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The Price of Atheism

20/20 special "Seeing and Believing" the clip is the segment on atheism with a brief appearance by Richard Dawkins. These Christians are intolerant of atheists unless the atheist is willing to go along.




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Wow, nothing like loving and tolerant Christians to warm the heart.

Just goes to show you that religion doesn't have to kill people to screw up their lives.

However, I am surprised by the amount of coverage Atheism is getting these days in America.

And after further review of this interview, I have concluded that John Stossel's tough questioning has proven to me that there is a god. Just kidding...Stossel!!! Could his questions be asked any more condescendingly? I feel like I'm watching To Catch a Predator when I hear him talk. "What are you doing here? What were you thinking?"

The interveiwer in this comes across as a total tool. "Why are you an atheist?""Why don't you believe in God?" When the girl gave the perfect response, "I was born an atheist", he totally misinterpreted it as something to do with her parents. He obviously fails to understand that atheism is the default position. Everyone is born an atheist. It is only later that some choose to believe superstitious claptrap.

What a miserable town to grow up in. I'm very thankful to live in Canada.

Such events make me think of "What would Jesus do?" If christians were at least legitimate in their faith, then at least this tragic bull wouldn't happen.

Down with the hypocrites, I say. Get the religiousos afterwards.

Huh, that really pissed me off.

Unfortunately I doubt there is much of a case for violation of church/state separation, at least just going from the facts presented in the clip. She might get more traction with a bog standard tort suit...

I've never heard in an interview with a Christian the interviewer asking them why they are a Christian and asking them to provide evidence for a god. Typical double standard. Accepting reality someone makes you different and odd.

And Stossel even made the comment: "Atheists don't believe in anything." Said in a wonderfully condescending tone.

The story left out some pertinent parts of the story: about the girl getting expelled, and how some made up criminal charges were brought up against her father. He received three "not guilty" verdicts from the jury, thankfully. Their civil lawsuit stems from both issues.

And Stossel even made the comment: "Atheists don't believe in anything." Said in a wonderfully condescending tone.

The story left out some pertinent parts of the story: about the girl getting expelled, and how some made up criminal charges were brought against her father. He received three "not guilty" verdicts from the jury, thankfully. Their civil lawsuit stems from both issues.

And Stossel even made the comment: "Atheists don't believe in anything." Said in a wonderfully condescending tone.

The story left out some pertinent parts of the story: about the girl getting expelled, and how some made up criminal charges were brought up against her father. He received three "not guilty" verdicts from the jury, thankfully. Their civil lawsuit stems from both issues.

UGH, I'm sorry about that. After each time it wouldn't load (i'd just end up with an empty page after it hanging for a while), I'd wait a while and check the page in another browser to see if it showed up. It obviously didn't, so I'd try again.

Again, I apologize.

Wow. That report was like one of the goofy segments the Daily Show does... except the viewer's supposed to take it seriously. There's nothing wrong with being religious, but how can Stossel be such a pathetic reporter after all these years? As a member of the human race, I feel embarassed.

You guys do realize that he states "lot's of people are uncomfortable with us," which I would take to mean that Stossel is also an atheist, or at least a strong agnostic. I think his line of questioning is just to get other people to better understand atheism. Hence, why he goes from the lady having no clue to the "beliefs" of atheists to the atheist convention then to Dawkins.

"lot's of people are uncomfortable with us," which I would take to mean that Stossel is also an atheist

Stossel was quoting "people attending an American Atheists convention". I can see how one might misunderstand that part of the video; the voiceover is a little hard to hear at that point. Anyways, Stossel makes a pretty strong impression of being a theist himself. Also, holy fuck, his moustache is so very 1983.

Am I the only one who uttered a sincere "aw..." when she started crying? Kids can be so cruel. Ugh.

"I've never understood people who remember childhood as an idyllic time." - Watterson

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I agree with almost all the comments - what a place to live! There is an old Moroccan proverb that I have followed a number of times in my life - "Do as your neighbours do, or move!" This can be taken literally or figuratively.

Do as your neighbors do or move? What bullshit. I don't have to imitate the idiots to live where I want and they need to respect our non belief.

Stossel is a dipsh*t. He's a conservative hack, has been for years.

As for the subject of the piece: she'll thrive in college and outgrow everything about this small minded little town.

Takes a hell of a lot of character and courage to stand by yourself (outside the prayer mafia circle) in the middle of a sports court before a game, with judgemental audience members, and take a stand. And who did that at 16-7? I didn't. She'll be fine.

Notice the subtle shot of her near the firepit? TELL ME someone in editing (or the AD during the shoot) didn't just lick their chops about the whole 'burn in hell' visual? C'mon... GIVE ME A BREAK! (poke-in-the-eye to JS)

Deep rural America is completely NUTS. This will never happen in NYC, LA, Chicago, Boston or any other big city.

It's really weird to watch that coming from a country (france) where atheism is the norm.

It's kind of like if America was a vegetarian country and you had to justify yourself if you eat meat.

Man, we are surrounded by righteous morons. And I'll include the interviewer in that group also.

I'm no hardcore atheist by any means. I try stay away from that fence altogether rather than taking a side. Sometimes I see and meet great people who believe in god and I don't so much care because they're just good people. And then I meet or see people like in this show and I can't stand this shit. I'm all good with belief in god until they start pushing it on anyone else (which they do as a whole but not necessarioly individually). And as for the US as a christian nation ...tell that to the f'in native Americans who were butchered and slaughtered because they were here first.

It just makes me sad for kids to have to go through this kinda shit. Adolescence is hard enough without religious wankers adding to the burden.

I wish her the best of luck and hope she knows she is not alone.

absolutely heartbreaking

Yeah, this really strikes a chord with me, too. It is the heartless manipulation that the religious pull on the youth that they do not realise. This, coupled with the fact that atheism is the default position, the youth haven't a chance if they're in a religious setting and they happen to be atheist. They become bitterly entwined in a mess of religious conflict which they must bring the big guns of reason in order to defend themselves.

To be an atheist in your youth in this country is very difficult considering that even elder atheists have a very weak grasp of the arguments to which they must use to defend their belief. It's funny that we, as the atheistic, must defend our belief by default, but at least we, as the atheistic adult, can say, "Well, I'm not going to listen to your nonsense anymore." And we can be off. This is less so for atheistic youth.

It's truly unfortunate that a young person must suffer this conflict for something so truly and absolutely absurd.

On a lighter note, I find her father to be the ideal father figure for an atheistic kid. I would have LOVED for him to be my dad. He plays guitar, owns a ranch, and INSTANTLY went for the burden of proof, expressing it clearly, perfectly!

The family at least seems really cool.

Had some similiar problems (devil worshipper, etc.), but I was in a pretty large Highschool, and so I got some pretty decent responses.

It wasn't because I was forced to choose between praying in a group or not, but because of my decision not to stand up for the pledge of allegiance. I got sent to the principals office each year for each new teacher I had. They had it in their heads that I HAD to stand up, despite me attempting to tell them I didn't have to ... They could even get in trouble for drawing attention to me refusing to.

I'm glad she has some good support. My father got angry with me when I told him about it, saying that I risked being kicked out of school for some stupid ideal.

Anyways, this just helps to show why so many atheist are in the closet.

Stossel's questions are what a "typical" person would ask. I don't believe you can fault him for that -- he's just asking what the "91%" would ask.

Nice bit with Dawkins.

I'm currently working on a documentary along similar lines -- go to my site -- http://www.knowsaint.com -- and click on "State" for more information.

To tell the truth the town she lives in is just fucked up. But she shouldn’t have stood alone against the crowd. There is no hell waiting for her if she didn’t express her beliefs. But the Christians believe they do. She just could have pretended and just go on with her life. I am an atheist but I wouldn’t say that when I am with a bunch of lunatics. Why would I ?

Nicole, if you happen to read this someday, I would like you to know that I admire you and consider you a hero.

As others on this thread have already stated: someday soon you will look back on leaving that school and consider it one of the best things that ever happened to you.

Talented in sports AND music! Brave enough to face ridicule while honoring your own beliefs! This woman represents everything good and right about the American dream.

Bruk:

I would agree that your strategy is far easier than Nicole's. However, speaking personally, I have far more respect for those who stand-up for themselves and their rights than those who do what is easier for fear of conflict.

Is John Stossel a complete moron, or is he just playing "Devil's Advocate"?

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What a brave girl. She is inspirational. Good for her. Her comment that she was born an atheist was bang-on. We all are. The interviewer clearly didn't get it. I know another post already said exactly this, but its worth repeating.

What a brave girl. She is inspirational. Good for her. Her comment that she was born an atheist was bang-on. We all are...

Worth repeating....I loved the little sigh when she said, "I was born an atheist."

I happened over to the ABC News page about 20/20 and there are many many comments, including at least one from Nicole's father.

Damn those Oklahomans. They sure know how to convert the unfaithful... wink.

On a more serious note, the father's description of the treatment of his daughter was slightly overblown, when he called it a "religious gang." They didn't have to organize, in my opinion, to ostracize this girl. They are just cruel and stupid, like most people, with or without religion.

According to the ABC forum related to this article, and someone claiming to be the father of this young girl, the issue is a lot more serious than 20/20 made it out to be.

Here's the link to the aforementioned person's comments, specifically: Link

An excerpt:

Why did you not tell of the History books with big pictures of Moses with the Ten Commandments, taught as historic fact? Why did you not tell of a principal that was fired for refusing to allow the blatant prayer because it would offend? Why did you not tell of how they try to take me from our family, my wife from our family and when that did not work how they tried to take our children away? Why did you not tell them how local law enforcement tried to force people to make false statements in an attempt to get search warrants to our property? Why did you not tell of school board members trying to start fights at an away game with me and make false statements in an attempt to have my wife arrested?

"It is only later that some choose to believe superstitious claptrap."

And Christians are the only ones that are intolerant??

What a brave girl. Someone should set up a college fund for her.

I feel sorry for this girl because she was persecuted for being different, not because she was an atheist surrounded by Christians who felt that she should have conformed to their beliefs. I mean, I face much more derision for being a Christian from atheists than I have ever seen any Christian give to an atheist. In fact, many of my friends are agnostics or atheists. I'm sitting here reading every post about how horribly mean and stupid Christians are for trying to do what is required by our religion (converting people, though harassing them is bad). I, for one, do not know how atheists are not sad, depressed horrible people. Anyway, I feel bad for the girl and with her luck, though I don't think she needs a college fund.

"I, for one, do not know how atheists are not sad, depressed horrible people."

That is because you have depression (or some other imballance) and your irrational beliefs act as a drug to counter this. Congratulations.

I, for one, do not know how atheists are not sad, depressed horrible people."

So, people who don't have a Faith are unhappy? I'm Agnostic, so I can't speak for atheists... But, unlike yourself, life for an Atheist appears to not revolve around the trappings and superstitious goings-on of Christianity.
Life does exist outside of the church.

"I, for one, do not know how atheists are not sad, depressed horrible people."

Because the universe is a vast and beautiful place with infinite possibilities.

Because human beings are capable of such amazing things when they act for good.

Because being a good, virtuous person is an end in itself, not just a means to go to the right afterlife.

What I don't understand is why so many alleged Christians are horrible people (and thereby giving their faith a bad name), as evidenced by this video.

I'm sitting here reading every post about how horribly mean and stupid Christians are for trying to do what is required by our religion (converting people, though harassing them is bad). I, for one, do not know how atheists are not sad, depressed horrible people.

There is a fine line between compassion and projection. Your religion teaches compassion and that you must "save those who are lost." But be careful not to project your belief onto others and assume there is suffering where there isn't suffering. Go ahead and do good in the world - feed the hungry, bring medicine to the sick. Do the work of compassion but know that spreading dogma for dogma's sake is not compassion. It is the root of sectarian division. Look at all the killing going on in the world based on one group saying their dogma is superior to another group's dogma. Try to understand those you feel are different than you. You may find you're not that different at all. I do not believe in a god, but I understand that it is human nature to form beliefs. It is how we create meaning in our lives. I live a rich, meaningful life filled with concern and compassion for others.

And I don't think it's fair to paint Christians with such a wide brush. This little town is just an insular tribe. They are not exposed to other beliefs, other people, other ideas. There's nothing new here nor even specifically Christian. They're acting like the pack animals we are. This is why public education is so crucial. Schools should expand minds not reinforce dogma.

My web site supports Richard Dawkins.

Alright. Good to see multi-cultural diversity is alive and well in America.

This is the kind of shit that makes me hate Red States (cue flames from liberals who come from such states). These are the people we are told have "values." It makes me sick to my stomach.

That girl is incredibly brave, and her father was cool as fuck. However, for the benefit of his children, he should move to a city in a blue state. Sucks that you have to capitulate like that, but rural Red Staters are fucking savages, as shown in this clip. Move to someplace civilized and let your children have a future.

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To Dave @ 5/12 2:44pm

Yes.

@ Dani R: "It's kind of like if America was a vegetarian country and you had to justify yourself if you eat meat."

No that's Berkeley.

I also like how right in the intro the douchebag newscaster says "but late lately Nicole and her family have been speaking out about it saying 'who needs faith?'" Excuse me, did anyone hear any part of that story that indicates that this family has done a single thing to question other community members 'need' for faith? Since when is standing up for your own personal right to not obsrve a religion constitute an attack on the faith of others?

But if this girl doesn't believe in hell, and she doesn't think she'll go there when she dies, how can her life have any meaning?

That story makes me cry...

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Yes, being from a country (Sweden) where the (rare) Christians are seen as sort of odd ("You're a Christian? Like a real one? Really? Why?") this news report is like it's from another planet... I'd say in this case it's pack animal behaviour and probably a bit of inbreeding to blame, besides dogmatic Christianity. Very brave girl.

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