mil·i·tant/ˈmɪlɪtənt/ Show Spelled[mil-i-tuhnt]
1. vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause: militant reformers.
2. engaged in warfare; fighting.
Do I consider myself to be a militant atheist? After a lot of consideration, I’d have to say yes. I am aggressive and active, but I am not an extremist and being an atheist does not define the whole of my existence. I am passionate and vocal about a wide variety of things; one of which just happens to be non-belief.
Away from the blogosphere, I rarely even broach the topic of belief or non-belief. I don’t go around asking people where they stand, I don’t accost church-goers in the parking lot after Sunday services, I don’t deface personal property that depicts religion, etc. I truly feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But…
…when a fervent believer decides to shove their uninformed opinions in my face, proselytize to me, tell me I am going to go to hell, attempts to limit my rights in order to force me to conform to their faith, attempts to interject creationist idiocy into the classroom, or uses my tax dollars for the endorsement of any faith, I will absolutely fight back.
I feel it is also important to let others (who fell isolated) know that there are very supportive communities of non-believers and that they are not alone. I cannot do that unless I am vocal and supportive of those wonderful groups.
At times it is difficult to be outspoken, as I live in northwest Arkansas (can anyone say bible belt), so I do pick and choose my battles. I still won’t put atheist bumper stickers or the Darwin fish on my car because I’m poor, only have liability insurance, and don’t want to pay for a new windshield or a set of tires. But as I continue to grow and learn, I become more and more comfortable voicing my disagreements.
The important thing to remember is that everyone is different. There will always be those who are vocal, those who are not, and those who don’t care one way or the other. Don’t be afraid of being who you are. I found that I became a much happier, and more driven, person once I embraced who I truly was, rather than continuing to cower behind the pretense of social acceptability.