Imagine for a second that you have a child that becomes religious. If you care for a second about them as a independent being, you'll let them make their own choices about faith. If they end up a religious person, you might find it disrespectful if they were to approach you with the intent to convert you. Yet, all too often, we see support for Atheists doing just that to family members. You'll find excitement at the idea of converting someone. The hivemind circles around bolsters this behavior with sources of information and no thought as to why this behavior is wrong. Is being factually right the measure of this as an acceptable behavior?
We've all seen this. So why is it cool for an Atheist to Evangelize to religionists but not the other way around? It's one thing to respond to specific points made, but it's another to seek people out. I've witnessed an atheist attempt to chase down a religionist before and I personally find it disturbing. Are you someone who thinks that it's alright to seek out people to debate? Why do you do it? How is it different from someone asking if you "know Jesus"?
The billboards serve a dual purpose in my opinion. I thought the primary point was the announce to all the closet non-believers that they are not alone and it is ok to be atheist. A secondary affect, perhaps not originally intended, is it's like poking fundamentalists in the eye with a sharp stick.
I have been considering the Adopt-a-Highway thing where I'm at. Free highway sign for it. Minimum requirement is you adopt 2 miles of road and clean it up minimum 4 times a year. It appeals to all members of our group - we get to hang out together, do good for the community, announce to closet people that we are there, get free advertising, and for those who are of the persuasion it's a slap in the face to the super religious community.
I'm reminded of Mitch Hedberg. I'm against protesting. I just don't know how to show it. You could enter the public arena or work for a group like the Freedom from Religion Foundation or American Atheists. You could write extensively. Speak publicly in debates like Hitchens or Harris. Of course you would need to build a name for yourself. One way to do that would be to seek out people whom love the camera like
We need to have to more atheist preachers. We need to learn from mormons, christians and islam they all are not scared to spread their stuff around inspite of showing them the blatant inconsistencies of their faiths. Its time to be proud of what we are and we have to spread the word around....
A glaring difference between a christian preacher, and an atheist preacher is the end result. A christian preacher's message is, in short, "believe me, or you'll go to hell. If you don't believe me, you will burn for eternity in a lake of fiery burning pain". I think we can all agree this is not exactly cheerful stuff. An atheist on the other hand, would say something like, "You should believe me, its based on scientific evidence. if you don't... absolutely nothing will happen." You don't get hell, death, fiery pain and torture, and we're not telling you not to have sex. if that isn't a good point, I don't know what is.
The main problem with religion is that it supports and forwards dangerous and cruel ideas. The spanish and goan inquisitions, among others, the wars between north and south Ireland, the wars in Croatia, the holocaust, the crusades, the 9-11 attacks, the USS Cole, and the list goes on and on and on, they were all caused by religion. Atheists don't blow themselves up. if someone approached an atheist and said, "Strap this bomb to your chest and go blow yourself up in that market, it'll get you 72 virgins", the atheist would hopefully go, "No thanks, I'm just going to starbucks".
There is only one way to stop this tyrany of religion, and that is to speak out against it. If, in the early 1770's, everyone went, "well this sucks, but I don't want to protest because I don't want to force my beliefs on someone else", the United States wouldn't exist. the same could be said for dozens of countries across the world now. Protesting an injustice or a cruelty, is the only way to fight against it.
One would like to hope that there was someone in the spanish inquisition who went, "Wait, maybe we don't need to shove that spike up his ass. Maybe we could... you know... let him go". One of course wishes that said person had spoken a little louder, but the sentament is still there.
The point is, we have to protest. You can sit back all you like, but if you do, you surrender your right to complain. If you don't do something to fight the injustice, do everything in your limited power to fight against it, then you can't complain about it. If you don't like the system, change it. The idea is that simple.
Also, if I can make one person realize that there is another way, through my preaching, then I am happy. I know what its like to be under the thumb of religion, and I know how it feels to think there is no way out, that you will never have your questions answered. I would want to spare everyone that, especially young people who may not know that they don't have to take it. That is why I preach, to give people that choice. I'm not saying I'm a profit, but we have to do the best we can. If we don't, then what good are we?
Christians evangelize because they think they are saving people from hell. They do it with good intentions. Likewise, atheists evangelize because they see that religion is psychologically abusive, divisive, and damaging. I fully support the idea of people trying to win other people over to their point of view, otherwise, none of us have beliefs worth holding on to. The problem comes when parents (for example) forbid their children to arrive at a certain conclusion, or attempts to convert/deconvert become uncomfortably aggressive.
Hang on. This is where I beg to differ with most people. When a religious person tries to convert you, then they are trying to convert you. Atheists are not religious, they are merely debating. The entire premise is moot.