Atheism is a trending topic in the world and it won’t be long before a politician or celebrity coming out as an atheist just won’t be a big deal anymore. I don’t know how long it’ll be before that happens, but I am optimistic that it could happen in my lifetime.
When that happens, atheists will go from having our own unique subculture to being part of the mainstream.
I think a lot of us would love for that to be the case, but there would be a slight wistfulness about it. For all we would gain, we would also be losing a lot.
What would you miss when atheism goes “mainstream”?
Claudia writes in an email:
My initial first guess is that I’ll miss the intellectual debate. As atheism becomes more widespread, it will become an assumption, not something people come to through reason. As such we can expect the correlation between education and atheism to blur, and the conversation amongst atheists to become less stimulating.
I can add to that:
We would miss getting any attention when we fight for our rights.
We would miss the instant “connection” we make when meeting another atheist.
We would miss the joy that comes from being able to speak your mind for the first time (without worrying that someone is going to attack you for it).
We would miss the major life change that comes from telling people that you’ve lost your faith (and have no desire to “find” it).
We would miss conferences, local meetups, campus groups, and rallies.
Some of these things will linger even when we are part of the everyday culture (it’s not like Christian groups have faded away, and they’ve been mainstream for forever), but it won’t be the same thing.
What would you miss?