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← Will 2012 Be the Year of the Atheist?

Will 2012 Be the Year of the Atheist? - Comments

helena!'s Avatar Comment 1 by helena!

HELL YES!

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 00:29:01 UTC | #903905

Osiris's Avatar Comment 2 by Osiris

Doubt it...individually maybe people will see sense...but the religions are still so deeply entrenched in governments around the world...and only this morning I listened to a radio programme about how some young Caribbean women in the UK are choosing to convert to Islam...they reject the religion of their parents but how any half intelligent woman in the 21st century woman can choose Islam is beyond me. Although one of them was quite amusing in that she now covered her body and her hair as dictated by her new belief but still wanted the latest must have trainers....who nobody would ever see...under her ground length skirts.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 00:36:45 UTC | #903906

78rpm's Avatar Comment 3 by 78rpm

I doubt it too. I spend a lot of time in my garden in my suburb, always wearing the cap I got from Freedom From Religion Foundation that says "OUT OF THE CLOSET ATHEIST, but that's as far as I have the nerve to go. Whether I am being prudent or being cowardly, I don't want to be perceived as pushy or---you know that word---STRIDENT. As it is, the neighbors have never said anything about my cap and are willing to accept this old man who lives alone. They even let their children come and visit the garden and play with my cats. Much more "coming out" than I already do? I dunno.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 01:05:27 UTC | #903909

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 4 by potteryshard

Many folk on this site have claimed that reasonable and fair-minded theists do exist...

I've not met one, but this article, seems tto indicate that there might be some truth to that rumor.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 01:07:13 UTC | #903910

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 5 by Mrkimbo

We atheists here in Australia have it pretty easy compared to our colleagues (co non-religionists?) in more backward parts of the world such as the US. I'm completely open about my atheism, but I have been thinking of pushing it a bit with a t-shirt reading "Thou shalt not fill the innocent minds of children with supernatural garbage." I'm a Primary School teacher and it's a sore point with me.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 01:28:32 UTC | #903917

helena!'s Avatar Comment 6 by helena!

I'm strident and proud. We got to own up to it. That's all.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 02:00:56 UTC | #903921

stephenb1960's Avatar Comment 7 by stephenb1960

I'm a secondary school Maths teacher in New Zealand. I've been proudly wearing my "A" lapel-pin (the large one) to school for a couple of years now.

I didn't want to wear it at first because I was suspicious of my own motives - I was worried that I would just be posturing, or being provocative. But then I realised why it was that I actually wanted to wear it - it is because my atheism is one of my proudest achievements:

I was brought up a Christian from a baby. I sang in the choir, served at the altar and when I was fourteen I wanted to become a priest. I then made 3 mistakes:

  1. I read the bible
  2. I thought about what I was reading and realised that I had been lied to by people that I trusted
  3. I finally found the courage to let it all go. This took another 14 or so years. I was so attached to it and was scared to say it was all wrong, but I finally made myself follow evidence instead of what I wanted to be true.

That's why I wear it, and will continue to do so. Letting go of that security-blanket is one of the toughest things I've ever had to do, but I did it.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 02:30:23 UTC | #903927

stephenb1960's Avatar Comment 8 by stephenb1960

And I've been SO much happier since!

By the way - one of the many great things about living in New Zealand is that you are just to the West of the international dateline.

This means that you get to be first to wish everyone a very happy and peaceful New Year.

Happy New Year to you all!

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 02:34:01 UTC | #903929

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 9 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 7 by stephenb1960

I've been proudly wearing my "A" lapel-pin (the large one) to school for a couple of years now.

Good for you.

I then made 3 mistakes:

Depends where yer sitting. From where I'm sitting they were far from being mistakes.

Comment 8 by stephenb1960

Happy New Year to you all!

Happy New Year to you also.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 02:38:11 UTC | #903931

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 10 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 7 by stephenb1960

I then made 3 mistakes:


Sounds like 3 pretty liberating 'mistakes'.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 03:46:21 UTC | #903946

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 11 by Starcrash

The more atheists there are, the easier it is to openly be an atheist. One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell, and his book The Tipping Point discusses how such rushes come about (and one of his examples is Mormonism, which itself went from a small cult to a nationally recognized religion in the US). I think the classic signs are there for the approach of a tipping point in atheism.

I'm among the openly atheist, even though I don't personally know any other people who call themselves atheist. But I'm rather proud of the title because it's something I achieved (after many, many years of Xtianity).

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 06:26:49 UTC | #903966

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 12 by Virgin Mary

I think it's probably easier to be an atheist in England than it is religious. It won't be long before we're the majority, and it wouldn't surprise me come March that the census reveals us to be the biggest group even if we don't outnummber the religions.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 07:04:59 UTC | #903967

mmurray's Avatar Comment 13 by mmurray

If religious folks need a selfish reason to accept their atheist neighbors, consider this: it may not be too long before the shoe is on the other foot and the religious minority will be the ones hoping for a place at the social table. What I can say for sure is that inviting atheists to be open and engaging them as valuable neighbors is not only best for all involved, but also, simply, a better practice of The Golden Rule. Don't suppress the voice of others if you do not want them to suppress yours.

You have to explain to Christians who the Golden Rule works? That's pretty ironic.

Here is a really novel idea. Maybe you could engage with your neighbours as neighbours and keep your religion to yourself.

Is religion really such a common topic of conversation with other people in the US ? I've got no idea if most of the people I know are religious or not.

Michael

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 07:22:01 UTC | #903969

mmurray's Avatar Comment 14 by mmurray

Comment 2 by Osiris :

Doubt it...individually maybe people will see sense...but the religions are still so deeply entrenched in governments around the world..

It's not all bad news although it varies from country to country. Here is a Good News story from Australia.

http://www.news.com.au/national/mum-loses-biblical-row/story-e6frfkvr-1226229754277

A couple are separated with a 7 year old daughter. Mother sends the daughter to a Christian school. Decides daughter should be baptised. Father says not until daughter is old enough to decide or herself. Mother goes to court. Court says no. Mother goes to appeal. Judge says there is plenty of time for the daughter to decide when she is old enough. Awards costs against mother saying:

"A party who chooses to agitate minor matters on appeal runs the risk they will be required to meet the costs they have forced the other party to incur,"

The judge describes the father as "not religious". Nothing about atheism.

Michael

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 07:27:38 UTC | #903970

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 15 by Michael Gray

It is VITAL to consider that the so-called moderates enable and fund this kind of insanity. They are as much to blame as the perpetrators. At least the perps are more honest! They are doing exactly what their holy book tells them to do, without having to lie about meanings.

Hitchens was correct: moderates are worse than fundamentalists in many ways.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 08:27:39 UTC | #903977

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 16 by Mee Peestevone

That's pretty much the way it is where I live and where I work - People keep their religion to themselves and out of the public square so to speak. As for the people I know, only a few let me know directly or indirectly that they are religious.

I don't know if religion is a common topic of conversation in the US, but when I'm there, they sure don't keep it to themselves and it can be annoying at time especially when strangers question what faith you are.

Comment 13 by mmurray :

Here is a really novel idea. Maybe you could engage with your neighbours as neighbours and keep your religion to yourself.

Is religion really such a common topic of conversation with other people in the US ? I've got no idea if most of the people I know are religious or not.

Michael

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 09:05:07 UTC | #903984

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by Functional Atheist

2012 is too soon for a tipping point.

One factor that will slow the acceptance of atheism is politeness. If religion is a non-issue in a given environment, it seems a little rude and/or childish to make a fuss about being an atheist--to me, it is analogous to a Christian bringing up, unprompted, their faith, or their church. It just seems tacky and easily categorized as "too much information"--like a co-worker who is compelled to reveal that they have an open marriage, or are in AA, or have a new church. Yuck--I don't want to know that kind of crap about casual acquaintances, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Natural reticence and courtesy will slow down full acceptance, as they contribute to atheist invisibility. Most people work with and know more atheists than they think they do.

An analogy to LGBT acceptance is hard to avoid. A good sign for atheists will be when gays and lesbians have marriage equality in a majority of states. Already, in large parts of urban America, atheism is like homosexuality--no big deal. That attitude will spread, but it needs at least a few more years to percolate--and in some rural parts of the south it may take decades.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 09:38:45 UTC | #903988

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 18 by drumdaddy

My simple New Year's resolution:

I will use this resource USA government contacts to contact pertinent local officeholders to advocate for secularism via telephone calls (far more effective than emails).

Good topics for my daily phone calls can be found at websites like the following:

SecularNewsDaily.com

Secular.org

ffrf.org

I further resolve to persist through any stalls or delays until I receive responses from elected officials. It's going to be a 'new year' alright. Cold calls, here I come. (Brothers and sisters, don't forget that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.) Peace to all.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 09:52:14 UTC | #903992

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 19 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Just out of interest, is there anyone here from UK who either would feel uneasy about declaring their atheism or who feels it necessary to proclaim their atheism in public?

I'm in my forties, from a white middle class background. In all my experience, I have never felt it would be awkward to say that I am an atheist, but never felt it necessary to state it publicly either, as belief/non-belief religion is hardly ever discussed, and never at any length.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 10:54:23 UTC | #904005

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert

No, no. Atheism is not an affirmation, it's a negative. The only reason I use the term 'atheist' is because I like to be rebellious and provocative, but I'm much more than a silly word.I can be a fool sometimes, but I don't wear the badge 'fool' proudly either.

The best word to describe our collective political ambitions is 'liberal', although that word has been so misused so as to appear almost meaningless. We want to liberate people from religion, otherwise, what is the point?

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 10:56:25 UTC | #904006

mmurray's Avatar Comment 21 by mmurray

Comment 19 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee :

Just out of interest, is there anyone here from UK who either would feel uneasy about declaring their atheism or who feels it necessary to proclaim their atheism in public?

I'm in my forties, from a white middle class background. In all my experience, I have never felt it would be awkward to say that I am an atheist, but never felt it necessary to state it publicly either, as belief/non-belief religion is hardly ever discussed, and never at any length.

Australia is the same. The point isn't that atheism has "won" in any sense but that religion or even the lack of it has become unimportant. The vast majority of people, no matter what they call themselves on surveys and census forms, live as if there are no gods. Also like the UK we aren't completely secular. There are various fights still be to be won like marriage equality and an excessive number of religious schools and perhaps a lingering feeling that belief is a good thing for other people's morality even though one doesn't need it personally.

Michael

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:10:39 UTC | #904010

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 22 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 19 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Just out of interest, is there anyone here from UK who either would feel uneasy about declaring their atheism or who feels it necessary to proclaim their atheism in public?

I'm from what might be called the 'bible belt' of the U.K. and I have no problem of professing my Atheism and advertise my position by wearing my RD.net T-shirts. I've seen one other Red 'A' wearer in the town too. I do get into 'heated' discussion from time to time, but that's mostly of my own instigation. I also socialise in the company of some very right wing folk, I have to or I don't socialise, but I never let them off once they start any of their nonsense.

I've also experienced a taste of the same nonsense in the states which was a lot less conducive to debate. I married and lived in Jacksonville, Florida, where there is a church every ten paces. That didn't work out so nice, I don't take well to censorship, which I have to say was unexpected in the land of the free and where free speech is regarded so highly.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:48:47 UTC | #904021

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 23 by Premiseless

Comment 21 by mmurray : There are various fights still be to be won like marriage equality and an excessive number of religious schools and perhaps a lingering feeling that belief is a good thing for other people's morality even though one doesn't need it personally.

Michael

This is due the legacy of mythology. "Santa is a good boy so people who still believe in him must be good. People who don't believe in Santa are confrontational and I can't cope with confrontations."

There is something residual in the human psyche = still emotionally enslaved to the ancient dissonance of romantic fiction, enough to still let in the big bad wolf by the back door and put up with it. The 'no fiction is boring - therefore evil too must gain passport ' - emotional dissonance. i.e. fiction plus evil is a good recipe - on balance. Then you wonder why I say psychologists have a problem being psychologists. They have to self subvert to the myth just in order to postpone some of its poison, and this is the FULL extent of their power.

The Emperor has stood naked for so long he is now taking liberties with the crowd - who of course keep applauding with varieties of cancerous humour.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:48:48 UTC | #904022

JoxerTheMighty's Avatar Comment 24 by JoxerTheMighty

It is VITAL to consider that the so-called moderates enable and fund this kind of insanity. They are as much to blame as the perpetrators. At least the perps are more honest! They are doing exactly what their holy book tells them to do, without having to lie about meanings.

Hitchens was correct: moderates are worse than fundamentalists in many ways.

Oh, I get it. Anyone who is not an atheist is just wicked.

Even if I don't agree with the fundamentalists, even if I behave competely different, even if I demonstrate my disagreement publicly, even if I (as a personal example) vote and politically fight towards the seperation of Church and State, I am "as much to blame" or possibly worse than them, because, you know, we read the same holy book. So I'm an enabler!

Right. Carry on. Must be fascinating for your mind to be so one-dimensional.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 13:24:07 UTC | #904038

Galactor's Avatar Comment 25 by Galactor

Comment 24 by JoxerTheMighty :

Oh, I get it. Anyone who is not an atheist is just wicked.

Not wicked. It's not really about your behaviour. It's not about whether you are a secular theist or not. It's no really about what you DO with your beliefs. It's about what you CAN'T do.

It's about providing support via a graduation of nuttiness in belief from moderation to fundamentalism. You presumably believe in supernaturalism. As soon as you do that, all is fair in love and war and the less constrained minds can believe what they want including a 6000 year old earth, in the knowledge that belief in supernaturalism is supported by swathes of moderates.

Right. Carry on. Must be fascinating for your mind to be so one-dimensional.

There's nothing one-dimensional about it. I would like though, to hear your multidimensional answer to why your moderate beliefs do not directly support immoderate fundamentalist ones.

I would love to hear how you would engage a young earth creationist and tell him that his brand of supernaturalism is insupportable. Can you do that? Can you tell us how any moderate theist can undermine the beliefs of a fundamental theist without him pointing at you and laughing in your face as he calls you a hypocrite?

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 14:11:51 UTC | #904046

Galactor's Avatar Comment 26 by Galactor

Comment 17 by Functional Atheist :

2012 is too soon for a tipping point.

I tend to agree. I think a generation, say, twenty to twenty-five years is required before the dust has settled. If we put the start of the rise of new-atheism to shortly after the publication of the notorious books of new atheism, then we are probably looking at 2020 before we can really see that secularism and non-belief are acceptable to the bulk of "modern" societies.

The above, is, admittedly, speculation.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 14:16:03 UTC | #904047

JoxerTheMighty's Avatar Comment 27 by JoxerTheMighty

I would love to hear how you would engage a young earth creationist and tell him that his brand of supernaturalism is insupportable. Can you do that? Can you tell us how any moderate theist can undermine the beliefs of a fundamental theist without him pointing at you and laughing in your face as he calls you a hypocrite?

I would answer to a young earth creationist that there is overwhelming evidence that the earth is more than million years old, and that he can check them out himself. If he doesn't want to accept them, it's his problem.

I would answer to a theocrat that high priests that have not been elected by the people but arbitrarily appointed by other high priests have no job running, directly or indirectly, a country that wants to call itself democratic, at least to a certain extent, and which endorses same rights for all citizens, regardless of religion. And that the Church(any church) should focus on its spiritual and humanitarian mission, and not in politics.Exactly as its head, Jesus, did, if we're talking about Christians.

But of course, who I am, my opinions about all things, my actions, my history, my struggles in the societal affairs, do not matter to you as much as my position in a single imaginary spectrum. Theist, deist, agnostic, atheist. Check. Solve for x.

As I said. Mind-numblingly one dimensional. Yawn.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 15:10:52 UTC | #904052

JCarr's Avatar Comment 28 by JCarr

JoxerTheMighty, I am certainly glad you feel that way, and I hope you have the courage to speak out against fundamentalist thinking when you encounter it. My wife, a mildly religious Christian, does the same.

Unfortunately, most moderates do NOT speak out, for fear of being associated with the nonreligious. They freely acknowledge, privately, that fundamentalists are wrong about this or that, but they don't take steps to minimize the fundamentalist impact on American society. They don't want to be labelled un-Christian, anti-religious, or, worse of all, an atheist. Fundamentalists are loud and politically connected, and moderates have a hard time countering the nonsense when it is supported by vast sums of money and politicians eager to earn votes. Most moderates don't even try. The fundamentalist weapon is misrepresentation, and it is an extremely effective weapon in America.

That is the point being made. Moderates individually might be intelligent enough to recognize the bullshit, and some few of them might speak out against fundamentalist nonsense, but collectively they do very little to counter the madness. That is the 'enabling' you mentioned, not the shared belief.

What we need in America is for more people, atheist and moderate religious alike, to speak out against the nonsense without fear of reprisal. Marginalize the fundamentalists on the fringe where they belong. Allow them their faith, of course, without censorship or suppression, but in practice turn a deaf ear to their constant attempts to establish the theocracy.

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 15:59:10 UTC | #904062

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 29 by Agrajag

Comment 27 by JoxerTheMighty

Am I supposed to feel bad because you call my thinking "one-dimensional"? Fine. You can make up all the disparaging remarks you want, but the simple-mindedness is more in your court, as your examples illustrate. You omitted evolution, I notice. How would you explain how we supposedly got our "souls" along the way up from "pond slime"?
No, don't bother. I see you're sleeping. ;-)
Steve

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 16:06:23 UTC | #904064

Sara's Avatar Comment 30 by Sara

Has anyone noticed that the person who wrote this is an Assistant Professor of History of Christianity at a theological seminary?

What do you make of that?

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 16:14:02 UTC | #904068