I Spoke Out, Then Came the Rape Threats

Rebecca Watson, prominent skeptic, details how—shockingly—atheists are no better at being awesome to women than religious people:

I made the grave mistake of responding to a fellow skeptic’s YouTube video in which he stated that male circumcision was just as harmful as female genital mutilation (FGM). I replied to say that while I personally am opposed to any non-medical genital mutilation, FGM is often much, much more damaging than male circumcision.

The response from male atheists was overwhelming. This is one example:

“honestly, and i mean HONESTLY.. you deserve to be raped and tortured and killed. swear id laugh if i could”

Let's All Prove This Untrue

Susan Jacoby, in her recent article for The Humanist, quotes Elizabeth Cady Stanton in contending that religion is detrimental not only to humanity in general but to women’s issues in particular.

You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman…What power is it that makes the Hindoo [sic] woman burn herself upon the funeral pyre of her husband? Her religion. What holds the Turkish woman in the harem? Her religion. By what power do the Mormons perpetuate their system of polygamy? By their religion. Man, of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, “Thus saith the Lord,” of course he can do it.

Even a lifelong atheist like Jacoby can’t deny the good religion has done, but we’ve lost our edge. Christianity—at least in the West—is no longer the religion that elevates the marginalized or succors the oppressed.

I say we get to being incarnational, as the Church should.

Via XX factor.

Poll Shows Atheism on the Rise in the U.S.

Ryan Cragun, a sociologist of religion, is skeptical:

Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists.

“For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity,” he said. “But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S.”

The Sojourners article suggests other valid reasons to be skeptical of the results, but Cragun’s rationale seems out of touch with reality. The sort of person who thinks of herself as "a convinced atheist" has always put principle before pragmatism and wouldn't think of espousing in public beliefs that she privately reviles.

The study shows undeniably, though, that the religious landscape of our culture is changing.