For the Younger Atheists Out There

Generation Atheist is a new blog written by and for young atheists.

Editor Laura explains why she started it:

It can seem daunting to voice your opinions about religion in the real word, especially if you live in a predominantly theistic community. Many young people think about setting up websites or blogs to get their voices heard, but it can be difficult to find something to write about regularly and to get traffic to your blog. The aim of Generation Atheist is for us all to come together and support each other by reading and commenting on each others’ work as well as finding out own voices. I hope you find this a valuable service.

She welcomes submissions from anyone. There’s also a group on Atheist Nexus with the same name.

I’m happy to support any project that lets young atheists know they’re not alone, so check out the site and consider leaving a comment or sending in a submission so it can grow!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anonymous

    What do atheists want from people of faith? How can we be there for you, despite our  differences?

    • Emster

      Atheists want people of faith to not discriminate against us and not push their religion (whichever religion it may be) into our faces or into our laws or public schools, etc.  We want to keep the nation secular (as it was founded), and not have to worry about being persecuted, fired, denied loans, beat up, etc. because we do not follow a religion.  We want acceptance and tolerance, not hatred and bigotry.  And of course every once in a while an intelligent, civil debate goes a long way toward understanding each other and making each side feel better about themselves.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAIHLUU3JSTIB3D2OWHGYN5PHA Ingen

        ” We want to keep the nation secular (as it was founded)”

        You know, not all atheists are American…
        If we make our unity dependant on nationality, we aren’t really there for each other as we should be.

        • Emster

          It’s an American blog, and I think the majority of the readers are American.  I don’t mean to ignore other nationalities, it just seems that the issue is mostly a problem in America, and other nations seem to have fewer problems when it comes to secularism and religion (though I have read about some similar problems in Canada).  What would non-American atheists want from people of faith, as I can obviously not speak on the subject for various reasons.

        • http://twitter.com/gordongoblin Gordon

          I’d rather have a “We the People” US style constitution than the embarrasment we are saddled with in Ireland ” In the name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority…”

          yuck!

          No, we are not all American, but I’ll take a good idea wherever it comes from. A secular state is a good idea.

      • Anonymous

        Everyone deserves to be safe from any form of violence. I grieve the hurt inflicted upon others of different (non)belief.

        Meanwhile, maybe I’m a softie, but I prefer civil, intelligent conversation to debate.

        • Anonymous

          I think you’ll find that when the folks here mention debate, we often mean just what you say: a civil, intelligent conversation (though usually themed, if we’re talking about a specific debate). Debate does not have to be vehement or argumentative, despite the unfortunate fact that (especially online) it often seems to be.

          I, too, prefer civil debate. Talking is far more likely to make one heard and understood than yelling ever is.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      duhsciple, Thank you! for asking this question. It is so rare and so needed. Much more often, people of faith tell atheists all about what we think, feel and do, instead of the simple, humble, and beautiful act of sincerely asking us. 

      I second everything  that Emster has said.  Added to that , you can be there for us as human beings, believing in your own innate goodness, because that allows you to see our goodness.  You can do a wonderful job of imitating Jesus, rather than a wonderful job of looking pious. You can be unafraid to get close, and come to know us individually and personally.  Finally, you can take the awareness and open-heartedness that brought you to ask your question, and convince your brothers and sisters of faith to do the same. There are far too few people of faith who do what you just did.

      Now I want to ask you the same question: What do people of faith want from atheists? (besides converting, or shutting up, going away, and dying) How can we be there for you, despite our differences? 

      I know that because a large percentage of scientists are atheists, atheists have already given you and all of us longer and less painful, less diseased lives, safer buildings, safer bridges, safer vehicles,  safer food, more efficient energy, better clothes, better access to knowledge, and remarkable insights into the amazing, beautiful and formidable universe around us and under our feet.

      But I want to ask your question back to you personally. How can I and other atheists, be there for you, duhsciple, and your friends, despite our differences?

      • Anonymous

        It is indeed good to see the beauty in every person. Of course, this vision, for me, comes from an experience of sacredness, although I hear from you a sense of awe for other people (as a humanist value).

        As you mention, there are scientists who have contributed to making life more wonderful, exploring the mysteries of the universe. I give thanks for them.

        I confess that there are atheists who are there for me. But I look forward to partnering together for the healing of  the planet (including human lives.) Also, even though much religious faith is foolish and receives mockery, I desire recognition as an intelligent, compassionate, nonviolent person of faith.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          although I hear from you a sense of awe for other people (as a humanist value).

          Thank you, duhsciple for understanding me exactly right.

          I will gladly stand right next you you to help heal this planet and its people, and I will recognize and praise your intelligence, compassion, and nonviolence as they are manifested in your actions, rather than your beliefs.  We are what we do.

    • Amanda Manning

      To follow up with Emster: I would like, as a woman, to be treated equally (and not have inequality justified or rationalized by using the Bible). I would like for my future children to be taught science that is backed by real, observable evidence, instead of the presupposition that the Bible is inerrant. I would like to live in a world where, if I decided to become a politician, that I would have a fighting chance at winning (which is difficult, seeing as atheists are the least trusted minority in the country). I would like to be able for my parents not to assume that I am morally bankrupt, just because I don’t believe in a higher being. 

      In general, I would like for religious people-the family that I am tied to for the rest of my life-to STOP thinking that I am a hopeless, angry, and immoral person. I want to stop having to endure being preached at in place of actual relationship.

      • Anonymous

        I grieve for the way people of  faith hurt, judge, and dominate friendly atheists. Equality is necessary. Science (and evidence and searching) open us to beauty and more truth.

        As you certainly know, faith does not necessarily lead to moral affluence :) so believers must not assume atheists are morally bankrupt. The evidence on that score is often tragically (from my perspective) lacking.

        Am I allowed to say you are “in my prayers” as your family? Being preached at is no fun!

    • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa E

      All I ask is that you call out prejudice and bigotry when you see it. 

      • Anonymous

        Sounds good! I’ll be a partner in that.

    • Anonymous

      A very simple thing: keep your beliefs to yourself

      You can believe what you want and live your life how you want. You can come up with whatever rules you wish (as long as you aren’t hurting people, which is all too common in religion). But only apply them to yourself. Don’t judge others for their beliefs or lack thereof and how they live. Don’t demand that they follow your rules and don’t demand that your beliefs are codified into law or taught in schools

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Now to the original post,
    Laura, thank you for creating this resource. I’m 61, so I don’t fit your
    target audience, but many young people write to me who feel terribly
    alone as atheists. They fear losing their friends, being harassed,
    abandoned, or abused by their families, and so they suppress themselves,
    and spiral down into the beginnings of depression. I will be referring
    them to your site. I know it can be a lot of work, but please keep it
    up. What you do is very needed and welcome. 

  • Annie

    Thanks, Laura!  I passed the link on to my 12 year old.  As a writer and someone who strongly identifies as an atheist, I suspect you’ll be hearing from her soon. ;-)

    • Generation Atheist

      Thank you, Annie. I would certainly be glad to hear from your daughter. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/dmastt David Masten

    I am one of those young atheists, and it does seem very intimidating at first — growing up in a Christian community, and having everyone older than me telling me that I’m wrong. 

    I started a philosophy website (www.blazingtruth.com) and I do find it a bit daunting to get a following going, but I will not relent. Expect to hear from me soon!David Masten

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Nice site, David. You address fascinating questions. I look forward to hearing more from you. Don’t worry too much about the following. Nodding heads can be gratifying, but they don’t make your ideas any more correct.  Just keep describing the truths that you see in ways that people can understand.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dmastt David Masten

        Thank you Richard for the encouragement! My biggest point that I make, perhaps subtly in all of my posts, is that truth is not by consensus. Wishing won’t make it so, unfortunately. I hold Truth supreme above all else. The pursuit of knowledge will take me to new heights I’ve never imagined, let’s do this!

        Thanks again,
        D

  • Johannsone

    My son who is 16 has struggled to find a place to fit in since about the 5th grade. I passed on to him my stunning charm, good looks and the ability to indulge in a little free thought. I welcome a place where he can identify with other non-religious teens. He believes in compassion, free will and helping those in need without having to attribute a god to his acts. Unfortunately, he has suffered some very hurtful years because of others misunderstanding of a life without a deity. He has been called a Satanist (which to me implies god follower-satan being an angel of god). he’s been called a ‘fag’ and lastly, he’s been called a moron. implying he must be stupid if he thinks when he dies jesus will open the gates for him, he’s going straight to hell. Ah, humanity, aint it grand :)
    I will most certainly direct him to this site and encourage him to offer a writing of some of his encounters. He could do a full run of ‘life on the bus’: conversion aversion.

    Thanks for sharing!

    And to the prejudice non believers can encounter. I was disqualified for a sandwich delivery job by a christian run family deli when they told me they don’t work Sundays, so everyone can go to church with their families. Without thinking, I said, I don’t go to church, but I do appreciate some quality family time. It’s ok though, i don’t really care to work where the minds are so narrow. If you judge me on my church attendance, I’m afraid you may judge me for other things I can’t control. Doesn’t help feed my kids, but I’m not too desperate … yet :)

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Your son’s a lucky young man because he has you. I wish you well in finding work that is suitable for a person of your integrity. 

      • Johannsone

        you just made my day :)

        Thanks .. I needed that little morale booster.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TimothyVanUytfang Tadhg Padraig Iúile O’Shea

    I think it’s wonderful that there finally is a website out there for young atheists like me. I myself have started a broadcast for younger atheists, and indeed, it is hard to get a proper audience. But this is a good start! 


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