July 19, 2018

Atheist Identity and How We Are Treated

woman with red hair
If you had red hair, would having red hair be part of your identity? It might, but I'd guess that it wouldn't necessarily be a big part of your identity. If you were one of relatively few people in an environment who had red hair, I imagine that having red hair might be a bit more important part of your identity. But even then, I wouldn't guess that it would be a large part. But what if others treated you differently because of your red hair? If this was the case, I would expect that having red hair might be a much more important part of your identity. And if other people treated you not just differently but poorly (i.e., treated you worse than they treated others with different hair colors) because you had red hair, then I imagine that it would be an even more important aspect of your identity.

This is not too different from how I think about atheism. Atheism is part of my identity, but it is not a very large part of my identity. If I wasn't surrounded by religious believers, it would be a smaller part. I suspect that if I were to move from Mississippi to Vermont, a far less religious state, I'd quickly find that atheism was a less important part of my identity. I'd probably think about it far less than I do now. But most of all, I think that if I wasn't viewed and treated differently because I'm an atheist, it would be a much smaller part of my identity.

July 18, 2018

Secular Activism and Atheist Activism: Are There Meaningful Distinctions?

'Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif)' by Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay [Public domain], Wikimedia Commons
When I think of efforts to preserve (or expand) the separation of church and state, I tend to think of secular activism. That is to say, I would typically define secular activism as focusing primarily on church-state separation. I recognize that it could be broader than that, and I am not arguing here that this is how it should be defined. I'm merely explaining that I tend to associate the two.

This raises the question of whether there is such a thing as atheist activism that is distinct in any meaningful way from secular activism. Are they merely synonyms, or do they mean different things? Is there anything we could count as atheist activism and not secular activism or vice-versa? I'm really not sure. It seems like many people use "atheist activism" and "secular activism" interchangeably, and I think that's probably okay.

If I was going to argue that the two were meaningfully distinct (and I am not at all sure I want to), I'd probably suggest that they overlap but have somewhat different points of emphasis. As I said above, I associate secular activism with efforts focused on church-state separation. On the other hand, I tend to think of atheist activism as more focused on things like ending discrimination against atheists, working to overcome bigoted attitudes directed at atheists, providing support for people who are mistreated because of their atheism, and that sort of thing. Another way to say it would be that I see secular activism as aimed at promoting secularism and atheist activism as somewhat more of an identity issue aimed at making life a little bit better for atheists.

July 16, 2018

Thank You Flipboarders!

Photo by warrenski [CC BY-SA 2.0]
To the person or persons who have been promoting my content on Flipboard, thank you! You were responsible for more than doubling my traffic on Friday, and this was not the first traffic spike I've seen from Flipboard. I am still relatively new to Flipboard, and I can't pretend I've figured out how to use it yet. It seems to be an effective way to make one's content more accessible to mobile device users. To see this sort of boost in traffic in spite of my general cluelessness about the platform has been great.

I have attempted to set up a magazine that contains all posts from Atheist Revolution and should be automatically updated from the RSS feed. I hope this will make it easier for Flipboard users to access my content there. Unfortunately, I've been waiting for over a month for Flipboard to approve it. Until they do, I think I am the only one who can see it. In the meantime, I'll work on expanding my collection of topic-specific magazines and adding content to them manually.

July 15, 2018

Freed From Religion

Free your mind from religion

I'm not one of these people who is going to try to convince you that my life has improved immeasurably as a result of atheism. I have been an atheist since the age of 16. While I can think of plenty of ways my life is better now than it was back then, I can also think of plenty of ways my life is far worse than it was then. It would be foolish to think that most of the things that are better (or worse) have anything to do with atheism. Having said that, one of the things I remember most fondly about my transition from Christian to atheist was the sense of freedom it involved.

July 14, 2018

Should Trump Be Impeached?

Impeachment March
By Master Steve Rapport [CC BY 2.0]
I keep seeing those "Should Trump be impeached?" polls popping up on various websites. I think I've even seen a couple in the form of AdSense ads here. It seems like a poor question, or at least one that is incomplete in some important ways. We don't get to impeach someone just because we don't like them. There has to be evidence that they have committed certain types of crimes to open that door. How someone answers this question ought to have something to do with whether they believe Trump committed such crimes.

I would guess that many of the people who respond to that poll question by saying "no" do so because they do not believe Trump has done anything that warrants impeachment. They might be wrong to think that he hasn't committed crimes, but that isn't really the point here. If they believe he has committed no crimes, their opposition to impeachment would seem rational. If he didn't commit the sort of crimes required for impeachment, he shouldn't be impeached.

I'd also guess that many would say "yes" because they do believe that Trump has committed at least a few crimes that might justify impeachment. Again, they might be wrong about whether such crimes were committed, but they'd seem rational to support impeachment if they did believe the crimes were there. We have impeachment for some good reasons. If a president commits the sort of crimes that support impeachment, he or she should be impeached.

July 13, 2018

My Automotive Irrationality

2018 Ford Mustang
Photo by More Cars [CC BY 2.0]
Since it is Friday the 13th, I suspect some atheist bloggers will be using the occasion to mock those who are irrationally fearful of the day. I think I'll do something different by attempting to overcome some embarrassment and own up to one of the many areas in which I am irrational. If I had to pick one subject about which I am as irrational as any other I can think of, it would have to be cars. While this hasn't really impacted my life in negative ways, I've made surprisingly little progress in overcoming it. And that means it has been a continued source of embarrassment.

I am well aware that there are people out there who view cars and other motor vehicles as nothing more than means of transportation. They have no attachment to their vehicles, don't derive any pleasure from operating them, and see them as a means to an end (i.e., transportation from point A to point B). I envy these people. If I was one of them, buying my next vehicle would be easy. I'd determine which category/size best met my needs, identify the top few most reliable vehicles in that group, rule out any that didn't have the features I considered essential, and go shopping. I'd probably end up with something like a Camry or Accord. While I have bought vehicles like this before, doing so required me to fight off my many irrational tendencies.