The move toward American Theocracy by the empowered evangelical 'elite' in the US has made it almost impossible for an atheist or non-christian to be elected to office. Schools are having their curriculum undermined by creationist who wish to revise history, remove evolution from science, and prevent teaching sexual health and pregnancy prevention. Atheist fear reprisals for not being christian and are often discriminated against at work, socially, and most especially in the military. American as a "Christian Nation" is not a free nation or an ethical one.
Please- What ideas do you have on combating this most dangerous decline in American intellectual and social standards? I'm especially interested in ideas from outside the US. Whatever you wish to add.
Dear John Jubinsky, and others,
I completely agree. Although I am very gratified that the Humanist organizations in the USA (which is where I live) support science and reason (and defend evolutionary theory), they neglect issues of social ethics, human justice and dignity and betterment. That takes taking moral responsibility with implications that challenge the existing corporate capitalist paradigm and the emphasis on profit. The American Humanist Association magazine "The Humanist" published a few articles on the subjects of war, peace and social justice, but the Center for Inquiry seems to consciously avoid the topic, prefering instead to promote Darwin, almost like a cult figure. There have been modern rational and scientific thinkers who have also devoted part of their lives to peace and social justice, such as Bertrand Russell, yet he is hardly ever mentioned.
Why? Do American humanist organizations lack the political courage? Are rational atheists uncaring or indifferent?
This seems fairly easy but I think there are too many American atheists who are still afraid to show their allegiances. Get out there and show yourself. Wear a t-shirt. Wear the scarlet A on a jacket collar. Just do something to show that you are out there and that your opinions count. The more people that do this, the more you will see others joining in.
A LOT of people can't do this, though. Lots of people will lose their job. Lots of people will have their marriage destroyed. Some people's freaking LIVES could potentially be at risk.
There are plenty of people to be vocal about their atheism. We've got enough out there to make a difference in the media. The rest just need to fill out their census forms correctly, to get the percentages listed in the census, if they get the long form. If you're able to, within your social circumstances, then by all means, be vocal. If there are noticeable penalties for doing so, then stay the hell in the closet.
I hear you, and I understand but I really don't see things changing until more people start doing this. Is my family happy about my openness? No, not at all. Do they wish I would just shut up and go back to how it used to be? Of course, but I can't. It's beyond the tolerant stage now and it seems to be paying off.
This past xmas was interesting. For some reason the overt homage to jebus during grace at the dinner table was kept to a dull roar. I didn't hear his name mentioned or "our lord" to go with it. I don't think this would have been possible if I was still in the closet.
This isn't religion. It's not worth dying for or suffering major losses. Probably 25% of atheists AREN'T in bad situations that prevent them from being open. Having those 25% vocal is quite sufficient.
I'm aggressive open about my atheism, yes. The only person I have who objects is my mother, and I don't give a damn what she thinks about anything. Not everyone is in a similar situation. Huge numbers of atheists would suffer greatly by being open. You family is unhappy about it. Lots of people's families would cut them off entirely.
Those who feel they can't, don't.
Those who feel they can, do.
As people change and their circumstances change, more do.
It's that simple.
I agree with you so very very much. Im not suggesting people put their themselves at risk- Im just looking for good ideas that someone who's able to be out can follow thru on.
I think it's important that the people who are vocal about their Atheism are calm and understanding. I once heard an Atheist yack on about ignorant rednecks on NPR. This was not the way to go. Cultural sensitivity begins at home. We should give people the respect we would like to have.
Unfortunately Joeseph is not exaggerating about these potential dangers.