At Monday’s meeting Rachel gave a presentation about Atheist Activism. In this post I outlined the presentation then wrote my opinions about Atheist Activism.
Atheist Activism is divided into two camps: one camp believes that “the primary goal of Atheist Activism is to reduce anti-Atheist bigotry and discrimination, and to work toward a more complete separation of church and state.” The other camp, which is commonly associated with New Atheism, believes that “[Atheist Activism’s] primary goal is to persuade the world to move away from religion.” These different opinions of what Atheist Activism’s function should be have caused conflict within Atheist organizations and communities.
Another issue that Atheist Activists experience is the discrediting of their own causes. For example, the American Atheists made this blog post: “One thing we need to keep in mind is that Muslims are particularly barbaric and primitive even more so than their comparative mythologies.” Such claims do not make Atheism attractive to outsiders and some insiders.
Here is a list of some famous Atheist Activists:
James Randi – “Former magician and paranormal investigator who debunks psychics, mediums, and others who claim to have supernatural ‘powers.'”
Jessica Ahlquist – “Rhode Island teenager who won a court battle to remove a prayer banner hanging […] in her public high school.”
Dan Baker – FFRF co-president
Matt Dillahunty – “Public speaker and internet personality.”
Richard Dawkins – One of New Atheism’s four horsemen.
I think that both camps should share each other’s goals and form one solidified Atheist and secular community. Reducing anti-Atheist and other anti-secular sentiments, and creating understanding and awareness are key for Atheists becoming accepted and given credit by the rest of society. Persuading others of Atheism’s validity through reasoned argumentation will function to achieve many goals such as; separating church and state, reducing anti-Atheist and other anti-secular sentiments, falsifying other discriminatory beliefs that originate from interpretations of biblical texts, creating awareness and acceptance for Atheists and other secular persons, as well as other goals.
Furthermore, militant Atheism and other forms of militant secularism thwart their own goals of appealing to and being accepted and understood by the rest of society. Militance leads to xenophobia and the creation of something that is equivalent to religion.