very interesting read. the gist here is that religion still enjoys a massive amount of respect in America, which causes non or less religious people in America to lie about their faith practices. this paragraph in particular rings true:
Social practices can retain, or even increase, their prestige while becoming less common. Think about military service, which is lionized more today than it was during the Vietnam War, even though fewer citizens serve. Something similar has happened with religion. Americans, especially left-leaning Americans, are less likely than they were a generation ago to go to church. But they’d rather you not know how much less, because religious practice—like service in the military—enjoys prestige as a marker of morality and self-discipline. And the more Americans fret that those values are being lost, the more they value religious observance for carrying them on, if they aren’t religiously observant themselves.
i think this is what makes many of us unique. i know not all atheists are open about it. there are lots of reasons for that, most of them perfectly valid. but for those of us who are, we are outliers in society. it's a sad but true fact that those of us willing to tell people what we really believe, who don't lie when asked, and who are comfortable telling others that they don't believe in religious myths or the supernatural, display a certain amount of courage.
in a strange way, it actually takes some gall to inform a true believer that you're an atheist. in doing so, you're telling a person who believes something as FACT and may even define who they are that you think it's all a bunch of hooey. the nerve! of course, there's no logical reason for their beliefs to be put on any kind of pedestal over ours. but when has logic ever played into the equation? most people believe in something and we don't. and it turns out most people want to play nice-nice.
Future, actually, I can, in a rather twisted sort of way, understand it. My brother is a conservative TeaBagger, and an agnostic. He's "found" Ayn Rand, and her theory of objectivism. He's actually one of the few who is honest about the "I got mine, and screw the rest of you" philosophy wherein one of its foundational principles is that of atheism. Ayn Rand was a Russian immigrant who hated and loathed Stalin and the Communist Politburo. However, she absolutely rejected magical thinking and looked down her nose at it, and followers of gods. Now, why Paul Ryan, a good Catholic boy, thinks so highly of Ayn Rand is beyond me. Then again, maybe not. Ryan is just another example of cherry picking what you like, and disregarding the real meaning of what is being promulgated.
i'm not sure how an atheist can support today's conservatism. in order to be a right winger today you have to deny too much empirical evidence. evidence for climate change and evolution, evidence on economic theories (sorry, lowering taxes on the rich is not a panacea and progressive taxation simply works), evidence of racism which they deny exists, evidence that more guns leads to more gun deaths, etc. etc. etc.
as champions of logic and reason it should be clear that these people have gone off the deep end. they're batshit crazy RWNJ's. i've got no major beef with having a party that fights for lower taxes and smaller gov't, but there is a time and place for bigger gov't and higher taxes - something they simply refuse to admit.