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Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Atheism, Skepticism | 16 comments

What’s The Point Of An Atheist/Skeptic Movement?

Given the recent online infighting and constant squabbling about anti-scientific feminist woo, thousands of aimless and harassing blog posts devoted to these topics, and the very real and dangerous attempts at destroying fellow atheists’ careers or permanently branding them with the stamp of misogyny — often for doing nothing more than being reasonably skeptical of truth claims — let me provide some real reasons for an atheist/skeptic movement. Because I’m a lazy cat, and because this is Sunday, I’m going to resort to my favorite list form.

1.  True secularism: America is still not a fully secular state. From our currency to our presidential speeches, religion plays a major role. Churches are still granted automatic 501(c)(3) status. Even some of our traditional American institutions, such as the Boy Scouts (historically a Christian organization), have benefited significantly from government assistance;

2.  Discrimination against atheists: Although the laws that prohibit atheists from running for office have been stricken by SCOTUS circa 1963, there are still too few open atheists in politics. And in the south, if you admit to being an atheist, chances are fairly high that you won’t get a job. And that’s if you’re lucky.

3.  Hellfire: Keeping children from being exposed to the often-traumatic and emotionally scarring doctrine of hellfire.

4.  Science-advocacy: The solutions to the problems that man has created through the misuse of machinery built with the help of science, can only be cured with scientifically-minded solutions. Moreover science teaches us about the world we live in, helps us survive life-threatening diseases, and flies us to the moon. In sum, science is useful, fascinating, and good.

5.  Superstition: Debunking superstition and helping people make decisions based on what’s true.

6.  Charlatanry:  Exposing charlatans who sell lies in exchange for the hard-earned money of their victims.

7.  Critical and INDEPENDENT thinking: This is required in all aspects of our lives, and the best ways to learn it is by recognizing our own biases, the biases of others, and by honestly considering the merits of opinions that differ from our own.

8.  Knowledge: Superstition and theistic god beliefs prevent us from discovering the world around us, but once those beliefs are shed, what you see is more beautiful than anything you could have possibly imagined.

9.   Protection against cult-like behavior, ideology, and dogma. I’ll let you think about this one on your own.

10. Attempting to create a better world: By eradicating true misogyny, homophobia, racism, bigotry, caste systems, slavery (including corporate slavery) and the atrocities still perpetuated by religious belief.