June 29, 2011

What's in a Name?

atheist revolutionWhen I started this blog back in 2005, I hoped to spark discussion and critical thinking on religion and politics in American life. I called the blog "Atheist Revolution" because I was convinced that the pervasive hold of Christianity on the minds of most Americans necessitated a revolution of the mind. I thought that "revolution" conveyed strength (e.g., atheists standing up for our rights) and upheaval (e.g., replacing belief in superstition with an appreciation for reason and science). I went out of my way to describe this as a revolution of the mind rather than some sort of armed insurrection. Again and again, I have gone out of my way to be clear about this. And yet, I am still considered "militant" by some.

It took me awhile to realize that any atheist who refused to stay silent in the face of bigotry, Christian privilege, or threats to church-state separation was going to be called "militant" by at least some Christians. It took me awhile longer to discover that some atheists are equally confused about the appropriateness of the "militant" label.

I suppose accusations of militancy would have come no matter what I called this blog. I believe that religious belief (i.e., faith) is detrimental to modern society, and that is enough for some to consider me "militant." Worse still, I sometimes express this belief. And that is more than enough for even more people to perceive me as "militant."

But I'm not militant. I am often enraged by those who threaten church-state separation. I am sometimes passionate in my support for atheist civil rights. And I do not believe that religious belief should be exempt from criticism simply because it is religious in nature. But none of this makes me militant. In fact, I question the existence of militant atheism.

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