Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Richard Dawkins gets too much press. I'm sure that he appreciates the irony of the level of veneration he receives from the 'Neo-atheists'. I've even seen him referred to as the atheist pope.

All of which is extremely silly. I understand where it comes from, because he was instrumental in my deconversion, just as he was with the deconversion of so many others. But what makes him very different from just another leader of just another movement is that he does not say anything new. What he did in his fantastic book The God Delusion was to consolidate the best arguments for the non-existence of god into one book. Also, as an accomplished biologist, he made his scientific knowledge accessible to the layperson.

So while it is true that he is very respected and appreciated, he is not exactly a leader. This is primarily because atheists are not a united group. If this neo-atheism (I like the sound of that) can be called a movement, the only agenda it has is to dismantle the marriage of religion and politics in the world. As such, Dawkins has proposed a campaign that co-opts the language and intentions of the gay movement in the 80s and 90s. He suggests that there are more atheists than it seems - anywhere from 11% - 17% depending on the poll (in America) - and atheists could be a significant voting bloc if atheism were more widely recognized and understood.

This is what the Out Campaign is all about. He has invited atheists to make themselves known, and for no reason other than to increase our (atheist's) collective confidence and raise our (Nation's) collective awareness.

I support this campaign. I have proudly pasted the logo on my phone. I'd get a tee shirt, but I know I'd never wear such a tacky thing. What I'd really love is for Threadless to have a shirt... I'd buy a dozen!

No comments: