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.