AN membership is said have to reached 25000 this year. Relatively speaking, not many of them appear to be active in AN activities. How can we make more of them join our activities? There must be thousands of atheists on the earth who have not joined any forum like AN. I myself joined AN 40 years after becoming an atheist.  What and how much are they missing? How can we attract more of them to join us? Why do you enjoy AN membership?

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Maruli Marulaki

Maruli, you have based your opinion on superficial things. India is a country with great diversity and there are a great many people of every variety. It does not mean that people can not love their religion in  a secular country. Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Zoarastrians and even a small scattering of jews, all are living peacefully. Everyone gets equal opportunities without consideration of religion, Justice and law deals with equality with all and so many ather such things will tell you that India is a secular country and as time passes, all that irritates superficially will end. Traditionally there is some tension between Hindus and Muslims, but Muslims are able to follow their religion freely, they are equal before the law as everyone else and are not denied any opportunity because of their religion. e have had three muslim presidents and our present vice-president is also a muslim. You will find more secular muslims in India than in any other country.

I've never been to India, but according to the info I could find, atheism makes up a  small fraction of one percent there. So from what I'm able tell, Maruli seems to be closer to the truth. Of course, I'm willing to be proven wrong if you have different statistics.

Rudy V Kiist

There are many atheists in India who have not 'come out".  One important reason for this the Indian attitude of not getting involved in anything. This, however, is slowly but certainly changing and if some one is capble of giving a little push, we will see growing atheism in India.

fair enough.  i do think that members should find some way to participate, whether it's sharing news, pictures, videos, or authoring original content or replying to a discussion.  there's a topic for everyone here, and there are many ways to participate and be an active, involved member of the site. 


i like The Flying Atheist's suggestion, but i don't agree with the timeframe of 60 days.  make it a year without participation of any kind and that would be very fair.  i think it would be helpful to have a better idea of how many real members AN has today, as opposed to the general counter which records every account created as a 'member'.  incidentally, i have noticed Ruth Anthony-Gardner posting on some members' walls requesting them to become active again. 

Wheether a member is active or not, he should not be depreved of membership. An atheist may want to belong somewhere instead of being a floating soap-water bubble. The number of members an association has also gives some strength to an association, it also helps estimating the number of atheists. This is not a club where an idle member is not wanted. This is an association with purpose. It hepls our cause better if more atheists become active and so an effort is neeeded to be made to make more members active.

" The number of members an association has also gives some strength to an association, it also helps estimating the number of atheists."


here we may disagree.  first, the roughly 25k AN members surely doesn't give us any kind of estimate of the number of Atheists worldwide, or even in English speaking countries.  second, if a member is no longer visiting the site, should we continue to 'claim' them even though they might have moved on in their beliefs.  some former members may have refound their faith, for all we know.  it's akin to the Catholic Church refusing to cut a member from their list simply b/c they want to 'claim' that person as a member of their flock.  i would prefer an accurate number rather than one inflated by past association. 


and to be clear, i'm not interesting in depriving anyone from membership.  like i said before, there are lots of ways to participate on this site.  simply 'like'ing a post or responding to a discussion with "i agree" would constitute activity, and would allow for continued membership.  i just don't see the point of being a member of a community and solely watching from the sidelines.  but i am open to the idea that i am wrong :) 

It's the internet, not an official poll. You'll never get that accurate of a reading on #s no matter what in this type of medium. Really a non issue and comes down to "bragging rights". Facebook likes to brag they have a certain % of the world on their site having no idea how many are really "inactive" or who has more than one profile per person. The idol shows like to brag more people vote on their shows than in the country elections, ignoring the fact some individuals will vote 100s of times per episode. 

In other words, I know it would be fun to know how many REALLY belong to this group, but in the end I don't think there's much you can do. Time better spent elsewhere, in my opinion.

Rudy, you are probably right.  it was interesting to discuss, but i'm prepared to move on. 

Madhukar, wonderful question!!! "How can we attract them to join us" is an important questions, especially with the negative influences that religion can have on economics and politics. 

I have one little glitch, we can't and shouldn't "MAKE" anyone do anything. Language matters, and so do choices of words. 

I love the atheist community because of the way at supports doubt and questioning.  I don't have to squelch my ideas or stuff my doubts into some dark corner where no one will see them. I don't have to pretend I believe just to have family and friends happy with me. I don't have to remain silent in order to keep someone else from being angry. These are some of the negatives reasons. 

For positive reasons, I can express myself, honestly while feeling comfortable that I won't offend others. I can imagine explore and experiment with ideas. I listen to what is said or written and have a basis upon which to make choices. For example:

I read what a religious person writes and am free to read critically, without having to twist my brain to make sense out of the piece. I do reality checks freely and openly without self-censoring. Having access to free thought frees me from that old notion that a bolt of lightening will strike me dead just because of what I read and think. 

I hear an economist who makes no sense and realize I am not the one who can't make sense out of the jabber. Socialists and Marxist make more sense than Capitalists, and I can recognize the flaws of these systems. Evaluating, comparing and contrasting economic systems reveals weaknesses in each and offers an opportunity to point out the things I don't like. I am free to widely explore. 

I think in different ways; instead of looking for answers I am looking for questions, and that is a lot more fun. If I pick up a bible or a book on economics or politics, my task is to question, not obey or submit or acquiesce or memorize, but to think critically, ask question, challenge authority, consider consequences of following as a sheep or thinking as a human with a brain. 

I play with ideas, comparing and contrasting them. Mulling and contemplating. Exploring and experimenting. 

Ethics and morals come from looking inside and knowing my body and mind, and the natural order of living and dying. Even preparing for the dying stage of life is more rewarding because I know I am made of the stuff of stars and will return to the stuff of stars. I exist, my time here is very short and I don't want to waste a minute on unimportant things or things that cause me harm. I know right from wrong because the information is within my being. I know if I hurt someone it doesn't matter what my intentions, it matters that I say and do kind and compassionate things. 

Madhukar, I just selected the wrong thing, "to stop..." insead of "To view ..." Please know I am still following your site. 

I personally think that there are a few reasons the 'missing' atheists aren't involved: Some may not use the internet yet, some may not know about AN and also some may just be hesitant about atheistic involvement. My fiance is a new atheist but he's not on this site. I tell him about some of the news, but he's not a member. 

I love AN because it gives me news that others don't/won't cover. I mean, when was the last time our average news team covered a priest who jumped off a bridge for fear of his child porn being found? My fiance has an Android app where he gets our local news headlines, and he will read the most interesting/most important news. I was shocked to hear about the Boy Scouts leader's child porn stash discovery. Most news seems to avoid religious-antireligious talks. 

Also, I love AN because it gives a lot of things to think about. Members talk about scientific discovery, debate about religious events/beliefs/actions, and throw around ideas.

Myself, I personally enjoy finding like minded people and am from a city where there is little if any interaction with other atheist as they are few in number. This is the only sight of which I am a member and for me the lack of participation isn't to be accredited to a language barrier, rather it is the endless debates to subjects that don't require it. We are intelligent people and sometimes I think that intelligence can be an "over kill" and work against us when it is used to insistently argue over a topic that we all agree upon. "We don't believe Gods exist." While I find a disagreement to be healthy when it encourages and supports personal growth. I find it to be repulsive when being used to "compare cock sizes."




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