Friday, November 16, 2012

772. On Atheism's Popularity on the Internet

Disclaimer: this is another I wanted to put this on Facebook but didn't want to get in big arguments all day long blog post. You took the time to follow this here -- I didn't "force myself" into your news feed. I'm open to discussion, of course. But let's be civil. :-)

Never posted status update:

On, the "front page" of the Internet, one of the major topic categories (meaning, most popular amongst its millions of users) is "atheism." Seriously, out of all the topics on the planet, why do some atheists spend so much time talking about something they don't believe in? If I were an atheist, this would seem illogical to me, and a waste of time. Unless I thought I was doing the world a service by trying to "enlighten" people and get rid of religion. But, again, I guess I'm just not the kind of asshole who tries to force people into what they should believe.


  1. The internet provides atheists, as with other disparate social minorities and sometimes isolated individuals, a platform to connect with others like you. So for the same reason that other small, ostracized minority social groups, from vegans to furries, find each other and connect on the internet, atheists tend to as well.

    I don't. It doesn't really appeal to me individually. But as an atheist, I get why others would, especially those who are new to atheistic thinking or have few or no people they can talk to about it face-to-face.

    1. But are they really a "minority social group" as you say? I think this last election changed the notion of a Christian "silent majority" in this country, in particular. So, deductively, can we infer that we're a more secular society?

      I guess my issue is in regards to a philosophical quandary -- if someone doesn't believe in a God or Gods because of, say reason or science, why spend so much time talking about it so fervently? Being vegan and "furry-ism" are lifestyle choices, so it makes sense people will have a strong desire to want to connect about them. How or why, though, is atheism a lifestyle choice? I don't understand that.

      I also dislike how some atheists will get mad at other spiritual or religious groups for "being too in your face," when they'll do the same in their networks or whenever an opportunity arises.

    2. Maybe I'm being too sweeping in this generalization, but much of what I've read on those threads isn't about creating a community; they're about bashing religion or other people's beliefs, which seems intolerant to me. At the very least, the tone of many of the posts and discussions I see in the "Atheism" section on Reddit are very venomous to people who believe different things.

  2. I agree with you completely about the hypocrisy of some atheists who become as rigid, dogmatic, and prostyletizing as some Christians. I think celebrity atheists like Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, et al. can be real boors.

    But as far as atheism's position in society, I think it's accurate to call atheists a small (but growing) minority. The number of open atheists always polls in the single digits. It's higher if you count people who don't associate w/ a particular religion, but that's not the same thing as openly stating you don't believe in any god.

    I also think it's fair to say atheism is a generally ostracized position. For example, a recent poll found religious people trusts atheists less than they do any other minority, including gays. That's right, most Americans generally trust gays and blacks more than they trust atheists. Think about that one.

    Finally, I do think society is becoming "more secular," but "more" is a relative term. Religiosity is still the norm everywhere in America, though it varies from place to place. For example, can you imagine what it would be like to be an open atheist living in the Bible Belt?