Worthy causes

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Fernando Monsalve García's picture
Worthy causes

After reading an article citing 7 causes atheists should fight for, and finding most of them completely irrelevant to us, I started asking myself. What fights are worth fighting in the name of atheism?

There are a few where most of us would agree:
-Stop discrimination based on religion (not just atheism)
-Revoke privileges to people with certain belifes (we may disagree on how and when, of course)
-Remove religious influences from education systems

And then, there's the controversial causes that impact atheists indirectly.
-Seizing church property
-Banning certain religious practices
-Out-lawing non-atheistic views
-Remove references to god from government documents

And then we have ideas that are popular among some or most atheists but do not affect us, really.
-Stopping animal cruelty
-Denouncing pedophiles
-Defending euthanasia, abortion, etc

So, I wanted to ask you, name your country and the cause you'd fight for right now, and another one you consider important but not a priority.

I live in Chile and the most important thing for me right now, is removing religion from the education system. Long term, I'd like to see the government less religious.

And you? What are the biggest issues for atheists in your country?

And a small sidenote: Before going all radical and saying "All of the above", keep in mind what happened the last time people tried to impose atheism by force:
tl;dr: It turned into intolerant theism.

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Zaphod's picture
USA, I would like complete

USA, I would like complete separation of the church and state the following is how I feel each area religion has intervened with state affairs should be addressed:

The formation of law. All laws should have to pertain to the protection basic human rights, all people shall be considered equally and all laws shall apply equally regardless of belief, status or any other affiliation. In every case the stance should be taken that all laws must apply to every individual and every law should have to pass a simple test, would this law cause any person to lie, infringe on the rights or freedoms of any individual, led individuals to break this or other laws and will this law be difficult to enforce. If any of these things are found true then the law should be revised until it passes this filter before being considered for vote or otherwise abandoned completely.

Political Contributions: Contributions to politicians should be outlawed in general and a certain amount of tax dollars should go toward giving all potential candidates an equal platform to state their case for election. Information regarding these candiddates houle be made available online at a government site. A test should be provided once a month to all interested candidates covering all issues that are important to the public and should be taken under oath with penalty of perjury . Furthermore, no one should be allowed to pay for advertisement supporting one candidate or another the reason for this it so make sure each candidate has an equal shot at being elected from a financial standpoint.

Schools ran and operated by the government: Public or government funded schools should only teach things that pertain to basic skills, fundamental building blocks and retention of education related to universally known and provable fact. Any subject yet to be proven as fact should be taught as theory. It should be illegal to make any student of any public or government funded school say something when they choose to remain silent. It should also be illegal to ask a student why they wish to remain silent if they decide to do so.

Decision Making:Never should a decision be made by the government due to religious reason other than to protect the peoples right to believe whatever they want to so long as their belief does not infringe on the rights beliefs or safety of others.

Tax exempt status: I personally feel all taxes should be imposed on all purchases using VAT system and this would take care of a plethora of other problems regardless as to whether the problem stems from belief citizenship or otherwise. We should abolish all property income and capital gains taxes. the VAT tax should apply to all products sold and the tax should be incorporated into the sales price.

Nemesis's picture
Philippines. First of all, I

Philippines. First of all, I like to remove discrimination based on beliefs. Most Filipinos are usually "die-hard fan" of their god and atheism is not really welcome here. Another thing is the involvement of religion in education. I'm a student so I can say that it's really unfair for them to include religious beliefs in education. For the Philippines, Christianity gives a great importance.
I also want to change the government. Philippines is starting to "die". The government is giving their attention to things that are not meant to be given so much attention. at the same time, they're not recognizing other things that should be given more attention.

SammyShazaam's picture
I know a number of people

I know a number of people from the Philippines in my university, and I've heard them say that the Philippines is a dying country... most don't cite religion as the direct cause (not that I asked the specific question), but they echo your sentiments on political mismanagement.

Sancho Panza's picture
Fascinating. Major

Fascinating. Major civilizations do not develop without a central religion. Why not? Maybe because historically one of the primary functions of religion is to transmit and defend the culture. Surely our laws will also be passed to enforce our cultural norms. For example, bullfighting will not be allowed in the USA, because it goes against our cultural norms regarding the treatment of animals. Yet in Christian Mexico and Spain, those norms are not the same. As we become a more pluralistic society, will our norms change? If some areas become more Hispanic in culture, will the norms change? Try substituting "cockfighting" for "bullfighting." Same problem.

If we remove religion completely from education, will we no longer teach cultural norms (ethics) in our schools? then on what basis will we make cock-fighting illegal in the USA?

I have another more basic question. Why would we fight ANY battles "in the name of Atheism?" Is Atheism a religion? It seems to me that in this (USA) culture, certainly in the Bible Belt where I live, when you take up a cause "in the name of atheism" you have immediately alienated about 85% of the population from your point of view. Why would we do that?

Parker Mont Blanc's picture
In my opinion, societies

In my opinion, societies today would be better off secular. Take the example of Denmark, Sweden, Japan and Singapore.

There are general standards of ethics that do not need religious basis like do not steal or do not murder or never impose your will through physical means.

Agree that we should not fight causes in the name of atheism, we should instead fight for equality and understanding. The major thing I have against religious people is their bias against atheists. To proclaim atheism in the Philippines is like saying you roast kittens for breakfast and boil puppies for dessert.

Sancho Panza's picture
Ahhh, Denmark? Secular? All

Ahhh, Denmark? Secular? All citizens of Denmark pay a tax to support the Lutheran Church, the official state church of Denmark. Japan's whole culture emerged from a combination of Shinto and Buddhism. According to some scholars the whole "The Emperor is a God" thing in pre-WW II Japanese culture was a miltary strategy of the leadership who had concluded that Christianity ("we have a God who was a man also") was the key to Western success in expansion. But I do understand how hard it is to deal with religious bias; I just think it is pretty much universal.

efpierce's picture
Sancho, I didn't know that

Sancho, I didn't know that about Denmark and I have a friend who lives in Copenhagen who visits me regularly and I will be visiting later this year. Is the Lutheran Church tax a relatively new thing or has that been around for a much longer period of time?

SammyShazaam's picture
Not that I don't love you all

Not that I don't love you all and everything, but rallying in the name of Atheism seem a touch antithetical to atheism in general? We don't believe in any gods - that's about as far as it goes.

The causes listed seem worthy human causes, regardless of religious belief, as they would be a happy medium to accommodate *everyone* and all beliefs. We can't have governments supporting one religion and not the other, not just because some of us aren't religious, but because that would automatically exclude the other religions that are not expressly supported.

So, while what you're saying is cool and all, I don't see why they are specifically *atheist* causes.

Zaphod's picture
The way I looked at it the OP

The way I looked at it the OP was saying as atheist what matters to us, for the reason you mention here I carefully worded my post to treat the issues from a stance of humanitarian care for fair treatment of all.

If everything was done with the proper amount of consideration and respect for the fact that people have differing belief structures there would be no issues to address atheist or otherwise.

Ellie Harris's picture
My lack of belief doesn't

My lack of belief doesn't translate into a "cause," and I don't see a rational way it could. It's like saying for the cause of lack of belief in fairies, what should I fight for.
Any things I do to try to improve the world for myself and others is due to the realization that I see a thing I can help improve or fix based on my capabilities and individual interest in doing so.

SammyShazaam's picture
I'm with you on that. I think

I'm with you on that. I think it's once again the common assumption that because we're not religious, we must be angry with religion. I'm not.

However, I'm happy to be an agent for positive change in the world, and I think we should all be. How we'd like to be such agents, and our priorities in becoming such agents, are highly individual.

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