Sometimes, I admit, I have to wonder if what I'm doing is actually having any effect. Yesterday's letter got me a little down, but after reading Greta Christina's great post discussing what if the atheist movement actually succeeds, I felt a bit better. But there are now two more letters in the Exponent that illustrate what the atmosphere at Purdue is really like. Effectively, "stop criticizing us because Christians have the right to do and say whatever you want, but since you're a mean poopy head atheist you need to shut up."
Why do I bother?
I have devoted so much time, effort, and even money into developing the Society of Non-Theists, and while we're a big active group, are we actually accomplishing our goals? We do one event that's mildly controversial, and instantly we're being called lazy, ignorant, zealots, idiots, biased... I'm not necessarily upset that people disagree with me, but I'm upset that people are so damned ignorant about it. You can tell from their letters that they either didn't read our flyers, didn't visit our website, or at the very list didn't try to rub two brain cells together to understand what we were doing. They don't even try to be intellectually honest. And I can write letters back, but even if they do get printed (which only some will), they're not going to have any effect because these people are so closed minded. Even ranting here seems effectively pointless, since I'm just preaching to the choir. It's all well and good that people pat me on the back for writing a well thought out argument, but does it matter if only non-theists and skeptics are reading it? Or that even if a theist did read it, they'd just ignore it?
Or how do we even go about planning events if one controversial one is going to totally ruin our reputation? People will see our tame Blasphemy Day event tomorrow and think we're a bunch of jackasses. They'll go on claiming we're amoral or don't volunteer, even though we have volunteered and have many more philanthropic events coming in the future. But they're so set in their ways they're not going to take the time to ask questions or read a website. They know we're not doing those things.
Blah. Maybe it's just Indiana, or just my campus, or just the US, but it's getting pretty damned frustrating.