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Is making atheism more acceptable in society a worthwhile
goal? If so, how can this be achieved?
- I'd definitely say it's a worthwhile goal. As long as atheists are discriminated against, America will never truly have religious freedom.
As to how this acceptance can be achieved, I'd say the same way it is achieved for all other groups of people. In short, I think atheism
needs some good press. People need to stop being afraid to "come out"
as atheist, and society at large needs to realize that we exist and
that we aren't the boogeymen we've been made out to be by the Religious Right. (Anna #1490)
- This is one of those questions which tends to be more relevent to you guys in the States than for us wombats down under. One of the interesting things to come out of this group for me is the knowledge that atheism simply is not looked down on in Australia to anywhere near the same extent as it obviously is in the good ol' USA. Maybe in the small towns outback it would be harder to be atheist but here in Sydney you are more likely to get a hard time for being christian than atheist or maybe it's just that I associate with a bunch of heathens. (Townes de Wombat #1522)
- The fact that in America - a President can claim that the ca 5% of
the population that dares proclaim that they do not believe in god
should not be able to be citizens, with no public outcry - is
sickening. We are obviously second class citizens in the minds of
many when we affirm our disbelief. The only way for anti-atheism to
become unacceptable, and for we atheists to take our place in American public life, is for us to assert our right to be full-fledged citizens
in both the law and in the public eye. (Van Isaac Anderson #716)
- I think that this would be a high-priority goal for anyone who is atheist.
Working toward that goal is a tough order. I'd say the first step is to work on removing the stereotypes of atheists being promoted by xian preachers; showing the xians that we aren't always depressed, immoral, wild-eyed freaks (I personally try to be moral, but I have problems in the other areas!). Second, I think we should become more vocal and visible wherever possible. When some xian idiot writes to the newspaper with their lunacy, they should be challenged, not allowed to roam the field of public discourse, laying down their little mental turds in all directions.
This is what I try to do at every turn, so long as I feel it's fairly safe personally. I hope one day, I'll be able to see a difference, but for now the effort is rewarding all by itself. (Nemo #1331)
- I think it's a worthwhile goal, but how it might be accomplished
is another story. How do we make ourselves more acceptable to a group
of people some of whom feel threatened by our very existence? Here in
my part of the country, I've never really had a problem with acceptance,
and oddly enough, many of my close friends are Christians, who
understand and accept my lack of faith without judgment. I realize,
though, that in some parts of the country, particularly in the South,
that isn't the case. I've been a touring musician for most of my adult life, and I've been to areas where, if you don't shout "Puh-RAISE
JEE-zus-uh" every five words, you're considered a "heathen." Scary. How
do we make ourselves acceptable to people like that? I don't think we
can, because they're scared to death of what we represent. I think that deep inside, many of them *know* that their beliefs are irrational and
have no basis in reality, and they fear and despise anything that might force them to admit that fact. They prefer the comforting lie over the light of truth, and will actively oppose, sometimes violently, anything that questions the lie. I've admittedly digressed a bit from the
original subject, but I've seen enough in my travels through the "bible belt" to make me believe that true acceptance and social equality for atheists won't happen in this country in my lifetime. (jb #253)
- I'm glad you asked! :)
Tolerance to any world view which is --in general-- a tolerant world
view in itself should not only be a worthwhile goal, it should be
NORMAL in a society which calls itself democratic. The kind of
scapegoating that is going on is a symptom of totalitarian systems
which seek to distract from their inherent crises by setting up
strawmen. It's the more a shame that these strawmen can be knocked
down so easily by comparing the US with more secular countries, but
a far better record in terms of moral values.
Thus we can also say that acceptance of atheism by society will help society to attack the problems where they really lie and to stop
fighting bloody windmills.
So how can this be achieved? Well, only by propaganda; but propaganda
in the positive sense -- propaganda the truth of whose "slogans" that
can be verified independently by anyone possessing sort of a brain.
The truth is there, we have nothing to hide, but we must let it be
Leading by example might be a good point to start. Showing that there
is no causal relationship between atheism/religion and morality is
also important. Laying Christianity's *political* ambitions and its
lust for power bare is a third point. We must show that they may *call* themselves "defenders" (of such and such values), but that they are
really attackers on other, even more precious values. Trying to mix
the Bill of Rights and church is like trying to build a snowman on the surface of the sun. (Matthias Weiss)
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