Greetings Atheistic One,
Recently on DALnet #atheism several humanist regulars of the channel gathered together in an attempt to begin what we believe to be a valiant effort. It is our hopes that we attempt to do what some find as being difficult to do. It came to us after a lengthy discussion that what is needed is a more active line of communication between humanists. Our ranks have been divided so long scattered out foolishly attempting to debate theists of all sorts. Such acts have been proven to be a waste of time. It is essential that humanists/atheists cease this type of scattered attack. We came to the conclusion that instead of debating those who we know is foolish to debate with rationale that instead it would be more beneficial to forge 'personal relationships' with the much larger crowd of people who are not fundamentalist in their religion. Keeping the focus away from such controversial ideals and attempting to get in 'the backdoor.' It is our belief that humanists should commit themselves to such an effort.
It is our hope that we can gather as many humanist together of respectable mental discipline, emotional compassion, etc and use the combined mental skills to help bring about solutions to social problems. Instead of fighting religion strait on, humanist should concentrate our efforts to say.. education reform, then advocate that idea across the nation in hopes that it grows in a few communities and spreads like wildfire. What we are trying to fight in a new manner. We have to till the soil. A full frontal assault of theism cannot work. A united covert tactic however might work. Right now, we are attempting to contact those we feel might be interested in what we are coming up with. The current goal of ours is to simply gather together as many intelligent humanist as we can who we feel might sympathize to what needs done. Afterwards, it is our hope that by increasing the amount of communication something more organized and concrete can be created. Thank you for your time more information will follow if you wish.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Scott Hackney"
Subject: Re: Assistance Requested
Date: Saturday, February 05, 2000 4:08 PM
After struggling through your message, I have this to say: We have been forging relationships and communications with theists since our break with United States Atheists. In doing this, we emulate such organizations as Americans United for Separations of Church and State, but carry it one step further in making our stated goal the dignity of atheists and a broader understanding of what atheism is and is not.
The result is that most of the Christians that Mencken described as "off-duty" are willing to be open to our message, even if it is the first time they've encountered such ideas. It is the "off-duty" type that represents the majority, because they are not (at the moment) being whipped into a loyalistic frenzy. We do well to avoid the same trap and to understand that most people believe for a reason -- even if it's simply that they have never critically examined the creed of their youth. I addressed this in the (as yet unposted) January, 2000 editorial.
Thus, we advocate a policy of leaving people alone -- unless and until they want to enforce their religion on the rest of us. This includes such seemingly innocuous things as placing "IN GOD WE TRUST" on United States currency (which occurred during the McCarthy era of the 1950s) and allowing religious symbols to be placed on highways to mark a traffic fatality (to be addressed in the upcoming column for the February, 2000 edition).
As for uniting atheists in a general way, I say it cannot be done and should not be tried; we can better spend our resources. I will not get into why it cannot or should not be done, but I can suggest some "smaller" projects: State-Church separation; dignity for atheists; establishing help (charity) programs that instill humanistic values; opening doors of communication with liberal clergy and theistic lay-leaders; stop trying to convert theists into atheists (let reality do that); back off on the practice of putting down others' beliefs (as recently expressed by Al Gore and summarized by James Still in his piece, "Al Gore on Arrogant Atheists" that we published in our January, 2000 issue).
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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