Being nontheistic in a culture that is still predominantly religious can be, well, really, really hard. It seems that almost everyday I have some discouraging encounter with popular religiosity. Sometimes it comes from something as simple as reading a news article about a former presidential candidate predicting the “End Times” of “scripture” out of disagreement with some less-than-apocalyptic U.S. foreign policy decision. Other times it comes from meeting people whose understanding of American politics can basically be summarize by this (and who, more disturbingly, are probably registered voters). Or other times it comes from merely logging on Facebook and being bombarded by a slew of “inspirational” memes like this posted by conservative friends and family.
It can all be immensely frustrating and discouraging. As a secular humanist, I believe very deeply that, at this point in history, progress cannot truly be made nor human society be truly advanced until religion becomes an artifact of our past rather than something we practice in everyday life. Encounters like those cited above, however, demonstrate that a high degree of religious delusion still saturates our culture. I’m sure that I am not the only atheist who is depressed by these encounters.
But never fear, fellow humanists, for in this cultural tug-of-war, we are winning.
Below is a list of things I like to remind myself of whenever I am saddened or frustrated by the reality of a religious global and national majority. I hope you too will use it to remind yourself that, for every frustrating online exchange with an apologist, atheists and secular humanists are winning. For every report of dogma-bred terrorism in the Middle East, we are winning. For all the times you’ve held your tongue or turned away or gone to Christmas Mass with your family to be nice, we are winning. The road of change ahead is long and arduous, and there is still much work to be done, but I for one will hold my head high because no matter what, we are still winning. Here’s why.