A vintage photo of San Antonio Church that I like.
Outdoor Mass, 26 September 2010: Confirmation in the Faith.
My own atheism does not prevent me from being enormously fond of my neighborhood plaza a half block away that is dominated by San Antonio Church. The activities and fiestas that take place there in the plaza are usually sponsored by the Church and work to the financial benefit of the Church.
Atheism emerged from the shadows in Mexico when the great Mexican atheist, Ignacio Ramirez, acknowledged as the best orator and writer in the Mexico of his time, asserted God’s non-existence in no uncertain terms before the Literary Academy of St. John Lateran in 1837. Ignacio Ramirez was from this city. One of the three major markets in town is named after him.
Atheism came to power after the Revolution of 1910, particularly in the figure of President Plutarco Calles who undertook brutal measures to suppress the Church. The country was then plunged into the the bloody nightmare of the War of the Cristeros from 1926 through 1929 when the peasants of western Mexico resisted.
Over the last decade in my own country and in Great Britain we have seen the advent of the so-called New Atheists, writers and philosophers like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens, when he was still alive. Their first wave of books on the subject limned the harm done by belief in God, in their minds at least. We are now seeing another wave of books exploring questions such as how morality is possible without God. As if these questions have not been pawed over enough already through history.
It strikes me that these men are attempting to increase the market share of atheism, which currently stands at a less than robust 2% of the market in my own country, the United States of America. The fact that only 2% of Americans describe themselves as “atheist” inspires confidence in me that I am probably on the right track with my own atheism. It is for this reason that I view the effort to increase atheism’s market share with alarm. Should these writers and thinkers meet with some success and should a significant number of Americans begin describing themselves as “atheist” rather than “spiritual but not religious” on dating sites, for example, then I will be forced to reëxamine my own atheism.