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In modern society, the views of religious figures are given excessive deference and respect. Religious authorities are routinely treated as experts in ethics, philosophy, even science, regardless of whether they have any knowledge or qualification in those fields. Even when they say things that are wrong, absurd, or hateful, they're often excused on the grounds that religious beliefs shouldn't be criticized in the same way as other kinds of opinions.

On the other hand, atheists are given far less respect and consideration than we deserve. In many places, just to speak out as an atheist is to invite scorn, condemnation, prejudice, or prosecution. Even where that isn't the case, religious groups have spread the myth that atheism is something to be ashamed of, that atheists should stay hidden and silent, that we have nothing of value to contribute when it comes to crucial questions of how to shape and guide our civilization.

It's time to change this. Atheists stand for many positive values, including a willingness to follow the evidence wherever it leads, a morality based on conscience and reason, the fearless application of critical thinking and skepticism, and the courage to defend one's principles and speak out even in the face of majority disapproval. These are values that our society badly needs, and we're just the ones to provide them. Daylight Atheism was created to push back against undeserved privileging of religion and to encourage atheists to step out of their closets, into the daylight, and take our rightful place at the table of society's discourse.

About the Author

Adam Lee is a writer and activist living in New York City. Raised in a non-religious household, he became an atheist in his first year of college after a series of conversations with Christian and Muslim friends convinced him both that religion was less intellectually benign and that his own vague deistic beliefs weren't as defensible as he had thought. In February 2006, he founded Daylight Atheism to advance the humanist philosophy he had developed.

In addition to regular updates for Daylight Atheism, Adam Lee has written articles for AlterNet, Salon, Canadian Freethinker, Freethought Today, Free Inquiry, and Secular Future, the newsletter of the U.K.-based National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies. He's been interviewed for podcasts like Ring of Fire and Freethought Radio, and has spoken at major national conferences including the Secular Student Alliance's 2012 convention in Columbus, Ohio, and Skepticon V in Springfield, Missouri. He's also on the speakers' bureau of the Secular Student Alliance and the Center for Inquiry.

In his blockbuster book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins favorably quotes one of Lee's essays, "The New Ten Commandments". Another of Lee's essays won the 2009 "Top Quark," the first-place prize for science writing in a contest held by the science and culture blog 3 Quarks Daily that was judged by Harvard professor and noted science writer Steven Pinker.

During the 2008 U.S. elections, Daylight Atheism was cited in campaign attack ads run by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole and the National Republican Senatorial Committee against Dole's Democratic challenger, Kay Hagan. These ads sought to tar Hagan by connecting her to Daylight Atheism and atheists in general. Despite this concerted campaign of atheist-bashing, Dole lost the election by a substantial margin.

Adam Lee is the author of Daylight Atheism, a book which defends the atheist viewpoint and argues that discarding religious belief is a liberation and the gateway to a moral life filled with purpose and joy.

December 8, 2012, 2:30 pm • Permalink

DAYLIGHT ATHEISM: THE BOOK
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