Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Something changed on March 24th 2012.
You probably didn't feel the earth move but the world changed much like the moving of a mountain. There was a rally in DC. 20,000+ people came together in the rain to validate disbelief. Please do not assume the lack of belief to be negative and English scholars please STFU about my use of the word disbelief.
Disbelief brought people together, lots of people. The importance of this event has not yet been recognized. In a sense I am playing prophet while I write this but my inspiration does not come from divine sources, it comes from observation and intelligence.
We sent a message to the government, to the news outlets, and to our fellow Americans. Atheist was a common word that day and no one suffered by hearing it unless they deserved it. David Silverman showed he is an able leader of the American Atheists and the numerous other groups who looked past the past to join in the rally showed free-thinkers truly can lead by example.
It rained on the crowd, they did not care. Americans who came for no other reason than to see the nations capitol suddenly found themselves surrounded by people who had no god...and nothing happened. If there was ever an example of how much nothing can change something, this was it.
As I walked among the crowd and talked to the people who had gathered a few things struck me. The event was like a rock concert without the drama and foolishness.Whole families sat in the rain listening to the speakers or talking amongst themselves oblivious to nature's effect.
The nonbelievers came in all ages, sizes, and ethnicity be damned there were no differences here to create imagined barriers and keep like-minded people apart.
Even though we have seen a tremendous growth in people who call themselves atheist, it has only just begun.
While the Four Horseman of Atheism"-Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens should be given credit for what they have done to bring atheism into the light, the torch has now passed. With the torch passed it was the 'little people' who fanned the flame into a bonfire in Washington DC.
Bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and activists have become the atheist X factor, the force that has encouraged the nonbeliever to stand up and say so in public. The Four Horsemen slammed the word atheist on the table and atheist X, comprised of bloggers, vloggers, activists, and podcasters took it and ran into the streets. "You are not alone!" they have cried over and over. The atheist who felt isolated and alone was alone no longer.
It is one thing to become an atheist, it is quite another to be able to talk about it freely amongst others.I don't think those who are trying to use religion to control others and implement laws based on belief in fictional people and stories counted on the X factor. They didn't count on those who had no fear to rally for atheism. Now the boulder has been pushed over the cliff, the genie has been let out of the bottle and the bottle has been broken, it can not be replaced even if someone dared to try. Atheism is the elephant in the room no one can walk around.
The Reason Rally was an historic event. I believe as time passes it will be remembered as the beginning of serious change in our country.
I'd like to give credit to the X factor atheist, those who do not care about numbers, shirt sales, or profit for what they have done. A value can not be put upon their work, you can not buy change it is earned by those who want it.
In closing Id like to say I believe there is an effect that will most likely help atheism more than any other. The effect is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon occurs when a person, after having learned some (usually obscure) fact, word, phrase, or other item for the first time, encounters that item again, perhaps several times, shortly after having learned it.
As a result of this effect the words atheist and atheism are going to be given more attention. This means the work has just begun we must keep encouraging people to come out and claim their (dis)beliefs and we must keep important terms in the public eye and ears. There is still much change to be earned.