I feel much like you do, but I have to point out that some of us have suffered more than others. I am a strong Atheist and I have not been abused because of my Atheism. I think we all (or maybe just most of us) agree that religion leads to abuse and hatred. Can we not get angry because we were lucky enough to not be abused? Things like the civil rights movement, woman suffrage, and the civil war have made things bearable for the minorities such as Blacks, Gays, Non-Christians, and Women. But it is far from acceptable. I contend that due to these events in history, you have been lucky enough not to have been abused. We need to get angry like the Blacks did, like the Gays did, and channel our anger to attack the religious leaders because if religion gets even more control of the society, your luck may run out.
If I may be so bold, I'd like to propose a different closing to what you said:
"...because if religion gets even more control of the society, your luck may run out."
I would propose instead, "...because if religion goes back to getting the control over the society it once had, your luck may run out."
Let's recall that even at the time of American independence, the freethinkers who founded this country were obliged to call themselves "deists" because an outright rejection of the "God" thesis was still a capital offense in many jurisdictions.
We haven't been out of the woods that long, the wolves are still drooling and the danger is still very real. Some introspection tells me that was one of the reasons I felt so obsessed to write ...But the Girl Didn't Believe It, to wake people up to the real, tangible dangers religion--and especially Christianity--poses to the world.
Hey Paul, I clicked on your link ...But the Girl Didn't Believe It. It took me to amazon.com where I could read the first 6 chapters. I bet you're dying to find out what I think. Well here goes my humble opinion:
It is an easy read. It kept me interested all the way through. I didn't relate to any of your characters because I never went to church while I was growing up. But, if your future reviews of the book from your readers show many people relating to it, it would lend a sort of authority to your descriptions of the characters. I don't know if your characters are based on real situations and feelings. If they are, I think this book is a good one.
Now on to my humble opinion of your improvement to my last sentence somewhere above.
...it once had... Three little words that open such a can of worms! It begs the questions: How much did it have? How much does it have now? How do the two compare?
I would have to write a novel to explain what I believe is true about all that. But since you seem to be an accomplished writer, I invite you to use any of my writings up till now as your own anywhere on the internet that you can find. That sounds like I am not so humble. Maybe I am not, but you will see for yourself if that "humbleness" is earned.
Cain, just my opinion, but most people rarely hear directly from Atheists, hence they don't have the opportunity to 'abuse' us. If we had the letter 'A' branded on our forheads, i think it would be different. it's easier to publicly abuse minorities like African Americans or Jews b/c things like skin color or yamaka's (sp?) are easy to see. we're a silent, disguised minority. we are abused by public misconceptions, by a collective fear of our beliefs on society, and by public opinion of our group. it's more of a macro abuse than any specific micro instances. sure, personal stories would lend credence to the macro view of discrimination against Atheists, but i would speculate that these occurences are rare.
now, i've never been to an Atheist event or rally or anything like it, and i would imagine there would be a vocal opposition at such events. i would be interested to know from others who have attended an Atheist event what that is like.
I agree with your opinion. But that begs the question: Why don't most people hear directly from Atheists? The truest thing that can be said about atheists is that they don't agree on much within the minority. But, just my opinion, most Atheists do not voice their opinions about religion and god in public for fear of retribution.
Living in fear is not one of the inalienable rights protected by the Constitution, right?
In my opinion, we Atheists need to voice our beliefs in "micro instances"! We, all US Atheists as a group, should meet at all government meetings that start with Christian prayer and denounce the praying as a violation of the constitution as these Hawaii folks did at one of their state capital's meetings:
for many reasons that i can imagine. for one, most Atheists are anti hypicrocy. we hate it when others push their beliefs on us, so we do our best to avoid doing the same. i can't imagine many Atheists going door to door to spread the word of non-belief.
second, there is justifiable fear amongst us. i have a friend that is a financial advisor. he is not an atheist, but what if he was, and made it clear through facebook, etc? his clients likely google him before signing up with him. if they found him to be an atheist they would probably take their money elsewhere. it can have serious financial ramifications to be an 'out' Atheist. would his firm even allow him to be public with Atheistic beliefs? i can't imagine they would be too happy with him as it's not good for business.
Third, as most of us know, it can be a frustrating practice of futility to openly debate with close minded, hardcore theists. many of us have decided it's not a worthwhile endeavor. i am not in agreement there, but i can see how this can happen.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me this is changing. Slowly. The information age is making it easier for Atheists to spread their message, become informed, and become better debaters. Men like Dawkins and Hitchens (for starters) have lent credibility to Atheists through modern science and philosophy. There are leaders among us - strong and determined leaders who give a legitimate voice to rather non-vocal minority. I hope we can piggy-back on their efforts and ride them to respectibility.
I suppose most Atheists don't care who represents Atheists in the public eye. I know that some Atheists have bones to pick with Dawkins. I am not one of them, but they do exist.
So, how many Atheists would have a problem with me becoming a spokesperson for all Atheists?
If I don't do it, someone else will. They may do it out of self preservation, but it will probably be too late by then.
Wow, that video was unbelievable! How old is this video? Do you happen to know what happened to those people who made the video, after all was said and done?
It happened April 29th, 2010. I searched the site called Snopes.com and they have nothing about it, so I assumed it is legitimate, BUT not one US mainstream media source shows up with stories on this assault in the results of a google search. It should have been front page news.
It is very sad and scary when violence by the government against people exercising their right to free speech is not reported by the mainstream media. It is called Free Press, but is it really?
I found this youtube video:
Everyone, everywhere, who pays property taxes, either directly or indirectly (through rent) is abused by theists if religious organizations are granted exemptions from paying those taxes. (I know of no exceptions in the United States).
This is an easy one to hide, so it does get hidden.
Let's imagine a tax zone consisting of 1 million square meters (or whatever unit or size you want). The taxing authorities need to raise $1 million to fund their budget, so they set an assessment of $1 per square meter. But wait! Of that 1 million m2, 200,000 m2 belongs to churches, and we can't tax those, can we!
Nope, sure can't. OK, get out the calculator again. Now we've got 800,000 m2, but we still need to raise that $1 million so we assess the TAXABLE property at $1.25/m2. You say you own 100 m2 of property? You just DONATED $25 to the churches of your non-choice.
The only place I ever heard of where any religious group expressed any regret or dismay for taking money forcibly from people like this was in Anchorage, Alaska, where the Unitarian/Universalist church made a practice of donating to the city the amount they would have paid in property taxes had they not been exempted.
But try getting something on a ballot somewhere to repeal that exemption sometime. You'll soon hear the voices of reality lecturing to you about your silly ideas of "freedom from religion".
That makes me furious! Oh, wait, I'm unemployed, living in my mom's basement at age 45 so I don't pay rent or the house payment. What am I crying about?
Paul, i very much agree with you (see my blog post http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/taxing-religions), and i like your hypothetical example. That's interesting about the UU Church in Alaska. Why am i not surprised it was a secular church that would do such a wonderful thing?