Saturday, April 3, 2010
American Atheists Convention On Easter
While Easter Sunday is nearly to be celebrated (early in the day, no doubt) by Christians across the world, on this same weekend, the American Atheists are meeting in their 36th convention. This year’s goal in particular is to note that while there are still widespread stereotypes about atheism (one of them especially mistaken, since worshipping Satan as a god would decidedly negate the idea of atheism, lack of god belief) atheists are becoming more accepted, albeit in limited ways. The main way David Silverman, best known as an animator for The Simpsons, observes the change is in the publishing of books such as The God Delusion and The End of Faith by authors Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. While this is a step forward, the dominant stereotype does seem to be ironically reflected in a sense with the group itself. The stereotype that atheism is somehow a religious or ideological movement seeking to destroy Christianity would potentially be seen as validated with the existence of groups such as American Atheists and the Rational Response Squad (popular for the Blasphemy Challenge online). But this line of thinking is mistaken on a few levels.
Groupings of a group that share certain beliefs or lack thereof in the case of atheists does not suggest they are actively seeking to eliminate groups that differ from them. Otherwise the suspicion of Christian bible study groups or the like trying to erase Jews, Catholics and Muslims from the map would probably have some credulity. Yet it is a minority of those groups that seek to eliminate some group, such as Army of God advocating the justified use of violence against abortionists. I have yet to see a group of atheists that is well known in public having any agenda to eliminate religion as a phenomenon from the world (except perhaps the Brights, but I’m not sure of that). If anything, the advocacy is more along the lines of fair treatment of atheism as a minority position in America, alongside such like minded beliefs as Buddhism, Jainism or Laveyan Satanists, all decidedly minorities in this country and all lacking a belief in any deities. The American Atheists want to be recognized equally as Americans alongside Protestants, Jews, Catholics and Muslims, though modern thought doesn’t exactly grant them a lot of trust as I’ve observed. But when Mormons and homosexuals (supposedly viewed by Christians as blasphemers or abominations respectively) are trusted more than atheists (many of whom were more than likely raised Christian), the issue lies with education. If people are told such deceptions as atheists being without an objective source for morality or being against capitalism or other American pastimes (even though there is such a thing as Christian communism), then it’s no wonder atheists are treated like black sheep in America.
Not to mention people have the wrong idea about why the convention for American Atheists is held on Easter. It’s demonstrably paranoid to suggest that they’re using the weekend as a venue to attack Easter. Makes sense for them to choose that weekend, since as Silverman puts it. “The hotels are cheap, and everybody has time off." The choice is little more than an economic expediency, like someone hoarding their sick days and then using them all up for a holiday, not something uncommon to Christians and atheists alike within the right job, I imagine. Until next time, Namaste and Aloha.