• 4 Things Atheists Should Be Doing

    atheismAtheism is on the rise in America and yet we are constantly discriminated against and marginalized because of our lack of belief in imaginary friends. For atheists who value reason, logic, and the scientific method, it sometimes seems like the inmates have taken over the asylum. But it shouldn’t have to be like this. Atheists make up a larger percentage of the American population than Jews, Muslims, and every other non-Christian religion in America combines. If we want to be less marginalized, there are things we can and should be doing.

    1. Atheists need to be vocal about our atheism. We shouldn’t hide our lack of belief in deities. I know, I know, atheism doesn’t define us as people. Yes, yes, I get it. However, when people bring up religion (and they always do), we shouldn’t have to silently sit there feeling uncomfortable. We should be vocal and point out that not everyone believes in deities and that we do not in fact believe in deities. We can be vocal politely or we can be vocal in a more confrontational manner, but we shouldn’t just sit there silently.

    When people begin to realize that they actually know atheists and that we aren’t the Satan worshipping, baby eating, immoral monsters that their church told them we are, then they will be less likely to discriminate against us. Plus, the more atheists that are vocal about their atheism, the more religious believers will have to watch what they say because the person next to them just might be a vocal atheist who just might call them out when they say something religious.

    There are more atheists in America than most religious believers realize. We just don’t generally wear our atheism around our necks or knock on people’s doors on Saturday morning, but we are here and we have to make our presence known. So be vocal!

    2. Atheists need to support each other’s efforts to spread reason, logic, critical thinking, etc. Just like other minority and marginalized group, we have to support each other. Atheists tend to be creative people. Many atheists have YouTube channels, blogs, podcasts, etc. We do this stuff because we want to spread our memes and make the world a better place. However, while religious believers use fear of eternal torture and bribes of eternal paradise to get followers to pony up lots of cash, atheists tend not to support our interests financially and are even critical of fellow atheists even asking for money.

    Religious organizations are not only tax exempt, but they also have a huge money advantage to start out with. They have been around a long time and their followers actually fund their groups and endeavors. Ask a Christian how much money they “donated” to their church last year. Then ask an atheist how much they spent in support of an atheist organization. That is the heart of the problem.

    But it isn’t just funding organizations. It is funding each other. Back in the day I met a Christian podcaster who told me that he received $20,000 in donations for his show which had far less listeners than the podcast I was doing at the time. My donations were in the double digits. I don’t even think I received $100. That’s a problem. Atheist need funding! But fortunately, we live in the age of Google Ads and Amazon Affiliate links. You can support your favorite atheists even if you don’t have money to spare. So next time you are on a blog (including this one), YouTube channel, Podcast, etc. don’t forget to help your fellow atheists out by clinking a link or checking out an ad. Donations are also important.

    3. We need to rally around fellow atheists politically! Yes, we need to form a voting bloc. The criticism I always get is that not all atheists share the same values. Sure, sure. In theory that is certainly true; Ayn Rand was a Libertarian Republican and Karl Rove is an atheist… but, in practicality, most atheists in America today tend to be liberal. I don’t mean just a little liberal either. We tend to be pretty far left progressive type liberals.

    There may be a handful of Libertarians (who are socially liberal) and maybe a few wacky Republicans (who are also probably socially liberal), but for the most part if someone is an open atheist, they will nine times out of ten by a progressive. They will share your main values.

    Keep in mind that the only thing gay people have in common with other gay people is that they are attracted to the same gender and yet the gay lobby is incredibly strong and incredibly liberal. Yet, there is no rule that says all gays must be liberal and yet most are because the Republican Party hates them!!! Why do the Republicans hate gays? Because Republicans tend to be religious and the Bible says that gays are an abomination. Guess that the Bible says about atheists?

    In theory not all atheists are liberal, but in actually most are. We need to support atheists who run for office (who also share our values). If there are two equally qualified candidates with similar values and one is an atheist, then that is the one we should vote for and strongly support no matter where in the country they may be living.

    4. We should keep our internal squabbling internally and politely. I’m not saying we shouldn’t criticize each other or that atheists must always agree with each other on every issue, but what I am saying is that if you meet someone who shares your value of reason, logic, critical thinking, and the scientific method and you disagree with them on some issue, give them the benefit of the doubt and argue with them respectfully using reason, logic, critical thinking, and the scientific method. DON’T insult them, call them names, or write them off with a slur or “ism.”

    Before writing a scathing blog post, ranting on YouTube, or on a podcast, it might be better to try to talk to them privately about your point of view first. Decide whether your difference of opinion is major or minor and treat it appropriately. Reasonable people can disagree on the finer points of any particular issue and we should certainly debate those finer points vigorously, but we should recognize that they just might be finer points.

    If we can do these four things, we can start to really gain ground and be less marginalized as a group. We will gain more political power to steer this country in a more reason based direction, and we will become better people and a stronger community of people.

    Category: AtheismAtheist ActivismAtheist InfightingfeaturedimportantsecularismSkepticism

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    15 comments

    1. Some excellent ideas here! I often forget to mention financial support along with other forms of support, but I think you are right that it is important.

    2. Though I am an open atheist and have a sister in a same sex marriage, when a seat opened up on my city council I stood forth for it. I was elected unanimously by my very conservative and religious community. I’d lived here for about two years, by which time my neighbors could see I paid my taxes, mowed my lawn, and didn’t eat their children. Neither my atheism nor my sister’s marriage in California was brought up—only whether I would serve the community well.

    3. The problem with ads is that some sites don’t seem to care if the ads have viruses or not. So I don’t trust them. I don’t want to get a virus and then be told, ironically by another atheist, that I was a dumb ass for going around clicking ads. I mean, I’ve seen those obvious “hurr ur computer has viruzez” ads on Youtube. So, what would be done to make sure just any ads are put on atheist sites? I’m not sure how it works, but it appears that everywhere, sites don’t give a shit and don’t actually screen the ads.

      1. Most sites use Google Ads. Obviously, don’t click ads for things you aren’t interested in, but if you happen to see an ad for something that you might be vaguely interested in or something that seems like it is from a well-known company, an ad click can go along way. Use your best judgment.

    4. I’m also not sure I buy this: “I don’t mean just a little liberal either. We tend to be pretty far left progressive type liberals.” They aren’t citing a source and any and every body these days like to think they know encompassing things about an entire demographic. I will always check out someone’s values. Dating would be way easier for atheists if this were true.

      1. Fair enough. There are studies that show this and I don’t have them at my fingertips so I can understand and respect the skepticism here. From my personal experience, I go to a lot of atheist functions and as head of PhillyCoR, I have gotten to know a lot of atheists both online and off from all over the country. I have met very few conservative atheists who were active in the movement. I have met a handful of Libertarians, but they too were liberal on social issues. But that’s just my personal experience so take it for what it’s worth.

        To clarify, I have met a number of conservative atheists who were not active in our community of reason. I don’t think there is any shortage of them. What I am talking about are people who are active in our community. People who go to atheist functions, write about atheism, advocate for separation of church and state, etc., etc.

    5. The article up here is total and utter… well you know what.
      “we” atheists don’t have to do anything. We could, we can, we may but never have to do anything.
      The best thing we can do is just wait. Nothing more. In time the only theists left in the world will know nothing but scorn and mockery and in the end even they shall become atheist. And that will happen when it happens regardless of what “we” atheists do.

      1. You don’t have to do anything. There are no Popes of atheism. However, as I said in the article, “If we want to be less marginalized, there are things we can and should be doing.” Maybe you don’t feel marginalized and therefore don’t care to do anything. That’s fine; then this article isn’t for you. However, there are atheists who do feel marginalized and waiting a few hundred years isn’t going to solve that issue. If you are an atheist and you do feel marginalized and you would like to actually change the situation, then there are a few things you can do. In fact, if you are in that situation (as most atheists in America are) then there are things you should be doing to change the situation.

      2. TIme is not enough. Waiting silently while they hijack educational curricula and erode constitutional rights in favor of their privilege will only allow them to solidify their position and perpetuate their ignorance to the next generation.

    6. Dating for atheists? Is there a book or an official guide? There’s an idea for someone. I’m in Texas and finding a liberal atheist man is nigh impossible!

      1. To my knowledge there isn’t an atheist dating book, but I have heard that a lot of atheists use okcupid. Also, there are meetups, various atheist groups, and everyone’s favorite… conventions and conferences.

    7. Unfortunately for you, atheism is on the decline.
      Here’s what you do.

      Go to Alexa (web site ranking tool).

      Type in the atheist website (for example, https://richarddawkins.net)
      And view its visit and activity history.

      Atheism is dying, slowly but surely.
      It’s because you’re atheists, not scientists.
      You can’t be both. So choose one.

      1. Actually, all the polling suggests the exact opposite. Atheism is on the rise in a big way. Dawkins is not the pope of atheism. The fact is that the atheist community is growing and moving off the web.

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