There’s been a recent rash of religious writers complaining about the “New Atheists”.
That we’re arrogant, think we’re smarter, rude, lacking in respect for religious belief and are basically more aggressive than previous and largely silent atheists.
And there’s two things that are funny to me about these complaints.
First, that it doesn’t matter how some atheists behave versus others; we aren’t a group, and what one does or doesn’t do has no bearing on other atheists. We’re individuals who do not represent each other or all atheists at large.
Even atheist organizations can really only represent their members, which doesn’t include all atheists. You don’t have to join a group to be an atheist – and most atheists probably wouldn’t join groups unless there was a need to support lawsuits and other matters.
The second part of this that is funny to me is that social change is not accomplished by quiet, silent and polite people
If women had waited for men to agree to let them vote, drive cars and get bank loans on their own, we’d still be waiting to get to vote.
It’s like the word atheist is like the word feminist, where many women who do demand and get respect, equal pay, make their own decisions yet they refuse to call themselves feminists – the reality is it doesn’t matter what you call yourself, the main thing is that you are in charge of yourself.
If black people hadn’t refused to get on the bus anymore, there’d be no civil rights now.
And if gay people had stayed silent and not fought back against the raids, then, there wouldn’t be so many countries in which gay marriage or the lesser domestic partnership/civil union now.
If you wait for rights, you simply aren’t going to get them.
But atheists aren’t like the other groups – atheism is in fact already the law in Canada and US – in that the state does not endorse a particular religion.
So the atheist legal battle is actually to have the existing law enforced – no state favoritism for any religion. If we want to keep our countries secular democracies with individual freedoms – then we have to absolutely make sure the public square is equally available to all, with none favored over any other.
So, the next time you want to dump on atheists for being loud and aggressive, maybe instead, you should thank us for keeping science in science classes, and courthouses free of any particular religion holding sway.
We’re not arguing and making the case for us, we’re making it for everyone’s freedoms.