PRESS RELEASE: Big news for the online atheist community
By ADAM BROWN - ATHEISMRESOURCE.COM
Added: Wed, 02 Nov 2011 17:49:00 UTC
“Telling someone you are an atheist shouldn’t change their opinion of you, but it might change their opinion of atheism.“ – ADAM BROWN
(AtheismResource.com and WeAreAtheism.com)
It’s tough to be an atheist. No one disputes that. We have been called the “most hated group in America” several times. Luckily, we find support online on atheist forums, like AtheistNexus, Facebook pages, Reddit, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and dozens of great atheist websites like AtheismResource.com and WeAreAtheism.com. These groups try and connect atheists around the world and give them a sense of belonging that is much needed… something churches do very well.
We have noticed over the last few years that the most important thing we all can do for the atheist movement is to live out and proud as atheist. Being visibly atheist is important. Knowing that you are an atheist shouldn’t change the opinions about you from people that already call themselves your friends and family, but it might change their opinion of atheism. That’s the point. For us to be able to live comfortably as atheist without the stigma of not having a personal religion, we have to change peoples’ minds about what atheism is… we have to put a face to it. We have to show that we aren’t evil people, we have morals, and we care about helping our neighbors too, but not because god told us to or because we are storing up ‘treasure in heaven’. We do good for the sake of doing good and for the sake of our fellow man.
A few months ago, my wife, Amanda Brown came home from the SSA (Secular Student Alliance) annual conference in Columbus, Ohio with a great idea. Already an active supporter of the LGBT community, she said, “Why don’t we start an ‘It gets better’ campaign for atheists?” Immediately the pessimist, I started a list of reasons it would be difficult. After a few minutes, we realized that we had the resources, connections, abilities, and commitment to make it happen. So, literally two nights later, we had purchased the domain name WeAreAtheism.com and had a website put together. It was a video sharing sit for people to submit their short YouTube videos explaining why it’s ok to be an atheist. We gave them a place to stand up, speak out, and be counted. Many that couldn’t make their own videos just submitted essays. Other videos were shot and edited by our team at local atheist conferences, groups, and meet-ups.
To our amazement, when we launched it (thanks to the help of friends like JT Eberhard, Hemant Mehta, Jen McCreight, and Greta Christina) we had over 40,000 people visit the site in the first week and got over 2,500 friends on facebook since then. Hundreds of people from around the world have since submitted their stories and videos. Without us even knowing, the Richard Dawkins’ Foundation’s OUT Campaign (well known for popularizing the red “A” logos, pins, and apparel now seen everywhere) and AtheistNexus (the world’s largest online atheist forum) were both working on similar projects behind the scenes. Since both groups were in the planning stages of this and we had already launched a successful campaign, we were contacted by both organizations about teaming up to reach more people. This type of partnership hasn’t happened online yet and we were excited to make it a reality. Joining forces is always a good idea. We swallowed our pride, dropped the “it’s our website” mentality that too many groups have, and made it happen.
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