Comments about ‘Atheists plan Salt Lake convention’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 10:05 p.m. MDT

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Tooele, UT

If, as a Latter-day Saint, there is one thing I like about Atheists, it is the fact they aren't going to preach to me about how, when I die, I will will be sent to the depths of eternal misery, where the devil will be laughing while I spend burning in a state of endless suffering.

At least from the Atheists I have met, most of them are easier to talk than a good number of religious people I have known.

One question that I enjoy asking Atheists is this. If all things religious were totally wiped away from society, government and culture, when aspects of it would you miss the most?

North Olmsted, OH

I would like to know the exact quote by Muscato regarding having fun at the expense of member so The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The only word actually in quotes is "fun." I question if that is what he actually said, or if it is simply the reporter's perception. reading the comments, I get the feeling that many believe Atheists are immoral unloving and lack compassion. As an Atheist, I can say nothing can be further from the truth. I give my time, money and heart to help those in need. My motivation for doing so, may differ than yours. I do not do it to get into heaven or because a book or church leader tells me that is what I should do. I am a good person because it is what my conscience tells me to do.

Orem, UT

Whenever you get a large population of people who live a certain religion, you will run into opposition. As far as I'm concerned, living my religion is the most important aspect of my life. It is the catalyst that has given me my sense of worth, the only true source of lasting and sustained happiness, and has given me the perspective that my family and I can be together forever.

I've lived as a member of the LDS faith my whole life and I can never remember our leaders ever condoning nor promoting discrimination. In fact, what I can remember is being chastised for not being as loving as Christ would have us be to our fellow man.

To be honest, I'm tired of people playing the victim. It is a epidemic spreading amongst many different ideological groups. Every class, color, sect, and sex historically can claim that someone has done them wrong. Those who have true integrity and character will never play the victim. Instead they will look to better their circumstances by hard work, loving their neighbor, being honest, and looking outside themselves.


I was quoting a Prophet from the "Book of Mormon". I believe in him, and if you choose to call him something else, that is your choice...I will not attempt to tell you that you are delusional. On the converse, your very act of coming here to educate us poor Mormons, is an act of telling me I am wrong. I hope, if you are coming, that you will enjoy yourself, but don't be too disappointed if you don't "convert" many to your way of thinking.

Canada, 00

As an atheist I am appalled that the American Atheists are having difficulty purchasing billboard space in Utah. While many there may not approve of the atheist message, many other do and having the convention in Utah not only brings in revenue to your state it allows isolated Utah Atheists to connect with others which can be very difficult when you are a hidden closeted minority. Free Speach doesn`t mean that you should censor views that differ from your own nor does it mean you have to agree with the message but our right to profess our own beliefs is just as valuable as your right to profess yours and as such , should be allowed and in fact encouraged in a healthy society. To do otherwise reveals a hidden bigotry and it`s quite ugly to most of the rest of the world if not to you.

Eugene, OR

An agnostic is just an atheist without anti-religion zeal.
An atheist is an agnostic who wants to be religious (i.e. a missionary) about it.

An agnostic isn't sure where he is going.
An atheist is sure he isn't going anywhere.

JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

@RedWings: "Everyone has the right to believe what they choose to. Respecting that and not seeking to offend is the basis for a truly tolerant society."

I disagree. I don't mean to shock, nor do I mean to offend. I would just like to point out that there are some beliefs you would even regard as deserving lack of respect. For example, most of us agree that a religion teaching parents to not seek medical help for their young is a religion that does not deserve our respect. What could I possibly avoid saying that wouldn't offend such believers? Would it be too disrespectful to call the hospital and report that you know a couple who refuses to seek medical treatment for their children based on their religious beliefs?

Some atheists seek to offend, many of them are seen as seeking offense for simply stating the harmful impact on believing in something based on insufficient evidence and ignoring or trying to explain away strong evidence contradicting a religious narrative.

Columbus, OH

I am an atheist and I can only speak from my own experience. Some of the comments illustrate the confusion people often have about atheists. Just because we gather in groups and have conventions doesn't mean we're forming a religion. It's tempting for people who DO believe to characterize our activities this way, but it's no different than belonging to a club. You wouldn't describe a quilter's convention or a HAM radio club as a religion, would you? It is our goal as a group to help people who share our point of view; to help them learn about navigating through life and society as a non-believer.

It's not hard to imagine that folks like me sometimes take some fire in a society where most people have a belief system. Social pressure often sends atheists into "the closet", so to speak, for fear of being shunned and misunderstood by friends, family, & co-workers. I have noticed in my own travels that this is especially acute in certain areas of the country. We're simply trying to help like-minded folks through our own experiences and understanding.

The Middle Of, UT

Hmm...people are afraid to state they are an athiest therefore, a church must be at fault. Curious conclusion.
What about, I am a coward therefore, I will not publicly affirm I am an athiest?
Or, I am an athiest and nobody will really care therefore, I will keep my mouth shut?

Plano, TX

Salt Lake is a great city, hope they enjoy their convention.

Red Frog Jumps
Clyde, NC

Twin Lights and Red Wings,

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

Born in Bountiful
Provo, Utah

Bien venidos a Utah. Did you come to play or pick a fight? I can't tell by your language.

Orem, UT

JD Jones:

Oh yeah? What 'strong evidence' do you have that religion is wrong, specifically the LDS faith? Is this strong evidence in your own mind? What do you know about the concept of faith? Please, humor me by trying to disprove that faith does not exist. Do you even have any idea what faith is?

I find it interesting that examples used to describe religion are so far out there on the fringe. I would absolutely agree that there are some destructive principles under the tenets of 'religion'. However, we are not all under the same tent. The fact is there is more humanitarian work done to help people provided by religion than any other means available today. Teaching our youth to serve others, to be kind, to be civil, to love your neighbor more than you love yourself, to not do drugs, to not drink alcohol, to marry before having sex, to be a good provider for your family, to be honest, have integrity, and so on. Tell me where religion's (specifically the LDS faith) harmful impact is?

Morgan Hill, CA

I happen to be LDS, and a former atheist. I will agree that many atheists are highly ethical people, living their lives according to well-thought out and deeply-felt moral principles. This alone, in my opinion, disproves the contention (often heard from right-wing Protestants) that we are all "totally depraved," or "by nature evil."

One question I would ask is this: Is there one political perspective or agenda which is expected among atheists, or can atheists come from different political persuasions? I' for one, would like to hear more from politically conservative atheists- perhaps of the Ayn Rand veriety.

Cache county, USA

I guess there is an agenda here for these folks.
Good luck!

Greeley, CO

"All atheists are smart and have degrees and don't commit crimes." Ah, there's the attitude we love. We simple folk (I happen to have a doctorate) that believe in God are just ignorant and living in the past. I know not all atheists feel this way just as not all of us religious folk think you are going to burn. Why do a large number of atheists have a lot of education? "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish." Those of you who seek to make the world a better place, thank you. I just wish you would open your minds to possibilities beyond your comprehension.

Columbus, OH

To jimhale

"An atheist is an agnostic who wants to be religious (i.e. a missionary) about it."

I do not want to be "missionary" or militant. I simply want to get the word out to other people who do not believe in a higher power that it's OK to feel this way.

The definition of atheist, from the word "atheos" meaning "without god", is simply no belief in a supernatural power. Over time, I came to realize that I didn't believe. That's it. I didn't decide I wanted to be some kind of radical. You're stereotyping. I try not to do that to believers and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Salt Lake Cty, UT

As a non Mormon member of your community I can testify to the intimidating environment the LDS church creates despite the intentions or proclamations of its leaders. I was in fact denied friendship as a child because my family went out on Sundays. I have friends currently who no longer believe but haven't told close friends and family for fear of the consequences. I know people in the community who's businesses would fail if they were to leave the church. I have met people who explicitly say that they maintain their affiliation with the church so they don't lose their family. I personally know people that did lose their family as a result of leaving the church. You don't need to take my word for it. You can find these people in any of the many ex Mormon meetup groups in your communities.

I am lucky that I have never been faced with the choice of my faith or my family, but it is a very real choice that your church often compels members to make. I support the efforts of groups like the American Atheists because they support real openness, not patronizing allusions to it.

American Fork, UT

Looks like they've touched a fairly sensitive nerve here. Look, if you want to play big league religion, you're going to have to get a thicker skin. Atheists will congregate. Comedians will poke fun (and wow, is there a lot of material available here). This is going to be interesting as this convention draws closer.

Breathe Deep
Eagle Rock, ID

JD Jones,
yeah I"m interested in this 'strong evidence' also.

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