Dissent can be defined as active opposition to established public policies or social conventions. The opposition can take various forms, including media campaigns, public protests, organized boycotts, grassroots activism, and in extreme cases, violent uprisings. Mainstream society often responds to such activities by trying to suppress the dissent.
Many major reform movements of the past have started with the dissent of a small group, or even a single individual. This often arises out of an inherent injustice in the existing order. When the injured person or group speaks out, the established powers may see the protest as a threat to their own privileged position in the society. As a result, in many cases the dissent is quickly crushed. But sometimes the new viewpoint survives and begins to gather support. If it gains enough adherents, what started as a small movement may eventually lead to a major political or social reform.
The American revolution against England began as a small activist movement. The anti-slavery movement in the United States also initially represented a minority viewpoint. Other initially small movements which eventually achieved at least partial success include the campaign for a woman's right to vote, the civil rights movement, and the effort to protect endangered species. Many major religions also started out as small movements which were persecuted by majority groups.
This image of a group of protesters is called The Uprising. It was painted by the nineteenth-century French artist Honore Daumier.
The growth and pervasiveness of the world wide web has made it easier for dissenting voices to reach an audience. Numerous individuals and activist groups have established websites to publicize their beliefs and promote their causes. But the web also makes it easier for other people to oppose these causes. Unfortunately, in some cases proponents of unpopular views have received hate mail and even threats. But many courageous people continue to maintain their sites despite this opposition. As the web expands, and the people of different societies use it to learn more about each other, tolerance of previously-unfamiliar viewpoints and beliefs can be expected to increase.
Other Voices was created to serve as a guide to some of the dissent that is currently being expressed on the web. For convenience, each page in the site is devoted to a particular type of protest, with categories such as social causes, environmental defense, skepticism, opposition to government and corporate corruption, protection of the natural environment, freedom of speech, anti-religious movements such as atheism and agnosticism, preservation of rare trees and other threatened species, political activism, and minority voices. There are also pages which list some other useful resources available on the internet as well as reviews of some books about dissenting movements.
Many of the sites listed in this directory provide forums which allow people to debate with each other about current issues. Examples include forums which provide an opportunity for discussions between members of different political parties, or between atheists and Christians. In most cases, anyone may join such a forum and participate as a voice in the debates. Some websites also allow people to comment on the articles that are published on the site.
In addition to the main categories, this website also contains a glossary of weird beliefs. Examples of such beliefs include demonic possession, incorruptible bodies, stigmata, gods in human form, the Christian trinity, relics, supernatural interventions, original sin, animal sacrifice, biblical inerrancy, and transubstantiation. Atheists and religious skeptics sometimes use these types of beliefs as evidence to support their arguments against the truth of traditional religions.
Note: Other Voices does not list websites which advocate or defend any form of violence, or that provide information about how to obtain, build, or use any kind of weapon. It also doesn't list sites which promote or encourage political or religious persecution, gambling, aberrant sexual practices, sadistic behavior, torture, hate crimes, pornography, spousal or child abuse, and child molestation.
- Social Causes
This category is for websites that speak out for the rights of repressed minority groups or neglected segments of society. Many of these sites discuss issues such as poverty, homelessness, child and spousal abuse, medical care, gay rights, equal pay, and race relations.
- Religious Dissent
This category includes websites that oppose the beliefs and practices of major established religious groups, or that promote the beliefs of atheists, skeptics, and small lesser-known religious groups. It also includes sites that cover controversial topics such as speaking in tongues, bible contradictions, demonic possession, torture, witchcraft, religious atrocities, fake relics of the cross, and the teachings of Jesus. Some of these sites were set up to oppose extreme practices such as holy wars, forced conversions, persecutions, and hate crimes.
- Weird Religious Beliefs
Strange religious beliefs and practices are sometimes cited by skeptics and atheists in support of their opposition to organized religions. This glossary contains definitions for some of these bizarre beliefs, including those involving gods and goddesses, demons, bible certainty, possession, sacrifice, and witchcraft.
- Atheist Websites
This section contains descriptions of websites that try to promote an atheistic view of the world. Many of these sites emphasize logical thought and a scientific approach to the study of the nature of reality. Many of them are also highly critical of the practices of the major traditional religions.
- Alternative Information Sources
This page lists websites that take a skeptical view of the mainstream media, or that publicize news and information ignored or suppressed by other sources. It also lists groups that fight against governmental and private censorship, monopolistic practices, and blatant bias in news reporting.
- Nature and Environment
This category includes websites of activist organizations that fight to protect the natural world from human exploitation and encroachment. This could include the advocacy of animal rights, the protection and expansion of park lands, preservation of threatened tree species, and opposition to commercial development of unspoiled land.
Inexpensive access to the web makes it practical for skeptics and other people with minority opinions to reach big audiences. This page lists websites which express skeptical views about generally-accepted beliefs, or argue against majority opinions. This can include commonly accepted ideas about business practices, science, nature, religious freedoms, and social policies.
- Other pages on this site cover areas such as personal rights and freedoms, illegal activities of corporations, exploitation of women and children, discrimination against minorities, and fringe political views. In assembling the lists, I have looked for sites which provide the type of information that is often under-reported or totally disregarded by major news organizations. At the same time, I have tried to avoid sites that show extreme bias and intentionally provide false information.
This directory lists websites that express dissenting viewpoints on major social, political, religious, and cultural matters.
The image on this page is the painting The Uprising by Honore Daumier. This is a public domain work reproduced courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.
The Other Voices Directory is a non-commercial website. There are no advertisements and no products are offered for sale. In web directories, the site is usually listed in the categories of society, social issues, activism, religion, politics, skepticism, or niche directories.