I am a Ph.D student in sociology and currently part of a research team studying atheist organizing in Southern California. We are looking at atheist social movements through atheist organizations in the area.
Although I will not be using data from this website formally, I was curious to hear many of your opinions. What do you think is the purpose of atheists joining together on websites like this or in formal meeting settings? Is it for a sense of community or is there a bigger purpose? Why should atheists organize? Are there social and political implications for doing so?
I am obviously an atheist myself and find this question interesting. It is one of the many interview questions we are asking our subjects and we get a wide range of answers. Just wanted to hear your thoughts.
(i don't have to tell you this as a sociologist but) people crave connections with other people. they want to feel a part of something. they crave acceptance from their peers. religion- but more accurately the culture around religion- provides that for a lot of people, and so when you leave your church behind you lose that and all the good feelings it brings you.
so i think primarily people seek out a replacement for that.
also, often people feel marginalized in their community because of their atheism. so their seeking out of like-minded others isn't just about replacing what they lost when they were part of their former faith culture but actually off-setting their feeling of being an outcast.
then, yes, sure, i'd say that a certain percentage of people are after political mobilization as well.
I live in India & I have only ever met 1 atheist in my life, he was a friend when we were 10. I have met a few liberal people & a few non-religious theists. I just wanted to interact with fellow atheists.
This is new & exciting for me. Even though I have been an atheist since I was a little kid, I only started reading about or watching youtube videos about atheism last year. Before that I was more of a passive atheist.