Apparently another anti-religion book
has reached #2
on the Amazon bestseller list
. For those that missed the first one, Dawkins's The God Delusion
was all the rage a few months ago. This is far from an isolated phenomenon: Scott Adams argues that America might be ready for an atheist president
, and youtube is full of interesting stuff like the Blasphemy challenge
. (And if you search for "Christians", it turns up "how do we know that Christians are delusional?
This is surprising to me. I don't think it could have happened 10 years ago, or without the Internet. And it isn't so much an expression of atheism as of anti-theism. Personally, while I have a bit of a problem with organized religion, I have no beef with belief in god, and I think good atheists leave theists the fuck alone. But clearly, many atheists don't feel that way.
It's not too hard to understand why. Discrimination against atheists is still rampant
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public.
You can't fight prejudice with logic, or by ignoring the prejudiced. You fight it by becoming organized and being in-your-face about it. The danger, of course, is of organized, evangelical atheism, which would be just as bad as organized religion. But so far, it's working. I agree with Adams's assessment with atheists as the new gays, and in 5 to 10 years, atheism will be just as acceptable as homosexuality is, at least in this part of the world.
Let's talk about that. Looking at major areas of the world by population, it seems to me that acceptance of atheists is highest in China and Japan, followed by Europe, then the US, and lastly India. (I don't see any hope for Africa and the Middle East, so let's ignore them.) Given that the situation in the US is rapidly improving, India will be left as the last bastion of good ol' atheist-hate.Is it time for atheists in India to get organized and get some respect? Is it even possible?
I don't think so, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.