Atheists: proud, scared, combative, victimized? 28

Some American atheists want to prove that they are patriotic by having planes fly banners on the Fourth of July advertising their atheism and patriotism.

We have to wonder why. What will they gain from the “$23,ooo” exercise? They say they “hope to draw attention and spur public discussion”. Yet it is public attention and discussion of their atheism that has offended and scared them.

“I’m a patriotic American. I served my country. I get out there and celebrate the Fourth, too,” Blair Scott, who calls himself a proud atheist, proclaimed.

Proud to be an atheist? We could understand taking pride in being rational, but what is there to be proud of in not believing in divine beings? It’s not a great achievement, it’s simply a use of one’s intelligence.

Blair Scott, according to CNN’s “belief” blog, is “the communications director for the New Jersey-based American Atheists” and maintains that “atheists in the United States often feel alienated and face accusations of being anti-American because of their lack of belief in God“.

The blog goes on:

To combat those notions, his group is using Independence Day to say atheists love their country, too. …

Planes with banners that read “God-LESS America” or “Atheism is Patriotic” will be flying over 27 states on Monday. While people might be leery to see the messages overhead, the $23,000 campaign has had a struggle with those who are supposed to bring it to life.

We cannot see how atheism is “patriotic”. We understand that a person can be both an atheist and a patriot, but atheism as such has nothing to do with patriotism.

The would-be advertisers are having some difficulty finding pilots who will dare to fly their banners.

Again we wonder why. What will happen to the pilots if they do?

Justin Jaye of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, who is orchestrating the flights for American Atheists, said out of the 85 people in the country who fly these sign-pulling planes only about 17 have agreed to fly the messages.

“I’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’ve never run into so much resistance on people flying,” Jaye said. “I’ve had pilots who are actual atheists who said, ‘Justin, I am an atheist and I won’t fly it because I can’t wear a bulletproof vest.'”

They think they might be shot for flying a banner?

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the reaction to the organization’s campaign before it takes off shows how much work the group still needs to do. “This is a clear reminder of why we need to keep fighting because the bigotry against us is so thick that a lot of the pilots are afraid to fly our banners,” he said.

Jaye said while some feared for their lives, others feared for their marriages. He had one pilot say his wife would divorce him if he made the flight.

She knows she’s married to an atheist, and that’s okay with her; but if he flies a banner she’ll divorce him?

“A pilot and president of Pro-Air Enterprises in Indianapolis” named Red Calvert, who – one gathers – is not an atheist, though he doesn’t seem to be religious either, is reported as saying:

“I respect our country and I respect our churches and we’ve got enough problems in our country without stirring up some more,” he said. “If those people want to do something they believe in, fine, just don’t include me.”

He fears being mistaken for an atheist. But why should flying these banners “stir up problems in the country”? Are angry lynch mobs going to turn up at Fly Signs Aerial Advertising and Pro-Air Enterprises with guns and rope?

Would any reader who is afraid to make his unbelief known, hides it like a guilty secret, or has been denied his “rights” as an American citizen because he is an atheist, please inform us. What have they done to you? What might they do? What does “keep fighting” consist of (other than trying to fly banners)?

We know that the children of atheists have been bullied at school. We have also heard of some discrimination against atheists in the armed forces. But have adult atheists been killed for their unbelief? Hounded and hunted? Have crosses been burnt on your front lawns?

Tell us about it.

  • George

    Praise the LARD   !!!!!!!

  • George

    Up until now I have been a strong supporter of Col. Allen West for President.   This Saturday night I heard him on a conservative radio talk show and he ranted about how there is no such thing as separation of church and state and said it was only because of a letter written by Thomas  Jefferson to the Danbury  Baptists. He continued ranting on and on by proselytizing his pro-Christian ideology.   The situation is, while he  would fight the terrorism problem which I admire in him but IMHO he would work to promote a Christian theocracy in America.  Herman Cain has the same mindset and agenda IMHO.  What choices do we secular freethinkers have to represent us ? Where are the political voices that speak up for us ? More and more voters are gettting increasingly frustrated in voting for the lesser of the two evils and  some simply don’t vote at all as a reslut.
                   Considering that 99.9999 %  of atheists in America don’t stand up for secular freethought or speak out publicly against the rabid anti-atheist attitudes that permeate  our society———what are we to expect ?

    • George

      Continuation :   I meant to say as a “RESULT” .  Typo.  We have no political representation and no mainstream media support.  I’m not in the least surprised that we’re in the social and political situation of which we exist. 

  • Bill

    I am proud to be an atheist. So proud that I wear it on my sleeve, literally. My two favorite Ts are Dawkins shirts with “Stand Out Campaign” on the sleeve and the curvy red “A” on the front. Most people don’t get it. Some people think it stands for Arizona. The “A” is known inside atheist circles: 

    I think it’s cowardice and refusal to honor yourself if you are ashamed to tell others what your ideal is. My ideal world is a world of atheism and capitalism.

    • George

      Thanks Bill and I admire and respect you for being brave and having guts.  It’s more than what I can say for the great majority of atheists .   Being proud to let people know you are an atheist  has absolutely NOTHING to do with ACTIVISM !    Christians proudly and publicly let the world know that they proudly believe in their indoctrinated , superstitious and mythological make-believe dogma.  Why should we rational thinking , reasonable , logical minded people of common sense be ashamed to let the world know who we are and speak up  ?    One word———   FEAR !    The typical atheist  is afraid that  he/she  will be ridiculed, mocked, teased, scorned, ostracized, discriminated against and much more.    I must say that a lot of their fear is indeed understandable as I can write a book of horror stories of what I have endured for being an  [ out of the closet ] atheist.  I understand the fear factor and it is real .
                              However , every group of people who have been oppressed had to speak up and fight the odds and sometimes put themselves in harm’s way in order to make gains for success.  We atheists are no different. This does NOT mean that we need to go out into the public square and stand on a soapbox with a bullhorn and shout to passersby——-not at all.     This does not mean that we must act like the fundies and go around with an  ” in your face ” demeanor to get our message across.   No way.    This does not mean that we should reduce ourselves to the low level of the Christian proselytizers and bully people or annoy people but simply to stand up for your beliefs as a rational secular freethinker and stand your ground and do not back down.
                    The more and more that atheists come out of the closet , the more that the fearful atheists who are afraid will see that it’s safe to come out and speak up. The more atheists assert themselves publicly , the more that atheism will become commonplace and acceptable by our general populace ( especially the younger generation ).   
                         I am often accused of being an aggressive or radical atheist.    Actually  I’m not. I just don’t take abuse when I’m attacked by the zealots. I live and let live and mind my own business and I do not let the proselytizers get in my face and try to bully me and force their brainwashing theological dogma  upon me—that’s all.  When we stand up to them , then they have the unmitigated gall  to accuse US of being intolerrant. Can you believe this BS ?
                         More and more atheists need to be writing letters to the editor in newspapers , calling radio talk shows  and letting our voices be heard before the media and the political arena.   We have a right to express our views publicly just like the Christians.    Yes , I understand the fear factor  and it is indeed real and intimidating, but we will never overcome this if we forever remain silent and fearful.  We must stand up  , speak up and be proud that we have  sensible , rational , resonable and logical common sense minds. Our position is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of but everything to be PROUD of  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    • Keith

      I can see myself wearing the big “A”. It should be a good conversation starter.

      The problem that exists for us is christians are scared of us. They think all atheists are devil worshipers or worse liberal democrats. It takes them aback when they ask all the usual questions based on their biblical upbringing and I simply respond that I just don’t believe in god. Then the smarter ones , trying to trap me, ask if I believe in the big bang. They are equally taken aback when I tell them no because if I believed in the big bang I just as soon believe in god because they both created something from nothing. I simply say that I don’t think that that is possible even for god. They persist anyway until I ask them who or what created god and they start grabbing for the pitchforks.

      We are never going to be liked by the believers just as we will never be liked by the liberals. We do ourselves a disservice by trying to get them to like us. No matter how much we give, how much we help or how compassionate we are they look at us like we are trying to buy our way in.

      Keep picking your battles carefully as we are still in the early part of the war. Recently there was the big stink about NBC omitting “under god” from the pledge. At work the discussion raged that “they” were attacking religion again. I pointed out that I had seen a segment on FOX regarding the pledge, about how it was written by a socialist to sell flags, about how he also created a raised straight arm salute to go with his pledge and about how our founding fathers would have been against the idea of forcing anyone to pledge allegiance to anything. They also didn’t know that “under god” was added during the Eisenhower administration meaning that for 60 years prior people pledged without god. I then added that with a socialist in the white house we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with.

      I am going to write Herman Cain a letter asking if he wants my support. I will explain that I am an atheist conservative and explain what that means. I’ll let ya’ll know what he says.  

      • George

        I agree with you Keith overwhelmingly . I heard Herman Cain recently on a conservative talk radio show and he ranted on and on about how people were trying to take God out of everything, etc etc etc ad nauseum. Then a few days ao I heard Col. Allen West speaking on a conservative talk radio show and he also embarked on the same mission and talked about how in his view there is no such thing as -“separation of church and state” and ranted about it being nothing but a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. 
                              The conservative religious right will NEVER accept us as atheists even though we are indeed conservative.   They have their minds already made up , falsely believing that to be an atheist one has to be a socialist or communist or anti-family , or anti-American , etc .     I must admit in total honesty that LIBERAL left-wing atheists are the ones who put a lot of this thinking in the minds of the conservative religious right. When we listen to the socialist, left-wing propaganda from liberal atheists , it’s no wonder at all why the religious conservative right have the negative mentality toward us ( as if they didn’t have already ) in general ( via stereotyping ) and “lump” all of us in the same camp.
                   In their warped manor of thinking , they are not trying to understand the situation from  our point of view per se , but rather their entire mindset ( because of indoctrination ) is so bent on trying to convert us or convince us into THEIR way of thinking because of their elitist, conceited, narcissistic “narrow’ and even “blind” way of thinking.   They cannot think beyond their pervasive indoctrinated and dogmatic thinking.   In their mind , they are automatically right and we are automatically wrong —and there is absolutely no exception because GAWD said so , because the LAWD said so, because JAZUZZ says so –amen brotha !     It’s a perpetual uphill battle and the effects of theological brainwashing has mentally “blocked” any form of reason, rationalism, common sense , logic or analytical scientific inquiry.   This global theological brainwashing for power and control over the human mind and behavior has been in place for ages  and is certainly NOT going away in a mere few generations . We have to fight the fight continually and pass the “torch” of rational enlightenment to each succeeding generation to come.

  • George

    Please allow me to clarify a few things I posted in recent comments as I do not want to have any misinterpretation of my intent or meaning.   Under no circumstances whatsoever are any of my comments regarding my trying to motivate or encourage atheists to get involved in the general community directed at The Atheist Conservative  blog,  it’ staff,  or any of the commentors posting here but my comments are simply regarding atheists in general .  Over a period of decades I have discovered ( at first by accident ) what people ( specifically Christians ) positively responded to when I encountered them as an atheist.  
                        At first, I often encountered anti-secular insults, antagonism and much more as a secular freethinker and being a black male raised in the south considering that the black community ( I hate to use these terms )  was controlled, and influenced by the Christian clergy and the community was essentially fundamentally Christian and staunchly so. I became the proverbial “outcast”  and not only ostracized but it caused me to end up as a social  “loner”.  It is a heart wrenching thing to be totally rejected everywhere you go simply because of your beliefs ( or rather non-belief).
                       People began to associate me with their prejudiced but wrongfull notion of what being an atheist really was. The had been brainwashed by associating atheists with socialism, communism, immoral, non -traditional , unpatriotic , etc.   Well, you get the picture.  A co-worker  who knew I was an atheist jokingly asked me if I wanted to donate to his annual church charity drive and he was asking people for one dollar donations.  A few co-workers knowing that I was an atheist  made snotty comments and to their surprise I donated  $20.00  and I did so each year the same amount. The were utterly shocked.
                        I became known as a dependable and charitable donator and he automatically penciled my name on the list  each year knowing he could depend on me. They NEVER teased me again. A woman I was talking to in a ghetto neighborhood on welfare began talking about Jesus and praise the lord and all that stuff and when I told her that I was not religious and didn’t embrace her beliefs , she was shocked but here was the turn -around.    I recited a message from Robert Ingersoll who stated — ” It is better that a man love his wife than to love God ; you can help her , you cannot help  him “.   I told her that my belief system was  Rationalism which was indeed  secular (atheistic)  meaning with reason , logic, and rational thinking . I told her I believed in heaven and hell but in a different form. I said that heaven and hell are conditions of which we live and not places we go after we die.  I told her that the only heaven that a man has is a good woman and there can be no other heaven. She stood there in awe spellbound staring at me in amazement. 
                             I then  recited various historical events she was unaware of and she begged me to tell her more. Already this atheist had won her over. I personally gave money donations in the inner city slums, became a part time youth tutor and mentor , gave personal clothing items to the homeless and needy and these same people who rejected me at first because I was an atheist became my most staunch friends, supporters and defenders. I could walk anywhere in the drug infested & gang infested ghettos and the people  looked out for me and welcomed me ( this atheist ).   Why  ? Because of my community involvement , actions and deeds by helping people——-that’s why.
                        I didn’t win their hearts by just going to secular meetings once a month listening to speeches , talks  and engaging in group think secular chit-chat that never reaches the community.  Instead I went personally out into the community and did positive , pragmatic and usefull things that benefitted and helped people and the people adamantly will not bite the hand that feeds them or curse the person that helps them no matter if a person believes differently than themselves.   I did this sincerely from my “heart” with nothing expected in return.
                       When a major hurricane devasted a large area of the state , my employer had a large truck used to take donated food supplies to the hurricane victims and they asked for any spare can goods for donations , especially food for babies .   The usual donations were a few canned items. I went to the super market and spent a large sum of money and purchased two or three grocery carts full of food , baby food, can openers, and other food supplies that I donated. My high ranking supervisor came out of his office and shook my hand and told me I was the most generous charity donator he had ever encountered.  They were even more amazed when I helped erect and decorate the Christmas tree in the front lobby even though I believed differently.   This is what won me over  ( even as an atheist ) . I was nicknamed the good samaritan  ( a Christian term ) and yet I was an atheist.   I was photograped by a local major newspaper for donating to a local childrens orphanage  a $200.00 battery powered Corvette  childrens rideable car w/charger and people everywhere praised me for the donation.  I volunteered every year for the annual community crime run assembly and drive and one of the organizers automatically put my name on the list each year knowing I would agree . I can go on and on but you get the message.  People asked me how could I be an atheist when I practiced the good teachings of Jesus and then I explained to them how they have been lied to and misguided in what they were told and I informed them not to believe the propaganda and this is what made such drastic positive impressions , even though I was an open atheist.   I wrote positive messages in letters to the editor but never attacking but to be inclusive .
                           Actually the Christians began to accept me , but the liberal atheists are the ones who treated me like crap because I didn’t join in with their left wing liberal politics and agendas hiding behind the guise of freethought.  I learned from  personal experience that this is what people responded to and definately NOT just because atheists sit around bashing Christians and poking fun at the religious which is what I actually witnessed at the secular /atheist /freethought  meetings.
                            If we as atheists are ever going to be accepted  in our society , it is NEVER going to be as a result of publicly bashing Christians but stating our position intellectually and let the people see our deeds and they can witness for themselves.  Both the Christians and atheists agree on the problems and threat of  radical Islam ( but liberal atheists tend to be silent on the Islamic issue ).   We need to get more conservative freethinkers organized to give a positive impression to our society because the liberals are indeed the ones who have tarnished and perverted the true image of secular freethought.  Thank you for allowing me to explain my position and I apoplogize for such a lengthy post. This is indeed the best secular site anywhere and I  mean that sincerely and we must bond together to get the message out , get busy in the communities and undo what the secular liberals have done to ruin the positive image of rational secular freethought and reason. We have an uphill battle but is well worth the fight .   Remember as Robert Ingersoll stated——- A person is never free until they are mentally free.  It is up to us to carry the message to the people ——–NO ONE ELSE WILL.     We need to take time to make a general concerted effort as a whole and undo the damage that secular liberals have done to tarnish and pervert secular freethought.   Our future depends upon us !

  • Scrims2

    I have to disagree that there’s nothing to be proud of in being an atheist. In our American culture that is so saturated with religiosity, it IS an achievement to be proud of if one has had the gumption to go against the flow and think  for oneself, rationally and independently, and to face the inevitable conclusion of atheism, whatever the consequences may be. That would take even greater courage, and be an even greater acheivement, for someone in an Islamic country.
    But I really don’t agree with the idea of flying banners proclaiming “God-less America”, etc.  That is just going to be taken as an affront to Christians, who equate “Godlessness” with immorality and evil. Why not present it in a positive way, (as George mentioned) like “Rational thinking is the foundation of Freedom” or something like that?  It bugs me that Christians totally miss and ignore the importance of the role the Enlightenment played in the founding of our country. We are so lucky that we became a nation at such a time in history, and that we had such an influence brought to bear on our founding Fathers. In that sense, Rationalism is the essence of patriotism. Christopher Hitchens is right about “the need for a new Enlightenment”. But I don’t think it does any good to hit people in the head with a two-by-four right off the bat. It just makes them defensive – “those evil atheists are at it again! attacking God!” etc,etc.

    • George

      You are so right Scrims2.   I was the one that checked that I  like what you posted and I doubt that anyone else will.  All this is going to do is provoke and stir up bitterness among the  Christians in a society that is totally saturated with Christian religiosity as you so eloquently stated. I want to give you a “high five” on that one. Well stated , and I couldn’t have put it better  ( you stole my thunder so to speak—-great point ).  People on this website don’t like to hear me say this but conservative atheists are just as bad as the liberal atheists  with the exception of having different political views . What are the organized atheists ( liberal or conservative groups ) doing in the community or society at large that is actually pragmatic or helpful ?    NOTHING !!    What have the atheists ( liberals or conservatives ) done on a pragmatic contributory scale that helps people in general to be proud of ?   NOTHING !     If atheists ( liberal or conservative ) can’t understand this , then as I have stated repeatedly before , the atheists ( both liberal and conservative ) are just as , if not more delusional than the  Christians . 
                           The Christians may believe in an invisible , imaginary  super-being up in the sky , but at least they are out there pulling their shirt sleeves up and helping people, and doing helpful things in the society and being truly pragmatic. The crazy thing about all this is that while the  Christians have a superstitious or supernatural belief , their actions are positive and pragmatic , but the atheists while believing in REALITY  ( and not the supernatural )  in their actions ( or NON-action )  are doing absolutely NOTHING in a positive or pragmatic contribution to society. All I see atheists do ( both liberal and conservative ) is TALK TALK TALK TALK TALK     and absolutely nothing else and no matter how many times anyone says this it does not seem like atheists ( both liberal or conservative ) are going to change .   Often times , I hate to say it , I find myself cheering the actions of the  Christians   when it comes to action ( as we certainly can’t expect atheists to ever DO  anything ( both liberal or conservative atheists ) but run their freaking mouths and make comments about this or that. 
                        You are so right Scrims2 and it is so frustrating to get this message across.  It’s no wonder the society at large have the feelings they do about atheists. It’s NOT just because what we believe ( or don’t believe  ) regarding our position as freethinkers but people judge us by our actions and what they see with their own eyes by the fruit of our labor. Pardon me for using a Biblical passage , but remember the verse that reads ——   ” A tree is known by the fruit it bears and a man is known by his works ” .   That’s right ——-  a person is known  by what he/she DOES and NOT what he/she rants & raves about.    The more that I have to keep saying this , the more and more I’m beginning to realize that secular freethought or atheism in itself has absolutely NOTHING to do with being RATIONAL at all but only a rejection of supernatural beliefs. Now this is the part that fellow atheists don’t like to hear but it’s true and they can’t handle the truth but they NEED to hear it.
                               You’re right Scrims2 by saying we don’t need to be flying banners across the sky and it will indeed be taken as an affront to Christians . If atheists want to gain more and more true public acceptance then atheists need to get up off their lazy and cowardly butts and stop making freakin’ excuses and get busy going into the communities and helping people and doing positive things to gain a positive image in our society. As far as I’m concerned , the conservative atheists are just as IGNORANT to this as the liberal atheists are in this matter.   I’ve heard every excuse in the world ————————-   I’m too busy  ;   I’m too old  ;  It won’t do any good   ;  They won’t accept us anyway ; They won’t ( fill in the blanks ) . It’s excuses , excuses, excuses , excuses and more excuses and I’m freakin’ tired and fed up with it as far as the inaction by atheists in  NOT doing what is needed to effect positive change .  I keep asking myself why do I even bother anymore.  I’m NOT going to spend the rest of my life ( what’s left of it )  just sitting at some atheist gathering or meeting in a room once a month to just chit chat and talk  to one another or make comments in a letter to the editor or a blog or or stand around at some annual secular social. 
                        I tried to get a group of atheists  to assist me in organizing a temporary food/soup kitchen   ( even at my expense ) and every atheist  in the group declined to participate by merely contributing a moment of their time to help. They weren’t even interested.  Yet , they want people to believe they  are all for humanity  and the concern for their fellow human citizen.  Oh pleeeeeeeease —spare me !   Am I airing “dirty laundry” ?  Good—-somebody needs to do it.  I can go on and on but nobody listens .  I may as well be standing here talking to the wall . You see Scrims2, you are so right that we need to present ourselves in a more POSITIVE  way by positive  ACTIONS and deeds  to disprove the myths about atheists and not stirring up a hornets nest so to speak.
                              You’re right Scrims2 at what you posted.   I’ve found what the problem is and the real problem is US   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

      • Taking decisions and keeping up to the trend is really important!!

    • WLIL

      Being pressured to believe in god or gods is nothing to be proud of. 
      The fact that many god believers from various tribes originated from problematic, authoritarian middle eastern region that used to gloat about their wealth says alot of why believing in some gods or some religions had nothing to do with humility. The fact that some religions talked so much about peace are, infact in reality, are trying to force people to be submissive towards their idols or afraid of their god or gods or idols  for no good reason.     

      • George

        I agree with your comment WLIL  , however the statement made by Scrims2  reads —————” I have to disagree that there’s nothing to be proud of in being an atheist “.    He wasn’t referring to being proud of being pressured in believing in god or gods.  Your comment is true , however  I do believe there  may be a misunderstanding or misquote here regarding his post IMHO.
                            As an atheist , I can be proud within myself  that I have the good sense not to allow myself to be hoodwinked into believeing in superstition and mythology.
                            As an atheist , I can be proud within myself that I have the intelligence and good logical mind to be able to think for myself and not allow others to brainwash me with organized theological indoctrinated dogma.
                             As an atheist , I can be proud within my own self and no one else that I have the ability to use reason , rational thinking,  and to analyze beliefs and situations on my own and do my own thinking as an individual freethinker without outside influence or coercion.  
                              Personally I take pride on my own accord that I have been able to do this strictly by my own decision by using good sense without being forced or influenced one way or the other by any outside social ,  cultural or societal stimulus.  I’m proud of myself knowing that I came to this decision to have an open and freethinking mind on my own accord and not being influenced by anyone else in my decision and I take personal self-pride that I have been able to maintain this position strictly on my own by my own decision and analysis without the influence of others. 

        • That’s a cool collection of sharing tools. Thank you. I use “addthis” on my site. It looks pretty nice and is very customizable.

  • Frank

    I believe this is relevant to the discussion.

    Sam Harris on Accommodationism

    • George

      I certainly agree with one of the posters who stated to the effect that if given the chance the religious fundamentalist zealots would burn down the library of  Alexandria all over again.   How true !  One secular organization that I  was affiliated with is now defunct and one of it’s goals was to get more and more atheists to come out of the closet. I admired that in them even though I had different views regarding  their political leanings. Unfortunately for lack of funding it is no more.  I have literally lost count the number of atheists/freethought/secular humanist organizations I have either been a member of or in affiliate association and support of.   Currently   I am now a member of none.  I think Sam Harris and  Richard  Dawkins are really gutsy guys.  Whether we may agree or disagree with certain specific views they may have on a few issues does not take away from the fact that these guys are bravely assertive in standing up for rational freethought. We must always give credit where credit is due.

      • George

        In continuation to the above, I also admire Christopher Hitchens.  I don’t know why these guys are being labeled as [ The New Atheists  ] considering nothing they assert  is actually new. The are simply more bolder in being publicly assertive IMHO in comparison to many atheists of today.

        • George

          Oooooops !     I almost forgot about Pat Condell.      I do not believe that either has the intent of attacking fellow athiests but rather to be an example of outspoken and assertive atheists in the public “arena”.  Go for it guys !!

      • Andrew M

        I’m a big fan of Sam Harris’s too, since he was the one who really exposed me to the violent tenets stemming from the Quran  – something I would assuredly never receive in my Arabic language classes, taught by Muslim professors. Among all of those who (un)willingly found themselves grouped into the New Atheists, I definitely think he is the most potent for a number of reasons:

        1. When he wrote The End of Faith, he never once called or considered himself an atheist. I suspect that you may balk at this, George, but it’s a great method to enhance the communication of ideas which explicitly reject the meddling idols of Judeo-Christiano-Islamic thought.
        2. He is vocally opposed not merely to Christian belief, but also Islamic belief. The freethinking message receives little penetration in America because their actions are so roundly perceived as “Christian bashing”, and it is a sad state of affairs that the most comprehensive criticisms of Islam come from Christian organizations. With Hitchens losing his battle to cancer, Harris may be all we have in that regard (unless I do something about it).
        3. He has youth on his side. Dawkins is 70 years young by now, Daniel Dennett is around that age yet has much less name recognition, and Hitchens needs no introduction. Harris still has a long career of publications to reach an audience with weaker barriers of faith-based resistance.
        4. Due to his background in neuroscience, Harris is by far the most equipped not only to explain the conscious experiences of epiphanies, but also to arm freethinkers with a means of spiritual wholeness which far exceed the feel-good delights supposedly beholden only to persons of faith. As a side effect of this, he also understands the amazing transformative power of drugs and meditation, two themes inimical to the drug-poor deserts where monotheism gained its foothold.

        Obviously the other Atheists are very significant in their own right, but their acerbic and sometimes politically barbed tactics often prevent widespread discussion of their ideas (this is not to say they should immediately suspend these tactics, but that their loyal audience will also be a lonely one). Harris is one who can fairly weigh the explanatory power of science against that of an Idol, yet clearly show the obvious victor.

        • George

          I agree with everything you posted Andrew.   We are definately on the same page here.   If only we can open the minds of fellow atheists to this as well.  Semper Fi  !!!!

  • George

    There have indeed been many hostilities made against atheists. I have received threatening phone calls, annonymous mail with threats, insulting remarks made to me face to face and much more . I’ve been ostracized by so-called  friends, discriminated against and have had certain relatives ‘disown” me all because I do not believe in the  invisible , formless, imaginary and indescribable mythological and superstitious make-believe man up in the sky.  
                         And yet , all this from the very religious people who proclaim to love everybody and proclaim in their churches that we’re all the same in God,s  eyes , etc., etc.,  ad nauseum.   These are the people who are always accusing others of being intollerant while they themselves engage in the most virulent intollerance immaginable.  I’ve never seen an atheist go around threatening or harrassing people if they DO believe in God.  I’ve never seen an  atheist  engage in ANY act of terrorism. I’ve never seen an atheist going around preaching secular jihad .  I don’t see atheists canvassing through neighborhoods by going door to door and annoying people by trying to convince people to reject religion or deny their religious indoctrination.   Yet who always become the proverbial scapegoat for scorn and humiliation ?     ATHEISTS !      I publicly refer to myself as a  Rationalist to Christians when they ask me what my beliefs are.  By using the term  “Rationalist”  I am defining positively what specific beliefs I  DO believe in  ( not what belief I reject ).    And I’m not going to get into any debate on the use of terminology per se but simply state my reasons.      Christians are THEISTS .  Muslims are THEISTS.  Hindus are THEISTS.  Religious Jews are THEISTS .  Do any of these religious people go around referring to themselves as simply  THEISTS ?     No , they do not.   They instead specifically state as THEISTS what they believe in as THEISTS.  By the same token , the fact that I am non-religious does not mean I do not have beliefs , so therefore it is my duty to state to the society at large what I do believe in as a non-religious person ( ATHEIST ).       All atheists are not monolithic by the simple fact that we have on this website a site termed ATHEIST CONSERVATIVES  ( and not just generally using the broad term of simply atheists ).  We have atheists who are liberal, moderate and conservative.  We have atheists who are politically Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Republicans , etc  .   We have atheists who call themselves pro-Choice and also atheists who call themselves pro-Life on the abortion issue.   Just because one does not believe in the invisible Space  Ghost or invisible Sky Spook  , or the invisible  Cosmic Santa  Claus does NOT mean that we all think alike on social , political , ethnic, cultural and societal issues.  Being an atheist simply means I do not embrace a belief in any supernatural  or paranormal being   —– PERIOD !!!!!!!!!!   Atheism in general has absolutely NOTHING to do with these special interest agendas , but various secular groups and secular movements have engaged in ORGANIZED SECULARISM which is just as dogmatic as that of ORGANIZED RELIGION.    The overwhelming great majority of atheists are NOT members of any organized secular group ( in fact the organized secular groups actually represent a tiny minority of atheists although they are very vocal and usually liberal left-wing and get much media attention which has formed the societal perception toward atheists in general ).  As previously presented , if  it is believed that 65 million people are non-religious in America , then of that population figure , how many of them do you believe to be members of the varfious secular organizations  or groups ?     I would venture to say only a miniscule amount.   If in the past the various groups that have been discriminated against ——women, blacks, handicapped , etc went out into the streets and protested against discrimination and stood up publiclcy and faced the hostile society that hindered them , then why aren’t atheists in general following in the same footsteps ?  Freedoms and acceptance NEVER came about by simply whining and chit-chatting to one another but going out and getting out and taking a stand publicly even against horrible odds.  Until atheists get this through their thick heads we are NOT going to make the achievements or acceptance into society as other groups before us. Until atheists in general start  DOING  instead of TALKING then we are for the most part wasting our time and effort while sitting on our hands or “sucking  our thumb” and moaning “woe is me”.  Life is NOT fair . Accept it, deal with it , move on , suck it up and DO what is necessary to make true change .  The more I see irrational behavior by atheists in general , the more I realize that atheists are NOT as rational as many claim to be. Now , if this means that I am airing dirty laundry publicly , then so be it. The truth really hurts —-take it or leave it.  Real change comes from real action and not from moving your freakin’ lips or typing on a keyboard .  I have had numerous atheists tell me in private that they agree with me totally on this but even they are afraid to say this publicly even among fellow atheists for fear of being subjected to ad hominem personal attacks by fellow atheists . It’s no wonder we are still in the shape we’re in . It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this.   Go figure !  

  • Ralph

    Atheism only means a lack of belief in god(s). Atheism is apolitical.

  • George

    I posted a message 6 hours ago and please allow me to add a few more points.  In  a previous article  that was  posted on this blog , it was determined by a statistical count  that it is believed to be at least 65 million non-religious ( or secular freethinkers ) in America.  If there are around 65 million atheists in America , then one should ask the question —————what have all those 65 million atheists have to show for their high numbers in the population ?  What have those atheists contributed into the society ? Where are the atheist charity groups ?  Where are the atheist homeless shelters ?  Where are the atheist soup kitchens to feed the hungry.   Where are the atheist mentoring programs and personal counseling groups ?   Where are the atheist hospitals  like that of the religious hospitals ?  If there are 65 million atheists in  America , then if each of those 65 million atheists contributed  one dollar into a national trust fund  we would have 65 million dollars collected  and  we could fund and build secular  universities and colleges .  We could fund and build secular hospitals and medical centers.  And that’s only with ONE dollar per  secular individual . Imagine if atheists contributed 12 dollars per year ( One dollar per month ) what we could do to make positive changes into our society for the pragmatic difference that is surely  needed.
                         Are we focusing on this as atheists ( both liberal and conservative ) ?   No , we’re not.  Instead we have become so confortable with only chit-chatting with ourselves and discussing this & that among one another which does absolutely NOTHING toward our acceptance into the society.  Whether atheists say they agree with this or not it’s TRUE !    I’m not going to “sugar coat” anything but tell it like it is and we need to make changes withing our own ranks.
                            I’m had Christians initially attack me viciously when they found out that I was an atheist,  but then they felt so guilty and began apologizing tremendously when they found out that I was one of the most productive members of the community working dilligently for the betterment of the community and supporting the same or similar values that they promoted , but they had been so hoodwinked by anti-secular propaganda that they pre-judged me via religious prejudice and then I proved to them by my ACTIONS otherwise.   This is what made the difference.   Not shooting off at the mouth.  Not ranting & raving about this and that. The  Christians saw my works and then they eventually became my biggest supporters and even defended me and wished me well even though we had differences in our personal beliefs.     They even felt guilty for their previous mistreatment of me.
                    I have been trying to convince atheists for decades now that the key to societal acceptance is what people see in our deeds and in our actions and NOT by simply what words come out of our mouths.  Until atheists ( both liberal and conservative ) get to understand this in it’s fullest scope , we are going nowhere fast.  I’ve had a few other atheists confirm to me that they discovered the same thing themselves but no one wanted to listen to them either when they asserted this to them. I said —– ” Welcome to the club”.
                  Considering that the  Christians have been observing the widescale rantings of liberal left-wing atheists in the public’s view , the typical Christian believes that all atheists are liberal left wing socialists ( or even communists ) and embrace Marxist or anarchist teachings.         The propaganda machine of the clergy is alive and well in our society . It is up to us to counter this false impression of atheists in general  and we will NEVER counter this as long as we do NOTHING but chit chat and talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk  to one another and NOTHING else.   
                          When atheists finally decide to get up off our collective butts and go out and do positive things in the communities under the banner of secular freethought and let our great society see with their own eyes by example that we are indeed patriotic , moral  and productive contributors to society we will become more and more welcomed and respected in spite of our belief differences.  It’s up to us to disprove the myths about atheists  by pragmatic example .  Having private secular meetings behind closed doors , posting  discussion forum messages and comments , contributing to secular newsletters is NOT going to do   “jack poop ”  in changing the general populace attituded about us.  People judge us by what they see with their own eyes. If all atheists want to do is have personal chit chat sessions with one another then whether you agree or not we are wasting our time overall regarding making any significant and advanced progress in the society. As far as I am concerned , the conservative atheists ( which I happen to be ) are just as guilty at this as the liberal atheists  ( only we have different political leanings ).
                              More and more each day I am becoming closer and closer at the “end of my rope” at going in circles going nowhere regarding this situation .  I found out long ago on MANY instances that I have won over  many Christians and other religionists into accepting me by my deeds, community contributions  , charitable assistance in the community and speaking positive as a rational freeethinker.  Try it on for size  and you will be amazed the difference it makes.  I’m speaking from tried and proven experience   and NOT just opinionated drivel.

  • Tzstt

    Faith, or lackthereof, have nothing to do with patriotism – just ask Fred Phelps

  • Ben

    I`m from the atheists` dissappearing state. the slogan`s propaganda like the violence doesn`t create anything. False confused atheists hang their crosses today.Popular scientific information and honest journalistic work makes more than slogans.For example:
    the so called Sroud of Turin`s myth is based on fact that is hidden by the church historians that tens of thousands of Jews have been crusified  after the great apprisal in 66 a.d. so it was impossible to define Crist`s remains. To give the meaning of the information and to explain it is my everyday`s problem

    • Took me time to read all the opinions, but I truly savored the post. It turned out to be very handy to me and I am sure to all the visitors here.

  • George

    Here’s where things get tricky.   I’ve had a few debates with fellow atheists on this sort of thing.   First , I have read in secular publications that it doesn’t matter what name one calls himself/herself , whether it’s atheist, secular humanist, secular freethinker , secularist, agnostic, skeptic, etc.    Actually , it does matter. Let’s take the word Atheist –meaning “without a belief in a god” or ” non-belief  in any  deity” .   I’ve had numerous atheists confirm what I am going to state here ( while others feel differently ). 
                      When a person who is religious hears  someone say for example that he/she is a Christian  , immediately you know that the individual is not only religious  but embraces a specific type of religious belief  ( a belief in the teachings of their prophet Jesus Christ , and a  belief in the tennants of the Bible , etc . ).  When a person says that he/she is  Muslim , people automatically know that the individual embraces the teachings of Islam and their prophet Muhammed and believes in the tennants of the Quran.    
                             However when a person says that he/she is an atheist , no one knows specifically what he/she believes but only that the individual REJECTS a belief in any religion . It DOES NOT tell anyone what beliefs the secular individual actually believes in and this is why many people who are religious ( especially Christians proclaim that atheists DON’T believe in anything  and view the atheist belief as a negative ).  In fact , in actuality , it is the Christian who worships  NOTHING because the very thing that Christians worship is something that doesn’t even exist or no one has ever proven it’s existence.  So in reality it is the  THEIST (religionist)  that believes in nothing ( a make-believe mythical superstitious invisible super-being ). 
                       I have often maintained that if atheists want to bring about more , actual and better acceptance of secular freethought , then WE need to put our emphasis on engaging in positive activities in the community and society at large and publicly express our patriotism regulary in the public sphere.  As far as a spouse threatening to divorce a person for publicly expressing his/her atheism, that spouse doen’t have any true love & respect for his/her secular spouse anyway and has indeed lied in his/her marital vows to be dedicated to his/her spouse for better or worse  , in good times and bad and to have a comittment and bond till death. If a person would threaten to divorce me for expressing I am a secular freethinker ,  would be showing that spouse the door and telling that individual  —“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out——–Goodbye  and good riddance ). First of all this should have been established and the “cards laid on the table regarding your beliefs during the dating phase before the marriage took place .  These understandings should have been brought out at the original onset and agreed upon. It serves no purpose to live a lie in a marital arrangement hoping one’s spouse never finds out or threatens to leave you if you go public as if to be ashamed to express who you really are and what you really believe.  
                    The word ATHEISM in our society is viewed as a negative . It tells people what we reject but it DOES NOT tell people what we believe or accept or do embrace.  When people ask me what my belief system is , I tell them I am a Rationalist ( with a capital “R” ).  I explain to them that yes my beliefs are secular and considered atheistic but I have positive beliefs of rational thinking and analytical inquiry and i question everything, explore, think positive and act positive and not show bigoted and unreasonable prejudices that are unwarranted etc etc etc. By the time I get through explaining my position to the theist ( usually a christian ) I have them agreeing with me on my open minded logical , rational and belief in reason and inquiry.
                               I’ve even had these conversations with clergymen and they felt  compelled to agree with me that their belief is based solely on faith ( which is a non proven blind acceptance by cultural and societal  indoctrination ).  Many Christians will view this advbertisement as a form of antagonistic move on the part of the atheit group.  The Christians are wrong of course but this is the way they have been indoctrinated to perceive those who express secular beliefs publicly.
                           I don’t want to be known as a person who simply REJECTS another groups religious beliefs , but rather I want to be known as a person that has positive beliefs of logical , rational and reasonable good analytical sense . The latter is a positive while the former is perceived in our society as a negative.
                     One of the main questions that religious people ask me is what do atheists DO and what are your beliefs .  Well, why are they even asking this question in the first place ?  If a person tells me he she is Christian , Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Scientologist , Taoist , etc,  I know right from the start what specific beliefs that individual believes.  By simply saying I am an atheist ( a rejector of religions and deities ) does NOT explain what I truly accept and believe in.  Regardles what a person’s personal opinion is of this position, it is staill a fact  and it is also the way people interpret it in our overwhelming religious enshrouded society.
                   I like the idea of boldly professing our atheism which is what I have promoted for decades but that alone is NOT enough. It has to be backed up by positive actions and deeds and enough talk already. I have gotten many  Christians to accept me  who once rejected me and attacked me for being an atheist until they saw me in action in the communities   getting involved in positive projects , helping the poor and needy and boldly proclaiming my patriotism and support of the traditional family and free enterprise/capitalism and moral values and respect.   This is what the people want to see and not just a bunch of “mouthing off ” or lip-service.  When atheists start going out and helping the poor, starting “soup kitchens” , and  publicly supporting the positive institutions of  America , then and only then will we begin to gain acceptance. Displaying  banners and signs, etc are okay but not enough. I am positive proof that it works from decades of experience  in trial & error.  We’ll see how it goes with the banners.   It”s a start.     It’s always going to be an uphill battle for us secular freethinkers no matter what because we live in a society that has been brainwashed to believe that to be moral and a patriot , one has to be a fundamentalist Bible believing Christian or at least fundamentally religious ( only certain religions accepted ). I’m anxious to see how the response is to this . It should be very interesting as I  admire their guts in speaking out.  

    • Awesome article, I am regular visitor of this website, keep up the excellent work, and I will be a regular visitor for a very long time..