Author Topic: The Foxhole With The Atheist  (Read 1294 times)

Q. G. Pennyworth

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The Foxhole With The Atheist
« on: January 12, 2017, 06:14:02 pm »
You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist. When the bombs are falling and the mud and shit are one toxic substance coating everything and nothing smells or sounds real anymore you want to be next to the atheist, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The atheist is not going to fret over their soul when civility collapses, they will do what it takes to get through. The atheist knows that the dead do not get to change their story and the atheist knows that their only hope of immortality is their legacy and they will not let their legacy be "I abandoned my friends in their darkest hour." The atheist is not afraid of the dark.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist is not counting on seeing you in the afterlife if this all goes wrong. The atheist will not give up on CPR. The atheist will not give up on anything, because they don't trust anyone or anything to get the job done if they fall. The atheist is not counting on reinforcements or miracles, they make their own.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist prays by working. The atheist prays by breathing another second. The atheist has no gods but their companions and losing you is the same as losing their faith. They will not let it happen. The atheist will fight. Without concern for their morality, without concern for the heaven they get into, without delusions of martyrdom or virtue. The atheist will fight in ways you cannot, will not, and they will do it for you.
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 06:18:05 pm »
You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist. When the bombs are falling and the mud and shit are one toxic substance coating everything and nothing smells or sounds real anymore you want to be next to the atheist, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The atheist is not going to fret over their soul when civility collapses, they will do what it takes to get through. The atheist knows that the dead do not get to change their story and the atheist knows that their only hope of immortality is their legacy and they will not let their legacy be "I abandoned my friends in their darkest hour." The atheist is not afraid of the dark.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist is not counting on seeing you in the afterlife if this all goes wrong. The atheist will not give up on CPR. The atheist will not give up on anything, because they don't trust anyone or anything to get the job done if they fall. The atheist is not counting on reinforcements or miracles, they make their own.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist prays by working. The atheist prays by breathing another second. The atheist has no gods but their companions and losing you is the same as losing their faith. They will not let it happen. The atheist will fight. Without concern for their morality, without concern for the heaven they get into, without delusions of martyrdom or virtue. The atheist will fight in ways you cannot, will not, and they will do it for you.

Oh man. I love this so much. Big Words?
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


LMNO

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 06:53:32 pm »
I praise the uncaring, random, pointless universe for you and your words.

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 08:10:54 pm »
You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist. When the bombs are falling and the mud and shit are one toxic substance coating everything and nothing smells or sounds real anymore you want to be next to the atheist, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The atheist is not going to fret over their soul when civility collapses, they will do what it takes to get through. The atheist knows that the dead do not get to change their story and the atheist knows that their only hope of immortality is their legacy and they will not let their legacy be "I abandoned my friends in their darkest hour." The atheist is not afraid of the dark.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist is not counting on seeing you in the afterlife if this all goes wrong. The atheist will not give up on CPR. The atheist will not give up on anything, because they don't trust anyone or anything to get the job done if they fall. The atheist is not counting on reinforcements or miracles, they make their own.

You want to be in the foxhole with the atheist, because the atheist prays by working. The atheist prays by breathing another second. The atheist has no gods but their companions and losing you is the same as losing their faith. They will not let it happen. The atheist will fight. Without concern for their morality, without concern for the heaven they get into, without delusions of martyrdom or virtue. The atheist will fight in ways you cannot, will not, and they will do it for you.

Oh man. I love this so much. Big Words?

I haven't done a proper A0 Big Words in a while, this might need a little more before it's ready for that treatment.
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Ziegejunge

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2017, 07:25:36 pm »
Although I like this a lot, and I believe I understand and agree with the premise, I feel that this proverbial atheist in the foxhole seems unduly idealized.

I know and have met quite a few atheists who, landing on the spectrum far from this ideal, are predominantly selfish individuals who would give up on CPR and who would selfishly tuck tail and run, leaving their comrades to die. Conversely, I have met a few "spiritual" people whose approaches to spirituality are unusually practical, almost to the point where one could argue the point that they are "praying by working," or "praying by breathing another second."

If the foxhole is indeed where one can find these idealized atheists, then perhaps I do want to be in that foxhole. If the point that "life is the foxhole," then yes; I will venture to agree that atheists are generally the preferred foxhole-companions, at least from a practical standpoint.

Perhaps the selfish atheists I know would behave differently in a literal foxhole. I don't know. The literal foxhole is an extreme situation. For some reason, as I write this, I keep comparing the idea with hospice experiences, which are far more common and less extreme. Apples and oranges, to be sure. Probably a red herring and not even a fruit at all.

I wish I could do a better job at pinpointing why this entry doesn't "feel quite right" to me, especially because I quite like it overall. Perhaps I should have contemplated my feelings about this entry more prior to posting anything, but for some reason I felt compelled to anyway.

I hope you don't let my feelings interfere with the truth you are communicating. I fully expect the reason it doesn't "feel right" to me has to do more with some misaligned belief or perspective of my own, as opposed to a fundamental flaw with the premise.

I'll continue to let this incubate, and if any new insights or illuminations follow, I'll be sure to share them here -- but please don't wait up for me in the meantime if you get to the point where you're ready to publish these Words.

LMNO

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 07:39:46 pm »
Perhaps you feel the atheist in the OP is unduly idealized, because the OP is referring to an ideal.

In the same way, when someone talks about being a good Christian, they're not talking about a person, they're talking about the best kind of person a Christian can be.

It's a variation on the FB meme that floats around "why did god make atheists?" with the answer being "to show you that people can be good because they want to be, and not because of god" or something similar.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 08:10:21 pm »
Although I like this a lot, and I believe I understand and agree with the premise, I feel that this proverbial atheist in the foxhole seems unduly idealized.

It's an archetype of the idealized atheist. That's why.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2017, 08:23:58 pm »
Yeah, it would be a mistake to say I believe this is 100% true, it's more of a response to the "no Atheists in the Trenches" meme. I know shitty atheists, I know nice theists.

I suppose another big piece of this one was a conversation I had with someone who was aghast at my self-identifying as a propagandist, who couldn't fathom the idea of being comfortable with having a title that's generally perceived as a negative OR being willing to bend or break the truth to weaponize it. The idea that someone could just be okay with abandoning nuance was faintly horrifying to him. LMNO in another thread was talking about not wanting to kink shame Trump, and there was a FB conversation somewhere, and basically a whole lot of my brain was echoing with "you want people who are willing to be assholes on your side when push comes to shove."
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Ziegejunge

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2017, 09:08:00 pm »
it's more of a response to the "no Atheists in the Trenches" meme.

Mea culpa! I had completely forgotten about / repressed that meme. In context, I'm totally on board with these words as a response to it.

I appreciate you reminding me of that, Q.G., and for providing a look at the tracks this train of thought rode in on.

NeonWytch

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2017, 03:09:46 pm »
Smitten mittens, but going off of what Pennyworth said, I too also have difficulty with the idea of an "idealized archetypal atheist". What would that be? An atheist whom is completely moral? But according to what morality? There is no book of guidelines explaining what a "good" atheist is, so an "ideal" atheist could be following any set of ideologies that they want whilst still being an archetypal atheist.
This is more of an idealized secular humanist.

You could create a completely selfish objectivist ancap atheist, and they too would be an "idealized archetypal atheist". just kidding, Objectivism is a monotheistic cult.

At this point I'm just being devils advocate, but I might be more receptive to my own arguments if that wasn't such a great piece of writing. Indeed, your propaganda is effective.
A wise man once said "What was that? I couldn't hear you."

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2017, 03:48:31 pm »
Smitten mittens, but going off of what Pennyworth said, I too also have difficulty with the idea of an "idealized archetypal atheist". What would that be? An atheist whom is completely moral? But according to what morality? There is no book of guidelines explaining what a "good" atheist is, so an "ideal" atheist could be following any set of ideologies that they want whilst still being an archetypal atheist.
This is more of an idealized secular humanist.

You could create a completely selfish objectivist ancap atheist, and they too would be an "idealized archetypal atheist". just kidding, Objectivism is a monotheistic cult.

At this point I'm just being devils advocate, but I might be more receptive to my own arguments if that wasn't such a great piece of writing. Indeed, your propaganda is effective.

Yeah, the point of archetypes is that they don't exist in reality. They are idealizations, which by definition are subjective and malleable depending on what mind or group generates them.

You aren't being devil's advocate, you're just being a pedant with a case of Dunning-Kruger.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


LMNO

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 04:21:39 pm »
The original trope "There are no atheists in a foxhole" was created to give the impression that under times of extreme stress, all humans will look to a higher power to help them; ergo, atheism can be dismissed as human folly.

The subverted trope of the OP intends to show that using nothing but reasoning from the atheist's belief system, morality and good works do not have to be divinely inspired or derived, but can be concluded simply from the premise that there is no afterlife or higher power; that it's up to the individual, not god.

LuciferX

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2017, 11:45:11 pm »
Perhaps you feel the atheist in the OP is unduly idealized, because the OP is referring to an ideal.

In the same way, when someone talks about being a good Christian, they're not talking about a person, they're talking about the best kind of person a Christian can be.

It's a variation on the FB meme that floats around "why did god make atheists?" with the answer being "to show you that people can be good because they want to be, and not because of god" or something similar.

If God maek athetits,
why not he make them good?
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2017, 04:21:54 am »
The original trope "There are no atheists in a foxhole" was created to give the impression that under times of extreme stress, all humans will look to a higher power to help them; ergo, atheism can be dismissed as human folly.

The subverted trope of the OP intends to show that using nothing but reasoning from the atheist's belief system, morality and good works do not have to be divinely inspired or derived, but can be concluded simply from the premise that there is no afterlife or higher power; that it's up to the individual, not god.

This is much more succinct than any explanation I would have come up with, thank you.
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LuciferX

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Re: The Foxhole With The Atheist
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 05:36:56 am »
The original trope "There are no atheists in a foxhole" was created to give the impression that under times of extreme stress, all humans will look to a higher power to help them; ergo, atheism can be dismissed as human folly.

The subverted trope of the OP intends to show that using nothing but reasoning from the atheist's belief system, morality and good works do not have to be divinely inspired or derived, but can be concluded simply from the premise that there is no afterlife or higher power; that it's up to the individual, not god.

This is much more succinct than any explanation I would have come up with, thank you.
Agreed, and without expecting to gain anything from it, there is still a matter of "faith" for the atheist.  Even without a higher power, you can do things in good faith, for their own merit, or, in bad faith, in order to provide personal gain, like how a still godless atheist may appeal to said higher power simply to hedge his bets.  I dunno, not feeling entirely at ease with this first articulation of mine, tear it up.
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