Rebecca Watson posts an effective way of fighting the common stereotype, held even by atheists, that religious affiliation is a sign of morality. Beginning with Hitchens’ famous claim that he’d rather meet a gang of thugs than a group coming out of church meetings she quotes research showing that even atheists believe the stereotyped myth that religion is morality making.
Frankly, I loved that passage when I read it as I am always more fearful of being around devoutly religious people until proven trustworthy than any other group–too often they can’t wait to out me, even innocently, or I have to lie. Believing in an irrational and usually peculiar metaphysics means I can’t guess how they will abuse me other than I know I will be abused. This is because of the common stereotype that atheists are less moral than pond scum. If sweet little old ladies can’t stand it when their extended family doesn’t go to church. Imagine the horrors of atheists.
Which means we are the most ostracized group in the country. We should thank our lucky stars that atheism doesn’t have physical or morphological ramifications in the US today. Any religious person that whines about mythical secular persecution need only look at us and say there but for the grace of god go I, which is even more scary.
The antidote is not to hide the stereotype. When you out yourself specifically address the myth.
It bothers the crap out of me that people think atheists aren’t moral. I am a moral person. I have a family. I go to work. I volunteer time to charities. I don’t even have a criminal record. Yet, religious people assume that I am immoral. This makes it very difficult for me to trust religious people or even want to hear what they say. I hope you don’t think I am immoral just because I am an atheist.
More fun would be
Nearly everyone thinks atheists can’t be moral. Other than not believing in a god I am a moral person. I doubt that belief in god is what keeps you moral. I would hope not as if it is then anyone who isn’t your religion isn’t moral either and that’s most of the world, your coworkers, your relatives, and your neighbors.
Yeah, I’m an atheist normally hiding in my closet hoping not to be persecuted by a religious person. You don’t believe the vicious stereotype that atheists can’t be moral do you?
Whatever way you choose to speak do something. The best way to fight a stereotype is to address it directly. Don’t assume being a good example proves it. You must discuss it for it to work.
Here’s her YouTube.
Jim Newman, bright and well, www.frontiersofreason.com