Considering that, in the US at least, Christianity is the driver behind a lot of policies and laws, it stands to reason that your lash out at me in that statement shows you believed I was of that faith... even though I made two statements in my previous post that pretty much made it clear that I am not christian.
I'm sorry; I did not intend to come across as lashing out. As I noted, however, the laws in question tend to be centered on nonspecific religious belief - while Christians might be the ones clamouring for them, they do not apply exclusively to Christianity by any stretch. So no, a statement that your belief gives you special treatment in public policy makes no statement beyond "You are religious." I was incorrect in this, and again I apologize.
As for my statement about the lash out - and taking into consideration that text is a very poor medium for communication - what I've read so far comes across as very hostile against those that believe. Even going so far as to try to demand a definition of the word strong when I know damn good and well that that was nothing more than an attempt to deflect. That alone was pretty damn petty since if it suited you to use the word in the same context as I did, you would.
You know wrong.
The particular philosophy of rationality that I follow places a very strong value on making sure you are actually thinking and saying what you mean
to think and say. One of the most fundamental tools in my kit for this is rationalist taboo - describing the concept you actually mean, rather than using the label that you think
means that (and may have other messages bound up in it). In this particular case, I'm glad I asked - I tend to define "strong" much more weakly than you did, and would never use it in the context you described. I'm sorry if this came across as hostile; it was an honest query to keep us on the same page.
My whole stance is pretty damn simple and yet it is continually bypassed, overlooked and twisted. The original post was a rant against people of one faith trying to witness (as is taught to them as being integral to their belief system). It is not that damned hard to be polite instead of taking offense, ranting and raving about it, ridiculing and mocking those that believe differently - on a personal level.
And yet, I'm sure it would be taken as quite rude - in fact, you have outright stated that it is
quite rude - for us to evangelize in turn. This seems like a double-standard. You'll find that atheists who object to evangelism that is not tied to public policy
and which takes no for an answer
are way rarer than you think; as a rule, it's the pushiness, the public policy, or the attitude that we or others are fundamentally inhuman or less valuable that we tend to object to.
When a discussion devolves to the point of nitpicking on the definition of words used then it's time for the discussion to end. It's ridiculous and childish to resort to that level over something that can be simply ended with "I respect you and your beliefs even if I do not agree with them."
When a discussion clearly defines nebulous terms, then the participants can me much more certain that they understand each other. I am sorry that this came across as rude or hostile; that was not my intent.
Let me state this clearly: I have no problem whatsoever with your belief system as you have expressed it. You have a right to that system, and I will respect, support, and defend that right. Nor do I have a problem with any other belief system in itself.
One of the people I most profoundly respect in this world is an American Evangelical Christian - and my respect for him stems directly from his beliefs and actions on those beliefs.
ETA: You are, of course, under no obligation to answer this, but I would greatly appreciate it: When I asked for clarification, I tried to make my reasoning clear in hope of avoiding a situation exactly like this. Obviously, I failed. How can I better address this in the future, so as to avoid giving unintentional offense? (If you'd rather take this to PM, I'm fine with that; if you'd rather ignore it entirely or tell me to go die in a fire, I'll accept that too.)