Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Springtime for atheism


Good to hear that, according to a recent poll, people in the US are increasingly abandoning religion and turning to atheism. It's not easy to come out of the closet as an atheist, especially if you live in a small town and you're a member of the clergy.
 
Last Sunday's NY Times Magazine has a story on an heroic effort to do just that by a former preacher who lives in a small town in Louisiana:
 
[Jerry] DeWitt refuses to leave DeRidder, a place where religion, politics and family pride are indivisible. Six months after he was “outed” as an atheist he lost his job and his wife---both, he says, as a direct consequence. Only a handful of his 100-plus relatives from DeRidder still speak to him. When I visited him, in late June, his house was in foreclosure, and he was contemplating moving into his 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser. This is the kind of environment where godlessness remains a real struggle and raises questions that could ramify across the rest of the country. Is the “new atheism” part of a much broader secularizing trend, like the one that started emptying out the churches in European towns and villages a century ago? Or is it just a ticket out of town?
 
Some websites for new atheists:

The Out Campaign encourages closet atheists to go public with their unbelief.

The Richard Dawkins website

Recovering from Religion

The Clergy Project "for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs."

Freedom from Religion

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