Add up all of the above and you have atheists with no goals beyond taking potshots at religion in the hopes that one day all organized belief will collapse and society will recognize them as the underappreciated forefathers of rational thinking. Now, I'm a professional writer, so I understand the desire to achieve maximum recognition for minimum work. But outside of a lot of vague talk of social and scientific progress, organized atheism doesn't seem to have any objectives beyond trying to make our religious friends skip church and unwind with a couple mimosas.
Although, if you want to improve church attendance ...
But drawing a line in the sand with "atheism and progress" on one side and "religion and reactionary thinking" on the other dumbs down history so much that Bill and Ted would object. Plenty of great minds have been religious. And while I haven't conducted a formal poll on the religious beliefs of people who are, say, fighting for gay marriage rights, I'm willing to bet you'd find a broad spectrum.
Now, someone has already run off to the comments to point out that opposition to gay marriage is primarily based on religious beliefs, and that's the problem. We're keeping score in terms of Believers vs. Non-Believers, when the marquee match-up should be Terrible People vs. Good People. If you're willing to fight for a good cause by expending money or time in a world where we're constantly strapped for both, you could worship Azathoth for all the fucks I'd give.
Hlib Shabashnyi/iStock/Getty Images
"Agh! Black Mass ran so long I could only catch the last 20 minutes of the Trans Rights Rally!"
Sooner or later, Good People win every battle. But the few leaders atheism has have become famous not for making scientific discoveries or fighting for social change but for arguing about the accomplishments of people of all beliefs who quietly made real advances. Atheism has become synonymous with pointless arguments, which prevents otherwise interested people from taking it seriously and prevents proponents from growing as human beings. So if you're ever tempted to engage in a religious argument you know will be pointless, stifle it and go do something great with your time. Once you're rich and famous you can casually mention your beliefs when Time magazine interviews you, and then you'll be making a difference.
You can read more from Mark, or join his new cult, at his website.
For more from Mark, check out 4 Ways Growing Up Changes The Way You See Video Games and 5 Things Vigilantes Do To Screw Themselves.
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