Tipping point December 20, 2010Posted by thegodless in Uncategorized.
While religion often gets placed upon an untouchable thousand foot pedestal made of gold and gets respect for being an ancient survivor in a world that is increasingly driven by science and technology, it’s protected status and unquestioned authority have recently begun to erode. Considering only the respect paid to religion for it’s length of survival, one would think that atheism would also be granted some sort of special status for existing for just as long. In the unenlightened murkiness of religion’s origins stands the first person to call bullshit. Atheism, though not in name, was born as an ancient reaction to someone else’s absurd claim. It would be impossible to deny that it was religion itself that brought on the creation of atheism. Surely an ancestor of intellectual integrity, however limited in knowledge they may be, would have been skeptical of the sophistry and far fetched supernatural claims. Yet, even with atheism’s long and embattled history, which has witnessed the ruin of many great men and women by persecution, it gets no respect for surving thousands of years against an often times murderous and oppressive opponent. Atheism appears to have had the harder road to follow, yet it has still persisted through every religious and god fearing culture. It’s stood tall against smear campaigns and majority scorn. History has shown us over and over that religions are finite, that all religions will eventually die out. At the end of every religion lies the unmistakable growth of nonbelief. Could the current push towards nonbelief be a signal of a religion’s impending death? I sure hope so.
I’ve heard it said as of late by a great many atheists, including the highly respected Richard Dawkins, that atheism may be nearing it’s critical mass or a tipping point. With the ranks of nonbelievers steadily growing, church attendance rapidly declining, atheist groups coming together to plan and promote, religion itself continuously displaying a propensity for being harmful and fatal, religion does appear to be on some sort of a downward slide to irrelevant obscurity. I would wager to say that every time an atheist goes public, several other atheists are also empowered to do so. I would also wager to say that for every atheist that comes out publicly, someone in their circle of friends and family is also tempted to seek out the truth. If this cycle continues unabated, we could be looking at an explosion of atheist growth in the very near future. While it is possible that atheism could hit a ceiling, the room and potential for growth is so vast that the people holding on to the other side of the ceiling are likely to be marginalized and pushed so far from the debate that they are no longer relevant. To see the religious the right in the same position that it has pushed other minorities would be a cherry on top.
As someone that values an honest bit of introspection and an examination of my own personal biases, I often wonder if maybe I have built myself a hopeful world by surrounding myself with like minded individuals. I have to admit that it is possible that everything I believe could be wrong. Try getting a religionist to admit that. Because I am trying to my best to ensure that my perceptions and thoughts are valid with what is actually taking place, I include into all of my personal opinions the observations and opinions of others. The reason I have included this makeshift disclaimer into this post is not to say that I doubt the march of atheism, but to point to the confirmed observations of not only myself but many others. In just the last few years, the mainstream tides have begun to shift to a secular worldview. A normal day of news is often filled with stories that highlight the ignorance, intollerance, hate, and absurdity of religion and those that practice it. A few decades ago religious criticism in media was unheard of, now it is thankfully a daily thing. From child marrying polygamists, to pedophile priests, to Mormon kidnappers, to homophobic pastors, to Muslim terrorist plots, to child deaths caused by faith healing, to Islam’s enslavement of women, to Mike Huckabee getting his own show, I can’t imagine anyone watching this kind of news and saying to themselves that they should go join a religion. Even for the most fanatical unquestioning religionist, one glimpse of the news should cause some level of anxiety about their choice in worldviews.
Having said all of this, the time sure seems ripe for a reality shifting tipping point, so please keep standing up and speaking out.