Talk:Foxhole atheist

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I always hears the expression "Atheist in foxholes", can anyone find a cite to the term "foxhole atheist". - User \scriptstyle4\sum_{n=0}^{\infty}(-1)^{n}(2n+1)^{-1} 22:31, 9 December 2008 (EST)

Removed link of ("This Account Has Been Suspended" on the redirect) Thieh 15:02, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

I know that's a very old discussion, but I agree... it should be "Atheists in foxholes," right? Also, do people like this picture? I think it's quite poignant. DalekEXTERMINATE 17:46, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, the phrase is "atheists in foxholes" but that would make those who are in the foxholes "foxhole atheists". So are we discussing the individuals and a wider context or just the phrase and its orgins here? Scarlet A.pngpostate 18:06, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Worth noting[edit]

The term is nonsensical beyond what is discussed in the article. We might consider everyone in a foxhole to be an atheist, because a true theist would need not have fear outside of one. If they are to die it is because their god wills it, and even if they die they will surely be admitted to heaven if they are correct about their religion (in the case of the Abrahamic religions, at least, or any religion that believes in "life after death"). --ShadowofLords (talk) 21:32, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Not even wrong. Who are you to decide what another human being is "supposed" to think of feel in such a stressful situation? Simplistic, asinine, immature, straight-up stupid reasoning like that is one of the things that makes the new atheist movement look like a bunch of smug, out-of-touch assholes. You can do better. PintOfStout Talk BRONIES! 21:39, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I never used the word "supposed", and am of course being a bit literal about the Abrahamic religions, but the people who would utter such a stupid accusation such as "there are no atheists in foxholes" don't deserve anything more. I'm just commenting that the phrase defeats itself if the central claims of an afterlife in the Abrahamic religions are true (or in any religion that believes in reincarnation, life-after-death, etc.), since suddenly there would become no reason to be afraid of death, as death is just a continuation of life in another form (a happier form even!). Yes individuals are affected by stressful situations, but this does not in any way change the central tenets in the religions (and most individuals who proscribe to the any Abrahamic religion do believe in some afterlife or the other, this is known). If my response to an immature, asinine, simplistic straight-up stupid claim sounds the same, it is only because I have parodied a belief that falls flat upon itself as soon as it is uttered. If people are to believe me "smug" for doing so, then I'll take a leaf out of the book of the late Hitchens and not give a shit. --ShadowofLords (talk) 21:52, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't care how old this thread is, I'm going to comment on it anyway. In essence the phrase: "they are no atheists in foxholes" makes the assumption that people in foxholes getting shot at will fear death and will accept religion and the afterlife it promises. However as you pointed out this very fear of death shows us that a great deal many believers are actually doubters (though this is not universally true as any Israeli or Palestinian will attest to). The truth is they don't know what happens when they die, even if they previously said that they did. It is worth pointing out that the phrase itself is somewhat inaccurate. Atheists are generally seen as being anti-theists and because anti-theists are in general believed to be opposed to any and all superstition, it is typically assumed that atheists have no belief in the afterlife, this is a justifiable assumption (after all it does not appear that you believe in one) but not an entirely accurate one. The point is that this term "there are no atheists in foxholes" is less of a condemnation of atheism and more of a condemnation of anti-theism. This is because it ridicules a key tenant of anti-theism: that all superstitions (and by extension religion) are regressive and unnecessary, and that they therefore must be abolished/destroyed. The phrase gets at something that most anti-theists (who overlap substantially with atheists) often choose to ignore. From a psychological point of view, belief in life after death is a perfectly rational coping mechanism. The only other option to an afterlife is eternal oblivion. You may, on an intellectual level, say that there is no life after death, but on death's door your mind will be forced to entertain the idea. I have thus far seen two of the more prominent anti-theists of recent years, Hitchens and Sagan, entertain the possibility of the afterlife. I say that they "entertained the possibility" because the way these two men talked about this particular superstition, was is in stark contrast to the way they talked about all other superstitions. Indeed it is the one subject, the one superstition, that anti-theists in general go easy on. Why is that? It is because they are living creatures, and as such they fear death. It is this fear of death which shows that neither they nor any theist who fears death is a true believer in their creed. Essentially when it comes to the afterlife we are all either agnostics, true believers, or something in between agnostic and true believer. What the term "there are no atheists in foxholes" means to say is that on death's door you will discard your rationality and your empiricism (if you have not done so already like suicide bombers) and embrace this superstition of the afterlife even if you have spent your entire life adhering to rationality. Why, after so many years of advocating for rationality would you simply abandon it all of sudden? Simple, by accepting even the mere possibility of an afterlife you are trying to ease your fear of death. I am getting a bit repetitive. If your in a TL:DR mode than the one thing you should take away from my comments is that you may not be a "theist" (used here to mean someone who believes in superstition) now but in a foxhole you will be. By believing in an afterlife to cope with your innate fear of death (and in doing so, ease that fear), you will have become a superstitious person, no different than any other theist. Hence the phrase "there are no atheists in foxholes". Alsto003 (talk) 02:03, 12 December 2014 (UTC) Alex

Neither informative nor amusing[edit]

This article is of low quality. Is it supposed to be about a popular aphorism, about some sites named after that saying, or what? At a quick glance, it also seems to be orphaned, with the only incoming links coming from the {{War}} and {{Atheism}} infoboxes. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:52, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't look like this term is used frequently enough to have more links. Maybe this can be somewhat incorporated into the Atheism article? As part of the FAQ? Maybe a question: are atheists hypocritical by praying before an oral speech and by swearing "Oh my god"? Not the exact wording, but something like that? Would that work? LEFTYGREENMARIO 03:17, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
"There are no atheists in foxholes" has very little to do with some GI heard to say OMG in passing. It has more to do with the traumatic effect of high explosive bombardment scaring the Jesus right into someone, at the same time it scares the shit out of him.
Most of the text on the page looks like it was spun out of somebody's head. The aphorism has its roots in the limbic system—not in intellectual logic-splitting. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 03:29, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, my reading comprehension could be off, or this page is simply poorly written. Maybe both, lol. LEFTYGREENMARIO 03:34, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I've got no reason to call your comprehension faulty. The article shows signs of overthinking, and looks to me like a poorly researched patchwork of several editors' efforts. Drastic trim and rewrite is what it needs. Sometime soon I may be willing to perform the first part of that trick. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 03:54, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't say the term isn't "used frequently enough to have more links." Even Wikipedia has an article on the topic as a stand-alone article. Sure, this article could use some mopping and dusting, but I think if we clean it up a bit, it'll be able to stand alone. Noisemobile (talk) 16:58, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Reading that WP article, I was struck by a random thought. Soldiers who have survived hostile fire, and plenty of it, might find relief from PTSD in religious ideation, and may find a religious congregation to be a sort of support group, taking their comfort where they find it. Idle speculation on my part, offered for what it's worth. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:30, 12 December 2014 (UTC)