Atheist Republic began on Facebook in 2011 as a way for nonbelievers around the world to gather in safety and discuss their ideas. It's expanded significantly since then: The private Facebook group boasts more than 47,000 members, and its public page is followed by upwards of 1,169,000 fans.
Atheist Republic exists to provide people a safe place to ask questions, learn about atheism and meet other like-minded people. Atheists are a minority around the world, and exploring atheism can be a terrifying and lonely experience for people growing up in religious communities. Additionally, atheists struggle to have their rights respected by the local religious populations and even governments of many places throughout the world.
From large-scale discrimination to the personal battles held with family and friends, atheists face the same problems as any other minority group. Atheist Republic believes that non-believers can benefit from support and activism from fellow atheists and sympathizers. Even the smallest gesture can make a big statement and affect the life of an individual.
Around the world, atheism carries a social stigma. Atheists face oppression, dismissal and distrust. In some places, abandoning the popular religion can even be dangerous. Many people have no real understanding of what atheism is or what real atheists are actually like. They may doubt that people could have morals without believing in god. They may feel that their own beliefs are threatened.
It's valuable to prove these fears wrong: The fact is that many atheists can justify a highly ethical lifestyle without religion, and it's time that people outside of atheist communities began to see that first-hand.
Atheists are one of the most rapidly growing minority groups in the world today. If there's one thing that the recent LGBT rights movement has shown, it's that awareness increases acceptance. It's time for atheists to "come out of the closet" and speak up for their rights. When they come forward, many people listen, sympathize and can begin to make real changes.
All of this is why admitting your atheism is helpful for the individual and the community. Activism is a necessary step toward securing the rights of atheists around the world. As people begin to see, accept and respect atheists as upstanding and moral citizens, it becomes harder to paint atheists as villains and shady characters. If it's safe for you to "come out" in your community, we encourage you to do it: Your choice will help yourself and atheists in general.
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