published Aug 20, 2012
by CHIP ROWE

PLAYBOY: What is the A pin you’re wearing?

DAWKINS: It stands for “atheist.”

PLAYBOY: Like a scarlet letter?

DAWKINS: It’s not meant to reflect that. It’s part of my foundation’s Out Campaign. It means stand out and reach out, as well as come out for the beliefs you hold, and give the reasons. It’s a bit analogous to gay people coming out.

PLAYBOY: Although atheists can marry one another.

DAWKINS: True.

PLAYBOY: Is there a better word for a nonbeliever than atheist? Darwin preferred agnostic. Some have suggested humanist, naturalist, nontheist.

DAWKINS: Darwin chose agnostic for tactical reasons. He said the common man was not ready for atheism. There’s a lovely story the comedian Julia Sweeney tells about her own journey from devout Catholicism to atheism. After she’d finally decided she was an atheist, something appeared about it in the newspaper. Her mother phoned her in hysterics and said something like “I don’t mind you not believing in God, but an atheist?” [laughs] The word bright was suggested by a California couple. I think it’s rather a good word, though most of my atheist friends think it suggests religious people are dims. I say, “What’s wrong with that?” [laughs]

You can read more of the interview here.. 

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