Greta Christina has already written about how non-religious people can become atheist allies.
Now, she has written about how we atheists can be better allies ourselves. What can we do to help others who share our progressive, rational beliefs?
The full list with explanations is on her site, but here’s the condensed version:
- Treat other groups the way you want to be treated.
- Don’t assume that religious believers are stupid — and don’t talk to them or treat them as if they’re stupid.
- Don’t be quick to assume malice or willful ignorance.
- If you’re going to talk about religion, tread carefully.
- Be careful about making analogies.
- Remember that it’s not always about us.
- Support other atheists whose methods are different from yours.
The list is a good one. I agree with almost all of it.
That last item bothers me, though. Maybe because “support” is the wrong word.
I don’t support atheists who tear down religious people to make their point.
I don’t support atheists who think ridiculing religion is more important than offering an alternative way of looking at the world to people who have never considered it.
It’s ok to criticize other atheists’ methods. In fact, I think criticism supports our movement as a whole. It lets people know that there is not just one way of not believing in God.
I appreciate it when liberal Christians call out the conservative ones. Not that I’m inclined to become a Christian either way, but it’s good to know there are Christians who aren’t Creationist/Republican/anti-gay-rights. They offer a way to be Christian without the ugly side we always see the extremists showing. (I agree they’re still deluded about their fundamental beliefs, but that’s besides the point.)
Do you need both sides (as Greta Christina writes) to create the social change? Perhaps.
It doesn’t mean I like what the other side is doing and saying. And we don’t need to always support each other’s methods.
A “unified atheist front” isn’t going to make religious people lose their faith all of a sudden.
Knowing that there are many ways to “be” an atheist — and that some ways are preferable to others?
That could help.