Solidarity

In a 1999 Gallup poll that asked people if they would vote for a presidential candidate who was “generally well-qualified but happened to be _______,” atheists came in last on the list at 49%, behind women (95), Catholics (94), Jews (92), blacks (92), Mormons (79), and gays (79).  In 2007, the same question was asked, and that 49% dropped to 44.  Think about that for a second.  You know those intellectually defunct homophobes in the South that use picket signs like “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”?  They actually dislike atheists even more than that.

This is literally just as valid an argument as any other.
The point that I’m trying to make is that it is political suicide to admit that you’re an atheist, despite the legal separation of church and state.  People like to bring up that this is a Christian nation, which (bombshell) is true.  It is a Christian nation in the same sense as it is a white nation and an English-speaking nation, which is to say that that’s just kind of how things shook out.  It does not mean that the nation was founded on the principles of Christianity, any more than it was founded on the principles of whiteness or English-speakingness.  Some of the founding fathers were very religious men, but they were secular men first and foremost, and many of them were deists rather than theists.  Now for a vocab lesson.

But first a comic.

Secular, in this sense, means that it’s fine if you’re religious and the President, but don’t let it affect your work.  It may, in some indirect sense, affect you because it has affected the kind of person you are, but don’t use public prayer to solve problems like they did for a drought in Georgia a few years ago.

A deist is someone who believes that God started the universe, then stepped back and let it go.  He may not even be around anymore.  He has no personal relationship with any individual of any species, he does not listen to prayers, he does not care what you do or who you do it to, he does not watch over you or anyone else to see that you’re safe, and he does not love you.  He is a creator, and nothing more.  You are as insignificant to a deist God as the bacteria on your sidewalk are to you.

A theist is someone who believes in a personal God who cares about you and listens to you on an individual basis.  You are a special and beautiful snowflake to him.  Christianity (in all forms), Judaism, Islam, and Mormonism (the four biggest religions in the world in that order) are all theistic systems.

I can’t think of transitions to these comics, so I’m just cramming them in.

Anyway, if you need further evidence of the secularity of our founding fathers, here are a few quotes (links go to definitions for the more obscure words).

Thomas Jefferson
 – Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.
 – Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
 – Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.  Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity.  It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.
 – To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings.  To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say that they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul.  I cannot reason otherwise . . . without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms.  I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.
 – Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

James Madison
 – During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial.  What has been  its fruits?  More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

Benjamin Franklin
 – Lighthouses are more useful than churches.

John Adams
 – As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation.  But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?
 – This would be the best of all possible worlds if there was no religion in it.

Those seem pretty unambiguous to me.

That was a long block of text, so here’s the opinion of an inarticulate moron on what atheism is.
You know, to lighten the mood.  Five grammar mistakes, if you’re curious.

Now why, you may be wondering, am I telling you all this instead of some hilarious story about old ladies slipping on grapes or killer icicles or the treadmill bike?

Because it’s ‘A’ Week.  ‘A’ Week on Facebook is a movement to show the world how many people there are out there who are living without God in their lives and are totally fine without him and also are not amoral, animalistic, baby-eating, puppy-kicking, nihilistic savages.

This is totally in the Google Images results for that phrase.  I do not know why.  I blame Dane.

The idea is that if people go to this website and download this image (pre-optimized for Facebook sizing) and use it as their profile picture for a while, it will become apparent how many atheists are out there.  Maybe they are scared to come out, maybe they aren’t committed enough to associate themselves with the word, maybe they just don’t feel like facing the inevitable shitstorm of unbelievably inane questions and non-sequiturs that will follow and that I’ve been facing for about five years now.  I’ve honestly heard the phrase “You’re an atheist?  So you think true love is impossible?  How do you get out of bed?” which makes zero amounts of sense, but that comes with the position.

This Facebook movement is not aggressive.  We’re not preaching, prosetylizing, or converting.  We don’t care if you join in, we don’t care if you think it’s petty and insignificant, and we don’t care if you don’t like it.

The point is that if you are an atheist, if you are “good without God,” why not?  Let people know that you’re not a freak.  You don’t kill or steal for the hell of it.  You’re a normal person living a normal life who just happens to be non-religious.  If you feel like joining in, you can follow the links above or just download the image below and use that.  They link to the same place.

For solidarity’s sake.

It’s up to you.

2 thoughts on “Solidarity

  1. Delora says:

    Does this go for agnostics too? Or is there a some separate movement going for that…?

  2. Well, it still starts with A.

    Although in the interest of honesty, a large portion of the atheistic community, myself included, regards agnosticism as a sort of intellectual cowardice. Or to use a gentler word, lack of commitment. Many of us feel that to be agnostic means that you haven't taken a serious look at how you view the world and how you feel about religion. Theoretically, if you did take such a look, you'd come down on one side of the fence or the other, rather than perching cat-like atop it.

    On the other hand, the movement is to accentuate those who are “good without God,” so If you feel that you fall into that category, then help yourself. It's not a club.

    BTW, I'm copying and pasting this to your Facebook comment.

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