How does one go about ignoring religion? The religious get upset at the mere thought of that, take it as a threat, regard it as persecution, and marshal up their forces to respond. They inoculate their congregants with heavy injections of hellfire, plant tents on empty plots in which to hold revivals, and shoot hellfire at passers-by with thousand-watt bullhorns. But, what if they held a revival and nobody showed up?
Now, that would be ignoring religion! One thing monotheistic religious leaders are great at, though, is gaining publicity. Memes give them the drive to succeed and overcome great obstacles. Look at ISIL for a recent example: They arrived from relative obscurity to lay claim onto a rather large portion of a recognized country. Attempts to diminish their standing by dropping the second ‘S’ in their self-assumed label and replacing it with an ‘L’ have largely failed (probably because our powers-that-be forgot to say what that ‘L’ stands for. The ‘L’ from HELL? The L from ‘Too Lazy to Care If We Know’? Whatever, ISIL followed the two basic rules of publicity and it worked:
- Get something interesting going.
- Tell everybody what it’s about.
We need some memes
I wrote a book. It’s a fun story about Oowoowoo and Ugh, but I have yet to apply the second rule, mainly to avoid offending people. I’d druther if people could discover my stuff on their own and then do my bragging for me. It’s easy to ignore something when nothing ever drew your attention to it. That religion uses every means to get and keep your attention, whether or not you care about it, makes it impossible to ignore. Maybe, rather than complain about it, as we atheists seem inclined, we should study their methods and imitate them to advance our own concerns.
To get ourselves off our asses, we’d need to develop some viral memes. As it is, we’re too disinterested to drop everything and get involved. We’re apathetic. “Why should I get involved and risk my own hide when I know I’ll feel all alone out there?” I’m not saying we don’t do stuff. Like me and my book, we just don’t tell anybody. We accuse each other of ‘self-promotion’, ‘bragging’, ‘self-aggrandizement’, and go far afield to dampen whatever enthusiasm wakes us from our slumber. I have often wondered if the apparent propensity for such responses has resulted from evolution, after a few hundred years of killing off any heretics that dared to show their heads.
As it now appears, perhaps we have nothing to fear. Non-religious populations in America at least equal the numbers of some varieties of Christianity, if statistics can be believed. Other statistics could lead one to decide that new apostates are climbing forth from off the walls. In any case, we may eventually inherit many of those Christians we criticized as arrogant, wily, sneaky, who will learn to turn their talents toward our causes. Meanwhile, offer sugar to those who come to argue with us. They may be doing so only as part of their own search for truth. It seems certain we could use all the forceful, sharp-minded, careful defenders of liberty and right who will come to our aid.