Is it time for atheists to call it quits?

I’m still amazed there are atheists out there who think the ‘battle’ is over. Although it may be true that close to 20% of the American population can effectively be called ‘non-religious’, this hasn’t significantly changed how God fearing people see atheists. It would be nice to be able to live peacefully with one another without fear of persecution, bigotry, or hatred. Sadly, we do not yet live in a world where being an atheist isn’t a big deal.

Nica Lalli over at USAToday has a compelling article asking everyone to leave cultural wars to the extremists, and to focus on getting along. It’s a nice sentiment, but it ignores the very statistic used in the article: over half the US population would never vote for someone if he was an atheist. In terms of minority, we’re still very much reviled.

No one is really asking themselves the important question, which is: why are we so hated? Why do religious people fear atheists so much? If I was to venture a guess, it would be people fear what they don’t understand as much as they fear things they do. Atheism represents a serious challenge to superstitious belief. Our very existence challenges the notion that people need God to live. In their eyes, we are an affront to his divinity.

Can we naively think the opinion God is a delusion will ever be popular among the religious? Do we declare the culture war over and pack our bags? Hardly. So long as atheists are a detested minority, we must continue to fight religious intolerance and bigotry. It would be nice to think that everyone can be friends and get along famously, but the proselytizing nature of religion invariably leads to conflict when free thinkers are around.

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