Bill Maher: Atheism will be ‘the new gay marriage’

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While his atheism would preclude him from public office, Real Time host Bill Maher said in an interview Monday night, he suggested that could change for other future political prospects in the future.

 

“[Atheists are] out there, they’re thinking it, they’re just afraid to say it,” Maher told interviewer Sharon Waxman at a conference hosted by TheWrap. “But that’s changing. It’ll be the new gay marriage.”

When Waxman asked if he would consider running for office, Maher immediately shot the idea down, arguing that besides the content of his show, his lack of fealty to a religion would render him unelectable, considering that only 15 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists.

 

Written By: Arturo Garcia
continue to source article at rawstory.com

25 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Degsy:

      If so many of these so-called ‘atheists in the closet’ are thinking it, but not saying it, who are they talking to whereby they feel they can’t?

      You’d be surprised. In many areas of the US the word is still used in its archaic, pejorative sense. The DMV wont issue a license plate “ATH1EST”. Being open as an atheist can result in the loss of family, friends, a job, etc, all the typical tragedies that accompany bigotry. So who are they talking to? Their family, friends, co-workers, and the public at large.

      Remember the words of George Bush Sr, “No, I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.… I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists. “

      • In reply to #2 by This Is Not A Meme:

        Remember the words of George Bush Sr, “No, I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.… I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists. “

        His successor had better get a better handle on this when he wants to work with the UK , – if Cameron is dumped and another party or parties lead the UK government!

        http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/415268/UK-s-favourite-churches-picked-by-a-Muslim-two-atheists-and-leading-Christians

        Labour Leader Ed Miliband and [Liberal Democrat] Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, both of whom have declared they do not believe in God, also picked their favourites, as have London Mayor Boris Johnson and Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

    • In reply to #1 by Degsy:
      I have spoken to atheist teenagers in the US who were not only afraid of being disowned by their family and friends,but were also afraid for their physical safety if they “came out”. Imagine what it`s like living in a country where its illegal.

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

      The threat the theists fear is atheists showing the rest of the people that it is ok to question, to reason, to think for oneself …… and then to live happily without god(s).

      That is what they are quite literally terrified of. It’s like the Emperors New Clothes!

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

      There is no evidence that such things as gods exist and there are good arguments (theodicy, for example) why they don’t. Believing that they do, in the absence of any supporting evidence, is an act of ‘faith’, usually fuelled by ‘tradition’. For religions to perpetuate through time they need to have a critical mass of believers to sustain them, otherwise they will be changed, ridiculed or ignored. Imagine how people would view the dogmas of Islam if it had one and a half thousand followers, instead of one and a half milliard.

      Because they have no evidence to support them, religions rely on indoctrination and prey on people’s hopes and fears. Any religion is a house of cards built on a foundation of shifting sands and the existence of outsiders asking awkward questions like, ‘how do you know that?’, is a real threat. So atheists are a threat simply because we exist. This is why the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) is constantly petitioning for regulations and laws against ‘blasphemy’ and criticism of religion. This is dangerous and insidious and bodies like the IHEU are doing important work in trying to hold back these demands. For what constitutes ‘blasphemy’, ultimately, is the denial of a religion’s self-proclaimed ‘truths’. The religious struggle against blasphemy, the so-called ‘prejudices’ against believers and the ridiculous charge of ‘islamophobia’ (which should be something more like ‘islamotimor’, as the Latin doesn’t carry the taint of irrationality that the Greek does) are, in the end all ways of trying to shut out those questioning voices. Nothing threatens religions as much as ridicule and awkward questions, which is why it is so important to support free speech and why the religionists see atheists as such a threat.

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

      This is a good question, and I think applies particularly to the US.

      Why is there this seemingly irrational dislike of atheists? I don’t believe theists are really afraid that atheists present a threat to their religion – remember, they think they are right and they’re going to heaven while we burn in hell.
      A more sensible emotion from the theistic viewpoint would be pity.

      Atheophobia?

      • In reply to #13 by bob_e_s:

        In reply to #3 by David W:

        I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

        This is a good question, and I think applies particularly to the US.

        Why is there this seemingly irrational dislike of atheists? I don’t believe theists are really…

        Two points.

        Many theists do really believe in the ever lasting torment thing. In that mindset stopping ideas that could lead your friends and loved ones being tortured for eternity might make them defensive and antagonistic to say the least.
        This has been the historic justification for violence against the blasphemer down through the centuries. Other humanistic theists don’t have a belief in this sort of hell and hardly surprisingly do not fear and discriminate in the same way.

        The second point is that organised religions are in effect businesses. If you threaten the bottom line you are going to get push back. The more successful you are the greater and more desperate the push back. They aren’t going to go down without a fight, particularly in America where the sums of money are mind boggling.

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have? A world with God is a world without morals.. Is their thinking.. Therefore anything goes!!

      • In reply to #18 by kurt2099:

        In reply to #3 by David W:

        I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have? A world without God is a world without morals.. Is their thinking.. Therefore anything goes!! That is the great fear..

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

      No agenda. I just think most theists are envious that they can’t bring themselves to be non-believers, too.

    • In reply to #3 by David W:

      I don’t understand why theists see atheists as a threat. What sort of agenda do they think atheists have?

      Fear of atheists is like believing in god: you’ve been brainwashed with the concept when you were young, and are not using your brain anymore to ask yourself some important questions.

    • In reply to #8 by Stafford Gordon:

      Sexual orientation, skin colour, gender and parents, aren’t chosen; freedom from religion is.

      Indeed, but if the others were choices then what difference would it make to how we should treat black lesbians who want an IVF baby?

    • In reply to #8 by Stafford Gordon:

      Sexual orientation, skin colour, gender and parents, aren’t chosen; freedom from religion is.

      I disagree. My non belief and distaste for religion are as as ingrained as my sexual orientation or my lily white legs.

  1. In reply to #8 by Stafford Gordon:

    Sexual orientation, skin colour, gender and parents, aren’t chosen; freedom from religion is.

    Given that the argument of a trait not being chosen is typically used in favour of acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage, are you trying to say that atheists shouldn’t be given, or expect to receive, the same levels of freedom, as that trait was chosen?

    We should have known what we were getting ourselves into when we chose to not beleive in god?

    Please elaborate, because your post was very vague.

  2. “Sexual orientation, skin colour, gender and parents, aren’t chosen; freedom from religion is.”

    The difference is quite simple really. Anyone can change a religion and they aren’t born with one, despite the idea that children automatically are treated as if they belong to their parents’ religion. To be religious and a believer (or not) is a choice, just as those who convert to other religions are making a conscious choice. That’s why it’s different and isn’t worthy of the same degree of respect as other characteristic traits.

  3. I was going to write about the social politics of Atheism, and use that as a title, but thinking better I realized that I would have a more accurate title with, “Social Politics of the Atheist Movement.” This is because, although I am a very much an atheist, I am not so pro-atheism. Part of that is just an allergy to “isms” that always makes me uneasy that some collection of characteristics will have bad boundaries or contain internal assumptions that I don’t want to make. For example, I am very much against using the term, “Darwinism” when referring to the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, or especially to the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution. It makes it sound like a personality cult centered on Darwin himself, and some in the Religious Right use it for just that purpose.

    Atheism is not all that well defined, so it causes me that boundary irritation. Back in 2007 Sam Harris was so worried about the general misunderstanding that he gave a (now infamous) talk at an atheist conference urging that we don’t even say the word “atheist.” Sam turned out to be wrong about that, as more and more public figures have “come out” as atheists, we have been able to say “atheist” in public without people’s hair spontaneously bursting into flames. However, I still don’t tell a stranger that I am an “atheist” until I get to know what he or she thinks that means; I start with, “I am not a person of faith.”

  4. In 1970 I was the only out gay person in BC. From the point of view of the general public, gays were exceedingly rare. It was very easy for them to concoct outlandish stereotypes. Rather rapidly a number of people came out. The public now had the problem of reconciling their stereotypes with this much larger pool. Push forward a few more years and thousand participated in the pride parades.

    We need to do the same thing with atheists, not so much as to break the stereotypes as to demonstrate our numbers and ordinariness.

    • In reply to #22 by Roedy:

      In 1970 I was the only out gay person in BC. From the point of view of the general public, gays were exceedingly rare. It was very easy for them to concoct outlandish stereotypes. Push forward a few more years and thousand participated in the pride parades.

      We need to do the same thing with atheists, not so much as to break the stereotypes as to demonstrate our numbers and ordinariness.

      Except the pride parades were about FABULOUSNESS and that’s what the rational movement should be seen as too: we’re also fabulous, not ordinary!

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