Last month we watched and discussed part 1 of the film “Godless,” about congregations of non-theist groups. This month it’s part 2, “Spreading the Word,” concerning the ability of such groups to make themselves known. The film content ranged from funny (the Center for Inquiry holding ‘de-baptisms’, complete with blow dryer and certificate) to the fearsome (the life-endangering ramifications of atheism in countries such as Iran, political ramifications in the USA, and social ramifications for families and children in strongly religious areas.)
The over-arching question was how to make the conversation (if not the message itself) of atheism palatable to non-atheists. The overt ‘new-atheism’ of Dawkins, Harris et al was contrasted with other ways of encouraging discussion.
The group’s discussion which followed looked at why religious groups and individuals resist the approaches of atheists (is it insecurity? pragmatism? a need to retain authority?). and the significance of education in the debate process. What is the story atheists have to tell, and how best to express the non-theistic worldview?