When I have performed music in my friend's Methodist church, (played not worshipped : ) I have always been struck by the social and economic support that churches give their members. There is the social network within the churches themselves, then there is the friendly rivalry and extended network support of other Methodist churches around our country. If a member of a congregation needs customers for his insurance company there is an instant potential client base from among his/her religious tribe. If a son/daughter needs money for an expensive operation or school trip, the congregation and extended church communities can contribute. In this original Facebook/ tribe/religious social network, surely any churchgoer who has doubts about the reality of Jesus/god/holy ghost would be hard pressed to leave such an advantageous environment?
How can Atheism compete with that?
'old on, stop the press my fellow Barbadian Atheists, on a whim I visited the Barbados statistical service and found the following page....they don't seem to give a year, but this is very interesting
|Population Distribution by Sex & Religion|
|Church of God||2031||2935||4966|
A very interesting debate. I have been thinking a lot about these things after my trip in the Caribbean and the many discussions I had. I was recently listening to a lecture by Dan Dennet online where he pointed out the contrast between the top down approach of religion and the bottom up approach of the atheists and secularists. I am thinking we need to take that bottom up approach and start with some small support groups in the islands to empower those that are actively questioning but may be worried about coming out and declaring their doubts. I know this is being done informally and through online forums such as this. This, I believe, is movement in the right direction.
I think just expressing our views in a non threatening setting to friends and families can help to get our views seeping into society without being seen as "hitting them over the head." Once we have some momentum behind us we can then look at becoming more formalised and consider ads on buses and such. I agree that the main thing we need to do at the moment, is to remove the demonisation of those of us who don't believe in God. I want to emphasise though that even though this may not be the time for bus ads I do think there are times when you have to be not afraid to stir the pot.
I think the 'do good' idea is also interesting. It could help to establish an association in the public with atheists that is not totally negative. In Barbados and the Caribbean I have actually not heard the word 'atheist' used very often and therefore many people may be simply ignorant about what the word really means. Hence there may be an opportunity to develop a positive (or at least nuetral) connotation to the word before it becomes entrenched in Caribbean language. I tend to think the phrase " I am an atheist" is less threatening in the Caribbean than the phrase " I don't believe in God."
So calling ourselves atheists without emphasising our lack of belief might be an idea. We can just say that we are a group of atheists interested in promoting education, health, social rights etc and focus on the actions rather than the lack of belief. I am still thinking this one through though, not sure if in practice the word atheist will still be like a "red flag to a bull." However, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that with just one exception, those who I shared my atheism with in Barbados seemed generally curious about it and were at least willing to give me an ear and try to understand more.
Let's hope these are good signs. Glad for the dialougue.
excellent thoughts, my impression is that it is a human thing; that is "conquered" peoples are vulnerable to a strong message from the conquer. this happens all over the world. It does not have to be a outright military conquest , even though that works best. the impact of a bigger stronger (economic) society on a lesser developed or weaker. all kinds of examples from the phillipeans to south america to the african diaspora and africans on the continent . they all believed in some previous supernatural idea and a bigger stronger supernatural idea came along so they simply transferred allegiances.
to me that is another reason to reason there is no god, people will believe anything is you haave enough power!!!
Throughout history religion (of the conquer) and conquest (or colonialism) proceeded hand-in-hand. Violence, intimidation and religion are just tools of subjugation.
Yes, I'm looking into humanism as well, there's a lot to read about it.
Maybe one day I'll see a bus with atheist advertisements passing me as I drive down the street, I hope I won't run off the road in my excitement :)
The American Humanist Association launched an amazing ad campaign in 2010, its here
I think the juxtaposition of biblical and humanist quotes is very provocative but not disrespectful
Hi all, I found the following info while web wandering, it's from the The atheist Community of Austin
It seems to be some good advice:
A: The very first thing that should be said is that it's not that difficult to start your own group. The ACA got its start because a local person put an ad in the paper for atheists to meet at a bag.... With the Internet, starting a group is even easier than it was when the ACA was started in 1996.
Here are some suggestions for what you might do: