Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Atheists are "outing" themselves

Richard Dawkins believes that there are more atheists then are being recorded in the surveys or polls, so taking a page from the gay community he has started a campaign to urge atheists to "out" themselves.

As far as subjective impressions allow and in the admitted absence of rigorous data, I am persuaded that the religiosity of America is greatly exaggerated. Our choir is a lot larger than many people realise. Religious people still outnumber atheists, but not by the margin they hoped and we feared. I base this not only on conversations during my book tour and the book tours of my colleagues Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, but on widespread informal surveys of the World Wide Web. Not our own site, whose contributors are obviously biased, but, for example, Amazon, and YouTube whose denizens are reassuringly young. Moreover, even if the religious have the numbers, we have the arguments, we have history on our side, and we are walking with a new spring in our step – you can hear the gentle patter of our feet on every side.

Our choir is large, but much of it remains in the closet. Our repertoire may include the best tunes, but too many of us are mouthing the words sotto voce with head bowed and eyes lowered. It follows that a major part of our consciousness-raising effort should be aimed, not at converting the religious but at encouraging the non-religious to admit it – to themselves, to their families, and to the world. This is the purpose of the OUT campaign.
They even have a t-shirt -- a scarlet "A." I hope the Christians don't respond with a scarlet "C." It's bad enough that we have stuff like this and this.

I think it's a good idea for the atheists to be honest about what they believe (and I'm not being sarcastic here, I mean this sincerely), I don't think people should be forced to hide who they are because they fear for their job or their safety.

Though, I hope they realize that if they're walking around with a big ole "A" on their chest, they're just tempting someone to share the gospel with them :-) Maybe they might want to also publish some tracts to hand out when they're wearing their A-shirt. Maybe some cartoon tracts like Chick tracts given the fact that Christians are ignorant, deluded, and foolish.