As I see it, atheism as a movement is about two things. First, it’s about skepticism and the advancement of knowledge free of dogma. Second, it’s about achieving social change. We want to remove the stigma of atheism, allowing atheists to be open and honest about their non-belief while minimizing fear of prejudice and hostility against them.
Speaking as someone actively involved with atheist visibility, I know that it can be really frustrating when it seems like progress is not happening. In fact, people commonly write us to ask, “Why do you bother? It’s not like you’re going to turn Christians into atheists.”
Social progress always happens slowly, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the possibility of long term change, and even reasons to believe that you might have a small part to play as an instrument of that change. In this post and the planned follow-up, I want to talk a bit about taking a big picture perspective on social change.