Atheist Solidarity Day
annually on June 21st (since 2010)
"Mike Smith" (anonymous)
Atheists stand together today and provide support for those who struggle to be non-religious in their communities, because, as stated by the day's creator, "only in solidarity can atheists create a world in which atheists everywhere can be open about their lack of belief in god and not fear any harmful consequence." It celebrates those who do have the freedom to be who they are but raises awareness for those who don't—those who must hide their beliefs because of social pressures, taboos, threats of violence, and even fear of death.
On Atheist Solidarity Day, many atheists wear a ribbon that is half scarlet red and half black, known as the atheist ribbon, or identify themselves in another way, such as by wearing a Scarlet A. Oppressors are stood up to. To raise awareness, letters are written to the media, protests and community fundraisers are organized, and parties take place in public places. These and other events are held to break stereotypes and make it known that atheists are just like anyone else.
The day appears to have first been observed in 2010. Someone who went by the name of Mike Smith on the group page of the Atheist Nexus website created it, but their real name is unknown because they wished to remain anonymous. It takes place when it does to complement World Humanist Day, which takes place near the same date, if not on it.
Atheists believe there are no deities, while those who are theistic believe some sort of deity exists. The word "a" in their name means "without." There is no set ideology in atheism—atheists may be humanists, rationalists, unitarian universalists, postmodernists, secularists, among other things. Greek and Roman philosophers and writers such as Epicurus, Democritus, and Lucretius had an influence on what would become atheism. The term didn't appear until the sixteenth century, a time when freethought and skepticism began to take root. Some that lived during the Age of Enlightenment were the first to identify themselves as atheists. The supremacy of human reason was an aspect of the French Revolution, and it was at this time that atheism first became used politically. Science also began to undermine religion during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Atheists have a large number of reasons as to why they see religion as being bad. They may think people who believe in a higher power do not think rationally and are not self-reliant. Many believe religion divides people and causes things like war. They see the anti-democratic structure of most religions as being incongruent with human rights and are opposed to how women and gay people are treated differently by many religious groups. They also may believe that religion hampers scientific research.
It is hard to estimate how many atheists are in the world. A 2015 poll claimed about 11% of the world's population are atheists, and a 2012 poll claimed the number to be 13%. These were both WIN/Gallup International polls. A BBC poll from 2004 put the number at 8%. Europe and Asia have the largest number of atheists. In 2015, 61% of Chinese citizens identified as atheists. On Atheist Solidarity Day, they stand together and support those in their group who are not able to be their true, authentic selves. By coming together in solidarity, they work to create a world where all atheists may live lives without fear of repercussions.
How to Observe Atheist Solidarity Day
If you're an atheist, fight for a world where everyone can believe what they want to believe, and show support for your fellow atheists, especially for those who must hide their beliefs or face discrimination. Wear or display symbols of atheism such as a red and black ribbon or a Scarlet A. Write a letter or email about the day to a media organization. Organize or attend a protest, community fundraiser, or public party that supports atheism and freedom of thought. Encourage atheist groups to participate in the day. You could also join the Atheist Solidarity Day or Atheist Nexus Facebook groups. If you're not an atheist, you could read a book about atheism or watch a film that explores the topic. Most importantly, make sure that you are accepting of atheists.