UPDATE: I added a poll to the sidebar
de-Conversion has a new post about preaching Atheism, so rather than make a super-huge comment, I briefly commented there and decided to make a post of my own.
I read an article in Wired a few months ago about Richard Dawkins and evangelical Atheism. I was repulsed to begin with-- I hate it when Christians try to do it to me, why would I want to do it? I rejected Dawkins for a long time because of this.
But since then I've had more time to think about it, and I've changed my mind.
Over at Atheist in a Minivan, Possum Momma has a post from January about an essay her daughter wrote, in which she proclaims herself as an Atheist. Her teacher had this to say:
Her teacher wrote this at the end of her essay:
"Possum#1*, thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I don't think you're an atheist but I respect your empathy for your friends. Please see me after class today. A+"
After class, possum#1 said that her teacher told her she couldn't be an atheist because her "ability to care for others feelings isn't an atheist trait." and that her "attitude was very Christian." WTF?!
Also at Atheist in a Minivan, there's this post, which is a Baptist preacher's reaction to the essay. Also, some choice comments from said preacher follow the post, including many about how Atheists merely feign morality.
ALSO on Atheist in a Minivan (she's getting a lot of love from me today), this post points out how this country music singer (and I suppose all his fans) feel about atheists-- we're incapable of any emotion, bad parents, and druggies.
I also have my own experiences, people in high school assuming that I worship the devil, people I considered friends telling me they couldn't spend time with me anymore... it never ends.
Complete misunderstanding of Atheism is rampant, and we have to do something to stop it. That's why I'm convinced that we have to be evangelical in one way or another. I think evangelical Atheism is almost a survival mechanism at this point. We should never “stoop” to the methods used by Christian evangelism (among others), but it’s essential that we get the word out about atheism/agnosticism/non-theism.
I’m not saying we shove it down people’s throats, but we need to open people’s eyes to the alternative to religion. Whether they wish to choose this path is up to them. I would never suggest trying to force Atheism on the faithful.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I hope there will be a day when we can all live together in peace regardless of religion (or lack thereof) but it requires an understanding of the other side. An understanding which the majority of people don't have about us.
So I pose the question to you: should we evangelize Atheism?