Modeled after the well-known "It Gets Better" campaign, an initiative geared towards gays and lesbians, three non-believing University of Kansas college students have launched "We Are Atheism."
The campaign hopes to encourage those who don't have a belief in a higher power to "come out" and be open about their views. Amanda Brown, 25, who is one of the project's co-founders, says that it's time for atheists to "stand up, speak out and be counted."
"It is time for us to put up our videos and change the face of atheism. We want people to see we are normal people who have children and lives and do good in the community," she explains. "The whole point of the website is to let younger atheists know you will face persecution. But through us knowing each other we can all help."
Below, watch Brown discuss the project. In the video, she calls religion "stupid" and says, "It's okay to be an atheist" (caution: language):
Brown, her husband and a friend started the campaign after hearing Jessica Ahlquist speak. Ahlquist is a teen atheist who was bullied after rejecting a school prayer banner that has been on display in her high school.
Essentially, Brown's effort serves two overall purposes: The first, as mentioned, is to encourage closeted atheists and to change the way that the general public views non-believers. Thus, the project is essentially a PR effort to change the perceptions that believers have about atheists.
To accomplish these goals, videos and personal essays from atheists are published on the "We Are Atheism" web site, where daily traffic has been known to climb into the thousands. Prominent names in the anti-faith movement have even produced their own videos for the cause. Take, for instance, David Silverman from American Atheists. His profile on the site reads:
I’ve been an atheist since I was a small child, and I’ve never been closeted. I asked many questions, starting as early as 6 years old, but the answers were always hollow and nonsensical, even from my religion instructors. After a short time, I realized that my Jewish education was a waste of my time, and of my parents’ money.
And here's his video testimonial:
Here's another atheist named Nathan Rodriguez, a man who claims he was a non-denominational Christian before abandoning his faith:
According to Brown, atheists of all ages have reached out to say that the site has helped them feel less isolated. Some have even claimed that it has encouraged them to "come out" to loved ones.
Brown, who as Religion News Service highlights, had experience founding a gay-straight club in her school, has modeled "We Are Atheism" on the gay community's "It Gets Better" campaign -- an effort intended to stem bullying. While the latter inspires closeted gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual individuals, the former is intended to inspire those who fail to believe in the Almighty.
The idea here is that by exposing people to non-believers, biases and prejudices against them will dissipate. The students behind the initiative have already scored the support of The Richard Dawkins Foundation, one of the premiere groups promoting atheism.
(H/T: Religion News Service)