My atheist mission statement – your turn

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Thoughts | 6 comments

On October 10, 2009  I started this blog, and made a dedicated page for my mission statement, which at the time read like this:

“It’s not easy to be someone whose opinions and social standpoint may be at ends with the society at large. The position itself can lead one to become a reviled and hated member of society, except among those who agree with them. It’s so easy for a person to come forward and belittle the ideas of others, and oh-so-easy to dismiss the feelings and beliefs of others. I have, from personal experience, noticed how my words can affect others, sometimes positively, and sometimes very negatively.

With this in mind, and trying to be as fair as possible to all involved, I am writing this mission statement and posting it where all can see if they wish. This will change over time, as I don’t know all the answers, not am I a sociologist, and will be making decisions based on what I observe.

  • I aim to be as fair to all concerned with my comments as possible. Unfairness comes from ignorance and cruelty. Neither of these things are on my agenda.
  • I aim, with the exception for the occasional rant, to be as clear and concise as possible with my posts. If I deviate from this it means I am not thinking clearly and should probably not be posting at all at that time.
  • I do not want to ridicule those with whom I disagree. From ridicule can come no good, only backlash and resentment. If the writing has nowhere to go but into the realm of ridicule, then it has already run its course and should be abandoned there.
  • I aim to treat other with sensitivity and understanding. This does not, however, mean I will agree with what others have to say just to be courteous.
  • I welcome all comments on this blog, however I expect my blog commenters to abide by the points in my mission statement when posting. Deviation from this will be deleted at my discretion.”

I promised myself that I would revisit these points periodically as the need presented itself. It’s only been 7 months now that I’ve been writing this blog, and I have posted 36 articles, had 24,000 visits, and had nearly 500 comments from a broad range of people, and while I feel that my knowledge has increased massively, I still hold that these points to ring true with me.

As a follow up to my last article, I’d like to open up to you, my readers, and find out how you might change these points if at all. Do you think that my standpoint is valid, and if not, why not? I want some feedback please, this is your turn!

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  1. I think it’s pretty good as it stands man. You could put something in there about trying your best not to generalize groups of people (bad apples in every bunch etc) but otherwise it’s fairly straight & to the point.

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  2. Not sure what this has to do with Atheism, it’s a set of guidelines for respectful interaction, no?

    In any event, take this clause out of the 2nd bullet: “with the exception for the occasional rant.”

    You already state that you’re aiming so the allowance to fall short of that is already there, there’s no reason to cite a specific way in which you might deviate from the aim.

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  3. This is a great blog you have going however I do not entirely agree with this statement.

    “From ridicule can come no good, only backlash and resentment. If the writing has nowhere to go but into the realm of ridicule, then it has already run its course and should be abandoned there.”

    Ridicule is often derived from opinion and while it is not the best way to win an argument I do not see it as a bad thing, by default. I normally try to be “fair” but I do sometimes (probably more than I realise) use ridicule when it is my honest opinion. However I usually try to keep reasoned arguments and position as main support not only in Atheism/Skepticism/Science debates but also in Political Debate where I try to use reason an ethics to take the most logical stand point.

    Above all else I support the Freedom of Speech because without it debate is closed. Supporting Free-speech means I am required to extent that right to people whom I disagree with or even loath. However that does not mean I have to let them use my own platform to speak from, just as they are entitled to prevent me from using their platform.

    Most people don’t understand what it actually means to “Support” Freedom of Speech. When you support Free Speech you often find yourself defending many unpleasant things that you disagree with because many of the other so called “supporters” have turned out to be fakes just trying to get some positive credit for a value they do not really hold.

    A Jewish person defending Free-Speech needs to support the rights of holocaust deniers just as an African American person defending Free-Speech needs to support the rights of the Ku Klux Klan despite the content of that speech. Given in this context it is easy to see why there are so few real supporters of Free-Speech around.

    Sometimes I do intentionally distribute content which I know will offend people, but I do so from my own platform and I try to make the point “This is free-speech” and although the content may be offensive to certain people this is what it means to live in a society built upon such freedoms. The “everybody draw Muhammad day” is a prime example. I would not intentionally force that content onto people who I know will be upset by it, but at the same time I will not self-censor nor remove any content just because it may be offensive or controversial; and I extend that same right to everyone else.

    I seem to have gone off on a tangent. Any-ways keep up the good work.

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    • I started my blog on 1st January 2010 primarily because I needed a platform for my opinions and I try to be as honest about them as I can. I also try to direct any ridicule at ideologies rather than the individual. There may be mixed results there.

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  4. I don’t have an atheist mission statement. Pardon my candor, and I don’t mean to be offensive, but an atheist mission statement is a pretty ridiculous thing to have. I don’t have a non-racist mission statement. I like to think of myself as someone who would do what he could to stop racism anyway I could, but I don’t need a mission statement. I don’t need to define my life and my behavior by my non-beliefs.

    So if I must choose a mission statement, it’s my life’s mission statement: be rational. That’s it. Everything else follows from that statement. Be rational.

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    • @Harris Tweed

      See this as more a set of rules for using this blog. My point for making it was not to make a set of rules to base my life upon, merely a set of guidelines for myself an others who use this blog. With it I’m stating what may piss me off, and why a person might get a comment deleted by me, or get banned altogether. It has happened in the past, and I use these guidelines as a way so I can at least have a standard to work from.

      My life’s mission is similar to yours, but I must add that I have an element of empathy that I can’t help but add to mine.

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