As atheists, we all realize that we are the proverbial black sheep of society. Many of us are afraid to even reveal to our loved ones and friends that we don't believe in god for fear of opposition and ultimately rejection and in some cases disownment. We have no real power as a social movement and no real influence in governmental policy, etc. I wonder: As an atheist, are you content with keeping your beliefs personal? Or do you wish that we would pull together and be proud of our faithlessness? Do you want to try to dispel myths about atheism? Do you want to try to "convert" theists? I'm just curious about everyone's ideas and goals.

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Living in the UK I've never encountered any anti-atheist sentiment, so I can take being "out" somewhat for granted. For the same reason, I can't really say I'm "proud" of my faithlessness, as it was a fairly frictionless change for me to make, and I consider it just another conclusion I've reached, along with my stance on human rights or any other philosophical positions I've adopted. I can see why somebody would be proud of it if they'd had to struggle against a stifling and hostile religious background to be allowed their own worldview, and become an outcast because of it. Maybe weak atheism is a luxury of living in a secular environment; the theological equivalent of a champagne socialist. Of course, it's different in America, where the Ten Commandments seem to have collided horribly with the constitution, leaving them practically inseparable. I can understand why American atheists would want to push for better representation.

But as I've said before, I'm strongly opposed to atheist evangelism, which seems to be getting discussed more and more lately. 'Atheism' is becoming synonymous with 'antitheism', and it's a term I would never want applied to me. If you want to set yourself up as the antithesis to religion and lock horns with them on all matters, go ahead; but don't call yourself an atheist. Atheism simply means a lack of religious faith, and it should imply neutrality rather than militarism.

As for dispelling myths, I think it's a good idea, but the best way to do it is simply to live your life, demonstrate that we're no different from anybody else, and that we're able to live morally and responsibly without fearing an omnipresent Santa Claus and his brimstone-singed naughty list. All in all, I wouldn't say I have any goals for my atheism, mainly because I'm not faced with any hardship because of it. All I can really do for atheists who are oppressed is to live as best I can and try to improve the image of nonbelievers in the eyes of the world.
I am not in favor of atheist evangelizing, I'm not even sure what that looks like. I'm not interested in convincing anyone that god doesn't exist.

I am definitely interested in dispelling myths about atheism. I'd be happy if they could just get the darn definition of atheist correct. But you do this by living with integrity and not overly worrying about what someone else thinks of you. I am proud of my worldview because I have thought long and hard about what it is that I believe and why. I don't have time for people who think I'm going to hell just because I don't follow their religion. While it certainly can effect me, there's nothing I can do about someone who has already made up their mind about me and is unwilling to be changed.

In the public square I do think it's important for atheists to represent. We are overshadowed by Christians and we do need our presence to be seen and to fight for our rights to be free from the religious beliefs of others. That's why organizations like FFRF and the Secular Coalition are so important and need to be supported.
But isn't the evangelism of Christianity reason enough to evangelize atheism? Perhaps that would be hypocritical, but we are at odds with them so it might help to become more vocal. I think that beliefs such as rapture and religious extremism are great dangers to mankind and should be combated with us atheist's reasoning.
I agree with you. We have to be more vocal to defend our atheism. This does not mean being outwardly offensive. Joining an atheist activist community helps to further and defend our cause.
I am content to keep my beliefs and philosophical leanings to myself, unless I'm faced with a serious query which I often am. The role of religion in politics here is sickening to put it bluntly. I just hate having to live by social restrictions birthed from fairytales. If anything, I would try to gain more authority and respect for us. Sen. Obama is the first politician I've heard address nonbelievers ever. Most of America would simply like us to convert to christianity or go away so we don't "block their blessings" or something like that.

I agree that the distinction between atheism and antitheism needs to be established and explained to everyone. Many christians oppose atheism because they have been told lies about what atheism is. They think atheism *is* antitheism. They believe we would enter their homes and forcibly convert them if we were awarded the opportunity. We are a threat to their salvation. Many theists believe atheism is a 'phase' that amounts to little more than teen angst. They think we have had some terrible experience that made us begrudgingly reject god and become forever unhappy. I was recently talking with a woman and decided to tell her I was an atheist, just so that topic wouldn't come up later and become an argument. She seriously asked me if I worship the devil. This is unacceptable. I don't blame her, I blame the church for starting these rumors, and society for perpetuating them. We all need to at least try to dispel myths about atheism. I think if theists knew more about us, then they would be more amiable and less likely to loathe or vituperate us.
I support the FFRF. It disgusts me when I see religious groups raping the constitution and repeating the "America was founded on Christian values" myth over and over as is repeating the lie suddenly makes it true.

I'm very open about my atheism. As much as I like to have others agree with me I don't feel the need to "convert" others. I've had enough personal experience being on the other end of that to realize that it's generally a crappy thing to attempt to do to another person. This doesn't mean that I won't share my opinions, I just won't try to force them on others.

I do think its important for non-believers to pull together in my country. We need to be open to working with other minority groups in order to make sure that our rights aren't violated. I don't think that we can stand up to the Religious Right that ultimately wants to deny rights to gays, women and religious minorities unless we unite.
I am of the perspective that atheism is more of a dropping away of, in essence, there is nothing to 'convert' people to. My 'proselytizing' is more in the way of challenging any ideology that promotes racism, sexism especially the ones that try to hide their ugliness behind the protection of religion. So, I do believe that it's important for people who fight for civil/equal rights to band together, I just happen to identify with an atheist label because it is in religion that I find the worst abuses and feel it is here that I can make the biggest difference.

I am not of the school of 'live and let live' when it comes to the atrocities committed by religious indoctrination...because at it's very foundation is hate, fear and division. They are a plague on this planet and their 'evil' truly needs to be eradicated.
I live in the southern US with a semi-religious husband and I feel a bit boxed in at times about being an atheist. I wish I could be out and more proud about it more easily outside of my art college but I would love to see us pull together and be out and proud of my faithlessness without fear of retribution of loss of job.




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