No more Mr. Nice Guy

I try to be polite. I really do. I have the bad habit, unfortunately, of saying the most offensive things to people without fully realizing it. So for the most part, I’ve accepted the fact that my opinions and ideas are unpopular with a large segment of society, and the people who happen to hear or read what I have to say will, at times, be deeply offended.

My vitriol will sometimes bring the ire of many who think my ‘in your face atheism’ is contrary to our goals. There are many who believe co-operation is key, and with time, atheism will gain the respect and recognition it deserves. To these people, I say ‘good luck’. As far as I’m concerned, all great political and social movements is the result of the work and dedication of passionate individuals. If you want to be listened to, it helps not to be polite. Would civil rights have been possible if men like Martin Luther King had politely asked to be a recognized part of society? Would the feminist movement have gained ground by quietly asking men to extend equal treatment? Does anyone think homosexuals have a chance of being finally recognized in society without making a fuss?

Atheist Revolution and Black Sun Journal both agree with me on this point: We’re sick and tired of being told that we are damaging the movement. Soft atheism has been tried and has failed; the fact atheism is on the rise in Western nations is due to the hard work and dedication of individuals who refuse to sit down, shut up, and play nice. If we went back to being timid, there’s no doubt in my mind we would lose ground.

To those who accuse me of being too hard nosed, I’ll make a deal with you; once religion starts playing nice, so will I. But so long as their leaders abuse children, call on nations to be obliterated off the map, or strap bombs to their flock in order to kill in their name, I’ll be there to call them out on their shit. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

Comments (11)

  • avatar

    Ben

    Upset that some atheists don’t represent you well, eh? Glad to see that works both ways.

  • avatar

    vjack

    It does sound fair, but I don’t think I’d dismiss “soft atheism” completely as having been tried and failed. It too has a place. I’d just hope that those who prefer it would say the same about those of us who find it insufficient.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Hence the “good luck”, vjack! I can’t comment on other people’s strategy; only my own. I love the soft atheism of men like Bertrand Russel, but boy do you have to dig deep to find their stuff.

  • avatar

    Ben

    I think it’s only more b/c there’s more Christians, and Christianity, as you’ve said, is the “big dog” :) Ie, if you were to divide the amount of stupid incidents by group X by the amount of people in group X, I’m guessing the ratio would be equal between groups.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    BTW Ben, I’m not really raging against “soft atheists”. They usually do a pretty damn good job of keeping me level headed. I’m just glad I don’t have to put up with the amount of bullshit you do (I mean, how much embarrassing and outright stupid shit do you have to put up from other fellow Christians?).

  • avatar

    LB

    We can use any voice we can get, be it soft and insidious or loud and obnoxious. Personally I prefer the loud and obnoxious, since it generates much ire from the religiously inclined.

    We’re not going to win the battle for mind share by being quiet.

  • avatar

    Icepick

    I don’t know if the only two choices are wallflower or obnoxious. It is possible to be politely unbending and vocal about it.

    I respect those who do not compromise their values because of unreasonable expectations of consideration by the religious. Clearly, you DO NOT have to respect their religion or their beliefs. There should be a place where we can be clear about this without being dicks about it.

  • avatar

    Mary-Anne

    I have a magnet on my fridge: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” It points to a fact of life in any serious movement to advance society: it takes all colors to make a rainbow. Soft-peddlers, public demonstrators, political sharks, civil litigators, and, yes, some hardasses, ALL are necessary to create something that will engage the attention of a large chunk of society for more than 30 seconds. PETA typically offends more than not, I think, but they damn sure make lots of folks aware of the issue!

  • avatar

    no2religion

    The quiet and the loud must both exist. They are bit like yin and yang. The reason is that the loud announces and makes aware and the quiet keeps the talk going.

    Keep up the loud voice.

  • avatar

    Roxanne

    Mary Anne: I have that same magnet! I completely agree!

  • avatar

    Bastard Soap

    I think that atheism should be like water: refreshing and attractive to those with good intentions, an unmoveable crushing wave of water on those who poison every corner of life with their infamous convictions.
    To attack well meaning individuals is obnoxious, to be polite to morons is ludicrous.

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