Monday, February 27, 2006

Atheists get noticed

There has always been a social stigma attached to being an atheist greater than that of belonging to even the wackiest of religions. Consider George Bush Sr.'s statement
"I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
How are such statements possible?

It is not just ignorance, or bigotry or anti-intellectualism, although there is plenty of that and to spare at work here. It is a political calculation that atheists don't matter. And today there is some truth to that. There is not a single openly atheist politician in the US at a national, state, or even, as far as I know, a local level.

Although even in the bible-thumping USA the non-religious make up on some calculations up to 10% of the population, much more numerous than many major religious groups, they are largely invisible and tend to keep their views to themselves because discussing or even mentioning one's atheism in public is considered rude. It is an assault on the right of the superstitious to their beliefs. One superstition can tolerate another far better than it can the rejection of all superstitions.

A number of prominent atheists in the US and elsewhere such as Steven Weinberg, Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers have finally started to come all the way out of the closet and rehash the debates that were decisively won by reason in the 19th century. It is a shame that we have to waste so much time going back over these old arguments, but clearly the majority has been left behind and need to take the class again.

One major obstacle that we face is that many people who are in private non-believers, are in public hypocritical in order to get ahead or to get along. Against this tendency, PZ Myers has an excellent discussion of what's wrong with the argument that criticizing religion hurts the pro-evolution case. "While utility in the short term is nice, I'm not in favor of losing to superstition in the long run." This self-censorship of atheists has to stop. If we are to have any hope of reestablishing a reality-based world view, it is long past time to get out of the closet.


At 3/01/2006 6:05 PM, Anonymous andy said...

The ironical thing is that Bush could be the false pious leader referred to in the book of revelations(which I read only because it is the earliest work of science-fiction, though it pales in comparison to PK Dick who was inspired by meth and phosgene, and that John dude 1900 years previous had only the orgone ((and maybe the phosgene)) of which he was unaware, to get off on.) The best argument for satan (existing at all) and walking the earth, all of which is an xian tenet, is George III. It's been commented on before that he is trying to hasten an "armageddon" with the way he/they treat Palestine/isreal relations. I guess what I'm trying to say is Bush&Co. are proving the antithesis which implies (but does not prove,by any measure), the thesis. And it frames the debate in away that demands reference to a fake ideology that requires an absurd acknowledgement to it's existence at all and deemed prevalence. In short: Ugh, barfy. Was it you you coined the phrase "blasphemy is a victimless offence"?
Nice blog. Keep on keepin' on, pardon my grammar.



At 3/02/2006 10:19 AM, Blogger velid said...

Hey Andy,

I'm afraid I cant claim credit for that one, the American Atheists beat me to it. Nonetheless, "blasphemy is a victimless crime" is a great slogan and an essential truth.

The blog is my outlet to keep from going insane (well, more insane) from the horror of it all.

At 11/06/2006 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy's comment above reminded me of these weekly radio address parodies my dad sent me. Enjoy!

-Random student passing through


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home