More on Atheism

09Apr10

Another intelligent TNC commenter, Thomas Kelly, on the false victimization of atheists in America:

Nonetheless, doesn’t the act of comparing the plight of Atheists to other more maligned groups set up a sort of competition? What other point could be present? Kaminer states that her goal is to compare the progress of other discriminated groups to what she believes is a lack of progress in the experience of Atheists. But the reason for this difference is clear: Blacks, women, and gays have had much more ground to make up. In general, Atheists have not experienced difficulty in marrying, finding employment (and earning fair wages), joining sports teams, and enrolling in schools under the institutions present in America. Thus the title of her article “No Atheists Need Apply” is not only irrelevant to the arguments she presents, it is also inaccurate and inconsistent with the experience of Atheists.

Further, it may be self-centered and arrogant to suggest that the apparent social bias experienced by Atheists is something unique to the Atheist situation rather than mainstream religions in general. Is the condition of the Atheist really that different from that of the Buddhist, the Ba’hai, or the Jainist? In fact, research regarding the relatively low status of Buddhists in America suggests the point I made above: that an individual’s familiarity with a particular religion corresponds to his/her comfort with the practitioners of that religion. I’m not sure that there is anything inherent in Atheism that makes its adherents subject to greater discrimination than other relatively obscure religious groups. If Atheists want their case better represented, they are better off not comparing their experiences to groups that experience serious and disparaging discrimination.

Yeah, basically. I can’t say I’ve ever faced many problems because I’m an atheist; part of this is because it’s something that would require a rather serious discussion to reveal. When you compare the plight of the average atheist in America to the story of Colin Farrell’s brother, it just isn’t close. That’s not to say we shouldn’t fight discrimination and intolerance when it does occur against us, but it’s nowhere near the level that so many other groups have had to face, and continue to face.

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