I have often heard (from my highly religious family and others) that atheism is just a stage people (mostly youth) go through, and his got me thinking. I'm too young to know for sure, but wasn't this the stereotypical things that the "grown ups" said to the "rebels" when rock and roll was becoming popular? Maybe som older members can help me out here. All thoughts are welcome.
Very insightful, Aaron.
I was in grammar school in the 1960's during the rise of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. I remember the adults showing one of two reactions, neither of which seemed logical to me at the time. Some older people assumed that rock music was just a passing rebellion and should be ignored. Others thought rock music was the beginning of the end of civilization itself.
I really enjoyed watching rock music turn into the staple it is now, not only in the U.S. but in the world. It was the ultimate vindication.
You are right that the general societal reaction to atheism is very similar. I think people, in general, have a hard time with anything new. Every big change is either dismissed as nothing or seen as the end of the world!
About whatever differs from what they want, they'll say that you're going through a stage. My parents kept it up till their death, about my ´stages´, and never wanted to know that my stages lasted a lifetime.
If the rock revolution was about anything, it was about self-expression, about being honest about multiple things, including self-identity, sex, relationships, and life in general. It burst onto 1950s white-bread America like the hydrogen bombs we were so certain the Russkis were gearing up to dump on us, and of course, the establishment freaked out, called it the devil's music, and asserted that it would lead to all sorts of depravity. And sometimes it did, but mostly it didn't. Rock has been integrated into our culture to the point where Muzak has adopted many of its songs. I've forgotten which rocker it was who said that when you hear a song of yours on the PA system at Macy's, you know you've made it!
After 9/11 and so much attention on the background of the 19 hijackers who perpetrated it, it wasn't just islam but religion in general which found itself under scrutiny, and with that, atheism began to reassert itself out of the ashes of Madalyn Murray O'Hair's death. Much water had gone under the bridge since her time, though. Science knew more, had a deeper, more detailed grasp on the reality we live in and was better prepared to rebut the woo being preached from the pulpit. People began to speak out, people with names very familiar to us: Hitchens and Dawkins and Harris and Dennett. Others hearing their words and resonating to their message took courage from their boldness and began to voice their opinions as well, even as the religious establishment reacted in much the same way as parents recoiled to Elvis' swivel hips and the Beatles' hair cuts. This was self-expression again, but aimed at a far more deeply rooted element of our culture.
So yeah, the pattern is pretty much the same, except that in the case of atheism, the culture is liable to be rocked on a far more fundamental level than Chuck Berry or The Rolling Stones did. Considering the deleterious influence religion has in the 21st century, I think it has to.
I take a contrary position. I, too, grew up in the 50's and 60's. My father was one of those that hated rock music and openly derided it. What he didn't understand (and never did) is that rock and roll was only one facet of a much larger social shift in America. Rock evolved, in part, from swing music which was popular in the 40's. Big bands like Benny Goodman were integrated with musicians who were black, white and jewish. And, were incorporating elements of black music, jazz, into their repertoire. Rock and roll just took music to the next level as American society was moving toward a fundamental shift. That shift was the ultimate recognition that all humans, regardless of skin color or sex, were equal. White youth, unlike their parents, were now listening to what used to be referred to as 'race music' or what we now correctly call the blues. Rock music was just one manifestation of that transforming movement. Albeit an important manifestation since it was a form of mass communication, But, it was not the movement itself.
I think the rejection of superstition and a recognition of the acceptance of reality is closer to the fundamental shift that occurred in the 50's, 60's, 70's, etc. Atheism has been around for millennium. True, we have been reviled, denigrated, ostracized, and even murdered, but we haven't gone away. Now, we are starting to make an impact on society at large. I would compare the internet (where vlogger Thunderf00t has said is the place where religions come to die), and other forms of social media - facebook, twitter, etc. - to rock and roll. They are vehicles for the message - not the message itself.
It probably is. I'm 67 and marvel at the idea others claim "you are angry with god" when you have awakened to the fact that there is no evidence for existence of any god. Put another way, if god does exist there is no evidence that he ever did anything, or that he wants to be in touch with you. He is not "trying to tell you something." The christian will immediately tell you "but the bible says," -- and this is the "evidence" that they use. I'm an ex-fundy lay preacher and the bible is fables and stories. Anyone who had a complete knowledge of how this "book" came into existence would completely dismiss it. From there we go into the fact that some have discredited the bible in their own minds but still want to hold out for the existence of god in some way. This is like claiming you can make an omelet when you have no eggs. It is very hard to believe in the Wizard of Oz once you have seen behind the curtain. The christian can never have any new knowledge, but won't give up because "nobody wants to die."
This site has a lot of intelligent people, and we all should be continually learning. That's one reason I am on here. Being an atheist is much more than just stubborn denial. That's what the christian has. Being an atheist is a constant intelligent learning process.
No, it is more comparable to family and friends telling a homosexual that they are just "going through a stage". It is a type of denial people(usually people who don't know what they are talking about, but want to appear knowledgeable) employ to make themselves feel better about treating said person like a leper. The best way to deal with it is inform such people that unless they accept you, they can "go through a stage" of leaving you the hell alone.
I love your opinion, this is really what happens to me all the time. thanks!
No problem, I hope my opinion helped you in some way.
Ironically I would say that religion is a stage people go through before growing out of it just like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.