This thing might not win us any new friends. And it might not draw many people to the Mall. And it might not end up being covered much by the media. And the speakers just might prove so insufferably, smugly liberal that even atheists like me come away annoyed. But if it provides me with enough content for just
one two late-night traffic-bait posts, my friends, then what we have here is what’s known as a success.
Seriously, though, I’m not sure the gay analogies are working out:
“The message is that if you can come out, you can out come out,” he says. “And if you can’t come out, at least you’ll know you’re not alone, and maybe sometime soon you’ll be able to come out of the closet to your family.”
Silverman says this is their moment, as important to atheists as the Stonewall riots were to the gay-rights movement four decades ago.
Dawkins makes the same point near the end of the clip below. Could be my NYC upbringing coloring my view but “coming out” as a nonbeliever has never seemed to me to be as wrenching as coming out as gay must be. Partly that’s because most atheists tend to come to it incrementally over time whereas for most gays it’s probably more of a rapid awakening when they’re young. Partly it’s because for families that aren’t especially religious, ultimately your parents don’t care much what your beliefs are whereas virtually all parents care about their kids marrying and having kids. And partly it’s because believers, in their moments of doubt, can relate to the skepticism of nonbelievers whereas a lot of straights (but not all) can’t relate on a visceral level to attraction to the same sex. But as I say, maybe this is NYC’s secular culture skewing my view. Could be that declaring yourself atheist in a devoutly religious community would be just as wrenching as declaring yourself gay.
Anyway. Your reward for enduring yet another lame “Reason Rally” post is this spicy data set from Gallup. Go ahead and gloat. You know you want to.