As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Posted April 20, 2009 by atheiststooges
Categories: Atheists, Para-Digg

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset
Matthew Parris (December 27, 2008)
Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.
It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
I used to avoid this truth by applauding – as you can – the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.
But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.
First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world – a directness in their dealings with others – that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.
At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.
We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.
Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers – in some ways less so – but more open.
This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.
It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man’s place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.
There’s long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.
I don’t follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.
Anxiety – fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things – strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won’t take the initiative, won’t take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.
How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds – at the very moment of passing into the new – that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it’s there,” he said.
To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It’s… well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary’s further explanation – that nobody else had climbed it – would stand as a second reason for passivity.
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I’ve just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.
Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.
And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.

Happy New Year, guys and gals!

 

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/

Richard Dawkins the Christian?

Posted April 20, 2009 by atheiststooges
Categories: Atheists, Para-Digg

Personally, I find it strange that Dawkins would call himself a Christian after calling us delusional. But, hey, that’s the "rationality" of Dawkins for you. But since Dawkins loves singing Christmas carols, we hope that he will also join Christians in celebrating Easter as well 🙂

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/

Why atheism is stupid

Posted April 19, 2009 by atheiststooges
Categories: The Religion Of Atheism

Browsing the web today power Googling “Atheist stupidity” and came across this website.

Here is a short essay by the webmaster.

Enjoy!

Why atheism is stupid

Monday, January 01st, 2007

Just a quick post to explain why atheism is actually stupid, and requires as much faith, if not much more, to be an atheist.

All atheists posit what’s called a universal negative. A universal negative requires absolute knowledge (omniscience) whereas a universal positive may not require that.

For instance, let’s say I am in a building with 4 rooms, and I have only been in 1 room. In order to say that every room is empty, I would have to have knowledge of all 4 rooms. I would need to know the entirety of what I am claiming to know.

However, to state the opposite, that the building is not empty, I would at the very least only need to know about one room.

So, in essence, any time an atheist claims that there is absolutely no God, they are claiming absolute and full knowledge of the universe (omniscience). If they are not claiming absolute knowledge, than they are going off of faith, but in fact, since they could never EVER know for sure that universal negative, then they are requiring much more faith than a person who claims there is a God (because finding out if there is a God may not require absolute knowledge).

But hey, I don’t need to say it, it was written quite a long time ago "the fool says in his heart ‘There is no God’" (Psalm 14:1)

http://www.alterform.com/news/why-atheism-is-stupid

Same Sex Surrogacy Mess

Posted February 18, 2009 by atheiststooges
Categories: Against Homosexuality

First-grader Isabella doesn’t yet understand all the big decisions that judges here in Vermont and Virginia have made about her life.

But her mother, Lisa Miller, knows how profoundly those court orders will affect her 6-year-old. Miller’s attorneys even petitioned this landmark custody case she’s fighting with her former lesbian partner to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear it.

http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/17321/

The mythology of chance

Posted June 21, 2007 by atheiststooges
Categories: The mythology of chance

chance.jpgchance.jpg

Chance

Many scientists have overstepped their bounds, and wound up in the fantasy world of myth.

Chance is a Soft pillow that only the ignorant, and disinterested can provide.

Kant was motivated to write after reading Hume who was very big on chance.

Chance has caused geniuses to fall asleep at the switch of science.

It serves as a magic tool to scientists for making shabby philosophizing a most respectable attitude.

As Arthur Kessler once said, “As long as chance rules God is an Anachronism.”

I believe this to be  an understatement.

If chance rules God cannot be validated.

For chance to make God irrelevant all it has to do is exist. It doesn’t even have to rule or be very strong. All it takes is an ounce of it, or even 1 milligram it. If chance exists then God ceases to exist. If there is such a thing as chance which has become a scientific law, then we have an unbridgeable chasm between science, and theology, and something has to give. Chance is central to the doctrine of creation principally. Is there such a thing as creation?

Every atheist understands this,” If you can gainsay this concept then Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are finished.” The 3 great religions of the world all understand that God is the efficient, and sufficient cause of the entire Universe, and all agree on that. Where chance functions, mythology operates chiefly as a substitute for creation. It is a concept that is appealed to relentlessly to save the phenomena of the universe without an appeal to theology. That’s why some people welcome the entrance of chance into the world of scientific thought.

I once heard a sermon where a minister tried to defend creation against these people who were saying that the world was created by chance. And he had read somewhere the odds against a universe being created by chance were astronomical, and stated that  there was  an infinite number of possibility against it. He stated that it was mathematically impossible for the universe to come into existence by chance. After the sermon he asked me what I thought, and I bluntly told him that he just gave away the store. He asked me what I meant and I told him 3 things.

In the first place if there is 1 chance in 10 gazillion googolplexes that the universe took place by chance, and if the timeframe for this to happen was infinite it seems to me that one of these possibilities is going to come up sooner or later in eternity. It’s not like there’s only one shot for these things to happen.

Second, it is not mathematically impossible when you’ve just given a mathematical possibility as remote as it may be in terms of 1 out of all of these zeros and it’s still mathematically possible for the universe to come into being by chance.

Third question was the biggest one,” What are the chances that anything can happen by chance,” I asked him, and he said “I don’t know what you mean”, and I said “NOT A CHANCE.” I said nothing can happen by chance, and he said why not, and I said to him that chance cannot do anything. I once had a discussion with one of my professors in Grad school who said to me that the universe was created by chance. And I had pushed him a little bit on this, and I had a coin to illustrate the problem, and I said to him “if I take this .50 cent piece what are the chances that if I flip it up into the air that it comes up heads,” and he said” 50/50.” Then I asked him how much influence does chance exert on the flip of the coin, and he said, “what do you mean,” and I said, “well, the chance that it comes up heads or tails is determined by the how much pressure is exerted on it, what the density of the atmosphere is how many revolutions it takes and so on.”

Those are all the variables so how much influence does chance have, and he still didn’t get it, and I said well look, if you’re using the term chance to talk about mathematical possibilities it’s a perfectly useful term. But when we ascribe to chance a power to something, we are saying that chance is something. “Now what is this mysterious X factor that causes this coin to come up heads,” and he still gave me that deer in the headlight look. And I told him, “chance cannot do anything because chance is not anything.” For something to act it must first be, and chance is not a thing, it’s nothing. And when you say to me that the universe was created by chance you are saying that the universe was created by nothing. And you’ve taken a perfectly good word, to describe mathematical possibilities, and now informed it with “magical power.” Giving it ontological status, and giving it power to do something when it is not anything. Chance has become the magic tool for making shabby philosophy respectable as stated earlier by Boethius the Roman philosopher. One of the basic axioms of philosophy, and science is ex nihilo (Out of nothing, nothing comes) in simple language it states that you cannot get something from nothing.

If there was a time when there was nothing what would there be now? NOTHING ….if it’s true that out of nothing nothing comes. The soft pillow is this, “out of chance everything comes” which is saying “out of nothing something comes.” Or “ Out of nothing everything comes.” And that is the principle idea that is used as a substitute for creation. Now there are those of you that may say the universe is eternal and was always here, and that’s another question. But the vast majority of critics today who deny the creation of this world by a self existent eternal God appeal to some kind of beginning to all of reality that comes from nothing. It’s the rabbit out a hat without a hat without a rabbit without a magician. It’s worse than magic its pure mythology. If this mythology were not taken so seriously today we could be amused by it, but whats at stake is not just theology but science itself. Incidentally this professor went on to become a Christian.

Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority

Posted May 31, 2007 by atheiststooges
Categories: Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minori

http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=releases&-lay=web&-format=umnnewsrele

Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according
to new U of M study
What:   U of M study reveals America’s distrust of atheism
Who:    Penny Edgell, associate professor of sociology
Contact:        Nina Shepherd, sociology media relations, (612) 599-1148
Mark Cassutt University News Service, (612) 624-8038
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (3/28/2006) — American’s increasing acceptance
of religious diversity doesn’t extend to those who don’t believe in a
god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University
of Minnesota’s department of sociology.
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university
researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent
immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing
their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority
group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to
marry.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and
relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the
American way of life by a large portion of the American public.
“Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population,
offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance
over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology
professor and the study’s lead researcher.
Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics,
Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic
moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most
Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares
a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America,
that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the
study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral
indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism
and cultural elitism.
Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder
is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules
and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding
of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of
atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the
common good.”
The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is
related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure
to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated,
East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their
Midwestern counterparts.
The study is co-authored by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and
associate professor Doug Hartmann. It’s the first in a series of
national studies conducted the American Mosaic Project, a three-year
project funded by the Minneapolis-based David Edelstein Family
Foundation that looks at race, religion and cultural diversity in the
contemporary United States. The study will appear in the April issue
of the American Sociological Review.
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1786422&page=1
Distrusting Atheists
April 2, 2006 — Given the increasing religiosity of American culture,
it’s perhaps not too surprising that a new study out this month finds
that Americans are not fond of atheists and trust them less than they
do other groups. The depth of this distrust is a bit astonishing
nonetheless.
More than 2,000 randomly selected people were interviewed by
researchers from the University of Minnesota.
Asked whether they would disapprove of a child’s wish to marry an
atheist, 47.6 percent of those interviewed said yes. Asked the same
question about Muslims and African-Americans, the yes responses fell
to 33.5 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively. The yes responses for
Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians were 18.5
percent, 18.5 percent, 11.8 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.
When asked which groups did not share their vision of American
society, 39.5 percent of those interviewed mentioned atheists. Asked
the same question about Muslims and homosexuals, the figures dropped
to a slightly less depressing 26.3 percent and 22.6 percent,
respectively. For Hispanics, Jews, Asian-Americans and
African-Americans, they fell further to 7.6 percent, 7.4 percent, 7.0
percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.
The study contains other results, but these are sufficient to
underline its gist: Atheists are seen by many Americans (especially
conservative Christians) as alien and are, in the words of sociologist
Penny Edgell, the study’s lead researcher, “a glaring exception to the
rule of increasing tolerance over the last 30 years.”
Edgell also maintains that atheists seem to be outside the limits of
American morality, which has largely been defined by religion.
Many of those interviewed saw atheists as cultural elitists, amoral
materialists, or given to criminal behavior or drugs. She states, “Our
findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested
individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”
Of course, it should go without saying, but won’t, that belief in God
isn’t at all necessary to have a keen ethical concern for others.
The study will appear in the April issue of the American Sociological
Review and is co-written by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and
associate professor Doug Hartmann.
Possible Partial Remedies
The results of this study suggest a couple of partial remedies. One is
a movie analogy of “Brokeback Mountain,” which dealt with manly
cowboys coming to grips with their homosexuality.
A dramatic rendition of a devoutly religious person (or couple) coming
to grips with the realization of his (their) disbelief may be
eye-opening for many.
A movie version of the science writer Martin Gardner’s novel “The
Flight of Peter Fromm” may do the trick. In the book, Gardner tells
the story of a young fundamentalist and his somewhat torturous journey
to free-thinking skepticism.
One other suggestion is for politicians. When they invoke the
inclusive nature of American society and go through the litany of
welcoming Christians of all denominations, Jews, and Muslims to some
event, they should go a step further and welcome people of other
religious persuasions as well as nonbelievers.
The number of atheists and agnostics in this country is hard to
measure, especially since most of these many millions of Americans
don’t advertise, but a politician’s greater inclusiveness may pay
political dividends. It’s also the right thing to do.
Liberty University Debate Champions?
A tenuously related story also near the crossroads of religion and
politics is the No. 1 ranking of the debate team at Liberty
University.
Founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a Christian fundamentalist and
political conservative, the university has in recent years fielded a
team that has attracted much media attention.
The March 19 New York Times Magazine devoted a long story to the team,
which also received extensive recent coverage in Newsweek, on CBS, and
in various other venues.
http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/ath1.htm
 new study by the University of Minnesota Department of Sociology has
found that Americans perceive Atheists as the group least likely to
embrace common values and a shared vision of society.
   Worse yet, Atheists are identified as the cohort other Americans do
not want to see their offspring marrying!
   These are just some of the result from a forthcoming article slated
for publication in the American Sociological Review by Penny Edgell,
Joseph Gerties and Douglas Hartmann. The research is part of the
American Mosaic Project which monitors attitudes of the population in
respect to minority groups. AANEWS obtained an advanced copy of the
study that was based on a telephone survey of more than 2,000
households.
   Researchers concluded: “Americans rate atheists below Muslims,
recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in
‘sharing their vision of American society.’ Atheists are also the
minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their
children to marry.”
monthly special    Disturbingly, Atheists are “seen as a threat to the
American way of life by a large portion of the American public,”
despite being only 3% of the U.S. population according to Dr. Edgell,
associate sociology professor and the lead researcher in the project.
   Edgell said that Atheists “play the role that Catholics, Jews and
communists have played in the past” in that we provide “a symbolic
moral boundary to membership in American society.”
   In addition, says the study, “The reaction to atheists has long
been used as an index of political and social tolerance.”
   The U. of M. team acknowledged that general levels of tolerance and
acceptance have been on the rise. Indeed, they cited studies like the
Gallup polling organization that indicated growing willingness by
voters to support Catholic, Jewish, Gay and other candidates
identified with groups once considered out of the mainstream.
Atheists, however, linger at the very bottom of this list, although
there has been limited progress in this category since the mid-to-late
1950s.
   Statistically, the picture is much the same regarding the
perception of Atheists sharing a common vision with the rest of the
American polity. When asked to identify the group that “does not at
all agree with my vision of American society,” 39.6% of respondents
listed Atheists, well ahead of Muslims (26.3%); Homosexuals (22.6%);
and Jews (7.6%). Conservative Christians drew a negative response from
13.5% of those surveyed, slightly ahead of recent immigrants at 12.5%.
   Other results found by the researchers illuminated the status of
Atheists in respect to various groups.
    ¶       “Church attenders, conservative Protestants, and those
reporting high religious saliency are less likely to approve of
intermarriage with an atheist and more likely to say that atheists do
not share their vision of American society…” In respect to the
former, the survey presented respondents with the following statement:
“I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this
group.”
   Once again, Atheists were at the apex of this negative-image cohort
at 47.6%, followed by Muslims (33.5%); African Americans (27.2%);
Asian Americans (18.5%); Hispanics (18.5%); Jews (11.8%); conservative
Christians (6.9%) and Whites at 2.3%.
    ¶       “Attitudes toward atheists are related to social
location,” observed the team. “White Americans, males, and those with
a college degree are somewhat more accepting of atheists than are
nonwhite Americans, females, or those with less formal education.”
   Respondents from the South and Midwest were less accepting of
Atheists than those living on either coast. Curiously, this seems to
reflect the political divide of “Red versus Blue” states from the last
presidential election.
    ¶       Researchers also tried to discover any correlations
between negative attitudes toward Atheists and similar views of
homosexuals and Muslims. “None of these correlations is large,”
reported the researchers. “We believe this indicates that the boundary
being draw vis-a-vis atheists is symbolic, a way of defining cultural
membership in American life, and not the result of a simple irrational
unwillingness to tolerate small out-groups.”
    A significant finding of the new study is that despite growing
acceptance and tolerance of different groups within the religious
community, Atheists are viewed as outsiders, “others,” who do not
share a common community vision. “What matters for public acceptance
of atheists — and figures strongly into private acceptance as well —
are beliefs about the appropriate relationship between church and
state and about religion’s role in underpinning society’s moral order,
as measured by our item on whether society’s standards of right and
wrong should be based on God’s laws.” The study found that
conservative Protestants especially rejected the “possibility of a
secular basis for a good society.” This, more than anything else, may
be the driving factor placing Atheists outside the cultural mainstream
in the minds of nearly a majority of Americans.
    The University of Minnesota study drew upon other research
measuring the prevalence of explicit Atheism and nonbelief throughout
American society. Fully 14% of Americans claim “no religious
identity,” and 7% told the General Social Survey that they do not
believe in a God or are not sure.
   “Respondents had various interpretations of what atheists are like
and what the label means,” investigators found in discussions
following the initial interviews. Perceptions fell into two
categories.
   “Some people view atheists as problematic because they associate
them with illegality, such as drug use and prostitution — that is,
with immoral people who threaten respectable community from the lower
end of the social hierarchy.” Presumably, this might be rooted in the
claim that only religion can provide an authentic moral compass, and
that without a deity (and the presumed punishment in an afterlife),
people have little to lose by engaging in certain immoral, sinful
behaviors.
   “Others saw atheists as rampant materialists and cultural elitists
that threaten common values from above — the ostentatiously wealthy
who make a lifestyle out of consumption or the cultural elites who
think they know better than everyone else.” In both cases, atheists
are perceived as “self interested individuals who are not concerned
with a common good.”
    ¶       The issue of elitism surfaces in the study findings, with
respondents using the Atheist “as a symbolic figure to represent their
fears about … trends in American life.” These included crime,
rampant self-interest, and an “unaccountable elite.”
   “The atheist is invoked rhetorically to discuss the links, or
tensions, among religion, morality, civic responsibility and
patriotism.”
   As for elitism, Atheists appear to have replaced groups that in the
past have been identified as constituting an over-influential clique
subverting American values.
   The researchers note that in the public imagination, Atheists are
linked “with a kind of unaccountable elitism,” a phenomenon that has
purportedly surfaced in public debates. Indeed, Charlotte Allen,
author of the 2004 book “The Twilight of Atheism,” expressed fears
that Atheism “may yet be experiencing a new dawn: a terrifying new
alliance of money and power, of a kind even Marx could not have
foreseen.”
    ¶       The debate over Atheists, Atheists and the issue of
religion in civil society has been fueled by the terrorist attacks of
9/11. The Minnesota team devoted a section of their report to quotes
from leading officials such as former Attorney General John Ashcroft,
who in public statements invoked religion as a guarantor of freedom
and human dignity. The 2004 presidential campaign witnessed similar
rhetoric.
    The study underscored the role of Atheists as “symbolic” of angst
permeating American culture. “Negative views about atheists are
strong,” noted the researchers, although “survey respondents were not,
on the whole, referring to actual atheists they had encountered.”
Instead, the Atheist is a sort of boundary marker distinguishing
members of a wider policy from “others,” outsiders, those not sharing
assumptions about morality and the role of religion. Religion is
widely perceived as providing “habits of the heart,” and a disposition
which includes one in membership within a larger community. Americans
“construct the atheist as the symbolic representation of one who
rejects the basis for moral solidarity and cultural membership in
American society altogether.”
   Other groups have suffered a similar fate over the year, including
“Catholics, Jews, and Communists.” Today, say the researchers, the
Atheist plays this role.
   There may be a crucial difference, however. “Our analysis shows
that attitudes about atheists have not followed the same historical
pattern as that for previously marginalized religious groups. It is
possible that the increasing tolerance for religious diversity may
have heightened awareness of religion itself as the basis for
solidarity in American life and sharpened the boundary between
believers and nonbelievers in our collective imagination.”
    Finally, in all of this, there is a flicker of hope for Atheists.
The Minnesota survey references an earlier Gallup Organization poll
(listed as “Figure 1”) measuring “Willingness to vote for Presidential
candidates.” Voter attitudes toward Catholics, Jews, African
Americans, Atheists and Homosexuals were tabulated with displayed
results from 1958 through 1999. Gallup conducted the survey as
then-vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman was running on the
Democratic Party ticket with Al Gore. Willingness to consider voting
for a Jewish candidate had climbed from about 61% in 1958 to over 90%
in 1999. There was similar progress for candidates of other religious
or ethnic groups. Voters looked favorably on possible Mormon
candidates (79%) as well as Roman Catholics and women.
   Atheists were at the bottom of the cohort, however. Gallup research
indicated that “close to half of Americans, 48%, (were) unwilling to
support an atheist for president while 49% say they would.”
   The bad news may not be THAT bad, though. About 19% of respondents
in 1958 expressed willingness to vote for a qualified Atheist
candidate seeking public office. By 1978, that figure had climbed to
40%, rising approximately another 10% in the next 11 years. The only
group making comparable dramatic headway in terms of public acceptance
was African Americans. That cohort lingered below the 30% mark in
1958, but skyrocketed to over 90% in 1999.
   American Atheists President Ellen Johnson said that while Atheists
are the “others” in the current cultural and political milieu, the
figures demonstrate the need for this segment to become more engaged.
“We need to keep speaking out, organizing, running for public office,”
said Johnson. “Some might see this as an omen to retreat; it’s really
a call for action.”
 

More by Ann Coulter

Posted May 12, 2007 by atheiststooges
Categories: Ann Coulter Blurbs

C’est Si Bon

Sarkozy’s victory makes France our new friend and Democrats look foolish

No Wonder They’re Afraid of Brit Hume

The Democrats’ foolish responses during the debate demonstrate their obvious lack of preparation to lead the country

For cranky right-wingers who think politicians don’t listen to them, this week I give you elected Democrats running like scared schoolgirls from the media’s demand that they enact new gun control laws in response to the Virginia Tech shooting.Instead, …

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Imus!

If at First You Don’t Appease — Cry, Cry Again

‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Seem to Be the Hardest Word

Gore’s Global Warming Religion

In Washington, It’s Always the Year of the Rat

Shooting Elephants in a Barrel

Let Them Eat Tofu!

John Murtha: Caving In to Arabs Since 1980

Jonathan Livingston Obama

Yellowcake and Yellow Journalism

Free the Fitzgerald One

I Am Woman, Hear Me Bore

The Stripper Has No Clothes

Stripper Lied … White Boys Fried

The Democratic Party: A Vast Sleeper Cell

Kwanzaa: Holiday From the FBI