Over the past several years atheism/free-thinking/rationalism has become more mainstream with many people coming out and proclaiming their lack of belief in a god and their rejection of religious institutions. I personally like this trend, but what is emerging is a number of reactionary anti-theists hungry for a fight with the established religious groups. It starts with name calling, then symbolic legal fights (e.g. removing monuments of the ten commandments from federal buildings), to organizations dedicated to fighting the believers at every opportunity. As time goes on, it gets more and more emotional.
Is all this bickering, fighting, and hating (on both sides) inevitable in order to evolve to a new era without backward religious ideology guiding our society? Is the coming battle just the quickest way to reach this goal? What do you think?
Lord Carey, in England is worried about the future of Christianity around the world. Apparently many Xians are even under pressure to keep quite about it in public. Imagine a world where they did not feel happy to share their good news with us all the time!
I am a militant anti-theist when it comes to public displays of faith and faith interfering in politics or schooling and have been involved in many campaigns against them. I don't hate them though. If it is a battle though the balance is starting to shift towards secularism. The weapon we really need most is education.
To illuminate the darkness it requires a flame .
To create a flame it requires a spark .
To make a spark it may need friction .
For years many people of ,shall we say ,"atheistic" (or at least rational) leaning ,have been content to "live & let live".
And of course for many of those years the "religious" have nudged an little here ,elbowed a centimetre there. Pushed a policy , shoved a doctrine ......
All that is now happening is that people have had enough and are starting to push back.
And the "religious" ..... don't like it.
In my most humble opinion, I don't think there will be any 'battle'. The christian solders are getting rather old, they are relying on ignorance to mobilize the 'masses', and kids now have the skills to self-debug.
While the 'push-back' can be a little work, and create a bad paper trail, most of us will gladly enter the fray. Some of it will be pay-back...
I have this quietly for a very long time, sadly many systems are 'self sealing'.
Ermmm....no. The majority of christians, other theists, and atheists don't hate eachother. The most extreme minority will always catch the attention of the news...no one pays attention to interfaith groups that peacefully gather to improve the community. No one cares that secular and relgious people work, play, and live side by side without major issues.
Not every change requires a violent clash. In some cases, revolutions fail, throwing everyone backwards into the very hands of the extremists they seek to free themselves from. Violence isn't a quick fix...it's a quick way to fuck things up for a long time.
If there is any doubt about the last paragraph look to the middle east now. They have truly f---ked themselves up. There seemingly is no end to it.
what is emerging is a number of reactionary anti-theists hungry for a fight with the established religious groups.
Name one, (apart from Dawkins et al etc and the big names).
I'll name two and try and explain more about the point I'm trying to make.
1. The Boston Atheists via their blog who started a campaign to help educate Oprah Winfrey after her on-air remarks to Diane Nyad concerning her beliefs. Link
2. The student group at the University of Texas in San Antonio who started the "Smut for Smut" campaign to allow students to trade their bibles for porn. Link
To me these seem like publicity stunts, perhaps done to initiate dialog on the subject, that are more likely to cause casual observers (if there are any) to view those organizations as "stupid", "out of control", "reactionary", "angry", etc. Do we REALLY care what Oprah thinks? Is there a better way to make the point that the bible is like porn to the believers? Is this the best way to educate those who may be on the fence of the anti-theist viewpoint? Are these stunts required in order to get air time on the various news outlets?
I don't know what the right answer is here. Somehow we need to get the message out that 1. A lot of people don't believe in a god, 2. and that's alright, 3. and here's why they think that (facts and arguments). You cannot change a person who does not want to change, and I don't think that anyone who is the least bit serious about the search for life's ultimate answers will be persuaded to dig deeper by these circus stunts that we are seeing more frequently in the news.
That's my opinion at least. Feel free to disagree.
Considering the size of her influence and the following that she has, we might have to care what Oprah thinks. After all, many in the following, if they didn't think so before, will now think the way she does because she said it.
And to be quite honest, if the point is to be made that the bible is like porn to believers...well...there really isn't a delicate way to do that, is there? haha
Now, if these "publicity stunts" are done without any further explanation, then they are not going to be so constructive. Hopefully they have information that they can pass out explaining why they are doing what they're doing.
During my SOS days, we did a stunt we called 'Pop God', balloons attached to strings, strings attached to stick pins, stick pins attacking balloons. A regular orgy of waste plastic, loud noises, and funny comments, with a minor complaint to security. Never did it again, many of our group thought it was a little under the belt, but we noticed that the local Moslum student group was empressed.
It seems to me that the reactionary anti-theists are simply organizing and speaking. They are using words. Just words. Nothing more than words. Christians don't like words that go against their Pastor's words and they have been brought up to be extremely sensitive and offended if they hear or see something they don't like. In my opinion, atheists are forcing them to think: to grow up: to either learn to provide a rational understanding for their own belief that developed through indoctrination or keep it to themselves.
It's hardly a war or a battle. It's some people giving their thoughts and views on Christianity and religion in general and that is enough for Christians to claim persecution and war is breaking out.
If we don't start with removing monuments from GOVERNMENT buildings, where do we start then? We have to show Christians that we will not tolerate their continued infiltration of government: The Christians who think the first amendment actually means they can do and say whatever they want and government can't stop them. The first amendment is actually quite the opposite of this.
I know what you're saying, but I think there may be a more civilized way to making change. We know that the religious will argue and fight back against words that discount their beliefs. It's to be expected. I think that by calmly stating our claims repeatedly, it will stick to enough people to gather critical mass. I mean, it's not difficult to find utterly ridiculous ideas in any organized religion.
I don't think we need to stoop to the level of children to make a difference. We don't need to cancel Christmas to make a point. I kind of like Christmas, but to me it is not a religious holiday. It's just a time to get together with the family. Also, we will never completely remove religion, and I don't think we should. People should have the right to believe what they want.
Where do we start? Good question. I would suggest the following:
1. Yourself. Let others know about your beliefs as appropriate. Take people to task who spout off ridiculous religious ideas. Become as knowledgeable as you can of the other religions and their beliefs. Be able to stand your ground in a religious debate.
2. Our government. Help elect leaders that are not biased bible-thumping Christians. This goes for elected judicial positions as well. The Christians have too much influence in our government. Work to get them out of there.
3. Support groups that will fight to remove Christian-based laws and stand up to the powerful Christian groups that are so vocal in this country.