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Why Atheists Should Organize

March 3, 2008

Although the word atheist is problematic because its root words to not explicitly define what atheists are and think, I argue that contemporary usage implicitly suggests an overlapping set of ideals that bring those who call themselves atheist together.  Furthermore, I argue here that atheists should and will organize themselves better for a number of reasons.

Humans are social mammals.  Although it seems obvious for me to say such a statement, sometimes we may lose sight of what that idea implies.  There is, I think, still a great deal of debate about what human social groups were like before certain agricultural and neurological advances.  However, it does seem clear that we lived and died as part of groups when these advances took place.

Since humans are social mammals, it is expected that we will express a psychological need to be integrated into a group.  Local atheist communities will allow a formerly socially isolated atheist to fulfill this need.

There is a need for atheists (and non-theists, non-religious, secular humanists, Brights, etc.) to work together in an organized way.  The only way to effectively lobby for separation of church and state, civil rights, and the promotion of science and reason is for us to do so as a relatively unified group, or at least an alliance of relatively unified groups.

There may not be a need for organized atheist groups in larger and more secular cities, at least not for the same reasons.  For example, if one lives in New York City, Seattle, or London, finding secular friends to satisfy the human evolutionary and psychological need to be part of a social group will not be difficult.  However, it seems as though local active atheist communities could provide important services to atheists in small cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

Atheist organizations that exist on the national and international level seem to do well when it comes to promoting ideas shared by the atheist community.  They also lead the way in being a watchdog for many issues related to the separation of church and state.  However, I have difficulty finding an organization that not only provides services to local communities of atheists, but also is able to coordinate well with other local communities.

I therefore decided to create an organization that will consist of local chapters that provide badly needed support for secularists, including atheists, on a local level.  It will also have regional and international leadership to help individual chapters and the organization as a whole work towards a clear and cohesive set of goals.

One Comment
  1. Otter permalink

    So what is your answer to the great question? Should atheists call themselves the Allied Atheist Alliance, the Unified Atheist League, or the Unified Atheist Alliance?

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