How much longer will it be before atheists are an accepted part of...

How much longer will it be before atheists are an accepted part of American society and not vilified as evil by the "mainstream"?

Honestly. It seems like I can't go a day without tripping over someone either implying or flat-out saying that atheists have no morals and do nothing but live in sin. This assumption is obviously complete bunk, as I'm sure many of you know. Many of the most moral people I've ever met in my life have been atheists.

My assumption is that this could be one of those generational things. There are more atheists now than ever before, and as older people die, their old conservative modes of thought may die with them... In a recent speech I recall hearing Obama give a verbal nod to atheism by mentioning "nonbelievers". Hearing this word actually kind of shocked me, because I can't recall hearing an American president -- or any high ranking politician in America, ever -- so much as suggest that people without an organized religious affiliation are actually people.

So, to conclude, what do you think? Are we moving in the right direction, towards greater acceptance of people with differing views? Will America ever have viable "mainstream" atheist politicians and prominent views in the marketplace of ideas? Or are we sliding backwards, on a destructive path of non-acceptance and conformity to rigid fundamentalist Christian ideals? Or both? Or neither?

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Within 20 years, atheist bashing will be unPC, I can't imagine that the continued terrorism of fundamentalist of all faiths won't have a salubrious effect upon the general populations' assessment of the heathen population. But there will always be those that hate us, and wish us dead.
What'd you expect from pope benedict, he was a Nazi after all. I wonder, I was told that once catholic, always catholic, does the same go for Nazis?
It'll be a few decades at least, I'd say. We're well behind where homosexuals and non-whites are with regard to acceptance, and they are still experiencing bigotry and prejudice in daily life.

The progress is slow, but it is happening. And despite the more conservative, fundamentalist aspects of religion trying to reverse that trend (and the trend of accepting homosexuals, etc), they're not stopping it. They might not even be slowing it, if their rabid hate is caustic enough, it may well backfire on them.
There is one major difference. Atheism is running rampant among more educated folk. Scientists and intellectuals are much more likely to be atheists or non-religious than the average person. I think we may see a faster acceptance than some other groups, although I would agree with your two decade prediction.
But running counter to that is the rising tide of anti-intellectualism, the out and out demonization of education in general, and the unabashed worship of ignorance as a noble virtue.

Dont know if you can access this page but it is a debate I started almost along the same lines, as when can Atheists be a force in putting things right, and showing they are more of us than they think.
About the elderly dying outl well at my Humanist Society in England a lot of us are over 60, in their seventies and their eighties, along side students. I found today an web site :Atheist Ireland', who would have thought that.
Hahahaha! I did a myspace search for Irish atheists (Thinking they were a mystical beast like the yeti or something) What I got was the first few pages filled with death metal bands.
A little while later, there seemed to be a few normal folk tossed in there.


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