Is atheism an organized movement? Do we have tenents and a selected group of leadership? How exactly would one go about “converting” people? Atheism isn’t a group, it’s an attitude which makes conversion rather difficult.
Only if they’re trained to. Those who aren’t, don’t.
Are we being whooshed, here? Belief is something you either have, or don’t have. It is, by its very nature, irrational. You can’t suddenly “believe” in anything, just because you want to. You can *say *you believe, but it’s not true.
Atheism is indeed something someone is born with and is quite able to choose. Easily I’d say, given the vindictive amount of pressure some societies place on the young with regards religion.
Atheism has no doctrines. It’s simply the absence of belief in a God. It has no ethical doctrines, any more than “ABigFootism” does
Secular Humanism, on the other hand, could be something that could be meaningfully “preached.” It is atheistic, but it has some additional substance to it.
Having well-spoken, smart atheists on religious discussion panels is a start.
I am a fairly devout Christian, and I would welcome more open Atheism. In this I mean that I it would be fine with me for more people to feel comfortable expressing their faith (or lack thereof).
It would be great if there was the equivalent of a Cross or Star of David that an Atheist could wear, so that they could express that part of their identity without needing to say anything. Then Atheists could be judged for the population, and not just for the actions of a few.
I started wearing a Cross to work after being a part of one too many conversations about how stupid Christians were, how we are all anti-gay, and how we all constantly walk around condemning people. I slipped on a small Cross, and a few people mentioned that they had no idea that I was a Christian - and how different I was from what they expected. They only knew of hard core Bible thumping proselytizers.
I work with some others to try to recapture Christian faith from the idiots out there. I think that atheists could do the same so that they are not all tarred with a brush based on a few outliers.
I didn’t choose to be an atheist. I am an atheist because I am utterly incapable of believing in myths without proof. I did not choose to be an atheist in the same way that I did not choose to not believe in Zeus, Mithras, Thor, Ra, Krishna, Xenu and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
This is not a choice. The choice I had to make was to hide in the closet or to be brave enough to say out loud that I am an atheist, no matter what it costs me.
I can’t just choose to start believing in any god. It isn’t possible.
I could say that I believe, but it would not be true. It can’t be. I can’t choose to believe in a god anymore than I can choose to believe the earth is flat or that underpants gnomes exist.
Atheists who are ‘out’ about their lack of belief have virtually zero chance for holding public office in this country and can (and do) face many other consequences in their jobs and communities, including harassment and threats of violence, exclusion from school sports teams, and being ostracized entirely because they lack belief in any deity.
I don’t know who we could nominate for that position; they’d basically be the punching bag of the media, regardless of how erudite they come across. It would certainly be someone who is a glutton for punishment.
I hope it’s a skull and crossbones. I’d hate to have to go buy new stuff.
Was it a scalpel they wore in the Martian Chronicles when they burned all of the fantasy books? (Please folks - I am NOT equating atheists with book burners - just remembering a Bradbury story)
The difference is that there is not a law that forbids atheists from holding public office, or marrying, or particpating in sports teams. You can’t require people to vote for an atheist. Atheists don’t really share any kind of common bond. For example, pretty much the only thing I have in common with Valteron is a lack of religious belief.
This report from CNN is not ancient history. It is only from 2007. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbjIYvXpvLMNote the religious guy who smugly asserts that atheists bring it on themselves by demanding rights. Once again, as a person who has seen the evolution of the gay pride movement for almost five decades, the parallels are amazing. I am sure that the intellectual ancestor of that smug little bastard was telling the media in the 1970s that there is no discrimination against gay people if they just keep quiet, stay in the closet and keep their sexuality a secret instead of bringing discrimination on themselves.
Dick Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens all do a good job.
Which is why I think that education can get the job done.
So what do Obama and say, Diana Ross, Tiger Woods, and an illiterate black sharecropper in Georgia have in common besides their skin colour? But if that skin colour is cause for discrimination, they can band together to fight it, to change people’s opinions and feelings, to protest comments like that of Mitt Romney that it does not matter what a politician believes as long as he believes in some religion.
There has not been a law forbidding blacks from holding public office, at least at the federal level, for well over 140 years. But that is how long it took to change enough attitudes to make a black man electable to the Presidency.
The best possible form of education is to come out and to encourage other atheists to come out. Another excellent form of education is to raise shit when an atheist ghets fired or is discriminated against, to get the issue on TV and in the media.
Sure, atheists are protected by the same laws that protect anyone else against religious discrimination. And many US States had laws that made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of race for over 100 years. But when it did happen in the 1960s, the NAACP was out there with pickets and protests, and that is when things began to change. We should be supporting that family covered on CNN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbjIYvXpvLM
There is another story on Youtube that I cannot find right now about a young girl in the Midwest shunned by her high school basketball team because she is an atheist. There is a heart-rending scene of her standing apart on the court under the angry stares of the crowd while her team huddles to pray. And why are they allowed to hold prayers in the middle of a basketball game in a public school?
But what exactly are atheist’s moving against? Are atheists denied jobs, housing loans, the choice of who they want to marry? Are they made to pray to gods they dont believe in? I know public officials like to spout their religion, but has any atheist professed their “belief” and been shown to lose an election because of that?
What are atheists suffering against that any movement needs to happen? Did I miss the atheist internment camp story?
I doubt that many would care; it’s what we are not what we do that offends. I’ve been told that it’s better to kill for Kali* than do good works as an atheist, because killing for a goddess is at least upholding the value of faith.
- And yes, I know that real world followers of Kali aren’t something out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; I’m just repeating someone else’s comment
I thought the Darwin fish was the atheist symbol? Can’t say I really like the one Der Trihs linked. That thing looks like something I oughta wear with Spock ears.