It seems to me we may be on the edge of a post-theistic society; an upsurge in atheism, anti-religious writings, even websites like this one appear to indicate a move in the right (left?) direction. My question is, how do we hasten the arrival of the next Age of Reason?

I think humanity is slowly maturing past the need for Big Daddy in the Sky to look after it. As we learn more about the universe and its origins, it will soon be impossible for a thinking being to believe the myths and fairy tales of organized religion. Just as children grow past their belief in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, unicorns and other mythical beings, so will humanity eventually outgrow its unreasonable 'faith' in a supernatural, anthropomorphic GoodOldDad and hopefully will instead begin to have faith in that which can be proven.

So, I would like your suggestions as to how we might expedite the enlightenment of the masses. Sites like this help, of course, but we're just talking among ourselves...preaching to the choir, verbally masturbating. What do you think is the best way to spread the word and proselytize for post-theism? I know there have been a few public displays like billboards, bus signs and ads, but the few measures that have been taken were attacked by the xtian right and didn't get enough publicity to make a discernible dent in the main stream of consciousness. I am, therefore, herewith putting out a call to arms. Let's put our collective heads together and conceive some ideas to speed up the extinction of organized religion. And let's think BIG!!

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Oh boy! This is my favorite soap box.
1- Create a Constitutional Amendment that requires education for our children and the parameters of that education.
2-Modify our language. Our language since the beginning has it's bases in belief systems.
3-Make sure that one concept above all is understood. That is that the perception of reality is not the same as actual reality. We must always be diligent by using our critical thinking skills to determine what perception is, indeed, accurate. We are all fallible.
That should be "determine the validity of what we perceive. We are all fallible."
While I agree with your desire to move beyond the silliness of blaming or thanking "god" for everything that happens, and the desire to put religion in its place, I disagree that we are close.

I think the Bush administration et al, and its pandering to the extreme far right, has set our case back by years. The neo-cons have gained a foothold through "faith-based" organizations and the confusion of the "right" to religion with the right to squash anyone who disagrees with them. The efforts to ban books and to push creationism as fact have sent us back by almost a century!

Barack Obama has a whole load on his plate, and of course the war and the economy must come first, but it is my hope that somewhere along the line we will see a revival of the Constitution and the separation of church and state. We will see the government funding science (i.e., stem-cell research, evolutionary research, a serious look at global warming, etc.), and an end to the funding of right-wing agendas.

But there is so much mess to clean up after eight years of insanity and corruption that it may be a while before we see a return to common sense.
You're absolutely right, Nancy, at least insofar as the US is concerned. Globally, however, I believe strides are being made. The Scandinavian countries, in particular, are moving further and further away from religion and are going more deeply into humanism and social consciousness. My hope is that this kind of outlook will spread to the rest of the so-called "civilized" world. My question is how we can expedite its arrival.
I agree with Jim Ashby...."All the common sense and education in the world can't get rid of religion."

As long as our society endorses delusional thinking (wishful thinking) then the cause is lost. It's not WHAT the believers believe that is so's the method of their thought process that is the danger. It's the mindset of believing what we want to believe rather than accepting the truth.

When we go looking for what we WANT to find...we will usually find it. The instruction to the believers should be one of the encouragement of honesty with one's self.

I think many of the believers believe because they want the comfort of not having to maintain personal responsibilities...there is always a way out. It's cheating on one's self and then believing the cheating is justified.

I can see a small light in the distant horizon of rationality. Some of the believers are "go along with the crowd" believers. They say they believe because they are expected to believe...after all...the majority is huge and the pressure of family, business, social concerns... are a great incentive to not rock the boat. But as the emergence of more and more freethinkers who are willing to take a "come out" as does the likelihood that the "go alongers" will begin to speak up and admit they have been subservient to the politically correct doctrine of kneeling to the will of the majority...the most vocal.

Our best method as messengers of rationality is to be open and unafraid of the social stigma as the evil minority. If we speak our minds rather than allow the believers to do all the talking..unopposed, then we will gradually gain in our number.
Unfortunately, I see more of a mass polarization than a mass enlightenment. Progress is being made, to be sure. But for every quiet deconversion, there are many more stories of violence and intolerance born from ignorance and superstition. In short, those that think will keep on thinking. Those that blindly cling to inherited dogma will find a way to continue ignoring the lack of evidence for their most treasured beliefs.
I agree that we should start with education, but, currently, realistic education is not protected under the U.S. Constitution. Until it is, religion will continue to teach our children fallacies.
I think the key is to enlighten atheists.

It had never occurred to me that I should see being an atheist as an activity or as a sense of who I am. I've always gone along with that whole live and let live ideal, therefore never feeling the need to impose my views on others.

The first people we need to group together is ourselves, united we will have a voice in politics and education.

Atheists need to be aware of the need to take positive action against religion rather than simply not join in.
You are right Stef....both religion and non-religion SHOULD be private affairs. But unfortunately, the zeal with which some of those who feel a compulsion or a duty to proselytize their beliefs has encroached upon the freedom of others to maintain that individual definition of spirituality.

The protection of the RIGHT to worship and the METHOD of worship or to NOT worship is being attacked by those claim a divine authority to decide how the rest of us must behave and how we must conform to a particular religious doctrine.

Our SILENCE would amount to a TACIT AGREEMENT with the efforts of the evangelical and their self anointed authority. Our freedom is dependent upon our willingness to fight to maintain our rights and privileges....which actually benefits the religious rights and privileges of those who wish to destroy free will and free thought. Religious freedom protects us all....a concept that the self anointed, self righteous just can't seem to grasp.
I think that the biggest deficiency of atheism is that it defines its self in opposition to a belief system, but does not present any alternative. Usually atheists will simply tell a religious person "Think for yourself!". The problem isn't that our platform isn't believable, it just isn't emotionally satisfying. Humanism and other secular philosophies have made some headway, but atheism offers no quick fixes to life's vexing questions.

That's the problem. People want quick fixes.
mthoreau..."The problem isn't that our platform(atheism) isn't believable, it just isn't emotionally satisfying."

It is for me...but I agree with your generalization. And people do want quick fixes...but the PROBLEM is that they don't give a pile of crap about the truth.
Enlighten the masses? Let's see. Well, if they can't identify us when we are in public then they will identify us through our complaints, misinformation from the clergy, and misinformation from the media. In other words, we have only one solution to this problem. Like the gays, we must be conspicuous in a non confrontational way. We must lead by example not by controversy. Now, I know that this is difficult in some areas, but we are a creative bunch. I'm sure that where there is a will; there is a way.
In my family, most of us are conspicuous, but we pick and choose our battles. Everyone in my son's theater group knows that he is an atheist. Most of the people in my bowling league know that I am an atheist, but few of my neighbors know it. Also few know it on my softball team. Many strangers know it because I frequently can be seen in public wearing something that identifies me as an atheist. However, I don't wear anything that might be offensive to believers. The idea, of course, is to let them realize that there are others who has an alternative to religion and that we are as respectable, friendly and prosperous as they are.
So why can't most of us do this? Well, our religious based culture has taught us well. The defense mechanisms of religion has been cultivated for centuries. One thing is for sure; respectful, friendly, prosperous atheists who are conspicuous in society are deadly to religion. The masses will gravitate towards behavior that is impressive and nonbelievers show the type of behavioral attributes that are very attractive.
So go ahead read all those books on atheism behind close doors. Enrage the public with condescending or offensive statements like in Olympia, Washington. All it will do is cause pain which will lead to hostile behavior then we will have a long and protracted battle ahead until you get the balls to show yourself. In the end, it will come down to acceptance of rational thought as a guide to behavior or we will destroy ourselves. The torch of human existence has been passed to us because no other group can do it. Wake up. We are nothing but actors in the play called, Evolution. We either adjust or we go extinct.




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