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, 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.
The Other Voices Directory was created to serve as a guide to some of the dissent that is currently being expressed on the web. Many of the listed sites 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 list of weird beliefs associated with various small religious sects. 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.
- Social Causes
This category is for organizations that speak out for the rights of repressed minority groups or neglected segments of society.
- 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.
- Weird Religious Beliefs
Strange religious beliefs and practices are sometimes cited by skeptics and atheists in support of their opposition to organized religions.
- Atheist Websites
This section contains descriptions of sites 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 entities 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 censorship or blatant bias in news reporting.
- Nature and Environment
This is a list of activist organizations that fight to protect the natural world from human exploitation and encroachment.
Inexpensive access to the web makes it practical for skeptics and other people with minority opinions to reach big audiences. This page lists groups which express skeptical views about generally-accepted beliefs, or argue against majority opinions.
- Peripheral Science
- In assembling the list on each page, 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.
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, religion, or niche directories.