“How to be an ally with atheists”

Greta Christina’s blog has an interesting piece about “how to be an ally with atheists,” addressed mainly to politically left-liberal believers who want to be more inclusive towards nonbelievers. It’s almost all eminently sensible stuff; I think Christina does a very good job capturing some of the routine everyday crap that drives atheists up the wall.

Still, I wonder how the premise of the piece holds up. Christina says that

the atheist movement is just beginning to get off the ground, and it’s already come very far in a very short time, both in terms of numbers and in terms of visibility. IMO, in the coming years and decades, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

I don’t know. That seems optimistic. If I were a liberal and was concerned only about political payoff, I still might be tempted to distance myself from nonbelievers, since any association with atheists can only hurt in the wider public realm. Making it clear that you stand against nonbelievers can be cheap way of advertising ones moral credentials, for liberals as well as conservatives.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University