I have been fairly active on the blogs lately and there seems to be some concern over the apparent rise in atheist activity. The most often asked question is are they authentic. With so many young people joining the cause it is beginning to look like it may just be the cool thing to do. Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt the cognitive reasoning skill of an adolescent is developed enough to make comprehensive decisions regarding atheism. When I hear a reply of "I don't know" when I ask why atheism, I know where they stand. Does anyone else see a fad frenzy here or is it just me?

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Umm, where young people are concerned there's always a tendency for things to become a fad. So yeah, it's a fad for some of them. But just a fad? Not a chance. The reason I say that is because even if some kids are doing it because they see other people doing it, there are other people doing it because they really feel it's worthwhile.

In other words, it's a fad to some kids, but it's definitely not a fad for a growing number of more committed people (young and old). As long as there are truly motivated people keeping the cause going, it can't be considered "just" a fad.

(note this applies to anything in which there's a core group with specific aims and agendas, not just atheist activism).
I agree with you for the most part. I guess I am just pleased that our numbers appear to be growing substantially since the late 80's when I became active in the atheistic cause. I would be disappointed if in a few years the fad wore off and we were no better than before.
Yeah that would be disappointing, but the good thing is the changes that are happening make that very unlikely. While it seems our numbers are growing, there's also a growing trend in people "coming out" about their atheism as well. From what I hear about America, it's still fairly common to be looked down upon for admitting to being an atheist and yet there are more an more people proudly standing up for their lack of belief (or, usually, standing up for their freedom from the impositions of ideologically motivated believers). Here in Australia it's less of a big deal - I'm not likely to be feared/pitied/reviled if a complete stranger finds out I'm an atheist. I think that as more Americans (and other fairly religious nations) truly understand that it's ok to be an atheist, our numbers will continue to grow, both through those who give up their religion and those who stop hiding their atheism.

And sure, there'll be some who treat it like a fad. But honestly, they're not the kind of people who represent the visible front of atheist activism. They're not the people starting websites and blogs and podcasts, organising groups, lobbying the government, etc. So in the end, as those who treat it as a fad move onto something else, I'm sure the rest of us will keep going, and keep growing.
I do hope you are right, and yes we atheists in America owe much gratitude to the FFRF and similar orginizations. It is becoming a highly politicized counterculture in the States. I like that! That is one of the points of our movement. Albeit the U.S. was founded on secularism we still need to clear the cobwebs of christianity from our government.
Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.
-Sigmund Freud
Youth will follow their volition whether their capable of a reasoned justification of their beliefs or not. Don't disparage but rather engage in a constructive debate. Embrace the adolescent curiousity and just be happy that for awhile atheists are not the one's having to defend themselves against society's disdain for our beliefs.
I do not disparage young atheists. I try my best to encourage a path of rational existence and will have conversation with anyone on the matters of atheism or life in general. I just wonder about motivation. I guess it does not matter why they come into the fold, just that they do? I don't know if that is good enough for me. Maybe I am being too critical. If we demand reasonable justification in all things rational then we should demand no less when one asserts a position whether it is theistic, ethical, or political. Is it not unfounded beliefs that we do not tolerate as rationalists?
Exactly! And it is a bitter pill to swallow. I guess the upside is that this higher visibility may bring more true atheist to the table. We can shed the riff raff later!LOL!
I am still new to A/N so I have not really ran across any stupid people, yet. I have been trying to make some friends and get some different stuff going. I notice there are what appear to be bandwagon riders around here. They join and you never hear from them again. As far as I can tell I have more tolerance with an indecisive theist than I do with a self proclaimed atheist who does not know why they are an atheist.
Interesting.
I've been doing my usual social interactions off the net, and I, too, am finding there are many more atheists, particularly amongst the young.
I recall how as a youngster, I knew my parents and the way their generation was running things was based on old schools of thought which I felt were harmful. Perhaps these folks have the added advantage of more reason readily available to them than we did.
When I was beginning to take atheism seriously it seemed to me that they were all old, or Russian. We seemed so thinly spread that we would never gain recognition or respect for that matter. That was 20 years ago. The internet has been our lifeblood and there are many well rounded atheists out there but it seems to have taken a little something away from it. I indeed hope you are right and that it may be linked to the younger generation have more access to information. I do hope these budding atheists take it as serious as it is and not just use it as a tool to rebel against their parents.
Kids today are tougher to fool.
Hey Nate. That is true. They are a savvy bunch these days!!! They are also more whimsical. They pounce on whatever is hot at the time. Atheism is a hot issue that also smacks of rebellion. It's like iron to a magnet!

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