Until recently, I was blissfully unaware of the existence of atheists who have organized and decided to actively direct and guide people away from a faith filled life. Withinechoflam.com one of the most prolific writers is the LA Atheism Examiner, Hugh Kramer. His popular articles always inspire multiple comments. He uses a tongue in cheek approach to looking at issues in multiple religions and poking fun where he sees inconsistencies. When he wrote an article entitled, Fur flies between “New Atheists” and Accomadationists at LA Convention, I had to pause. There’s a convention?
After researching the topic, I discovered multiple groups of atheists across the country seeking to unite and form what they consider a place for free thinkers to gather. The conference in question was organized by the Council for Secular Humanism. About 370 people gathered at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, October 7-10. They awarded prizes to those who they felt embodied the goals of secular humanism and held debates on “the proper relation between science and religion”. According to an Los Angeles Times article by Mitchell Landsberg, “the stars of the conference were Dawkins, Harris and a third bestselling author, Victor Stenger. Stenger, a physicist, said that there was a ‘very real’ war between science and religion and that nonbelievers would make headway only by directly challenging the devout.”
Hugh followed that article with one about an activist atheist named David G. McAfee. Again, I’m stunned. My husband grew up atheist and has shared with me his reasoning and thoughts on the topic. Having attending a Catholic church through his childhood, he became disillusioned with the traditions. He thought of faith as bunk and believed that when people died, they became worm food and that was it. Activism in this thought process wasn’t part of his toolbox. So I wondered what an “activist atheist” really is.
I found one website calledAtheists United. One author of the website, Brian Parra, writes about 10 Ways to be an Atheist Activist. He states an atheist must:
“10. Stay current on atheist matters.
9. Respond when people assume you’re religious.
8. Broaden religious traditions.
7. Be a watch dog in your local community.
6. Join a membership group.
5. Support political lobbying.
4. Volunteer your time to support an atheist cause or any good cause in the name of atheism.
3. Share your atheism with people you know.
2. Share your atheism with other atheists.
1. Be a living ambassador of your ideals.”
As followers of Christ, we need to be aware of people who wish to direct and advise the beliefs of others. This article is not meant to make people rise up and hunt down atheists because the love of God extends to any and all people, but rather to have eyes open. There are people who wish to organize and affect change in the name of “free thinking”. It has always been this way. When Jesus sent out His disciples to share the good news, He said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Often Christian easily fall into the category of “innocent as doves”, but how well do we accomplish being shrewd. True faith in Christ is shared because it overflows from who we are, we cannot stop it. Let’s be aware, others are sharing their lack of belief as well.
Dawkins, Harris, Krauss and many others hightlight Council for Secular Humanism Conference. (2010, October). Retrieved October 20, 2010, from www.secularhumanism.org: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=press&page=laconference
Kramer, H. (2010, October). Author of “Disproving Christianity” speaks out. echoflam.com .
Kramer, H. (2010, October 11). Fur flies between “New Atheists” and Accomadationists at LA Convention. echoflam.com , p. 1.
Landsberg, M. (2010, October 10). Religious skeptics disagree on how aggressively to challenge the devout. Los Angeles Times .
Parra, B. (2008, August 11). 10 ways to be an Atheist Activist. Retrieved October 20, 2010, from AtheistsUnited.org: http://www.atheistsunited.org/home/blog/39-10-ways-to-be-an-atheist-activist
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