Leaving the atheist closet behind

One of the things I make a concerted effort to do is be sure the people I know (and those I don’t know) are aware that it is okay to be an atheist. Whether it’s through my blog, Facebook, personal publications, in person, or otherwise, I’m not ashamed of being an atheist. My big inspiration has been the atheist writings of the past decade. Specifically, Richard Dawkins has said that he had a couple of big hopes with The God Delusion. First, he wanted to move agnostics to the more reasonable position of atheism; he never intended his book for die-hard theists. Second, he wanted people to realize that it’s okay to be an atheist. It need no longer be dirty to say “I do not believe in any god.” The values, ethics, and morals atheists hold all derive fundamentally from the same places as theists (at least when religion isn’t poisoning the picture); Being an atheist is a good thing.

I think I’ve lived up to that last sentiment; I’m proud of all the rational positions I hold, including my lack of belief in magic skydaddies. And that sense of pride is spreading:

In fact, atheists, agnostics, humanists and other assorted skeptics from the Army’s Fort Bragg have formed an organization in a pioneering effort to win recognition and ensure fair treatment for nonbelievers in the overwhelmingly Christian U.S. military.

“We exist, we’re here, we’re normal,” said Sgt. Justin Griffith, chief organizer of Military Atheists and Secular Humanists, or MASH. “We’re also in foxholes. That’s a big one, right there.”…

If the Fort Bragg group succeeds, it will be overseen by the Chaplain Corps. That might seem contradictory for a group defined by its lack of belief, but it means MASH’s literature would be available along with Bibles and Qurans. It could raise funds on base and, its members say, they could feel more comfortable approaching chaplains for help with personal problems. Recognition would also be an official sign that not believing in God is acceptable, something members say is lacking now.

This is almost certainly because of the efforts of atheist writers and scientists of the past decade. The ability to argue eloquently, to prove our moral fortitude, to show that, “Hey, we do exist”, is why we’re seeing more and more atheist groups. It’s why more and more people are becoming comfortable to declare they have no religion. They may still believe in a god, but the fact that people can say they shun religion is one of the accomplishments of the atheist movement.

I hope this trend continues – so long as it doesn’t morph into the ever-feared Islamic atheists.

Every day is Friday in my heart

Thought of the day

Old people should be banned from Facebook. That doesn’t necessarily mean anyone over a certain age; that isn’t my definition of “oldness”. But the site certainly was better when it was only open to college students and therefore had a higher percentage of technologically competent people.

A true win