Currently in the United States "Non Religious" people make up about 20% of the population.
This includes Atheists, Agnostics, Secular non affiliated, No preference, etc. Jews consist of less than 2% of the population of the United States. Mormons less than 2%, Muslims less than 1%. These are the religious groups that the non-religious out number, yet why is it that we are lucky to get 1 or 2 congressmen to represent us? The truth is that essentially every congressman or woman in congress is religiously affiliated. Where is our representation?

In the United States consists of about 12% of Black people, 4% Asian and about 15% of
Hispanic origin. Yet congress has 43 black congressmen and women, 44 who are Jewish and 27
who are of Hispanic origin, and also 7 of Asian origin. Congress even has a "black caucus", a
caucus for a group of people that represents only 12% of the population yet a group that
represents over 20% of the population is lucky to have 1 congressperson represent them?
Something is seriously wrong with this picture. The truth is that Atheists, Agnostics and the
generally non religious people in the United States are too timid, too apathetic, too
distracted and too unmotivated to make any real efforts to bring about change. Organization
is totally lacking among this group of people, and I have seen no real evidence of large
scale social programs to actually attempt to educate people about skepticism of religion or
to criticize religion. The Atheist bus sign campaign was one recent instance, but that was
just one instance.

Churches make it their priority to spread the word of their religions, and to convert people
and educate them about their religion. This is why religions tend to spread so amazingly
fast, it is because of the hard work of the followers in converting people. Now, I know that
a lot of atheists will say that they do not want to convert people, that they do not want to
be like religion and go out and proselytize people and educate them about their beliefs. This
attitude is unjustified, it is unjustified because as all atheists know, Atheism is in fact
the most rational and justified position. When you hold a position that is in fact the most
rational position, and is in fact the most justified position, then what is the harm in
trying to get other people to believe in this same position? Atheists need to ask themselves,
Would the world be better if everyone were an Atheist? The obvious answer to this question is
a resounding 'Yes', as anyone versed in the history or modern aspects of religion knows of
the bloodshed caused directly by religious belief. Certainly the world would not be a perfect
place if everyone were atheists, but it would definitely have one less meme in it responsible
for copious amounts of bloodshed and suffering.

I do not condone "shoving one's beliefs down other peoples throats". What I am arguing for is
simply a comprehensive and organized movement among the non-religious to educate the
religious about the flaws of their beliefs, and to spread the meme of Atheism. Atheism,
spurred by rational thinking, is in fact a good meme. I remember when I first started watching
Penn&Teller when it first came out, I first learned that they were atheists and then decided
to do research of my own which led me to agnosticism and then to atheism. It may seem odd for
a magician group to turn me onto skepticism of religion, but sometimes it only takes
something small like this. The truth is that Penn&Teller are a rare breed of atheist who
actually try to spread Atheism. These few people, Dawkins, Penn&Teller, James Randi, Etc. are
the atlas' of our times. They are holding back the ever flowing tide of irrationality and
dogma and are trying their hardest to fight back with logic and science. But the truth is
that it is like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.

Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fanatics, Hindu fanatics, Mormons, Scientologists, all of
these groups are doing all that they can to convert more people and inject their
irrationality and absurd beliefs into the world. This means that Atheists do not have the
comfort of being able to do as they please, because if they do then they will find themselves
an extinct species in the not too distant future. It would be incredibly naive to assume that
Atheism will somehow automatically spread and that religion will somehow die off by itself in
the future. The ONLY reason secularism and genuine skepticism of religion has spread in
recent times is due to the herculean efforts of people like Dawkins, Michael Shermer, James
Randi, Sam Harris, etc. Without these people, there would not even be a tiny subculture of
atheists that there is today.

I mention all of this only to stress the importance of actually doing all that one can to
spread the meme of skepticism of religion and rationalism and atheism. Unless we fight as
hard as the opposition is fighting, we will soon find ourselves so few and far between that
it would be impossible to defend ourselves against the constant attacks on our civil
liberties. This philosophy of "live and let live" does not work when the religious fanatics
of the world do not follow the same rule. The religious fanatics who would like to see
Christianity taught in schools and science abolished, the fanatics who would like to see the
western civilization under the rule of Muslim despots, the fanatics who would like to see us
all become slaves to their dogmas. If atheists remain idle and apathetic towards the people
who would like to see them destroyed, then this is what will happen. I acknowledge that not
all religious people want to rob atheists of their civil liberties, but the truth is that
once the religion meme is in someone, then nothing is a stretch. The only thing that separates
the moderates from the fanatics is a simple interpretation which, given their already
dogmatic beliefs, could and often does change without warning.

It is time for atheists to both organize and to act to demand their recognition as a
significant force in American and World politics. This means spending less time in idle, less
time..wasting time and more time doing what is necessary to stem the tide of religious dogma
and spread the meme of atheism. Talking to people who we know and doing what we can to
introduce them to skepticism of religion, passing out flyers in public places, organizing
groups and putting together marches and events, collecting money for media campaigns like the
recent bus campaign, etc. There are countless things that can be done to spread atheism and
general skepticism of religion, but sitting at home wasting time on the internet is not one
of them. Certainly we are all guilty of idleness and misuse of our time, however if we want
things to improve in the world then we must first improve ourselves. No social or political
movement has ever spread without the hard work and toil of people doing all that they could
to push it. I think that negative connotations are often misapplied to aggressive
proselytizing or education campaigns, but the truth is that when faced with the monster of
religious dogma and fanaticism, doing the most that one can do to educate people is hardly

I do not want to seem as if am condescending anyone, or seem as if I am patronizing anyone. I too can be guilty of procrastination, idleness and misuse of time myself. I however want to make the urge to everyone to do what they can to ensure that atheism does not die off or shrink in size. In ancient Greece there were many Greek thinkers arguing against religion and in support of skepticism and rationality and science, but even true philosophies and beliefs are not immune to being relegated to a footnote. In fact, society does not always progress forward, as can be observed from the dark ages in Europe.

Certainly there are many people who are doing all that they can to educate others about
atheism or skepticism of religion or critical thinking, but it just isn't enough. When I
watch religious segments on television, I almost never see the atheist point of view added.
In fact, the only time that I did was after a massive letter writing and e-mailing campaign
was organized in order to get Richard Dawkins on CNN once. This must be much more common than
it already is. There must be media campaigns to spread the meme of atheism, there must be
many more people ready to stand up in defense of atheism when it is attacked, there must be
many more people willing to do what is necessary to ensure atheism endures the onslaught from
the fanatical, dogmatic grotesque entity known as religion.

Views: 27

Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 11:51am
What percentage of non-believers would I be satisfied with? I would be happy even if the numbers increased by 1%, but I think that the true goal is close to 100%. As close as is possible at least.

I do not believe that theism can be eradicated by "waging war" in a literal sense. If we learn from history, we will know that actual violence towards religion does not actually eliminate it because the Romans did all that they could to squash Christianity but to no avail.

If the Romans waged a "war of words" or a "war of media" then the results might have been different. Especially if they tried to educate the people on the flaws of the Christian doctrines. I believe it is impossible to physically make someone stop believing in something that they believe in, but if we use education and media and other methods to inform them then this is what will make the most difference.

Certainly an Atheist Caucus in Congress making up perhaps a few members would definitely be a big step. It would be only right given other minority representations. A Caucus promoting general secular policies in opposition to religious discrimination and in defense to the constitution would be even better. But as things are, no congressperson could ever be elected if they were openly Atheist.
That's one important thing that MUST change.

My personal opinion is that the best way to refine arguments against theists is to actually debate theists. It has been said by a great philosopher that the only true way to learn all about a position is to argue it with people who disagree with it, because only those people who disagree will have the motivation to fight as hard as they can to defend their positions. Discussing it with people who already agree with you is not as effective in my opinion and in my experience.
Let us assume that your time spent on the internet discussing atheism itself has made you better prepared to defend yourself against theists or religious people. Do you put this new knowledge to use by actually arguing with theists and debating them? What is your method in doing this?

I think that it is a classic staple of atheism is to exist mainly online and in chatrooms and message boards. This is where I see the most movement relating to atheism. I think that this is good, but more needs to be done. I do not know why this is the case, but Atheists tend to group together online and try to accomplish things online and engage in debates online, but rarely do I see this offline. Usually offline the few atheists that I do encounter aren't even willing to discuss religion, and even fewer are willing to actually acknowledge that they are in fact atheists. Certainly the internet offers a sense of security and protection, more time to gather thoughts and offer response, etc. But I think that a movement needs to take hold offline, in the media and in television and in movies and everywhere else.

What do I do for Atheism? Right now I'm more focused on trying to figure out what I can do best for Atheism and general skepticism of religion. I have already been through the process of spending time online trying to argue with religious people and get them to see things the way that I see them, but this is not very effective. I have tried discussing and debating with religious people offline, but this isn't very effective either. I think that to make the most impact, more people are required, as is a framework for lobbying for Atheism in general. I mentioned several methods already, but I think that some imagination is needed for coming up with other things more specific.

I also want to emphasize that a lot of the responses to my blog have misinterpreted my meaning and what I am saying. I clarified that I am not condoning violence but still some responses seem to interpret it this way. I think it is important to be sure to read exactly what I posted opposed to simply assuming its meaning based on a few sentences and concluding it to be something that it isn't.
Comment by Frink on February 26, 2009 at 1:27pm
I take issue with the comparison between ethnic groups and the ratio of non-believers/non-affiliated. Yes, there is more representation among ethnic groups than non-believers, but keep in mind that the majority of these ethnic groups are theists, not atheists. it would follow that they'd get elected over an atheist of and ethnicity. It's just not a good comparison to make.
Comment by murfman on February 26, 2009 at 2:31pm
Even if you just want to "get rid of the extremists" I am not so sure that other atheists would join in your theory. That statement alone makes you an extremist, and possibly a hypocrite but we won't go there. I honestly don't think that is the case given your reply on the "Is Militant Atheism Detrimental?" thread.

I think that we all would agree here that atheists should get more of a voice in the general populace, but no one is going to go and use the "enemies" tactics back against them. Most of us are far too rational to see the faults in that line of consequences.

As to why many of us saw the violent view point of your post, it because of the tone that you are using throughout the original post and some subsequent replies. The thing is that we are all in agreement in thinking that something has to change. How we go about doing that will either destroy or promote our credibility.
Comment by evoLverR on February 26, 2009 at 3:22pm
SuzyQ had put it out so very elegantly, so I can just sit back and relax.

Spot on, Suzy! :)
Comment by AtypicalAtheist on February 26, 2009 at 10:04pm
I don't know what the issue is with comparing ethnic groups to religious groups as far as congressional representation goes. There are tons of "groups" in America and this includes religious, ethnic, etc. If both religious and ethnic groups smaller than the non-religious can have commensurate representation in congress, then so must we.

People are superstitious. But superstitious doesn't equal religious. I am superstitious in certain ways, most people are. Mostly just habits. I think that while a 100% number is out of the question, it's a "goal" that can be aimed for. Aim high miss high I think.

Nelson, I am aware that there is at least 1 congressman who is an Atheist and perhaps 1 who is a secular non-practicing Buddhist. This is why I never said that there is 0 representation in congress, but rather I said that we are lucky to get only 1 or 2 representatives in congress. This is why I emphasize a clear reading of my blog, but 1 or 2 out of 535 is not equal. This is 1/5th of a percent. And I did answer your question in my previous post.

Murfman, I think that "extremism" isn't necessairly a bad thing. Is a critical thinking extremist a bad thing? Is a volunteering extremist a bad thing? Or an intellectual extremist or a scientific extremist? This word "Extremist" simply means to a higher than normal level, but it isn't always a bad thing. Since religion in itself is bad, a religious extremist is even worse. But atheism is not bad, so an atheist extremist isn't necessairly a bad thing. So I do not see hypocrisy here, I simply see a preference of Atheism over Theism. This is what I support.


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