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Atheist Social Networks

First and foremost, I think that it is important for atheists to build a strong local community. There are freethought, humanist, and skeptic groups all over the nation and the world and we should all take part in those local groups. The new Coalitions of Reason (COR) are also helping to bring atheists together locally. In addition, we also need to continue to build strong online communities too.

It is actually easier for atheists to build online communities than local ones, but make no mistake both are very important. Atheists have created a strong presence on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and that is really great. I think it is important for us to be on those sites but I also think we need a safe places to network together.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. When a Christians finds something offensive (which is pretty much all the time) they go on one of their networking sites or Churches and get the work out. Then a large number of Christians write letters, make phone calls, etc. Atheists don’t have that.

Also, many Christians promote their religious and secular endeavors within their social networks. Churches and Christian websites promote businesses of other Christians. The atheist community needs to start doing this type of thing too.

Now over the weekend, two issues came up which reminded me of the importance of building these social networks. The first has to do with a local issue. The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia put up a Tree of Knowledge display in West Chester, PA. You can read more about this on my Examiner article. Friday, I found out that Christian groups had organized to call the county commissioners to demand that our tree be taken down. As a result, over the weekend, it very nearly was taken down. Lawyers are currently involved and I don’t want to discuss the details more at the moment because I don’t want to hurt our case.

The point is that we needed to organize a similar call bank in support of the Tree. But our social network isn’t as strong or as organized. We need to fix that.

The other issue related to social networking came about when I got into a rather heated argument with some of the moderators of one of the atheist online social networking sites. Think Atheist and I don’t seem to see eye-to-eye on what the purpose of a social network actually is. As a result, I will be using their site less and want to focus on building the Dangerous Talk page on Atheist Nexus more.

With that said, I want to encourage my fellow atheists to create a page on Atheist Nexus if you haven’t done so already. It goes without saying that you should add Dangerous Talk as a friend. I also want to encourage you to be active on that site. I have not been as active there as I should be, but I intend to change that.

I want to also encourage my fellow atheists to support other atheists and their endeavors whenever possible. This means re-posting links to articles, blogs, or websites that you enjoy (including this one), donating to sites and groups when you can, clicking on ads on atheist websites, posting comments, and generally being part of the greater atheist community both online and off.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    Yeah, the Think Atheist guys are dicks. They wanted me to stop linking people over to my articles about relevant atheist issues. And I heard from someone else who also got into similar issues with them. It’s the only site I’ve ever heard of that considered this kind of behavior to be a problem. They don’t seem very cooperative or willing to work with other atheists. All they’re interested in is keeping people on their site. FSM forbid you should link people over to another site on a related topic.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I don’t want to start a war with Think Atheist. I think they should do their thing. While I think their thing is a bad way to operate a networking site, that is their choice. We can’t waste time fighting against other atheists when we have a much larger fight ahead of us against theism.

  • http://www.myspace.com/atheistteam The A-Team

    Think Atheist? Think Again.

  • http://www.myspace.com/jasyn333 Jasyn

    Online social networks is all I have at the moment. I live in Indiana, and have not found a place where nontheists have a place. I live on the south side of Indiana, where religion is dominate, all christian. I see christian billboards, bumper stickers, lawn decorations, and churches everywhere I go. I can’t go a city block without seeing at least one of these.

    I recently joined Atheist Nexus, thanks to your site here. Thanks for helping those that need an outlet, like me, and I hope you never quit.

  • http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/kristyvensson Kristy Vensson

    Hey Staks! Thanks so much for this article. I was chatting with Brother Richard from Atheist Nexus this week on just this subject. He has some exciting plans to extend the networking role of Atheist Nexus and will be announcing this very soon.

    Here in Australia, we already have a great network going with strong (but as yet informal) links between the various atheist/skeptics/humanist groups and various atheist bloggers. There are also plans afoot to strengthen and formalise those connections.

    Things are moving forward and I agree wholeheartedly that a united front is the only way we will achieve our aim of secular governments and communities in which freedom from religion is accorded the same respect as freedom of religion.

    I’ll give Richard a nudge and see if he can come over and post here himself.

    Thanks again, for your important observations.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Let Richard know that I have some ideas that might make Atheist Nexus a better networking tool.
      -Staks

  • Alexandra

    I’m glad I found your site through a myspace link. I get so annoyed with the religious people and their hypocritical nonsense. They can blab and blab in my face all about Jesus blah blah but I can’t say one word about my non belief in the mythical men in the sky or I never hear the end of it. It would be so nice to be able to speak freely about my beliefs with like-minded people. I’m dying to have an intellectual conversation with someone in person it’s driving me insane!

    • MJ

      As a Christian I’m very sorry to hear that, I usually enjoy hanging out with anyone, even atheists. It’s just something I picked up from Jesus, He did that too, to set it as a non-judgmental example for us to follow. I genuinely just love people and understand their pain and struggles, no matter what they believe. I even met a satanist once at a twice-yearly convention, and I then always made it a point to see him and how he was doing, and it made my day. We had a great report with one another, I actually miss him since he hasn’t been at a recent convention for a while.

      • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

        Was he a LaVey Satanist or a Crowley Satanist?

        • MJ

          I’m not sure, he never told me, though he did sell many satanic items; T-shirts, dolls, stickers, etc. He caught me once putting Christian tracks on his table and we had a good laugh about it. “Oh, so you’re the one putting those tracks on my table!” “(smile) Yep, you caught me red-handed”. After asking then he even let me leave a few. We were friendly ever since, for many years. Wonder how he’s doing. Even introduced him to some friends I brought along at times. Nice dude!

  • David Lee

    I have one other recommendation:
    Social Atheist (socialatheist.org)
    They are still new, but have LOTS of potential, there is a blog, a forum, a section for all the atheist resources from across the web. All build though a social networking platform.
    Go check them out!