A Scarlet Letter – Atheist Documentary Trailer

19

7% of Americans disbelieve in a god.

2% identify as atheist.

A Scarlet Letter explores the stigma surrounding the word "atheist," a word often associated with immorality, anger, and… devil-worship? Yet, despite its stigma, nonbelief is the fastest growing "religious" segment in the American public. This documentary explores why atheists are choosing to stand out against religious intrusion in public life while showing the human face of atheism. It examines the question of why so many people are passionate about a negative.

Written By: YouTube
continue to source article at ascarletletter.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. Think of all the words for black person, Catholic, Jew, gay. Some are neutral. Some are derogatory.

    Though it sounds odd to us, atheist is the derogatory form of non-believer. The longer and more vague and inaccurate an epithet is, the more politically correct it is. Atheist implies hatred of god, and hatred of Christian values, even the decent ones, simply because they are Christian. Atheists are in league with Satan. So oddly, in the Christian mind, Atheists seriously believe in god and Satan, even more than they do. Non-believer, in the Christian view, simply means you don’t buy the story.

    Gay people have pretty much reclaimed the word queer, just as atheists could reclaim atheist.

  2. Good film. This is less of a problem in the UK, though I agree the word atheist does carry some baggage.

    What I find, in the UK, is that the challenge to atheism is usually: “You’re saying you know god doesn’t exist – you can’t prove that, which means you are as bad as those who believe”. They always finish off by proudly explaining they are agnostic. Of course, I know the answer to this point, but you usually can’t carry the argument there and then. We, in the UK, may be better to tackle the definitions and make the case that atheism and agnosticism are pretty much the same.

    In the meantime, I’m happy to use the word atheist as, even as others are misunderstanding the meaning, it gives the word a harder edge.

    • In reply to #3 by GPWC:

      but you usually can’t carry the argument there and then.

      I don’t know, I usually chime in and say agnosticism is about knowledge, atheism is about belief, and the terms are not mutually exclusive.

      • In reply to #5 by karen.sieradski:

        In reply to #3 by GPWC:

        I don’t know, I usually chime in and say agnosticism is about knowledge, atheism is about belief, and the terms are not mutually exclusive.

        Which is the correct reply. But I find the popular understanding of the words in the UK is/has been:

        atheist = someone who is certain there is no god

        agnostic = someone who is not sure

        So it takes a bit of time to explain the atheist position and I would say it takes a further day or two for someone to take it in (if they are bothered).

        • In reply to #9 by GPWC:

          In reply to #5 by karen.sieradski:

          In reply to #3 by GPWC:

          I don’t know, I usually chime in and say agnosticism is about knowledge, atheism is about belief, and the terms are not mutually exclusive.

          Which is the correct reply. But I find the popular understanding of the words in the UK is/has bee…

          I find it typically takes a diagram to explain it.

          If there’s pencil and paper to hand, it’s usually sorted in minutes, unless they happen to be particularly stubborn.

        • In reply to #9 by GPWC:

          In reply to #5 by karen.sieradski:

          I don’t know, I usually chime in and say agnosticism is about knowledge, atheism is about belief, and the terms are not mutually exclusive.

          Which is the correct reply. But I find the popular understanding of the words in the UK is/has been…

          atheist = someone who is certain there is no god

          agnostic = someone who is not sure

          I think this is a misleading theist perception which invites false equivalences.

          If we expand the set it clarifies.

          theist = someone who is certain there is a particular god.

          atheist = someone who is confident (usually on the balance of probability) there is no god/are no gods. (is no god – presupposes a specific one)

          agnostic = someone who is not sure – but it is far from clear what they are not sure about! -

          (doubts about a specific god? doubts about gods in general? a theist with slight doubts about a specific god? doubts about 100% certainty?)

          Technically “agnostic” semantically is about “knowledge”, but as there is no factual knowledge on the existence of gods, we come back to levels of probability. There is certainly NOT a 50-50 chance for or against any particular god.

          I would suggest the vague deist god, is merely a residual belief which is left for dedicated believers to hang on to, after all the refutable god-claims have been discarded (or disingenuously hidden).

          • In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

            theist = someone who is certain there is a particular god.

            I thought the point of religion, at least Christianity, was to have faith without knowledge. Or evidence, even.

            I get that most people don’t understand this, but IMO, this needs to be a part of the discussion.

        • atheist = someone who is certain there is no god

          agnostic = someone who is not sure

          I don’t don’t think there is a Santa Claus. I can’t prove it. I can offer evidence. Am I a Santa Claus atheist or Santa Claus agnostic?

          “sure” is vague. We to define this perhaps Iike this “I am equally sure there is no god that I am sure the sun will rise tomorrow”

          “I am equally sure there is no god that I am sure the the apple will fall to the carpet on my apartment”

  3. I don’t care what anyone who’s reached maturity believes as long as they don’t impose it on anyone else, leave children alone to decide for themselves what’s what, and don’t try to subvert science.

    The problem is that almost invariably religious individuals do do all three of those things.

    On the rare occasions when I’m slagged of for my world view I simply remind the slagger off that the burden of proof of their beliefs lies with them, and that for my part since it’s impossible to prove a negative I don’t attempt to do so.

    I’m still in two minds as to whether it’s worthwhile debating the veracity of their beliefs with believers, because I think that they themselves have to dig their way out of the mind bending hole religion has trapped them in, notwithstanding the fact that the brainwashing they’ve been subjected to is incredibly hard to shake off.

    I’m now going to say something which many may think is patronizing, judgemental and lacking evidence; I think some people have a predisposition to accept religious beliefs without question; and if that is the case it is all that much more difficult to dissuade or disabuse them of that blind faith. Indeed, to attempt as much may cause them to dig in their heels even further and compound the problem.

    • In reply to #4 by Stafford Gordon:

      I think some people have a predisposition to accept religious beliefs without question; and if that is the case it is all that much more difficult to dissuade or disabuse them of that blind faith. Indeed, to attempt as much may cause them to dig in their heels even further and compound the problem.

      While this may be the case, for some, or even the majority, it’s an extremely pessimistic position to take.

      While it may be that you have no hope of influencing the beliefs of some people, there will invariably be some people who are on the tipping point to seeing the error in judgement they have been making their whole lives. We constantly hear of and from people on this very board who claim to have been deeply devout, who used to argue for religion or creationism as passionately as they could, even a few ex-evangelical ministers have turned up here. And who is to say what the ‘level of maturity’ really constitutes? They may be over 18, but many of these people don’t come around to reason until long past that point. Are we simply writing these people off? Do we not bother with them because it might take a bit of effort and we might fail?

      No one is obligated to try to convince people to see reason, and no one should see it as some sort of ‘mission’ to convert people away from religion. But I find it deeply defeatist to claim that there is no point when the results literally speak for themselves here on this very forum.

      It hasn’t escaped me that this very same argument could be made by religious fundamentalists for their cause however, so I will add that, while I’m sure I don’t need to put forth an argument for atheism here, we should be encouraging people to use their own faculties to discover truths for themselves, encourage critical thinking and inquiry. When faced with a religious opponent who’s attempting to bring you down to their level, simply ask them why they believe what they do and if they have any good reason to. The very least you can do is spark a sense of doubt. That’s all I’m asking, that you don’t give up on trying to spark doubt in religion. The truth will hopefully follow on from that, and that’s where we have the leg up on religion.

  4. A Scarlet Letter explores the stigma surrounding the word “atheist,” a word often associated with immorality, anger, and… devil-worship?

    I wonder why.The religious do the most ghastly things and in the name of religion too.They break everyone of the commandments and some that their god was dumb enough to not include.
    Talk about anger.Their rabid ranting at atheists (think of some of the hatemail RD gets) at gays,at the thought of euthanasia, abortion,the findings of science etc is ample proof that worshipping the Non-Existent One does not free one from anger.
    Devil-worship indeed.That’s downright ridiculous.If we don’t believe in god why would we believe in his creation, Lucifer?We don’t believe,period.

    I’m delighted at the pace at which non-belief is growing.We are fortunate to experience this in our lifetime.I think, with sadness of the atheists down the years who lived and died without the freedom to express their views without courting danger and ultimately death.

    We atheists do good because we want to, not because some Eye in the Sky is watching.If you do good because you are afraid of punishment,you don’t deserve to call yourself moral.Isn’t it better to do good for goodness’ sake?

    We are free,(not all of us ) we are coming into our own and this is reason enough to celebrate.Excuse me while I go pour out a glass of bubbly.

    • In reply to #6 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      A Scarlet Letter explores the stigma surrounding the word “atheist,” a word often associated with immorality, anger, and… devil-worship?

      I wonder why.

      Madalyn Murry O’Hair, for one, is part of the mix.

    • In reply to #11 by max.tammbeck:

      Surely we should all be free to self-define. When I say I’m an atheist, it’s according to my own understanding of the word, and not anybody else’s.

      The Humpty Dumpty school of linguistics. (I’m not being sarcastic, well maybe a little but some people actually think Carrol was making a serious point about philosophy of language here.)

      “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
      “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

  5. Hatred is strictly a religious infliction, especially the Christians and Islamic Religions. They are the root of all evil and hatred on earth, maybe the universe. They insist upon themselves that all believers hate those who believe otherwise. Atheism will bring peace to the world in a generation or two. Keep on plugging all you intelligent, concerned atheists. Common sense will soon come to those evolved enough.

  6. When ever I listen to arguments for the existence of God and the conversation turns into ‘A God of The Gaps’ argument, with the open ended point of “Ahhh, but God doesn’t follow the laws of science!” etc. It reminds me of the ‘Fairy in the Bottom of my Garden’ argument. I say… “I know there is a fairy in the bottom of my Garden” but the other person wants some evidence before they believe me. So they search my garden square foot by square foot. Then I say “ahh but she’s jumping into one of the squares after you’ve checked it!”. So the other person seals off each of the checked squares. So I say…”Ahhh but she can make herself invisible!” So then the person feels every square inch of each sealed off square. Then I say “Ahhh but she can make herself look like a worm!”
    We have to find a way, to not be on the back foot. We all know the arguments and its easy to be floored by the smug ‘All Knowing ‘ religious person who can always say “Ahhh but…” but unless we show them that to NOT believe in something is a position that they can relate to (and that is ALL that Atheism means), then it will forever be associated with denying the existence of God. The fact that many of us take this position as well, is a separate issue. The more we use the word Atheism, the more normal it will sound.

  7. Atheists to me are people who ACE theism so much that they realise what that book is trying to do to their heads and have fought to be free of it. Theists may see atheists as a by product of theism. The idea of theism to produce more theists but it does both suggests that theism is not perfect since atheism is partly an outcome of theism which rejects it. Either we humans are too flawed for it or theism is obviously too flawed for us. I think the latter holds true. Look at a newborn kid free of any religious notion. What harm do they serve. Now look at an adult with religion. They have produced bigots……terrorists….murderers….sexist pigs…..soothsayers…….cheats……liars and the worst of all blind to all these due to BLIND FAITH reinforced by self delusion. Looks like they havent snapped out of their own spirtual self masturbation.

Leave a Reply