William J. Isom is gone. Yesterday I abandoned my nom de plume, and changed my blog and my book's web site, to reflect my real name: Craig A. James.
And today, I issue a challenge to all Atheist bloggers: Come out of the closet! Don't be afraid, be proud. You're a rational, grounded thinker. You have the courage of your convictions. You've picked a hard path, and stuck to it. Don't hide!
My decision was due to a comment from my book agent, who asked, "What are you afraid of?" I had no good answer to that question. There was just a vague, unsupported fear of persecution and harassment from the religious extremist.
Well, that made me kind of mad. I thought about the courage of our well-known authors, such as Harris, Dennett, Gould, Mills, Dawkins, and especially, Bertrand Russell, who was terribly persecuted for his atheism by the State of New York. If Bertrand Russell stood up to argue my cause, and I don't even have the courage to stand behind him, but instead hide behind the internet's veil of anonymity, then what kind of atheist am I?
I did a quick survey to find out who hides behind internet anonymity, Atheists or Christians? The results are stunning: Atheists, by a HUGE margin. Almost ALL Christians blogers use their real names, but roughly 70% to 80% of Atheists bloggers are anonymous.
To be fair, Christians are the majority, and have no reason to hide. But what about other oppressed minorities whose members have had the courage to take a risk, to stand up for what they believe? Should Rosa Parks have given up her seat on the bus to a white person? Should women have agreed that they weren't worthy of the right to vote? Should gays and lesbians stay in the closet and suffer? What about Bertrand Russell's courage?
Put your name on your blog. Put your name on your web site. When religion comes up at a party, don't be afraid to say, "Well, I'm an atheist, and here's how I see it..."
Oppression is a state of mind, and it takes both an oppressor and a cooperative victim for a human to be truly oppressed. Don't be a victim, be a courageous atheist.
Signed proudly: Craig A. James
About my "survey": Please see http://www.thereligionvirus.com/anonymous_atheists.php for a complete list of the Atheist sites I surveyed, and how I sampled them. Here is a raw list of the URL's.
www.atheists.org www.atheistrev.com ravingatheist.com www.cynical-c.com atheistmedia.blogspot.com atheism.about.com atheistblogger.com beaconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com www.the-atheist.com yetanotheratheistblog.wordpress.com www.nullifidian.net thinkerspodium.wordpress.com exchristian.net www.atheistperspective.com friendlyatheist.com radicalatheist.com gods4suckers.net atheistself.blogspot.com canterburyatheists.blogspot.com dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com holyprepuce.blogspot.com/ www.irreverentmusings.com mereskepticism.blogspot.com possummomma.blogspot.com www.silentdave.net theatheisthandbook.blogspot.com godjeeringatheist.wordpress.com skeptalchemist.blogspot.com uberkuh.com