This is a sensitive issue I know, so please just take a deep breath and hear me out with my "feminist bullshit" as other atheists have called it...
I'd love to see more inclusiveness. There have been certain events and general attitudes in the skeptical community lately that have been ostracizing to the feminists and women. (Elevatorgate, The Amazing Atheist, etc...) Most atheists I think are supportive of gender issues, but some are just ignorant on them (sure they believe in gender equality, but they believe that we have it and there are no more problems), and others are inflammatory and it's making y'all look bad. I have a lot of female atheist friends, probably around the same amount as male atheist friends. But when you look at most groupings of atheists, they tend to be 2/3 male. Possibly because there are a couple individuals who make the entire movement look insensitive... and sometimes they are powerful individuals. We've had a hard time swaying women to be a real part of this movement. Luckily I've not really seen that sort sexism on this website, but elsewhere online... there are many atheist groups that don't always come across as a safe place for women.
(To be clear: I don't think the atheist movement has more animosity towards females than other groups, I just think that too often, atheism doesn't make sexism go away, so we're stuck with those douchebags. As a group I think we need to shut that out. We need to be the group where people feel safe to gender identify however they like, and not feel like their biological sex is such a defining factor on how they are treated.)
On that note, I know that it is necessary and appropriate to correct erroneous beliefs, but we need to be careful to not sabotage our own cause with our famous atheist arrogance. Is it really about promoting reality, or is it about our giant egos and attacking people who are wrong? Many times if you attack someone, they will reinforce their beliefs that much harder, and that is not what we are looking for. Atheists are famous for being dicks. I'm a dick myself. I laugh whenever I hear the phrase "Creation Science". But I think we need to attempt to tread more carefully.
One of the tricky things about the atheist movement is that we only have one unifying factor, and it's not even a belief. It's a lack of a belief. But I think the general promotion of things that are logically sound or objectively true in general is fine. In fact, I think it should be done. Also promotion of the general good- donations to reputable charities, service work and the like.
I live in a pretty conservative, Mormon area and when I moved for college, to another conservative, Mormon area, I moved away from the few atheist friends I had. I didn't know anyone except for my great aunt and uncle, and I craved other skeptics. I finally managed to help start a group of us and now we'll have 8-18 people showing up every Sunday. I think that for whatever reason, meeting other people like yourself is intensely comforting. Starting up little groups like that is a good idea, I think. People, if they are completely alone, may be more likely to keep quiet and go with the crowd.
Atheists tend to be weird, egotistical, reclusive cat-people. But we gotta round up others and loosen up once in a while. :)
Hi Jezzy. ,,Atheists tend to be weird, egotistical, reclusive cat-people.>> Not exactly. I know that I don't fall under the last two of those categories, and I'll leave it up to other people to decide if I'm weird. Over the past few years I've taken a couple of personality and psychological profile tests, and voila! I'm disgustingly normal in most respects. Oh, and I live in a cat-free environment, for which I'm very glad. (My ex was a cat person, and she got all the cats--I got the dog.)
However, I DO, for the most part, like to surround myself with people who are not afflicted with the mental disorder known as religious belief. People who, in the middle of a perfectly rational conversation, say things like, "Jesus is my lord and savior," or WORSE, tend to scare the hell out of me. And for those situations, I have a carefully selected series of questions that I like to spring on them about their beliefs...which, for all but the most afflicted, usually leaves them in total confusion. Oh lord, I apologize...I jus cain't hep it.
Free beer, stem cells, loose women, abortion, lack of morals, inverted nipples, horns, hooves, snakes, virgin blood, nintendo w/game genie, cookies, juice, legos.
Inverted nipples? Is that a "thing"? Because if so, I suddenly just got really popular....
oh yeah, they're real. Google it if you don't believe me.
Oh, I know they're real. I have them. Well at least one. The other is kind of being weird and fence-sitting it. I just didn't realize people were into it. Although my ex thought they were cute apparently.
I am very concerned with church-state issues. Currently, I would only consider paying dues to an organization focused on that work. I would expect to be kept up-to-date in a professional manner and some form of voting rights to help steer the organization.
One thing that churches supply is charities. Some are very good and in excess of 90% of money collected goes to the charitable cause (according to Charity Navigator). In my area there are two Catholic based charities One is the old reliable St Vincent DePaul Society which helps people with utility bills, house/rent payments, food and clothing. The second provides social services and is a vital part of the community and has some statewide effect. I contribute to both, especially the social services one.
I would like to see us godless creatures develop charitable services. One might be for non-religious kids going to college - maybe a competitive scholarship program with accent on science and math. CFI has a charitable component using existing secular charities as their outlet, i.e. Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Red Cross.
101 Ideas for Small groups
This is a forum. You've stated your point of view, as hoped for. Many of us are asea (crossword answer) about what to do. Imitating religious activities won't work for everything but since we are supposed to be somewhat humanist we should look into concerted charitable and public service activity in the name of our local or national organization.
A couple of years ago an article on the CFI blog decried the fact that only about 2% of all atheists, et. al. belonged to a non-religious organization. That's fertile ground. A marked increase in membership would also help direct our efforts toward standing out in a way that incorporates us into the public fabric.
Some atheist organisations are already showing the seeds of the kind of group thinking that marks religious behaviour.
An atheist is simply an individual who does not believe in gods. It does not follow that all atheists profess that disbelief or spend any amount of time thinking about it or discussing it with others. At atheists conferences and in atheist umbrella groups it's appears it is automatically accepted that if an organisation has the term "Atheist" in the title then it fits the image professing atheists are so insistent on portraying to the world. If you're on "our" side, what you do after that is unquestioned. Atheism in the world today does not spend enough time questioning "atheism" as far as I can see.