All my gay friends are brave as hell, by comparison us non-believers as a whole, though there are a lot of prominent exceptions, aren’t always as tough as the gays. The LGBT folks deal with real discrimination, ostracization, even hatred, some might say as bad as the racial discrimination many minorities face, still deal with, depending on how enlightened a country they live in.
Us non-believers of all stripes need to take another page from the civil and gay rights movements and be even more vocal, upfront and open about our non-belief. Consciousness raising is what it is all about. For some it is not easy at all and the loss of family, friends, maybe even a job is a real possibility.
See Jerry DeWitt’s recently published book “Hope After Faith” for a recent example of what it can be like, even losing a job, which is usually the extreme end of consequences for a non-believer in MOST countries.
So, like Jerry we ALL need to come out. We need to challenge the underlying, unquestioned religious assumptions that pervade our culture like “Morality is exclusive to religion, Non-believers are desperate, hopeless, nihilistic, lost without a moral basis“… etc.
See my previous post “The Face of Non-Belief” for a sampling of the negative propaganda that reinforces those stereotypes from the top ministers in Evangelical Xiansanity™.
We are doing a good job in the short time it has been (less than a decade) since the Aug. 2004 publication of Sam Harris’ “End of Faith” and the beginning of the New Enlightenment movement.
The discussion of religion and secularism is EVERYWHERE and it is allowing more and more of us to dare say what we may have been thinking all along and for some time now. PEW Research reports that in the midst of this New Enlightenment from 2007-2012 the number of Americans identifying as “nones” (“having no particular religious affiliation“) has risen from 15-20% of the population!! That’s nearly as big as the Evangelicals or the Catholics.
That is a lot of non-religious folks, many of whom are non-believers of various kinds (atheists, agnostics, and deists). Most of us know more than a few others who still identify with a given religion, when pressed believe very little of its tenets, but who for various reason can’t come out. Dontcha wonder what that number really is?? If everyone who suspects or has figured out religion is bullshit “came out”, what those numbers might be, 30%?, 40%?
I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that like Northern Europe we are already in the majority, over 50% SECULAR, but with a sizable number of folks yet unable to be open about it or dare exercise what they are really thinking…
We need to make it easier on them. It works. It is working.
We may not all be in Kansas, where they just installed those prayer booths, Toto, but I betcha just like the Munchkins in OZ, there’s a whole lot of unbelieving scum out there still in the closet.
“Come out, Come out, Wherever you are!”