2014: The top stories in atheism

From the popularity of ‘Cosmos’ on Fox-TV to the Roku launch of ‘Atheist TV’, from open atheist James Woods’s inspiring congressional campaign to Richard Dawkins’s less-than-inspiring tweets, atheists made headlines all year.

Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson

Why are these comedians going to Sedona to make a film about belief?

What’s so special about Sedona, Arizona? And what does it have to do with mysticism and belief? If you can’t make the trip yourself, two young filmmakers want to show you. In a recently launched Kickstarter for their upcoming documentary film Sedona: A Documentary Film, which they will produce with experienced multimedia producer Adam Isaak, Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson explain why Sedona has captured their attention—and the attention of many others:
Sedona, Arizona has been the hub of all things mystical since it was first reported to be the site of special “energy fields” in the 1970s. Since then, new age practitioners and believers have flocked to the tiny town of 10,000 people, eager to start their lives over with renewed spiritual awareness (and maybe a tasteful geode or two).

Atheism is not the “new gay marriage” (or the new anything else)

A few months ago, Bill Maher made a claim that I regularly hear from other atheists:
“[Atheists are] out there, they’re thinking it, they’re just afraid to say it. But that’s changing,” he said. “It’ll be the new gay marriage.”
He’s certainly not the first person to have made the comparison. Earlier this year Todd Stiefel, a prominent atheist activist and generous philanthropist, took the analogy a step further when speaking with CNN:
“I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights.”
Austin Cline claims on About.com’s atheism section that “atheists [are] hated more than gays,” and bestselling author Richard Dawkins has frequently compared the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) rights movement to the atheist movement—drawing heavily from the LGBTQ rights movement for his “Out Campaign,” which encourages atheists to “come out.” And these are just a few examples in a long line of well-intentioned atheist activists and organizations—who generally consider themselves LGBTQ allies—comparing the LGBTQ rights movement to the atheist movement. There are things about this comparison that, on the surface, make sense: atheists and LGBTQs are marginalized communities that deviate from normative ideas about how people should live, that often share an experience of needing to reveal our identities to others (sometimes with terrible consequences), and that experience social stigma.