As some of you may have noticed, or not, Patheos Atheist no longer exists and is now Patheos Nonreligious.
This change was made by those in charge and the writers of the blogs were consulted beforehand. Some agreed, others like myself, said no way.
As you can see, those in charge went with changing it.
I believe this was a big mistake.
The idea is that nonreligion is less offensive to those who have not found their way to “atheism” and that the name Patheos Atheist may turn people away.
I personally think this is the wrong approach and only serves to make religious individuals feel more comfortable not having to see the word atheism.
The very idea implies that atheism makes people uncomfortable and we should hide who we are and cater to their feelings.
Google searches for atheism outrank nonreligion or other words used to avoid saying atheism such as secular, humanist, bright, etc. So we know people are interested in atheism and learning more about it. Perhaps they are religious people wanting to understand people who don’t believe or it’s people leaving religion and are trying to learn more about their loss of faith.
Secondly, nonreligion doesn’t mean atheist. Plenty of people who believe in god(s) claim to be nonreligious. So we are no longer standing out in a “conversation on faith” as those who reject the idea of god(s).
I am disappointed the decision was made to exclude atheism from the conversation.
I only feel it does nothing to help those atheists around the country that are not able to speak out about their atheism because of the community, jobs, homes, etc.
I know many people around the country and even the world who cannot be openly atheist. In order for that to happen the word must be normalized. It won’t be normalized by hiding it.
I will continue to blog for Patheos, I love my blog, I have loyal readers, and I want to continue to speak up for atheism.
I do wish, however, that doing so wasn’t now being masked by the comforting label of “nonreligion.”