Do atheists ever consider those giving them the Gospel to be altruistic?

Answer by A Quora admin:

Altruism: the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism ).

Proselytizing ('giving them the Gospel') may be a religious virtue but altruism is not.

Why?

Because of the definition's operative word: UNSELFISH.

Proselytizing doesn't cost anybody anything. Therefore (un)selfishness never enters the picture in any way, shape or form.

However, if the gospel leads you to help the needy at a cost to yourself (and without proselytizing), then that would be altruistic.

Do atheists ever consider those giving them the Gospel to be altruistic?

My comment on an answer to Why is it that some atheists can’t simply answer “I don’t know” when it comes to the notion of a God?

My comment on an answer to Why is it that some atheists can't simply answer "I don't know" when it comes to the notion of a God? :

My comment on an answer to Why is it that some atheists can’t simply answer “I don’t know” when it comes to the notion of a God?

Why do some theists call atheists close minded?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Thanks for the A2A,  Rajesh P Mukkath and Farhan Arshad. I appreciate it!

Because they don't understand what it means to be open-minded. They're indoctrinated into a religion and commiserate with others who are similarly indoctrinated. On top of that, in social situations, people who don't share their beliefs normally avoid discussing them for the sake of peace and harmony.

They live in a bubble in which they're so unaccustomed to criticism of their beliefs that they actually believe their beliefs are sacrosanct: above criticism.

To make matters worse, they don't understand that faith is belief without objective reason: evidence or rational explanation. If you have faith, why the heck put yourself in a position where you need to provide what you don't have? Cognitive dissonance much?

Between themselves, they engage in Godspeak so much that they actually believe they know God. They think prayer is efficacious; that they're going to heaven; that the creator cares about them; and that Jesus forgives their sins.

But when faced with atheists — most of whom were deconverted from one religion or another — they're out of their element. Instead of their mutual admiration society, they're faced with freethinkers and actually need to rationally justify their claims.

And they can't. How can they? We're talking about supernatural deities for Christ's sake. No evidence. Hello? Anybody home? Nobody can substantiate anything supernatural. THAT'S WHY THEY NEED FAITH! They hate that faith has no objective support. But what can they do about it? Well, if you can't rationally defend your position . . . what do you do? Blame the freethinkers. Cast aspersions upon them. Anything but engage in rational debate. We all know how that's going to end up.

If you had no evidence for what you believe, you'd be thin-skinned too.

Why do some theists call atheists close minded?

Why haven’t more tolerant variants of Islam gained acceptance among Muslims? How can the Quran be interpreted so that it is not abused an…

Answer by Jim Ashby:

The Quran is a hopelessly, self-reinforcingly, fundamentalist scripture. If you were to remove all the ayat that warn believers to keep believing and condemn disbelievers for disbelieving, it would be a much smaller book. If you then remove the militaristic ayat — much more prevalent in the Medinan suwar — the book would be much smaller again. If you then removed everything that didn't promote a positive message, the Quran would be reduced to a pamphlet. Finally, if you removed everything except for spiritually transcendent wisdom, you wouldn't have anything left.

There's not much to cherry-pick in the Quran. In the Meccan suwar, you have some ayat that promote taking care of widows and orphans and the poor, as well as ayat that claim there should be no coercion in religion. But the Meccan suwar were revealed before Muhammad rose to power. Afterward, in Medina, when Muhammad rose to power, everything changed. The Quran took a militant turn.

Unfortunately, based on the doctrine of naskh (abrogation), the later, militant, suwar supersede the earlier, more tolerant, suwar. So those more tolerant ayat are not only relatively rare in the Quran . . . they're superseded by the less tolerant Medinan ayat.

It's very difficult to embrace the Quran AND be tolerant. Many (most?) Muslims — like most Christians — haven't really read their own scripture. If they have, it was most likely while wearing the blinders of religious indoctrination. Just as many Christians are often surprised when intolerant passages are pointed out to them, so are many Muslims.

If you're a Muslim who interprets the Quran literally, you're in a stronger position than Muslims who don't. The Quran claims itself to be clear, complete and perfect. Literal interpretations, therefore, are better interpretations. If you're a moderate, attempting to cherry-pick the Quran, you're in a weak position. When ISIS comes knocking at your door, you don't want to declare yourself a moderate.

Why haven't more tolerant variants of Islam gained acceptance among Muslims? How can the Quran be interpreted so that it is not abused an…

Where do American atheists believe that unalienable rights come from?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

We're all, allegedly, created equal. But, when I look around, I see people who are more handsome or stronger or smarter or charismatic or whatever than I am. Some people even have an embarrassment of genetic riches. Clearly, we're not all created equal in any way . . .

. . . except one . . .

. . . our humanity: everything else pales in comparison. Simply being human demands respect. Respect, at first, is endowed without reservation . . . we all start off equal. What you do with that endowment is up to you.

Where do American atheists believe that unalienable rights come from?