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Atheism and materialism

Are materialism and atheism the same thing? Are they as much the same thing as a cursory examination of a dictionary seems to imply? Why ask?
The question arises because there was a growth in atheism recently. Perhaps the rally on the National Mall in March of 2012 can be considered a peak. The rally was covered in this column, click on this author then scroll back through the titles of the articles. That was two years ago so use the pages of titles option to go faster. They are in order by date of publication.
Atheism retains a presence on the internet today. Especially in anonymous discussion boards atheists continue to gather, compare notes, and engage people of faith in arguments. There are atheist support groups and other websites dedicated to atheism. The ease of access and openness of the internet makes it particularly useful to atheists.
Atheism has no banner
Having a group or club for atheists is problematic because atheists have nothing in common except what they don't do. It's like having a group meeting for people who don't read books or one for people who don't cook. What might they have in common to discuss? So the internet makes a great meeting place for them. They can be "friends" with people far and wide who know or care little about them yet might take their side in an argument against something. It's the nature of the internet after all.
Atheism has no art
Of course there are atheists who will disagree and name several well known "atheist" artists, but just as there is no atheist banner there can be no "atheist" art, just as nihilists and anarchists have little to say in their arts. Such art as you might find will be typically reactionary, critical and derivative. If you suggest they use a picture of a man with no book beside a nearly empty bookcase they would probably be insulted. A trait they often claim is that they are reasonable and prefer "data" and "evidence" to what they perceive as a lack of data and evidence in religion. That is to say that the one "trait" they have is materialism. Truth in that view is only what can be seen and weighed.
Often what makes an atheist is the lack of ability to read at higher levels. Their concept of God is rather often an old man with a long white beard who lives in the clouds, that is, a materialistic, physical representation. Even the most profound believers shun such pedestrian imagery.
To be fair, although they will not be named here, there are many materialists in your various religious services. There are many atheists too. They don't want to be called materialists or atheists. . They don't like being compared to Nazis. There have been countless debates on the internet what faith in any god the Nazis might have had, but, whatever Nazis said, they were notably materialistic in what they did. One can certainly detect a note of physicality. Even people who take a literal interpretation of Genesis likely have more faith in their pedestrian understanding than in any god.
Next step for atheism
In times long past more people described themselves as agnostics than atheists and there were no notable organizations of or for atheists. Two years ago we saw the atheist rally. Is the next step for them to admit to being materialists? Will materialists have a rally on the National Mall?
A strong criticism of atheism is that it has no check against the tyranny of the majority. It is claimed that private property, strict marriage laws and the personal responsibility those require derive from fear of a God with commandments or some sort of dharma, not government. Yet could it be materialism that engenders those ideals rather than any god? Is it not exactly what government lately is though? Is the nanny state not especially materialistic? When the majority chooses to be guided by materialism does it not follow that it becomes tyrannical, destroys private property and marriage laws in its ignorance of personal responsibility?
Political buzz
Campaigns these days tend to focus on "jobs" and economic growth. The "general welfare" has come to mean the "individual welfare generally" and therefore the work of government unlike ever before or ever anticipated. Is indeed such materialism the answer to current troubles? Should we never mind what is right or wrong about it so long as everyone gets more stuff? Could it really lead to anyone getting more stuff? Will that lead to private property, strict marriage laws and personal responsibility such as we see for example in the Ten Commandments?
Are atheists materialists and is that any answer to current issues?

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