19 votes

The world's newest major religion: No religion. As secularism grows, atheists and agnostics are trying to expand and diversify their ranks

24 comments

  1. [9]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Honestly, the toughest thing about atheism for me is finding opportunities for organized "atheist"-branded non-religious local charity work. As the article mentions, atheists, agnostics, and other...

    Honestly, the toughest thing about atheism for me is finding opportunities for organized "atheist"-branded non-religious local charity work. As the article mentions, atheists, agnostics, and other non-affiliates aren't noted for their social bonds.

    I'm trying to decide whether the Unitarian Universalist church or the local (tiny) Humanist Judaism organisations have better opportunities.

    16 votes
    1. [8]
      unknown user
      Link Parent
      Why does it need to be branded? Can't it be just charity, nothing else attached?

      Why does it need to be branded? Can't it be just charity, nothing else attached?

      7 votes
      1. Eva
        Link Parent
        Religions, Christianity especially, tend to have a habit of stealing valour.

        Religions, Christianity especially, tend to have a habit of stealing valour.

        7 votes
      2. [6]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        It can just be charity for its own sake, and I've done that. But the community doesn't get any reason to think of atheists as altruists. It's fine to put up billboards saying, "You can be good...

        It can just be charity for its own sake, and I've done that. But the community doesn't get any reason to think of atheists as altruists. It's fine to put up billboards saying, "You can be good without God", but I want to represent that clearly and indisputably.

        6 votes
        1. [5]
          unknown user
          Link Parent
          Atheists need not be altruists, though. You can be both, but it need not be necessary. Atheism is a stance about a certain metaphysical issue. It is really sad that people think that it is a...

          Atheists need not be altruists, though. You can be both, but it need not be necessary. Atheism is a stance about a certain metaphysical issue. It is really sad that people think that it is a certain school of thought or a certain group identity or community.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            patience_limited
            Link Parent
            I'm not saying that all atheists are necessarily altruists. But I am, and it's a question of public reputation. The polls (in the U.S.) indicate that there's substantial prejudice against atheists...

            I'm not saying that all atheists are necessarily altruists. But I am, and it's a question of public reputation.

            The polls (in the U.S.) indicate that there's substantial prejudice against atheists at least in part because of the assumption that we won't behave well without fear of divine punishment. That's obviously not true, any more than claiming there are no Christian murderers. Hence, I feel obligated to represent a positive ethical stance under the banner of unbelief.

            8 votes
            1. [3]
              unknown user
              Link Parent
              Such prejudice is in vain for the "group" against which it is held does not exist. It's like having a prejudice for blue eyed people or people with black skin, totally unreasonable. And just like...
              • Exemplary

              Such prejudice is in vain for the "group" against which it is held does not exist. It's like having a prejudice for blue eyed people or people with black skin, totally unreasonable. And just like black people aren't obligated to act as a group and prove that they are not criminals or trying to destroy the white "race", and atheist need not prove that "[they] won't behave well without fear of divine punishment". There should be a clean line between the axiom about the non-existence of the divine (atheism) and the various ethical theories, existing or possible, built with such assumption.

              All atheists share is a mere result, that the gods' absence. It does not even imply a stance about religion. The groupings, identities should be formed around the interpretations of such result, not around itself directly. Because it does not mean much in and of itself. Not even really useful (for me the actual religious fallacy is the link between the divine and the religious tradition, e.g. the God and the Bible / Quran: because that link has no proof whatsoever, the question of God's existence is irrelevant for me given God did not communicate with us; even if God existed, there still is no reason to believe in religion in the current state of things).

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                With all due respect, I think you're missing @patience_limited's point. It's not about whether atheists are a monolithic group of people who are all the same, or whether we all believe or don't...

                With all due respect, I think you're missing @patience_limited's point.

                It's not about whether atheists are a monolithic group of people who are all the same, or whether we all believe or don't believe the same thing. It's about other people's perceptions of atheists. Even if we don't see ourselves as all the same, other people lump us all in together: "all those atheists", "all you atheists".

                And one perception that other people have of atheists is that we can not do good things. Another perception is that we can not be moral. Because we have no religion to tell us how to behave, many religious people assume we have no morals or ethics.

                So, to address these misconceptions, @patience_limited would like to see a charity which is explicitly atheist or non-religious. That would demonstrate to religious people that atheists can be altruistic and can help others.

                3 votes
                1. patience_limited
                  Link Parent
                  I get the point that "atheists" as a group aren't obliged to disapprove a prejudice. Let me add that I'm not interested in telling all non-affiliated people how to behave, what's ethical, or what...

                  I get the point that "atheists" as a group aren't obliged to disapprove a prejudice. Let me add that I'm not interested in telling all non-affiliated people how to behave, what's ethical, or what should be done to advance the cause of unbelief.

                  I came from a tradition of humanistic Judaism; this is my way of honoring what I feel is my personal obligation to the tradition, no one else's.

  2. [11]
    demifiend
    Link
    I don't get involved in atheist groups because the vast majority of them are boring groups with boring agendas and full of boring people and relentless positivity. I'd rather join the Satanic...

    I don't get involved in atheist groups because the vast majority of them are boring groups with boring agendas and full of boring people and relentless positivity.

    I'd rather join the Satanic Temple; at least they understand the importance of symbolism and the power one can draw from anger and defiance.

    9 votes
    1. [10]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [9]
        demifiend
        Link Parent
        Yes, and they at least seem to be unlike the vast majority of atheist orgs I find unappealing for reasons I've already explained. I don't need to spend time with people who think they're...

        Yes, and they at least seem to be unlike the vast majority of atheist orgs I find unappealing for reasons I've already explained. I don't need to spend time with people who think they're enlightened because they figured out that faith in gods is bullshit. As far as I'm concerned, realizing that the gods aren't real is a minimum requirement for being an adult in a technological society.

        7 votes
        1. [8]
          iiv
          Link Parent
          Believing in God has nothing to do with one's ability to live in a technological society.

          Believing in God has nothing to do with one's ability to live in a technological society.

          11 votes
          1. [6]
            demifiend
            Link Parent
            I'll believe that when USian Christians stop trying to undermine science education and research, and stop discouraging young people from going to college for fear knowledge might lead them away...

            I'll believe that when USian Christians stop trying to undermine science education and research, and stop discouraging young people from going to college for fear knowledge might lead them away from faith.

            4 votes
            1. [5]
              Diff
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              So (and I realize I'm simplifying things down very much here) you're taking a tiny, insane minority and labeling the entire group as unintelligent/dangerous/not fully human? That has a lot of...

              discouraging young people from going to college for fear knowledge might lead them away from faith

              So (and I realize I'm simplifying things down very much here) you're taking a tiny, insane minority and labeling the entire group as unintelligent/dangerous/not fully human? That has a lot of familiar and unpleasant flavors in it.

              6 votes
              1. [4]
                demifiend
                Link Parent
                I know. Some of them do it to atheists like me. As far as I'm concerned, turnabout is fair play and the Lord will know His own.

                I know. Some of them do it to atheists like me. As far as I'm concerned, turnabout is fair play and the Lord will know His own.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  Diff
                  Link Parent
                  Some of them. A tiny fringe subset. And yet you're using that to generalize a massive category as not fully human. We're all stuck on the same planet dude, least you could do is limit your own...

                  Some of them. A tiny fringe subset. And yet you're using that to generalize a massive category as not fully human. We're all stuck on the same planet dude, least you could do is limit your own bigotry to the people it actually applies to. It'd make your stay a lot more pleasant.

                  7 votes
                  1. [2]
                    demifiend
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    You're not going convince me to change by telling me I'm a bigoted asshole. Instead, let's clarify a few issues. I am an ex-Christian. I turned my back on the religion in which I was raised the...

                    We're all stuck on the same planet dude, least you could do is limit your own bigotry to the people it actually applies to.

                    You're not going convince me to change by telling me I'm a bigoted asshole.

                    Instead, let's clarify a few issues. I am an ex-Christian. I turned my back on the religion in which I was raised the second I realized that the doctrine of original sin demanded that I ask to be forgiven for having been born a human being. Because I am an ex-Christian, I think I am justified in my hatred of Christianity.

                    Likewise, because I grew up around Christians and must occasionally suffer the attentions of Christians determined to carry out the "Great Commission" because they don't know I'm an apostate, I think I am justified in my opinion of Christians in the United States: which is that in general they are wilfully ignorant, selfish, narrow-minded, self-righteous, meddlesome, lacking in theological sophistication, and more fearful of Satan than they are of the God that created the fallen angel and found a place for him in His divine plan.

                    I know they're not all like that, but I'm content to despise them all because it's easier for me that way, and I honestly believe that if I'm wrong about the God question then He will know His own.

                    However, and I'm gonna bold this so you have no excuse for not getting it: I might loathe Christianity and its adherents, and I might make jokes about telling them to go feed lions, but I would never engage in outright persecution or allow others to do the same.

                    After all, Christianity thrives on martyrs, and feeding into the Christian persecution complex only makes Christianity stronger.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. demifiend
                        Link Parent
                        Fair enough. I've removed that bit from my comment.

                        Fair enough. I've removed that bit from my comment.

          2. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            I don't think they're saying it's a requirement to function in society, but rather they're setting a bar for modern society (in their opinion, a low bar). Not that I agree, that's just my...

            I don't think they're saying it's a requirement to function in society, but rather they're setting a bar for modern society (in their opinion, a low bar).

            Not that I agree, that's just my interpretation of the comment.

            1 vote
    2. unknown user
      Link Parent
      What sort of a defiance is that that it requires obeying to some sort of organised body of power that uses mind numbing agents like anger and symbolism? Is it really a disregard of the authority,...

      What sort of a defiance is that that it requires obeying to some sort of organised body of power that uses mind numbing agents like anger and symbolism? Is it really a disregard of the authority, when all that changes is to which authority, religious or not, one bows?

      2 votes
  3. [5]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      What are you even talking about? Atheism doesn't have to anything to do with politics or sexism. Anyone can be an atheist; atheism doesn't exclude any groups of people except those who believe in...

      What are you even talking about? Atheism doesn't have to anything to do with politics or sexism.

      Anyone can be an atheist; atheism doesn't exclude any groups of people except those who believe in gods. You can be an atheist humanitarian or an atheist murderer.

      Yes, there are right wing and sexist atheists. There is no way that they are a majority. I know how they can sometimes be the loudest ones though. My sister followed some of the worst ones when she first came out as atheist to our religious family. Thankfully she realized how toxic they were.

      14 votes
      1. unknown user
        Link Parent
        And what if they were the majority? Atheists aren't a group, it is just what the name says: (they) don't believe in god(s). This is why I never identify with these adjectives. They quickly end up...

        And what if they were the majority? Atheists aren't a group, it is just what the name says: (they) don't believe in god(s).

        This is why I never identify with these adjectives. They quickly end up meaning nothing and everything. When I am asked, I always say a sentence like "I don't believe in religions" or "I refuse belief, I'd rather think".

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      It's a heartwarming story about how militant atheists put aside their differences with fundamentalist christians so that they could unite over their mutual hatred of muslims. But for real though,...

      For real, how did team "logic and reason" fall in with the authoritarian mindset?

      It's a heartwarming story about how militant atheists put aside their differences with fundamentalist christians so that they could unite over their mutual hatred of muslims.

      But for real though, those assholes don't have a monopoly on atheism any more than tankies have a monopoly on socialism. They certainly represent a distinct minority of atheists, it's just that they picked up the loud contrarians and are loyal to the regime in Washington, so they get a lot of attention.

      3 votes
      1. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        This. Christopher Hitchens was plugged right into the political classes, and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris jumped on board with the Hitchens-promoted Islam-hate after 9/11. Harris is lately...

        This. Christopher Hitchens was plugged right into the political classes, and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris jumped on board with the Hitchens-promoted Islam-hate after 9/11. Harris is lately reaping lucrative lecture tours and valuable media exposure, to publicly hate on feminism, multi-culturalism, and social justice; he's considerably less interested in acting as an ambassador for unbelief. The Designated Atheists are busily marching the Overton Window rightwards.

        2 votes