Recognizing that politics truly is power, atheists are beginning to work their way into the electoral process.
With their primary goal centering upon fighting the continued influence of religion, these "freethinkers" (as they call themselves) are seeking to instill godlessness through their potential placement in elected positions of power and influence.
It seems as though atheists, secularists and others are frustrated over their inability to promote their views on social issues like doctor-assisted suicide and abortion, among others (this stands mainly for European atheists, though similar battles exist in America and in other nations). These are traditionally issues that Christian denominations, among others, take staunch standpoints on -- standpoints that often dominate the political discourse.
It seems that Switzerland is the epicenter of what could become a global effort. In Zurich, voters will take to the polls later this month. For the first time in the nation's history, citizens will have the opportunity to vote for a slate of non-believers. Andreas Kyriacou, 42, who is running for public office, explains why atheists and freethinkers are throwing their names onto the ballot:
"We decided we had to stand up and tell our politicians that it's time they recognised that there are a lot of non-religious people in their electorate.
We, and probably a lot of Swiss people who have never thought about humanism or atheism, are tired of the influence the churches and religion still exert in this country.
There is a group for Bible study in our parliament, but no cross-party humanist group, though we know many of the deputies are non-believers."
The nation hosted "Denkfest" (i.e. "Think Festival") last month. The event, which was put on by the Swiss Freethinkers Association in Zurich, brought together philosophers, scientists and other "freethinkers." Below, watch the blogger panel that was hosted during the get-together:
The movement and thirst for more influence isn't limited to Switzerland. Others who believe that religion has a stronghold over the sociopolitical realm are also voicing their interest in countering faith in the public sphere. Delegates from India, Uganda, Nigeria, Argentina and Brazil went to the World Humanist Congress in Oslo, Norway, back in August to address these concerns. Reuters reports:
Like their counterparts in Europe and North America, they argue that morality is based in human nature and does not need a father-figure god to back it up with punishment in an afterlife, in which they do not believe.
"There are more godless groups in the world than ever before," Sonja Eggerickx, a Belgian schools inspector who is president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, told the Congress.
Below, watch the Congress' opening:
In America, "freethinkers" are a growing breed. Atheists, as the Blaze has reported, are growing in influence in the American military and society as a whole. Various groups that oppose religion continue to battle religious institutions and organizations in the courts.
One wonders: Will a growing list of non-believers attempt to influence elections here in America as well? While Christianity is still somewhat of a litmus test here in the U.S., there's no telling what the future holds as secularists continue to grow in both numbers and boldness.