Happy Atheist Pride Day!

Penguins marching

No, I didn't realize it was Atheist Pride Day either. I can't seem to remember from year to year that there is such a thing. I heard about it for the first time in 2013 from American Atheists. It hasn't been something I've celebrated (or remembered) every year.

Do we need an Atheist Pride Day? Sure, we do! I can't say that I find it easy to take pride in atheism, but why should that be the case? Religious believers are proud of what they believe. They view their beliefs as an important part of their identity. Why shouldn't atheists do the same if they'd like to?


Donald Trump is a Convicted Felon

Do we get the leaders we deserve?

It's official. He's a criminal. Pending a successful appeal, he's a convicted felon. Will it matter? Yes and no. I doubt it will matter much in the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election. Minds have been made up for some time. It is hard to imagine that the verdict will sway many voters. Some recent polls showed that 25% of Republicans would be more likely to vote for him if he was convicted. Then again, voting for a criminal might be a bridge too far for some. That could matter in what will be a close election. The bottom line is that we don't know.

In what way will it almost certainly matter? It will (or at least should) matter when future generations study this period in our history. This is the first time a former president has ever been convicted of a crime. In that sense, it will be historic even if it changes few contemporary minds.


Secularism Is a Civilizing Force for Democratic Societies

Greek ruins

When it comes to secularism, my views have evolved over the years. I used to think of it as little more than church-state activism. It was reactive because it had to be. The separation of church and state was always under threat. Religious extremists sought to destroy it. Defending it required a reactive sort of church-state activism. We'd seek to quell each new threat that popped up and then move along.

I'd later realize that secularism was broader than this. It was also about how governments handle religion. Do they support pluralism or privilege? Does one religious tradition always seem to receive special treatment? How do government officials talk about religion? Do they understand that they aren't supposed to be clergy? Does it seem like they are often trying to persuade us to share their religious beliefs?


I'm Not Convinced Most Atheists Choose Atheism

 woman faced with a choice

The question of whether atheism is a choice comes up often. Many people believe that it is a choice, including some atheists. This has long puzzled me. I've never experienced it as a choice. Not only that, but I did everything in my power to resist when the doubts first surfaced. I sought help from family, friends, and even clergy. I prayed. I re-read the Bible. I was desperate. I wanted to keep believing. I wanted to remain a Christian. None of that mattered. It all slipped away.

When I've had this discussion with others, this is what I've focused on. I've explained how I fought against it and how that didn't help. I've explained that I never chose to be an atheist but ended up one anyway. But that's only half the story. It might not even be the best illustration of why I'm not sure that atheism is a choice.