We often hear stories in the news about religious or racial discrimination. But because atheists are the minority in our world today, discrimination against them is more rampant than the religious would have us believe. Let's take a look at the facts, you might be surprised.
About the Author
I am a graphic artist, mom to two girls and wife of an actor. I enjoy dancing, reading, knitting and I might be a little obsessed with podcasts. I spent the first 31 years of my life as a passionate evangelical, Pentecostal Christian (12 years of which were spent as a minister) and am now trying to find my dance outside of religion.
Most atheists and agnostics believe humans are made of star stuff. As Carl Sagan so famously said, "We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us.
Most of us value human relationships. We are regularly faced with the differences between ourselves and others and we choose to navigate those differences with as little conflict and drama as possible. We do not want to leave hurt feelings, broken friendships and childish behaviour in our wake as we travel through life. As we mature, we learn to handle interactions more or less successfully and most of us desire to leave a positive mark on the world. We also learn quickly that human interaction is quite messy and often complicated. I suggest a call to deeper civility.
Atheism: a term that is exasperatingly complex in its simplicity. Many people say, “If you don’t believe in a divine being/god, then you are an atheist.” Others employ a small variation; saying, “If you believe there is no divine being/god, then you are an atheist.” (employing a positive belief statement) While others argue atheist isn’t a term that should exist at all because it’s basically a label for something that is nothing – arguing that the negative should be the baseline or default and shouldn’t require a label. Even famous scientists, who many say are clearly atheists, refuse to use the term and even deride it because of its implicit baggage in the social context.
The number of Americans who check off “none” on surveys when asked about their religious affiliation is on the rise. According to Pew Forum and others, approximately 16% of Americans now classify themselves as “nones”. This is an entire group of people who are looking for communities of purpose and belonging. Do atheists have what it takes to rise to the occasion?