Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm no atheist activist

I am questioning my identity.  No, the other identity.  No, the other other identity.  I'm talking about my identity as an activist for atheism.

Calling myself an activist made a lot more sense when I was running a student organization.  But these days, what is it I do exactly?  I don't go to any protests (I don't like them).  I don't write letters to congressmen, or even to newspapers.  I don't support any atheist organizations.  All I have is this blog, which I really don't think counts.  There is a swarm of atheist blogs already, and I'm pretty sure that this little raindrop is not responsible for the flood.

For some reason, I feel sorry to see my activist identity go.  Maybe it's because I'm doing nothing to help the atheist movement which I know and care about so much.  Personally, I think it is for the much sillier and selfish reason that being an activist greatly boosted my ability to smash stereotypes of atheists.  Nobody could chalk me up as an individual exception; I was a leader.  Never mind how ridiculously elitist that is, or how minor a leader I was.

But reality compels me to say goodbye.  I have started thinking of myself as a radical atheist instead (yes, like Douglas Adams), because it's something I'm still very serious about.  But I am completely incapable of dredging up the will to do anything about it other than a bit of reading and writing.  Pretty much the same boat as most of my readers, which maybe isn't so bad!

On a related note, Cerberus planted a little idea in my head (emphasis mine):
Yes, atheists can, do, and should point out issues in the Religious Right all around the world, both Christian and Muslim, pointing out egregious behavior and making it impossible to hide them from the public eye and public condemnation. To make it easier for people to leave those communities and try to reach those who can break from the oppressive conditions they find themselves in.

But the thing about that is that comes with a lot of downtime.

Cerberus goes on to say that the most important thing to do during this downtime is work on our own community and ourselves.

Well, here I am, in permanent activist downtime.  I'm quite sure that my blog has no real effect on the religious right.  But I am happy to simply participate in this community, and do what little I can there.