Sunday, August 30, 2009

"What are we going to do?"

"What are we going to do?"

I'm a strong advocate for having on-the-ground atheist groups - the more the better - and, to do my part, I've personally been involved in getting a couple of local groups started. (It isn't a trick that's all that hard to accomplish. Try it. Need help? Ask.)

Here's the dilemma and the reason I'm composing this blog: I was once asked, point blank, "[Now that we've formed up] ...What are we going to do?" The question set me immediately aback and I've been hearing the echoes of it ever since.

In my own mind, the purpose for having atheist groups is to function in a capacity of society's stabilizing ballast, as virtual reservoirs of godless reason in opposition to what has grown over the decades to become an increasingly out of balance and sinking American system - a system which is easily lead around by the unreasonable wants of religion to rule over everything. Resultingly, I see our local groups as having a single most important purpose, that of being organized bodies to stand at-the-ready and respond in protest to all invasions by religion upon personal civil liberty. I see us, our local atheist groups, as today's standing minutemen.

With this in mind, you might be able to gather why I was originally stunned. To specifically answer the question "...what are we going to do?" with having my kind of group purpose in mind required that some off-level religious threat loomed eminently in need of immediate attention. That isn't usually the case, is it?

For the most part, atheist issues needing local group attention come and go. Examples: A certain area school that habitually skirts the ban on school prayer law, no doubt requires constant local attention (LOL ... moreover, it would probably already be getting plenty of it from our national organizations). Demonstrations and protests organized on local levels would likely be in order. But for lessor issues, like that of a local business which offered special discounts to church members, a different solution might be apropos. In the later case, a simple letter of reminder to the business owner stating that his practices are in violation of the law would likely be an effective response.

So, you a can perhaps now see that answering "What are we going to do?" covers a very wide range of possibilities and an even wider array of possible responses. As for what an atheist group does: what we stand for and what we stand against determines what we're likely to do. Short of that, answering "What are we going to do?" yields responses that are no more shocking than the ordinary set of pass-time choices. Bowling, anyone?

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