Saturday, August 04, 2007

Atheists of the world: unite! Richard Dawkins wants YOU

Hot on the heels of the million-selling, God Delusion, Richard Dawkins has put his name behind the Out Campaign, an attempt to bring atheists out of the closet, so to speak. You can even buy a specially-made T-shirt.
reposted from Guardian

August 3, 2007 3:01 PM

From Richard Dawkins' site:

"As far as subjective impressions allow and in the admitted absence of rigorous data, I am persuaded that the religiosity of America is greatly exaggerated. Our choir is a lot larger than many people realise. Religious people still outnumber atheists, but not by the margin they hoped and we feared. I base this not only on conversations during my book tour and the book tours of my colleagues Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, but on widespread informal surveys of the World Wide Web. Not our own site, whose contributors are obviously biased, but, for example, Amazon, and YouTube whose denizens are reassuringly young. Moreover, even if the religious have the numbers, we have the arguments, we have history on our side, and we are walking with a new spring in our step - you can hear the gentle patter of our feet on every side.

Our choir is large, but much of it remains in the closet. Our repertoire may include the best tunes, but too many of us are mouthing the words sotto voce with head bowed and eyes lowered. It follows that a major part of our consciousness-raising effort should be aimed, not at converting the religious but at encouraging the non-religious to admit it - to themselves, to their families, and to the world. This is the purpose of the OUT campaign."

The campaign's website asks people to "come out, reach out, speak out""

"As more and more people join the OUT Campaign, fewer and fewer people will feel intimidated by religion. We can help others understand that atheists come in all shapes, sizes, colours and personalities. We are labourers and professionals. We are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and grandparents. We are human (we are primates) and we are good friends and good citizens. We are good people who have no need to cling to the supernatural."

The campaign has some similarities to the well-established Brights, who bring together people of a naturalistic world view, one that is free of supernatural explanations for the world. Theirs is a more official-sounding group, where you have to register and are encouraged to spread the three main aims of the movement:

• Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
• Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
• Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.

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