Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Comments to the OUT Campaign

pick of the comments at

4. Comment #59769 by Happy Hominid on July 30, 2007 at 3:25 pm
avatarI like it. Could we do better? Maybe. But who cares? The point is to stand up and say what you are and if most go along with The Scarlet A then it will become KNOWN. It's not much of a statement if a million atheists have a million different ways of showing it, because the average person won't recognize the symbol. If we can rally around one, even if we disagree whether it's the BEST, it will have impact. I'm in. It's already up.
5. Comment #59772 by Milton on July 30, 2007 at 3:34 pm
How about FIND OUT? The more you learn about how the world works the less likely you are to find a need for belief in the supernatural. Could also mean 'find out' more about how many atheists there actually are.
7. Comment #59776 by Déjà Fu on July 30, 2007 at 3:56 pm
I don't think any books from Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Stenger, Hitchens, Sagan, et al, will overcome the embedded generation's brainwashing as children. They simply cannot dissuade the current generation from their childhood and social programming. Words (other words, that is) cannot conquer the application, from childhood, of the books of faith. The value of these writings, of this new expression of reason and analysis, is to the next generation - to the children and grandchildren and even beyond them. These books, all of them, are a powerful legacy (much more powerful to young minds than the books of faith) and therein lies their value. They are part of a library of reason which, once built, can never be burned. I would urge all the authors of these books to take profit for, say, 10 years and then render them into the public domain.

BTW, the font of the "official" Scarlet A is *not* in the public domain, and I therefore reject it.
9. Comment #59780 by theocide on July 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm
I have recently decided to come out. It is really scary because all my family are fundamentalists Christians. I can directly thank Richard Dawkins & Dan Barker for giving me the courage to come out and proclaim that I won't keep quite any more regarding my lack of belief in any gods.

Thank you Richard and Dan! Please keep up this important work. I'm sure there are many millions more like me that don't believe but don't speak out either.
14. Comment #59788 by Happy Hominid on July 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm
avatarDeja Fu said, " don't think any books from Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Stenger, Hitchens, Sagan, et al, will overcome the embedded generation's brainwashing as children."

A couple of posts later Theocide said, " have recently decided to come out. It is really scary because all my family are fundamentalists Christians. I can directly thank Richard Dawkins & Dan Barker for giving me the courage to come out and proclaim that I won't keep quite any more regarding my lack of belief in any gods."

People DO change their positions. Yes, it can seem impossible with some folks and it may be so, in their lifetimes. The point, to me, is to start moving the numbers in our direction. Most atheists today were brought up in a religious tradition. We all changed. We probably didn't just "do it" in some vacuum. We read the thoughts of great minds and we paid attention to the realities of history and science vs. what we were taught and came to a conclusion - to COME OUT. Others will too. How many is partly up to us who are already there
15. Comment #59789 by Sten on July 30, 2007 at 4:29 pm
I live in a working class estate in the north of the UK, and I can tell you that no one here discusses religion much - I mean there are lots of folks who have 'faith', but very few know the texts in the bible beyond what they remembered at Sunday school or at the morning prayers when they were at regular school. They don't want to come out or in. I reckon most folks just hope they can continue somehow after they've dropped dead. I think it's wishful thinking, but that's the way people are. My gut feeling is that many folks who 'believe' round here, will not be told (or persuaded), to believe or not believe, they just want the comfort of the faith thing. Personally I think it's time the human race got a grip and took it on the chin when they expire, but humans have huge ego's so that's not going to happen just yet. Roll on evolution
18. Comment #59792 by Damien White on July 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm
I've got a t-shirt winging it's way to me down here in Adelaide, The City Of Churches, and once it's arrived i'll be wearing it, and eagerly looking out for others!
United we stand, divided we fall.
20. Comment #59794 by Jack Rawlinson on July 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm
Good to see Richard weigh in on this, and to see him do so with his customary clarity.

By nature I am not a "joiner". I am not a very clubbable chap. But I feel so strongly that atheists need to become more visible, more open, more exposed. Remember that chilling recent statistic which showed that atheists are amongst the most mistrusted people in America? That, right there, is why this is a worthwhile campaign. It's not about getting in people's faces in order to be provocative or aggressive; it's about being open, about showing all those people who so mistrust atheists that we're actually decent, moral, non-scary people. And it's about making it okay to be openly atheist in those many areas of the world where it is anything but that right now.

I've always been an extremely vocal and unapologetic atheist, but I've also always recognised that to be so isn't easy for everyone. The anti-atheist prejudice is real, and in some areas quite vicious. So I'll wear the shirt as an expression of solidarity with those people more than as a personal expression of belief (or lack of) And also because I agree with Richard when he says, "We need to stand up and be counted, so that the demographically savvy culture will come to reflect our tastes and our views. That in turn makes it easier for the next generation of atheists."

Those of us who grew up in the relatively enlightened post-war era, in which religion was very much in retreat in the west, have been complacent. That has allowed the madness to take root and thrive again. No more complacency. This is worth shouting about.
25. Comment #59802 by briantw on July 30, 2007 at 5:18 pm
Here's an example of what can be done. I attended Rock Against Religion here in South Africa. There were some people outside praying, but they got cold and went home. Other than that it was peaceful and, I think, productive.,,2-1225-1242_2117677,00.html
Trio to rock against religion

June 26 2007 at 08:40AM

By Barry Bateman

A city band's music concert calling for "freedom from religion" is set to rock the pious and ruffle some religious feathers on July 7.

The 777 Rock Against Religion show, featuring seven of South Africa's "most outspoken rock and metal" acts is organised by local trio Architecture Of Aggression. It has already angered some Christians who have made their voices heard on the band's website.

Brothers Anton and Van Alberts and William Bishop say the concert would be a "a peaceful protest against the injustices caused in the name of religion against people of different faiths or the non-religious".

Anton said: "We want to bring to people's attention all the atrocities committed in the name of religion."

In the band's 777 statement it said "religion served a purpose to our distant ancestors in many different, subtle and even useful manners".

"It helped explain 'mysteries' such us the seasonal cycles, creation and where storms come from.

"It also stimulated the imaginations of early humans with stories of great gods and miracles.

"It also served as a useful tool in early civilisations and among nomad tribes, where circumcision could prevent disease in the male population, where eating the wrong animals could lead to infection by parasites and worse. But we have no more need for these controls," it read.

Humanity now had intelligent ideas and understanding of how the universe functioned and possibly how it came into being as well, the statement said. "There is no need for religious dogmatism in our modern, educated, reasoning society any more.

"It is not only redundant but extremely limiting to us as a species. There will always be a place for it, as there will always be a place for the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny," it said.

Bishop said they wanted to break the silence on a subject still considered taboo in South Africa.

"You can't talk about it. We want to get people to speak about it, to provoke people to speak freely and say that it's okay not to be religious."

Van said: "We want people to speak their mind without running the risk of losing their job or being ostracised by their families."

The three said that some mainstream bands pulled out of the show for fear of losing their fan base or what their parents would think of them.

"We don't want people to believe what we believe," said Anton.

"We want to challenge the religious to read the texts of other religions and not to hate or judge other people because they don't know or understand them."

The band said: "If we see someone wearing a 'I love Jesus' shirt we leave them alone, that's their thing.

"The religious need to be educated. If you speak out against religion you are immediately seen as demonic. There is no in-between for them. You are not allowed to have a different point of view," said Anton.

Van said that the conservative were becoming more conservative and that there was a new crusade mentality, as well as increased fundamentalism.

"The religious do not take what they're told and think about it; they take it literally," said Anton, referring to Amal Nassif, 37, who severely damaged her eyes after staring into the sun for a full minute. Benoni "visionary", teenager Francesca Zackey, told her that the sun would begin spinning at dusk and allow believers to see the Virgin Mary appear in it.

"For humanity to prosper we need to move forward and tone down religion," said Anton.

The band planned to hold the concert annually and in the future invite poets and other artists. "We'd like to get a speaker like (famous atheist and author) Richard Dawkins and get the idea out there," said Anton.
rock against religion
Rock n' Roll Against Religion
26. Comment #59804 by Jef on July 30, 2007 at 5:22 pm
Now I feel all left out because I've never been anything but a completely unapologetic atheist... :/

I want to come out too!

Hmm.. never thought I'd ever be saying that.. :P
28. Comment #59808 by Dr Benway on July 30, 2007 at 5:30 pm
avatarHere's an idea: rubber wristband with "ATHEIST" on it, like those yellow wristbands with "LIVESTRONG" promoted by Lance Armstrong for cancer research.

I can't wear icons to work. But I'll get a mug if you got one.
37. Comment #59822 by jonecc on July 30, 2007 at 6:35 pm
At last, a proper political campaign, and some inspiring words to get us going. Oh, it's not the end, it's not even the beginnning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning...

I think the gay analogy works quite well, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's probably the case that atheists, like gay people, are on average better off, whereas for women and black people discrimination is most crucially experienced in the economic arena. Secondly, atheists in religious families often have to go through a process of coming out, as do gay people in straight families. Thirdly, many superficially religious people aren't actually quite as religious as they make out. Doubt, like gayness, is often experienced as shame in repressive environments.

Of course, as said above, atheism is a choice rather than an orientation, but otherwise the analogy holds.
53. Comment #59841 by Ohnhai on July 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm
avatarThe 'A' shirt is as good a symbol as any, but it's not for all. I am ordering several so I can wear it frequently. If it is not for you then find your own OUT cry, but cry OUT you must.

Dawkins is right about that.

What ever else divides us atheists, we need to raise our voices as one and call OUT "ENOUGH". We will not tolerate interferance in public life,or our own personal life, from religions, or the religious.

We will NOT be ignored and marginalised, and deamonised by religions, or the religious

We need to stand together and shout OUT god does Not exist and THIS is our freedom, you will not deny us.

We need to shout OUT we are more numerous than you think. Not only do we know where you live, we LIVE where you live.

come OUT
reach OUT
speak OUT
stand OUT
56. Comment #59845 by BT Murtagh on July 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm
avatarI was already pretty outspoken and obvious in my atheism, so I wasn't sure this would be relevant to me. The longer I thought about it and read the comments, the more I've come to like the idea of a popular, recognizable symbol of atheist solidarity. (Note the absence of words like "standard" or "official"!)

I've already added the A to my website and will shortly be wearing it. Is it a perfect symbol? Perhaps not, but it's a good starting place - I particularly like the Hawthorne reference, that this is something they tried to make shameful but we're going to wear it as a badge of pride.

If other symbols come out later and become recognized as atheist symbols, great; the Christians have several, after all, and who can count the number of pagan symbols? Prior to this the closest we had was the Darwin fish, which I still like to show, but that's more an anti-creationist icon - a theistic evolutionist could get behind that too, for example.

No comments:

Post a Comment