Friday, April 3, 2009

How to Build a Successful Atheist Group

Parenting Beyond Belief has a great post about how to run a successful secular/humanist/atheist/Brights/etc. group, from someone with experience at a lot of them.

I've compared religion to professional sports before; I'm not a pro-football fan, so on Superbowl Sunday I don't host an anti-Superbowl party, I go out kayaking (usually). Of course, the difference is there's no lobbying group trying to teach the gospel of Joe Montana to our first-graders in public school. But we're still left with the problem of making an atheist group something more than an anti-Superbowl party.

That's why my only quibble with this list is that #7, "A Call to Action" should be #1. We gain coherence, community and purpose by organizing toward the specific issues that motivate us as atheists. Make it as local and concrete as you can. A big area is politics - bioethics (stem cell research and euthanasia), school issues like creationism and prayer, public displays of religion, and gay civil rights. Name names of politicians and bills. Cite historical examples of what's worked or not worked in the past. Public awareness and relations works too, and then the volunteer opportunities present themselves. Volunteer to maintain trails or restore creeks or build houses.

Our first problem as atheists is a political one, not a philosophical one, so get involved and make it work.

No comments: