Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making Enlightenment Work

I love this quote from Annie Laurie Gaylor (who, along with her husband Dan Barker, is co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation) about the FFRF's latest billboard campaign in Raleigh, North Carolina:
It worked for the gay rights movement. It’s time for atheists and agnostics to come out of our closet...Many faces make enlightenment work. We know many people in North Carolina have never knowingly met an atheist or unbeliever, much less someone who is proud to advertise their nonbelief. We are so proud of our North Carolina members and participants.
The decision to "come out of the closet" (sexually or spiritually) is a highly personal one. Even in situations where the culture and/or the legal system offer some protection, coming out isn't a safe option for everybody. I wouldn't urge someone to be open about their atheism (or agnosticism, or humanism, or "Brightism," or whatever label they prefer) if that would endanger their livelihood or essential relationships. Even if you don't face those risks, you don't have to be an "out" atheist just to satisfy the FFRF, Richard Dawkins, me, or anybody else. Maybe you're just the private type, and only share your sexual preferences, taste in TV shows, or beliefs about religion on a need-to-know basis. It's your call.

If you are a nonbeliever who's not out, though, give it some thought. If you were raised in an area (like most of the US) where some kind of religious belief is assumed but you've broken from the pack and acknowledged your lack of belief to yourself, it's probably because you place a high value on truth and reality. How better to demonstrate that value than to show your genuine self to the world?

H/T to Hemant at Friendly Atheist

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