Friday, August 3, 2007

A is for Atheist

So, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for All That Is Good And Right In The World Reason and Science has come up with the Out Campaign to allow

individuals to let others know they are not alone. It can also be a nice way of opening a conversation and help to demolish the negative stereotypes of atheists. Let the world know that we are not about to go away and that we are not going to allow those that would condemn us to push us into the shadows.
The Symbol of the Out campaign is the "Scarlet Letter" A that you see reproduced on the right of this blog. There's also T-shirts that you can buy that allow you to express your atheism in public.

Understandably, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth this week in the atheist community, because getting a bunch of us together to agree on anything is, as people have so ably pointed out, much like herding cats. For differing viewpoints, see Pharyngula and The Island of Doubt. The main problem seems to be that "coming out" as atheist has many of the same issues that coming out as gay had for many years - the potential to jeopardize careers, families and friends. Also, atheists are not a uniform demographic - the only thing we have in common is that we actually think. Dawkins tries to address the controversy in his post here.

The bottom line is if you're comfortable with your atheism and want to help to raise the profile of atheism in your community go for it, but there are understandably those who fear retribution. No-one is saying you have to join in - it's your choice, as it should be.

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