As we close out 2018, is there a sense with anyone that atheists have made any significant progress over the last 12 months or are we, as we have always seemed to be, left on the trash-heap of the least respected people on the planet? I always look for something positive accomplished by ahteists, either individually or more so as a group to determine if the public perception has moved positively in any way.
I don’t think we have, unless I missed a major story or 2 that would change the general perception of atheism, but I don’t believe I have to date. It’s difficult because there’s really no single organization that speaks for all atheists and those that exost, speak mainly to their consitutency, in their specific countries. Even if there was a recognized international organization, would they in fact be able to speak for everyone on every issue, or be the same as those more local ones, that over time seemed to have become more interested in social justice than atheism?
I’m not disappointed, or disaffected by any of this other than I’d like to see less negativity about atheists overall. It’s a media creation, something hard to overcome, because it is they that choose who they believe are the leading voices are and never bother to find even a small local group that they could ask the same questions of. When a Dawkins or a Harris make some sort of statement, it must be gospel among all atheists. We know that’s incorrect but have no way to effectively counter any of the negative publicity some statement may engender.
That’s the reason for the title of this post because indeed, what we say matters. This is something all of us should have learned before we graduated high school. How we act informs others who we really are. This goes beyond anyone’s atheism, to their daily life. Being identified as an atheist, of course, just adds to any perception someone may have of us overall.
Something I look at when folowing other atheists on social media is their tone. Is it spiteful, seemingly, hateful towards believers? I find less and less of that around today, but it still exists and in some ways those same people somehow become representative of atheists as a whole.
We have an opportunity, as individuals, to change the perception others have of atheists, and for 2019, we should make the most of it in our daily lives.
8 thoughts on “Atheists: What We Say Matters”
In order to make any headway, power is needed. In order to get power, unity is needed. In order to get unity an agreed upon goal is needed. My personal goal is to GROG. Get rid of God. The point I think we all should be able to agree upon is that resurrection is a delusion. Without resurrection, there is no need of heaven or a God. GROG
In the meantme, when there are millioms if not billions of believers. What do you say to them? Do we, as atheists continue to disparage theit deluson or do we, carefully, attempt to show these same people that what they’ve believe their entre lives in most cases, is false? Are you, an atheist, able to do that showing compassion for that same person or are you someone that denigrates belief and does nothing to convince someone their belief is fantasy?
Jim, they have been fooled and, in most cases it was not their fault. they can’t really be blamed for that. A significant attribute of this monotheistic belief is that Jesus is a personal God and will save them from death because they have an eternal soul. A supernatural realm does not exist, but they dream that if does. GROG
They beleive because it’s something they want or need to believe. Death is inevitable for all of us. The difference is that some want to believe that death is not the end.
When I read The End of Faith, it stirred idealistic thoughts of how much needs to be done to improve and humanize the “moral landscape”. In the Epilogue of the book, P. 224: “Of course, one senses that the problem is simply hopeless. … And yet, it is obvious that an utter revolution in our thinking could be accomplished in a single generation: if parents and teachers would merely give honest answers to the questions of every child.” P. 224.
For me that meant to get real about this “god” thing, and to somehow expose the delusion of the supernatural for what it is! If only aliens would arrive to educate us as to our place in the universe. GROG
Two quick points. First, I think that religion rather than the news media deserves most of the credit for negative attitudes toward atheists. The media contributes, but I don’t see this problem as a media creation as much as something organized religion has done for their own gain. Second, what we say absolutely matters. I believe that modeling reason in our public discourse will almost always achieve better outcomes than tribalistic name-calling.
The best hope for humanity living without the religions that support deity belief, is time and the trend toward apathy about religion. Holding onto a deity belief is a bit different, as it is a comfort that can be held to oneself and a life-giving source that can be honored much as nature can be, and in that honor rests a sense of duty to that source to live in harmony rather than in discord.
Excepting, of course, those tyrannical deities, who demand submission or death, and one in particular is humanity’s greatest threat to leaving deity belief behind, because the religion that supports it is fanatic and militaristically offensive toward “infidels” and their civilizations.
This is something all atheists should be able to speak out against and work against, but when political ideology factors in, many seem afraid to do so and one reason may be because the greatest allies on this front are often Christian and Conservative and probably Trump supporters. So in order to not offend those who share their political ideology and end up shamed and scorned by them and maybe lose their standing and careers…they shut up and sit down on this topic.
Get rid of Islamists and always point to their cause and goal as a religious one based upon command of the prophet and God, and the ties had to the other Abrahamic religions will work to aid the apathy of semi-intelligent and fairly educated people in regards to Christianity and Judaism.
At the same time, however, it is necessary to instill in the youth that sense of awe and responsibility to a “standard” higher than the self. Reaffirmation of the “belief” that America under our Constitutional Republic is the best system, so far, that addresses the human condition, providing individual liberty with ownership of private properties working in a free market… and that system is the “standard to which they can repair.”
Very good. I didn’t expect that last paragraph, but you are right and the current mess will put our government to an unprecedented test. GROG