Comedian Bill Maher is urging atheists and secularists to speak out in an effort to encourage real world decision making that is based on "proven facts" rather than "ancient myths."
Maher, who recorded a short PSA for Openly Secular, an atheist-led campaign aimed at changing the way society views nonbelievers, said in the clip released this week that it makes the most sense to view the world through a nontheistic lens.
"It seems to me the most obvious decision a person could make in their own life — do I want to make real world policy decided on the basis of proven facts and the outer reachers of where humans have gotten to do in science?" the comedian asked. "Or do I want real world decisions made based on ancient myths written by men who didn't know what a germ or an atom was or where the sun went at night?"
While the "Real Time with Bill Maher" host defended the rights of people to espouse faith-based world views, he told secularists that they need to speak up and affirm that, "It's not okay to make decisions based on myths."
Maher added that it's important for atheists and nonbelievers to ensure that a more reasonable worldview takes precedence.
"Don't let it look like in America that the most reasonable — not to mention correct fact-based —argument is really the weird one — the one held by a tiny minority of misguided eggheads," he said. "Secularists are bigger than that — way bigger."
Watch the video below:
It's unclear precisely what Maher was speaking about when he cited "a tiny minority of misguided eggheads," though it appeared to be a reference to public policy viewpoints that he considers "weird."
Either way, it is clear from polling that Americans are still widely considered a religious people. Pew Research Center data shows that only four percent of adults consider themselves atheists or agnostics, with an additional 12.1 percent counting themselves as "unaffiliated" with a particular faith.
Even on more specific issues like evolution and creationism, strict atheistic inclinations are in the minority. For instance, more than seven in 10 Americans believe that God played some role in creation, with only 19 percent embracing evolution outright, according to Gallup.
It's unclear if these were the sorts of issues Maher was speaking to, though Americans clearly remain widely religious in both nominal and practical terms.
As reported last September, Todd Stiefel, the well-known millionaire atheist whom TheBlaze first profiled back in 2012, is hoping to raise $500,000 through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation to help fund Openly Secular — an effort aimed at creating a more positive image of nonbelievers.
“The reasoning behind it is that there’s a lot of discrimination against a lot of different groups in this county,” he told TheBlaze, noting that he believes biases against atheists are often both rampant and deemed socially acceptable. “If everyday atheists, agnostics, humanists or other nonreligious people [stop hiding] what they believe, [others] can recognize that we are good."