Atheism cannot spread as long as atheists, like us, just keep on persuading each other. We need to engage with and persuade the religious. To do that, we need to get their attention.
In the past, before mass entertainment religious ceremonies were the greatest, most spectacular entertainment, with (in the West) death by fire—auto-de-fe, witch-burning and crusades—probably the highest crowd generators. Second bests have been church music, church architecture and all types of church ceremonies and religious festivals. Going to confessions had been a great way of pressure relief—very similar to gossiping.
So what we need to do is to design attention getting and holding devices. Once armed with such we have to come out of our convenience bubble and create provocative (not aggressive) discussion groups among the religious. We should use this site as a brainstorming forum for creative start-upping such efforts and reporting successes and failures and seeking peer advice.
What's the difference between a religionist and an old computer ?
With an old computer you only need to punch the information in once.
i completely disagree. you're suggesting we prosthelytize which is probably my least favorite part of religion. i believe that people will come to atheism on their own, as they should. furthermore, i don't need everyone to become an atheist. i certainly hope more people drop their religion, but with all the information that's out there curious or skeptical people will find it on their own without the help of atheist preachers.
I agree. We don't need to 'engage with and persuade' fraudsters and idiots who spend their lives with their heads up their own arses. I'm not advocating a Stalinist solution to the problem. I'm just saying religious people should be relegated to the fringes of society where they are less likely to be a problem.
I also agree with you Matthew. Atheism is not a religion, and as such it has no business being 'spread'. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I came to the conclusion of atheism is the observation that, for most who continue to maintain strong religious beliefs, they need to be constantly convinced to do so. Any such effort by atheists would play into the currently false assertion by theists that atheism is just another religion.
Given the historical evidence of the demise of most religions, it is only a matter of time before the Abrahamic faiths of today become obsolete. We just need to be patient and let reason and logic work its magic both memetically and genetically.
Erosion - a great term. Chip away at the insanity and inconsistencies. At xmas I pointed out to a catholic friend of mine that the only reason we were eating pork and drinking wine, was as a result of the accident of birth. Different parents and you are howling at a different moon! Hopefully it gets him thinking a little bit. That's about all you can do and hopefully done with humour so it is isn't antagonistic.
Yes, talk to them softly, no more
Daniel, some of what you're suggesting is being done. American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and Americans United have been using billboard ads, full page newspaper ads and musical events to get attention. Also, their lawsuits to get religious symbols et cetera off public property get attention -- and hostile emails. FFRF and AU, and maybe AA, have local chapters and activists doing things too.
For info visit their websites, which you can get by googling their names. They all have dues-paying members too.
My guess is that at atheist websites you'll find few activists.
I concur, Tom. Unless you are an active member of one of these groups and have the advantage of living in a more open minded part of the nation, most of us I would guess are just trying to live without too much friction. Of course, even if I could, I wouldn't make spreading atheism one of my main goals lest I become nothing more than a proselytizer myself, making me no better than the evangelicals. Instead, we should be teaching people how to think critically and evaluate every aspect of their lives, religion included.
Sure, there are more important things in life than missionary work. However, "do you believe in god? and if so, would you tell me why?" is a good conversation piece with friends and, I found even with strangers on a train. However, I would never, ever, try to force the issue.
Daniel, I wouldn't ask "do you believe in god?" That implies that there is a "god" to believe in. I would ask "why do you believe there is such a thing as a 'god'?"
Absolutely Booklover! Good point. In fact I have a friend who has a great line. He says" "I do not adhere to the theory of God".
I would even go one step further than your friend, since the idea of God is more of a hypothesis than a theory. And a failed one at that!