Sunday, March 18, 2007

Famous Atheists

Remember Debbie Schlussel, the Ann Coulter wannabe that made such a ruckus on her Paula Zahn appearance? (part 1 ... part 2) Here are a couple of her gems, taken from her blog:

Look at famous atheists and what happened to them. Adam Gadahn a/k/a Azzam Al-Amriki--now a top Al-Qaeda video "personality"--was raised by his hippie Jewish father and equally bizarre gentile mother as an atheist. And look how he turned out.

I don't mind receiving the atheist hate mail, since I know that in a few years, many of these same people will either be Muslim extremists (redundant) or helping the country fall further in its fight against the creep of Islamic imposition on America . . . or both.

Can't you just feel how safe -- and superior -- that shell of ignorance makes her feel?

To be honest, I can see how it really can be difficult for an atheist fearing person to come up with good examples of atheists. Atheism isn't very obvious. If you're black, then anybody that can get a good look at you will probably be able to tell that you're black. Sometimes Jewish (as a race, not a religion) and homosexual people can be identified from visual clues or behavioral mannerisms. Everybody's heard of "gay-dar" right? But what about atheists?

Most belief-defined groups, by nature, lack visual indicators. You might have some luck spotting Hare Krishnas and Amish, but even those visual indicators are far from reliable. Other belief groups are even less so. If somebody looks Jewish (race), they might be Jewish (religion), but that's not always the case. And if somebody looks middle eastern, they might be Islamic, but that's not always the case either. Just like a Jew (religion) might not look Jewish (race), or a Muslim might not look middle eastern. So in America, by default, people assume you are one of the statistical majority: Christian. Not because you look particularly Christian. Just because most people are, and you don't look otherwise.

On one hand, this is particularly vexing for atheists that want to find other atheists. When you're a statistical minority, and you can't tell who else is in your minority, it can feel even smaller than it really is. But it also makes it difficult for theists to know who the atheists really are! And in Debbie's case, she could have used some better examples.

If you're ever talking with somebody that obviously has no idea how many wonderful examples of atheists there really are, here are a couple of resources that can give you plenty of ammo! is a good place to not only find names of famous atheists and agnostics, but also to read the quotes that reveal/prove those titles. When I'm feeling down, I like to visit this page and realize that I am indeed in good company.

I also just found this YouTube clip that helps defend atheists by pointing out many great atheists of past and present, as well as their contributions to the world. Enjoy!


Naomi said...

OMZ! I was thinking, as I watched it, "they must have added some since the last time I saw it."

Yes! There was Pat Tillman! How sad--gone too soon, and in such a stupid, fucked-up way.

Re: Muslims-on-sight--we should never forget the fastest growing (and just as feral) Asian/Indonesian group. Many think all Chinese/Japanese/Korean/, are Buddhists. And they'd be so wrong as to be laughed out of any room where they make such a stupid observation.

Randi Rhodes, AirAmericaRadio, has Black and Carib blood, and is proud of it (she's an honorary member of the Congressional Black Caucus). And I have Native American blood (albeit small, just as Randi's is small). People will tag me as NA--but will never guess Randi's heritage.

Tags, labels, boxes, categories, political-leanings, faith--in a perfectly Utopian world, there would be no national divide, no color divide, no religion.

David W. said...

"Tags, labels, boxes, categories, political-leanings, faith--in a perfectly Utopian world, there would be no national divide, no color divide, no religion."

What a dream. That would be a wonderful day, when that is true.

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