chapter  5
20 Pages

Inviting Atheists to the Table: A Modest Proposal for Higher Education

ByEducation Robert J. Nash

Atheists in this country have a bad name. They always have. This statement is not meant to be a front-page headline, but a simple reality check. Despite years of protestations to the contrary by religious believers and spiritual seekers, atheists do not dominate our college campuses, our popular culture, or our print and electronic news media. We are not a de-Christianized, religionhating country. In fact, we are just the opposite. Atheists do not present a threat to organized religion or to unchurched spirituality, either on college campuses or in the society at large. While they are an easy group to stereotype and demonize, particularly by many leaders of the world’s major monotheistic religions, and by heads of very conservative, evangelical-fundamentalist Christian churches, atheists are relatively powerless in the United States. They

represent something less than 5 to 10% of Americans, and less than 10% of people throughout the world.1