Spurning a Label…. March 25, 2013

Religion has, as its main motivation, the fear of death. scared childThere are other reasons for religion such as the transference of respect of and belief in one’s parents ability to protect you, care for you, to an even more magnificent and powerful “parent” after childhood. Fear, however, of death, and the desire to be immortal, are the mainstays of religion.

Many people within the faith, however, are no longer of it. Again, the motivation for silence, and at least feigned devotion of a deity, is fear. Fear of what others might think. Fear of the repercussions of rejection of belief. Some of these “In the faith but not of it” may talk to fellow attendees of their church and not even realize they are talking to a fellow, non-believer.

Fear 2Fear of rejection by friends, family, and the public in general has kept people en masse from publicly voicing their lack of belief in a supernatural deity. Agnostics sit happily on the fence, afraid to declare atheism, because the faithful over the years have been extremely successful in stigmatizing the label.Signature:baed3687aecc9fc02b05e033f52ab04b5ac34144c6f0702c4e0cfe36f9d34041

Others, in an effort to distance themselves from the mainstream religions, yet not draw the ire of the faithful, label themselves in ways so as not to offend. Many even invent their own brand of belief, with one sole follower, themselves.

There is a group that is growing, a group that atheists, agnostics, and other ‘labeled’ non-belief systems are at once a part, but also separate from:
the Nones. There is a growing segment of ‘nones’ that spurn all labels. They do not profess faith, yet they declare they are not atheists. Though many accept or at least do not resist the label ‘secular’, they accept no other denotation. These people conduct themselves in a secular fashion in all of their daily dealings, proclaiming no faith, and accepting no labels.

Why would these people reject the label atheist? Again, I assert it is because they are afraid. atheism insideThey are afraid of the backlash from wearing the label ‘atheist’. They are afraid of losing friends and being rejected from family. As a result, they assume a position which they think is less threatening to religion, one which might be considered neutral.

Unfortunately, even though these ‘nones’ may desire to simply be neutral, they are forgetting that religion has no gray areas, only black and white, on or off, ‘for us or against us’. The devout look upon these ‘nones’ as undeclared atheists. They do not harass them because the ‘nones’ do not affiliate themselves with power-blocks, groups, which might stand up for non-believers rights. They, the religious, look upon the ‘nones’ as they do the general population, to a degree. They see them as simply wayward children, needing proselytization. Having only black and white horizons, these devout may see the ‘nones’ as off, but not having declared as off. Atheists, on the other hand, have made such a declaration, even to the point of telling the believer that their deity is imaginary.

‘Nones’ are walking a tightrope, even more so than agnostics. Resolutely, they are attempting to align themselves with no one. Distancing themselves from those who actively pursue the right to believe as they wish, they render themselves inert to the cause of unbelief. Like the non-unionized worker, who refuses to join a union and promote worker’s rights, the ‘none’ allows the declared non-believer do all the work that is involved in fighting for the rights of non-believers. They want the rights, but refuse to dirty their hands by doing the work. About the only good they are to the cause is that they present a face of neutrality to religion, which may someday, hopefully, become the norm. Otherwise, they are dead weight, and nearly as bad as accommodationists.

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10 Responses to Spurning a Label…. March 25, 2013

  1. john zande says:

    This is a truly excellent piece, Drenn!

    “they render themselves inert to the cause of unbelief. Like the non-unionized worker, who refuses to join a union and promote worker’s rights, the ‘none’ allows the declared non-believer do all the work that is involved in fighting for the rights of non-believers.” Brilliant! Brilliant and true.

    I’ve been a little perplexed about the rise of the “Nones” in the US… as it is predominately in the US. As religion is so noisy there i think you’ve nailed it by saying “None” is simply a passive declaration of atheism while excluding themselves of the actual secular work that goes with it. Lazy bastards.

  2. drenn1077 says:

    I am gratified at your continued interest in my blog. Your support is very meaningful to me. I would like to promote it more successfully, yet I lack the knowledge and means to do so. Would you have any suggestions?

  3. john zande says:

    Your blog is excellent. I think the best way (maybe the only way) is to simply jump into other people’s blogs and interact. I don’t see you comment much, but you should. You have a lot to say and it’s always sound. Chris over at http://immortalnobody.com/ attracts a LOT of traffic. A blog like his is a great portal to link to other like-minded folk.

  4. Ahh, Zande. I’m getting all choked up. This post is great. I was thinking that these “nones” are just waiting for god to become synonymous with santa claus … then, maybe they’d jump in.

    I appreciate Zande giving me the plug, as I do think that you and I have a similar goal in mind. I just happen to incorporate some low-brow stuff that people might find easier to digest. Maybe, I don’t know. I think it’s pretty insane, actually, but as John said, I have been funneling a decent amount of traffic.

  5. drenn1077 says:

    Low brow stuff? One man’s low-brow is another man’s high brow. Who’s to say.

  6. Agreed. It makes me laugh when some say that my stuff is over their head.

    This might be your speed. http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/
    They post several times a day, but have a lot of followers. If you can manage to be the first to comment on something there, you might pick up 20 views from that.

  7. drenn1077 says:

    Yes, whyevolutionistrue, Jerry Coyne’s site. I had a run in with his ego, so whereas I found his site very good, I don’t go there any more.

  8. Oh, is it just Jerry? I thought it was more than one person posting there.

  9. drenn1077 says:

    For a while he was even posting his vacation pictures.

  10. Fred Levins says:

    I like theguywiththeeye’s specific idea. Even I have visited Jerry Coyne’s site. In any event, eliminating Mr. Coyne’s site is not an obstacle; there are opportunities elsewhere. The underlying idea of investing some time in outreach or marketing with the goal of increasing traffic strikes me as sound, since you have a well-developed blog.

    Thinking about this, I recalled a comment that Marty Nemko, a West Coast career counselor, best-selling author, and host of a radio talk show, “Work with Marty Nemko,” made about ten years ago. He said that self-employed individuals need to spend about half of their time on marketing. Perhaps this applies to promoting a blog, analogous to a product, with the author being analogous to a self-employed individual.

    I never looked into Mr. Nemko’s background, but it is quite interesting. There is a Wikipedia entry for him. Three factoids: His dog is named Einstein. He is a high achiever and, I can attest, has a big ego, too.

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