This was the panel discussion question posed at the American Atheists convention.
I was on the panel, and my answer was a resounding “Yes.”
Of course it matters. If reason and logic were enough to convince people that atheism makes sense, most of the country would have lost their faith by now. Clearly, that’s not the case. There’s much more to the equation, and I believe the rest of it– the bulk of it– falls in the realm of good public relations. We need people who can communicate the message of atheism in a non-threatening, non-condescending way.
There were some questions raised about whether we should be focusing on feel-good activities like doing more volunteer work and good deeds (and if that will change anyone’s mind about atheism at all), or whether we should be even more forceful in our rhetoric.
I agreed with Blair Scott, the Alabama state director of American Atheists, who argued that this is not an either/or question. We must do both.
However, I think there are plenty of rational, reasonable arguments for not believing in the supernatural already out there. Is one more book really going to have a tremendous impact on people? I’m not saying it’s going to hurt, either, but we need to be focusing more on the communications aspect at this point.
What do you think?
[tags]atheist, atheism, American Atheists, Blair Scott, Alabama[/tags]