Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Not Really Shouting

Today's New York Times has a nice article about the increasing visibility of atheists in the United States, particularly as just being regular folks. The headline is:

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops
I'm not sure shouting is really necessary to shout. I try not to shout about it. Subtlety is probably a better long term strategy, anyway:
They are connecting on the Internet, holding meet-ups in bars, advertising on billboards and buses, volunteering at food pantries and picking up roadside trash, earning atheist groups recognition on adopt-a-highway signs.

They liken their strategy to that of the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when closeted members of a scorned minority decided to go public.
I think that's an apt analogy. Most people either don't know any actual atheists, or don't know that they do. They think we're all baby eating puppy kickers who just like to say "fuck" all the time. I'm only in for the last one, so, maybe I can convince some folks of their error just by being me.

The rise in the media of stories about atheism is due to that study I blogged about recently that showed a big increase in the number of "Nones" - folks who claim no religious identity. As I said back then, "None" does not equal non-believer, must less atheist, as this column in today's USA Today makes clear.

There's no need to try and pad our numbers, just be good examples. The numbers will come.

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