or to admit that I admire atheists.

  • Mriana

    What do I admire about atheists? Most, not necessarily all, are life affirming and they don’t have this tendency to condem people, like the extremely religious. I have also found many to be more pleasant to be around than some fundamentalist. (Do make note to my non-inclusiveness, please, for there are some exceptions)

  • Aran

    Same answer I gave below. I admire certain qualities in some people who happen to be atheists. You could ask this question a zillion ways, and the answer is always going to be the same — I admire certain things about people whether they believe in a god or not, and, if they do believe, no matter what organized belief system they claim to adhere to.

    People are people. They do some good things, they do some bad things. Some people make an effort to do good things, some don’t care. Some are selfish, some are generous. I usually admire people who are better at doing something I’d like to be better at, whether it’s something creative or something altruistic. Religious belief or lack thereof never seems to have anything to do with it.

  • valhar2000

    I could give the same answer here that I gave in the other post. I would have to say, though, that there is a greater proportion of atheists among people I admire than there is in the general population, but I don’t think correlation equals causation in this case.

  • Karen

    I most admire the commitment to honesty, reality and objectivity that I find in atheists. Atheists tend to insist on doing the research for themselves before they accept anyone else’s conclusions or claims. This is a huge change for me, coming from a fundamentalist Christian background where everything is taken “on faith,” and faith is the highest virtue.

    Atheists are committed to searching for the best answers to the big questions, even if those answers aren’t comforting and even if they are along the lines of: “we don’t know (yet).” I find that courageous and admirable.

  • I admire our willingness to reject a popular falsehood. That we are willing to put truth above popularity shows our courage.

  • What I really I admire about atheists is that they tend to be thinkers and seekers of the truth beyond religion. They are not afraid to think, discuss, and discover. They are generally open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. They are not afraid of evolving thoughts. I love that. I don’t get this so much at the Christian camp. Christians are generally reluctant to think new thoughts. They only like different variations on the same theme, the same old thoughts, which gets very stale for me. How can you think for yourself and choose if you don’t allow yourself any real choices?

    The atheists are willing to explore the secrets of the universe with a child-like wonder.

    I feel more at home when I’m with you than when I’m with my people. Isn’t that crazy?

  • Karen

    I feel more at home when I’m with you than when I’m with my people. Isn’t that crazy?

    Bwah, ha, ha, ha … rubbing my hands together maniacally: “Come over to the Dark Side, Linda!”

    (Just teasin’. 😉 We need more Christians like you who have contact and credibility with other Christians and can tell them that we’re not all EvilDoers.)

  • Valhar2000

    I feel more at home when I’m with you than when I’m with my people. Isn’t that crazy?

    Well! Looks like we haven’t made enough fun of you, then!

  • Lauren

    Qualities I admire in an athiest;
    – someone who is willing to listen to another viewpoint without resorting to swearing or calling them an idiot, I think it’s important to respect another person’s beliefs…even if you totally disagree with them.
    _ i admire an atheist who is willing to back up their beliefs with an educated and researched argument, not just “but anything God related is stupid”.
    – I appreciate athiests who understand that I do not need to be rescued from Christianity, I am not deluded or crazy… I just believe in something different than you do.
    – I love it when athiests don’t assume they know you, how you think and what you are about to say in answer to every question. Who knows, maybe I will have a different answer than the other Christians you talk to.
    – I love an open honest debate as much as you do, but as much as you don’t want to be converted… neither do I.
    – I love an athiest who understand that not all Christians base their faith in God entirely on the bible or how they have been raised by their parents, some look for proof in real life and science as well.
    – I love an athiest who is prepared to answer hard questions from christians

  • Not a damn thing. Now if the question was, ‘What do I admire about this particular atheist or that group of atheists’, then my response would be different but I see nothing in just being and atheist that’s admirable.

    My answer would be the same for the question about Christians. I’m a letter of James kind of Christian though I think, call yourself what you want, believe what you want I don’t care. It’s what you DO that matters.

  • While I always hesitate to make such broad generalizations about any group, generally speaking, I admire the willingness among many atheists to question what they’ve been told and think for themselves.

    I also admire the way many atheists who convert away from religion often do so out of a desire to become better people, rejecting much of the bigotry and close-mindedness they found there. Those are good things to get away from IMHO.

  • What I really like about my fellow atheists is that we can justify our beliefs (or lack of them) with logic and reason. We never have to pull the “faith” card. Plus when we get things wrong we are usually happy to reassess our position.

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