The atheist movement seems to be losing ground as its adherents grow in number.  I propose that this will continue until everybody who counts has no supernatural beliefs, and atheism as a movement is dead.

Here's why.  How many of you grew up religious?  (You may put your hand down.)  How many grew up in a culture saturated with religion?  How many, listening to adult conversation, remember on a first meeting "So what church do you go to?"  I suspect quite a few.

Do you still live in that culture?  If so, you probably feel very much in the minority there in your red state. You have in mind how you will answer, and you may use that plan several times a week.  

But if you live in a secular culture, surrounded by people to whom religion is an afterthought, if that, it's different.  How long do you go without hearing any of the religion words: church, god, believe, pray, jesus, heaven, and the like?  Quite a while?  How often do you hear atheist, agnostic, unbeliever, unchurched? Rarely?
Now picture a culture in which most church buildings have become bingo parlors, or bars, vacant lots, or Walmarts.  How important is being an atheist now?  What do you teach your children about religion?  

How often are they asked about their supernatural beliefs?  My guess is if they are, it's in relation to the newest imitation Harry Potter series. 

So atheism as a movement is dead.  That doesn't mean nobody's a non-believer.  Quite the contrary; almost nobody worships any more.  

We won.  Somebody pick up the ball and we'll go home.

A better world?  I would think so.  

Your thoughts?

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Comment by Michael Penn on January 16, 2017 at 7:17am

A co-worker told me one time that I was spiritual. It's hard to know what she meant by that because she believes she is being guided in life by her dead husband. Some religious organizations claim we cannot see god because "god is a spirit." I see a partial truth there because I don't see spirits. I have understanding of certain things but I am not spiritual. I have no spirit or soul, or any other such invisible parts that religion wants to bestow on you to make you "higher than an animal." I understand that the part of me that travels in dreams and does impossible things is all from my brain. That is why sleeping and waking experiences are greatly different. I am the soul. I do not have or possess one.

Comment by Idaho Spud on January 6, 2017 at 10:43am

I enjoy learning about this incredibly vast universe.  I love the beauty of the earth, especially green growing things.  I love the technology that man has created.  I'm amazed at the versatility of our bodies and the great power of our brains, even as I see the negatives that have come about because of the bumblings of evolution.  Some of these things bring tears.

I shed tears at many emotional stories, true or from entertainment.

But I am not spiritual, because I have no spirit or soul, and I do very well without them, thank you very much.

Comment by tom sarbeck on January 6, 2017 at 6:36am
CU, you appear to be adding "emotional" to dictionary definitions of spiritual.
A person's insignificance in the universe, the beauty of a flower, or a baby can stir emotions. I am a materialist; they do not stir a soul I don't have.
Comment by Compelledunbeliever on January 6, 2017 at 6:18am

Jerry I love your positive outlook! There has been a change in our culture over my lifetime a mere 47 years. Secular ideas do seem to be more prolific. This is great! I'm not yet inclined to hang up my hat.  Most people are spiritual in some since. Perhaps one looks at the stars and realizes how insignificant we are or looks atmthe beauty of a flower or a baby. Perhaps one thinks of how we are just a small part of our ecosystem. These thoughts are spiritual and experienced by attest and theist alike. As long as we are human we will be intrinsically spiritual.

People will also always be susceptible to interpret this spiritual nature into some sort of religious experience particularly if there is someone there to lead them in that direction. Atheist feel spiritual and live life better. There is always and will always be those who have these spiritual experiences and conclude "therefore God".  We will always have to help bring people to reason and help them understand their nature. We will have won the battle when we have lost our humanity and are all robots.

Comment by tom sarbeck on January 6, 2017 at 1:42am
Jerry, atheism will attract people until theism no longer attracts people.

Similarly, peace will attract people until war no longer attracts people.

You are free to not join in the battles, but as Loren says they will continue.
Comment by Future on January 2, 2017 at 9:08am
The concept of atheism as a necessary movement is so strange at face value. Is aleprechaunism necessary? What about asantaism? Aunicornism? Atoothfairyism? Aflyingspaghettimonsterism? Unfortunately, there is one ridiculism that does need to be formally acknowledged, and it's adherents taken seriously. Dominionists have finally succeeded in hijacking the federal government.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on January 1, 2017 at 3:18pm

 almost nobody worships any more.

So you say.

Which planet are you on?

Comment by Loren Miller on January 1, 2017 at 12:07pm

Certainly, the only reason for atheism to exist is because:

  1. Theism exists
  2. Theists attempt to push their theistic point of view on individuals and governments.
  3. Such theistic beliefs, dogmas and doctrines have a demonstrably negative impact on societies.

However, your assertion that atheism as a movement is dead is badly inaccurate and indeed, downright WRONG.  As a member of both the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists, I can tell you that atheism as a movement is alive and well and continuing to combat religious encroachments onto what should be secular governments.  Further, I fully expect such violations of church / state separation will only grow worse under the pending administration, particularly as regards issues of women's rights, LGBTQ rights and direct attempts to associate federal, state and local governments with religion in general and Christianity in particular.

The battle continues to be joined and, from where I sit, is about to get a whole lot worse.  It's no time to be sitting on the sidelines.



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