Recently this idea about building an Atheist Temple in London has been circulating on the internet.
It originated from this article in the Guardian 26 January 2012, where philosopher and writer Alain de Botton said the temple would be a counter-weight to the more aggressive and destructive form of the new atheist movement, formed by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens attacks on religion.
When I first read the story my initial reaction was, “WTF are you on about Mr. de Botton?”
What would we be doing at these temples? Yes, I am aware that this is almost the same as when people ask me, “What do you do in the Danish Atheist Society when you meet?”
I would say there is a clear difference. First of all most atheist groups, that define themselves as atheist, are primarily nonpartisan secular activist groups.
Which means we work to get a more secular society, and equal rights for religious and non-religious. We do not meet and talk about how little we believe in gods.
Secondly, why do people assume that ATHEISM is one thing, that it holds certain values, thoughts, and ideals. It does not the definition that the new atheist movement goes by, is that it is a non-belief in any deities (also singular form for those Christians that like to play word games). Most of these atheists also define themselves as agnostic-atheists.
I cannot recall who first said that organizing atheists is like herding cats, but I think this is very true, besides the fact you can find secularists amongst atheists, and humanists, when it comes to values, political and philosophical opinions, it is as diverse as any random group in society.
Thirdly to be fair it seems Alain de Botton was also misrepresented in the media, and he actually had no plans for building a temple of Atheism.
Which I found on the r/atheism subreddit on Reddit.
I have heard from some that they like this idea of an Atheist Temple, I would very much appreciate if you are one of those people, or know someone, please I would know WHY they think it would be a great idea.
When I talk with some of my American and even Danish friends they like to paint a picture of Denmark, as a haven of secularism and non-belief.
The more scrutiny I have applied to this picture of Denmark, more and more of the paint falls off, showing the ugly face of apathy painted underneath.
Denmark by law is not secular, we have a state church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, and our head of state, currently the Queen Magrethe II, is ordained by the Christian god.
In society apathy rules supreme, which is one of the reasons why I joined the Danish Atheist Society, to help fight this apathy, to make my voice and concerns heard.
You may ask, "But if people do not care about religion, does that not make it easier?"
No it does not, since many of the Christian groups in Denmark, do care, they want their messages and way of life to be spread and embraced by as many as possible, they want to ban abortion, minimize the rights of people who have other sexual preferences than themselves.
When I then speak up, to call these people out, for being an overall danger for the progress of the Danish society, I am told to be a fanatic, and why cannot I not just leave these people alone?
I cannot leave them alone, because they cannot leave me or my rights alone, it is impossible for them, by the dogma they have put up themselves.
Their goal is conversion of the population, into their cult of death, and eliminating free thought and new ideas.
Yet the apathetic population is blissfully ignorant about these groups of Christians, that are not a small minority, but cling together in fear, as soon as the word Muslim is uttered in the media.
Muslims that seek the same goal as these Christians, same rhetoric, and methods.
Denmark like to put itself up on a pedestal, as some champion of democracy, and human rights.
With the same breath, you will hear politicians saying on live TV (which is later cut out of the rerun) that we would have to thank the Christian church and values for the democracy we have to day.
The audacity and ignorance that some politicians from their platform of authority freely and proudly displays is almost vulgar.
Few years back Danmarks Radio (The Danish National Broadcasting Company) got new guidelines put down by the politicians in power, that they should spread the Christian message and values, with an addendum that they were not allowed to discriminate by race, sexuality, religion, and more.
The reason why we have a democracy as we do in Denmark, is of no credit to the churches of Christianity, it is centuries of free-thinkers’ work, many with their life at risk.
Fighting for human rights, putting the will and rights of the people, before the will of some proposed deity.
Also the state church, in a position of being the highest religious authority in the nation, with a nationwide ban on any gay marriages within any religion.
I have discussed for a total of weeks with people that say, "Well gay people can get civil union, why should the church not be allowed to choose who they want to marry."
My response is and always will be, as long as civil union in Denmark does not hold the same rights as a couple that is married, I will be against having this ban.
Ironically this state church is also named, "The Danish People’s Church", yet discriminate against large portions of the population of the Danish society.
I would have nothing against showing the actual face of Christianity, when they are not put under the restraints of democracy, to show people its true face, and ask them afterwards, "Is this truly what you want?"
Secularism is important for those facts, that politicians should not make any laws or favors for any religious adherence.