If atheists have a hard time selling rationality to theists there is no shortage of reasons for a believer to ignore reason.
Theists are generally given state sanctioned privileges. They find comfort in their delusions. Theists prefer employing other theists and often give each other preferential treatment.
What then is the value proposition for being an atheist? What is it that sells atheism?
An atheist is someone who lacks a belief in God. People are born atheists and never suddenly gain a belief in God (most Chinese people, Westerners with atheist parents), some of them were brainwashed into believing in God and later gave up that belief because of an application of reason to organized religion (for example the new atheists), a dislike of the whole thing (American atheists who don't want to talk about religion or atheism), are disgusted by the horrors of religion and Islam (closet atheists in Saudi Arabia), give up god so they can keep their boyfriend/girlfriend who is an atheists who doesnt want to spend their life with a god believer (pseudo atheist) others were forced to do so (those in North Korea) and this list can go on and on.
You seem to keep defining atheists as those from developed countries who are atheists because it's logical yet live with some form of religious antagonism in their family or their country (even if it's just the annoying antagonism of loud racist sexist homophobic religious people protesting against new laws. These atheists represent a very small portion of atheists and they arrived at their position by: always having been an atheist or through resaon or through indifference or through emotion or through manipulation.
You also seem to think that there is more to atheism than "a lack of belief in God". Just about every single friend in my age range I have in continental Europe is an atheist. They barely talk about god or no god, how it affects their lives, criticism of the religious...etc. Their lack of belief in God does not define them and they'd be quite content if they never had to think, talk about or act on their lack of belief in God.
Atheists can be humanists (those who believe in the autonomy and dignity of the individual, secularism and the use of reason). Or they can be non-believers in God who still think there is universal karma or magic or psychics (there are millions of them. An there then are those who have absolutely no agenda and want to be left alone.
The only thing I care about per religion is that they don't try to force their abusive discriminating magical views on others through law nor are allowed to get away with abusing children or gender oppression within their communities. If they stop believing in God...great...but I have absolutely zero desire to deconvert people through reason nor emotion...unless they come to me and start the discussion.
There are no inherent benefits to being an atheists other than not believing in God. That's it. What that means for the individual atheist greatly depends on who they are, the society they live in, how they arrived at non-belief, to what extent they allow this to define them and so on.
Atheism, in my opinion, doesn't need to be sold. It's the abuse and oppressive forces that comes from organized religion that need to be stopped. You can try and increase the teaching of reasoning and critical thinking in school if you like, try to convince Australian or American religious people that atheists aren't animals or whatever you like. But you aren't doing that in the name of atheism...but in the name of your own agenda. If in the end more people stop believing in their preposterous rediculous childish menacing believe of a bearded man in the sky...I would be delighted. Other atheists could care less.
No inherent benefits Davis?
How about each of us in our tiny way siding with or against reason/rationalism v. superstition/bad ethics? The former and you endorse a better path, the latter and you enable its continuation.
How about a better appreciation and greater value given to the here and now?
How about being less open to mysticism, cults and occult and more open to science and the awe for a universe that is far more Alice in Wonderland than the silly little stories of western religion?
For Christian apostates how about the burden of guilt with original sin being lifted?
How about all of the people who fail to blossom intellectually under the weight of a religious world view who begin to read and think about the world?
How about all of those who come to atheism and in so doing do their part in exposing the greatest lie of all time, the one in which religion is equated with morality?
For me it is has been a slow realization of just how lucky I am to be an atheist. What a miserable existence the believer has don't they? Unthinkingly accepting the most ludicrous claims and the harshest impositions on their existence and for what? Some vision, some notion of a promise; that deep down they know cannot be true.
To lift the veil of belief is to open the floodgates of knowledge and is to take a glimpse at just how mind boggling this universe is. Belief is just so tame by comparison.
My belief is that if each of us take many small steps we can achieve great things.
Jake. You are projecting yiur limited world view of atheusm and athtests onto the rest. Lacking a belief in God does not automatically make you safe or more rational when it comes to non religious matters nor make you more humane to your neighbours nor make you more politically involved etc. Becomingan atheist in Iran is extremely dangerous and you can disagree with god while still smack the shit out of your wife and kids while still believing in spirits and magic bones. If you become a humanist...yes to all the above...no longer believing in God...no...not necesarily. People mistake atheism with humanism all the time.
I've been an atheist my whole life. Does that mean I have an obligation to deconvert my fellow human brothers? I live in a country where the far fajority of people my age are atheists...where the church has almost no power and where secularusm is written into tge contitutiin with blood from the civil watlr. I spend my free time as an activist against female genital kutilation (which in part continues becausr of religious forces) and I speak out against women opression in the muslim world. Am I still not a worthy atheist then? Adding some specific inherant agenda to what us simply a lack of beluef in something...is toxic and potentially dangerous. An atheust can be a humanist (I am) but not all atheusts need be humanists. Who says? Why does someone hace tonot bepieve in the way you say they should?
Davis, i was being more broad-minded than simply projecting. In fact i was contemplating some of the ways in which humans benefit from atheism.
In its strictest sense you are correct in your point of view. Atheism in and of itself is simply as you have put it lacking a belief in god.
It is has been my experience that apostates from strict/fanatical/fundamentalists upbringings are indeed more intelligent than the deezers and dozers. It is their superior intelligence that makes them atheists not their atheism that makes them more intelligent. Therefore those persons are more rational and less susceptible to other forms of mysticism. I suspect atheists as a group are less susceptible to occult, and cults for the simple reason that if you are critical enough to examine and reject mainstream nonsense you are equally or more apt to reject fringe nonsense.
I was also raised without having been indoctrinated. And the thing that is missing from those atheists who says they are good with religion as long as it does not intrude into politics or various forms of proselytization and undue influence is that is its nature. That is what it does. And the greater the power of the religion the greater the imposition.
I like the notion that Atheism is the only true freedom you can have. I am spectacularly free to think what I want. No guilt. No boundaries. I can learn what I want with an open mind. I can say what I want. It is in a sense the opportunity to be fearless.
On a practical level...
No stopping what I am doing to get on my knees five times a day. No Sunday mornings wasted in a church. No one can tell me what to do
hive-mind dogma?...i likat dat shit...gonna arrogate it
"There are no inherent benefits to being an atheists other than not believing in God. That's it."
(in my best donald trump voice) Fail, So Sad.
No. It's not a fail. The failure to see that:
secular humanism DOES NOT EQUAL atheism
atheism DOES NOT EQUAL secular humanism.
That's the bigger fail and just as we cringe when a religious person adds more to atheism than what is really there (a lack of belief in God and nothing more) when they claim atheism is God hate or atheism is a striving towards anarchy...I cringe even more when certain groups of atheists project their own personal meaning of what an atheist is...onto the rest of the much larger majority.
Confusing humanism with atheism is the big big fail. The inherant benefits of not believing in something rests entirely on what that person considers beneficial to them and within their culture.
If we look at the world through a secular western humanist lens, then yes, lacking a belief in God is a whole lot better than having that belief and wasting time and resources on nonsense and damaging people and society in the process. Under a humanist lens, lacking belief in God is an incredible achievement. But then that's what it looks like from the point of view of many atheists in America or France. But we represent a fraction of the worlds atheists. Are Western atheist humanists somehow the small portion of atheists that have a clearly logically superior lens through which to see the world, better than others who lack a belief in God as the best list of goals to set, the ideal path to a beneficial life? Sounds a whole lot like turning a lack of belief in something into a world view with an agenda to me.
I am a hard core humanist, and I BELIEVE it's the best way to guarantee a just, humane, intelligent culture, but I'm no going to go around saying that it is clearly, objectively universally the right path for atheists and atheism everywhere...that if you lack a belief in God that the humanist agenda is the logical empirically sound path for all atheists in East Africa, Taiwan and Iran.v
Atheism = lack of belief in God. Nothing more. If you want to sell "humanism" I'll be the first person to suggest what we can do and how we can do it. Selling "atheism" is silly...just as trying to sell "a lack of belief in good-luck to the entire world" is silly. Don't sell "a lack of belief in good luck" but sell rational empirical physical realism and the enormous useful science and knowledge that comes with it.
If we switch the question around we might shed some light on the issue.
The theistic value proposition is this: don't worry, Ill take care of everything for you. I will tell you what to think, what to do and how to behave. If you trust me I can make you happy. And don't worry about that death business - I have it all sorted. All it will cost you is a little bit of your time but listen to me and everything will be just fine.
Religious people are capable of incorporating whatever they are unwilling to live without, into their world view...even if it clearly and blatantly conflicts with other parts of their world view. Look at Saudi Arabia. They have virtually banned western clothes and fashions for Saudi Citizens (you'll almost never see a neck tie let alone a bikini). And yet the same people in their military and police form have absolutely no problem putting on western camouflage and riot gear and police boots, despite the fact that it comes from Western culture and is the gear the infidel americans were wearing when they invaded fellow muslim countries. Wearing fatigues and heavy police belts make them feel like awesome grand warriors and playing dress up is more important to them in this case than a koranic interpretation that requires arab originating modest loose clothes. That's just a small superficial example. We haven't even started with the alcohol and porn countless Saudi's have under their sink or encrypted on their tablets. Those are the very men who would eagerly attend a public execution or go utterly bananas if they heard a rumor that someone burnt a koran. Forget the "temporary messages" or ignoring sharia law when your cousin smacks up his wife so bad even the koran says it is wrong...but do care greatly about the koran if it means honour killing your daughter for kissing a boy. Fundamentalist christians use western technology and medicine which could not possible exist if it weren't for applying scientific principles which leave no doubt that the universe is super old and that we are cousins with chimpansees. It doesn't stop them from using a GPS linked tablet to find the fastest route to drive to sunday school. They'll embrace reason to the extent that it helps them and if it conflicts with their world view...cognitive bias takes over and it becomes a matter of deeply held belief...which doesn't work under the same rules as reason or logic (according to them at least).
A couple atheist users here have sound logical rational minds and yet belief in a spooky thing or two. One Christian guy who drops in and out of this site from time to time...is a professor of physics in apparantly a major US university.
Unfortunately, you don't have to abandon technology or medicine despite knowing the knowledge and empirical processes of science...you can still hold onto your beliefs as the human brain is so plastic...it can think up an excuse to justify their cognitive bias...in the time it takes to say Amen.