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Why Atheists Have Become a Kick-Ass Movement You Want on Your Side

Atheists are becoming a force to be reckoned with. They are a powerful ally when inspired to take action - and a powerful opponent when they're treated like dirt.


By Greta Christina | 10 May 2012

Image: Thompson Photography via Flickr

Why would any organization or social change movement want to ally itself with a community that’s energetic, excited about activism, highly motivated, increasingly visible, good at fundraising, good at getting into the news, increasingly populated by young people, and with a proven track record of mobilizing online in massive numbers on a moment’s notice?

If you need to ask that — maybe you shouldn’t be in political activism.

And if you don’t need to ask that — if reading that paragraph is making you clutch your chest and drool like a baby — maybe you should be paying attention to the atheist movement.

The so-called “new atheist” movement is definitely not so new. Atheists have been around for decades, and they’ve been organizing for decades. But something new, something big, has been happening in atheism in the last few years — atheism has become much more visible, more vocal, more activist, better organized, and more readily mobilized — especially online, but increasingly in the flesh as well. The recent Reason Rally in Washington, DC brought an estimated 20,000 attendees to the National Mall on March 24 — and that was in the rain. Twenty thousand atheists trucked in from around the country, indeed from around the world, and stood in the rain, all day: to mingle, network, listen to speakers and musicians and comedians, check out organizations, schmooze, celebrate, and show the world the face of happy, diverse, energetic, organized atheism.

Atheists are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Atheists are gaining clout. Atheists are becoming a powerful ally when we’re inspired to take action — and a powerful opponent when we get treated like dirt.

Case Study Number One, “Powerful Ally” Division: The million dollars currently being raised — and the goodness knows how many people being mobilized — for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night Walks,” by the non-theistic Foundation Beyond Belief and the Todd Stiefel family.

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8 Responses to Why Atheists Have Become a Kick-Ass Movement You Want on Your Side

  1. Eldon Reply

    May 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Your late reference to the LGBT community activism was right on, IMHO. And the internet has helped open the door for the connections b/t atheists who will "come out" as such, more and more.

    Just as the Stonewall riots back in 1969: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots / "started" the LGBT movement. Atheists are beginning to recognize that there is power in "aggregation" and standing up together, instead of hiding in the closet b/c of religious bigotry.

    I won't see it happen, but the world will be a different (and hopefully) better place in 30 – 40 years, when the President is able to say that, while it's up to each individual, he has no problem with "Atheists getting married," or words to that effect. Peace.

  2. Stealth Ave Reply

    July 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    You lost me at "Atheists have been around for decades". That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. lol

    • Roddy Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Yeah, wow, really? Decades? I didn't realize atheists have been around over 20 years!!

    • edgewiseass Reply

      February 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      I know, right? Atheists have actually been around since our species evolved the capacity to think, so it's been at least 150,000 years.

  3. proletariatprincess Reply

    February 16, 2013 at 5:46 am

    I really like the idea of the Free Thought Movement. Good Language.
    We Freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, Brights, need to work on that stuff. I I thought Brights was a good general term for those of us who are so unclassifiable, but that term carries a bit of baggage too. Any acronim for all these titles would not work well, I think. Free Thinkers seems to cover it all and distance us from the dogmas of the worlds religions and belief in the supernatural.
    We really are out here…and in big numbers. We are ready to fight back against the discrimination, harassment and persecution at long last. We are coming out of the closet and organizing on the internet. It is happening and we are demanding the respect that the religious have demanded from us since the beginning of time.
    There is much we can contribute at this dangerous time on our planet. The Free Thought movement deserves the support of every thinking person and respect from all the others.

  4. jake Reply

    June 12, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Atheism is now becoming a common trend among the people in the world and is getting more followers day by day. It was good to read about the “Power Ally” division and the effects that it is having on the people getting into it. Awaiting more updates.ruggies reviews

  5. David Anderson Reply

    September 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Atheism is passé


  6. illfootball2013 Reply

    February 17, 2014 at 5:17 am

    I cannot quite believe how terrible an article that is. Here's me thinking that this is some sort of reputable website after reading a very good piece before this and then clicking a link to this one. What a bizarre "article", its just a ra-ra chant for atheism, not even dressed up as anything thoughtful. Blah, blah, atheists will give you money, blah blah, atheists met in the rain, I mean, really? What is the writer wasting their tie on this rubbish for. This "article" could have been one paragraph long, given the substance in it. Poor form.

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