Atheists: The most hated and distrusted minority.by Don Lacey on May. 21, 2012, under Atheism, AZ Politics, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, Freethought Events, Gay Marriage, Government, History, Libertarianism, Logic, Religion, Responsible Government, Sanity, Separation of Church & State, Supreme Court
Just a reminder:
Monday, May 21st you can join the Tucson Atheists at the Denny’s on Speedway, just west of Alvernon at 7PM. This month we’ll be discussing what the United States might be like without the current religious influences. Along with that we’ll be discussing where Atheists get their morals. Finally, when things go our way who should we be thanking? http://www.meetup.com/Tucson-Atheists/
Tonight, up to 40 people will come together to share each others company and discuss freely what they believe would believe the world would be like without religion. We won’t be the first to ever discuss this question and we won’t be the last. If you type the question in Google, you’ll get many answers from many people. There are variations of the question, too. Some people ask, “What if religion never existed?” as opposed to, “What would happen if religion lost its current influence?” Of course, the answers from the net will be more balanced than you’re likely to hear at a meeting of non-believers. We’ve already decided that it isn’t for us. In scientific terms we’d be considered a self selected sample and subject to self selection bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-selection_bias). Our answers are going to be skewed toward the non-believer. On the whole, the data we develop from our attempt at finding an answer won’t be useful for informing policy decisions that affect the general public. At this point, many who read this blog will be saying, “That’s right!” without considering the opposite situation.
Currently, the Arizona legislature represents a situation that suffers from another source of bias, selection bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_bias). Ideally, we’d have a legislature making decisions that represents a fair sample of the population. Realistically, that’s not going to happen. It’s going to represent the people that are in the majority and the decisions are going to favor that majority. For the most part, that’s as it should be. However, the legislature is held in check by the type of democracy that the founders created—a constitutional democracy (http://www.answers.com/topic/constitutional-democracy). In an unlimited democracy, there is no limit on the majority and there is a very real danger of the tyranny
From the Oxford Guide to U.S. Government:
“A constitutional democracy, then, is government by majority rule with protection of minority rights. It is democratic because of its foundations of popular consent and majority rule. It is constitutional because the power of the majority to rule is limited by a supreme law.”
In editing this blog and watching the comments that are tossed back and forth, it is apparent that most want a variation of the same dream. Most people want to be left alone to live their life without others telling them what to do. Both sides often support their convictions with the same catch phrase, “Read the Constitution” but each side has its favorite part of the Constitution. What amazes me is that there are some that believe that the constitution doesn’t apply to state government. That’s scary to me and to the others that will be meeting tonight because we understand that we are, in most surveys, the most hated and distrusted minority in the country (for example: http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm). Here’s the irony, we believe the most important part of the Constitution are the limits that it places on the majority. We’re fond of the limits that it places on the government. This is reasonable coming from a hated and trusted minority. People representing the majority often believe that the most important part of the Constitution is the limits that it places on itself. I believe that somewhere in all these discussions, we’re missing the fact that there is a high degree of commonality between these groups but tonight we’ll be coming together and imagining what the country or the world would be like if the Atheist wasn’t the most hated and distrusted minority.