No eggshells

Good stuff from Jason Rosenhouse.

The problem comes when outreach to religious groups becomes a euphemism for bashing people who take a less cozy view of the science/religion issue. Pointing to the diversity of religious opinion is fine, dismissing as fringe extremists people who dissent from NOMA is not.

What I keep saying. It’s othering, and it’s othering of people who are notoriously already The People It’s Right to Despise.

I believe a long term solution to this problem does not lie in moving people towards relatively more reasonable sorts of religious belief, but rather by moving towards a society in which religious belief is accorded far less respect than it currently is. Certainly that is a very long-term goal, and I do not know precisely how to achieve it. But I do know that making atheism highly visible is a big step in the right direction. Writing polemical books is one way of doing that. Yes, polemical books. Polite, nuanced philosophical treatises are good too, but they just don’t obtain the sort of attention that is needed.

Yes, polemical books, and polemical articles and blog posts, as well as more sedate and gentle ones.

[A]nother thing we can do is have vocal atheists and humanists stand up publicly, and with a bit of anger and confidence say we are not going to kowtow to a state of affairs where the dogmatic pronouncements of religious clerics are treated with crazy amounts of respect. We are not going to accept defeatist talk about how religion will always be with us and about how you can’t change people’s mind on this issue, and that we can only hope to adapt to this reality and work around it by walking on eggshells around their religious beliefs. We can make atheism and humanism so ubiquitous and commonplace that the younger generation does not find them weird and exotic.

Precisely. And that is what we are trying to do. And that is what we are going to go on trying to do, because we think it is already working and will go on working.

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