From a conversation Chris Stedman had with Phil Zuckerman about the rise in “nones” in the US and whether or not the pugnacity of people like Dawkins and Bill Maher is the chief cause:
CS: What are some of the most important things nontheists can do right now to support the growing number of nonreligious Americans? What should we prioritize?
PZ: In my opinion, the best thing atheists can do right now is to make the world a better place. That means fighting inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, religious fundamentalism, and global warming. When life is hard—when people face suffering—religion tends to be strong; it offers comfort in the face of life’s troubles. But when life is more manageable and secure, people can find meaning and purpose in the here and now.
To put it more crudely: when life is shit, religion has a chance. When life is better, people have less need for religion. Better things are better. It’s better for people to have better lives, and the decline of religion would be a good side effect of that. The really important bit though is the betterness of more people having better lives.
We also need to bring in more voices into the secular tent: more people of color, more people from differing political viewpoints, more families with children.
More women. That’s a big one, because we’re half. If you leave us out, you’re leaving out half. Don’t leave out half.
But we have been making progress: Twenty years ago, if you wanted to find a community of secular humanists, it wasn’t always so easy, especially if you weren’t in a big city. Or didn’t just want to hang out in a room with ten whites guys in Members Only jackets and glasses with ugly frames. Today, the diversity of a plethora of options for finding secular community is truly amazing.
And would be even more so if there weren’t such an ugly pushback going on.
Finally, we need to help our secular brothers and sisters in regions of the world where being secular isn’t so easy. They desperately need our support.
Yes they do. You can find quite a few of them right here on this blog network.