There’s this thing, started pretty much on Freethought Blogs.
It’s called Atheism+.
It’s, pretty much, secular humanism. Here, let me show you.
- care about social justice
- support women’s rights
- protest racism
- fight homophobia and transphobia
- use critical thinking and skepticism
- rooted in the world of experience
- equally accessible to every human who cares to inquire into value issues
One of those lists is a list of values for secular humanism. One of those lists is a list of values for atheism+. Can you tell which is which?
However, those who are promoting atheism+ as a “good idea” have now started to show their colors why. It’s nothing more than a way to weed out undesirables. Those atheists who aren’t good atheists. Who aren’t atheist enough. Sorry to burst their bubbles, but atheism’s about one thing, and atheists can have different values in other areas. No one gets to define otherwise.
The list above comes from Richard Carrier’s blog, where he signs off, “In the meantime, I call everyone now to pick sides (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or are you going to stick with Atheism Less? Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.”
Sickening that people who are supposed to be skeptics and humanists would be so black-and-white, us-versus-them, no? Even more sickening are some of the comments on this post.
August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm
I’ll stick with the original atheism, thanks.
Richard Carrier says:
August 21, 2012 at 9:46 am
So, one vote for douchery. Got it.
Is that what this movement will become? With us, or you’re a douche? Label yourself an atheist+ or to hell with you?
Greta Christina argues that atheism+ is a better term to use than humanism because “atheist” and “atheism” are better known terms and invoke more energy in supporters. This is not a great defense for why people should be labeled one thing instead of another.
After all, how many creationists completely screw up what evolution is? Or the big bang? The way we combat this ignorance is with education and advocacy. If secular humanism is not getting enough exposure, give it more exposure. Don’t relabel it with “atheism” just because more people will know what atheism is. Atheism+ isn’t atheism. It’s atheism PLUS humanism, or just secular humanism.
She also argues that if people in the atheist community are tired of the misogynists and move to humanism, then it doesn’t solve the problem. The same argument applies that if you move yourself from the label of atheist to atheist+, there are still misogynists in the atheist movement. I don’t see how anything has been resolved by starting a new movement, other than “agree with us or be a pariah!”
Jen McCreight wants people to brainstorm what atheism+ should be about. Here, again, will be a very big problem for the movement to go forward. Unless it becomes a hierarchy, a bureaucracy, or like secular humanism, an organization, who decides what atheism+ will be about?
What if Person A dictates that atheism+ should be concerned with the plight of those in Africa, while Person B is against any foreign aid and says that’s not part of atheism+? Will this split, like how atheism+ is trying to make atheism a better ideology? Will there be atheism+ and atheism++?
What if, for “animal welfare,” you have Person C who argues that atheism+ should be concerned with humane treatment of all animals, while Person D is PETA-level, no testing on any animals for any reason, no pets, no meat, etc.? What then?
Who gets to decide at what levels atheism+ concerns itself with these topics? What if Person E declares himself an atheist+ but feels like trickle-down economics works? He would support causes that are detrimental to the economy, cause harm to the less fortunate, and still be part of atheism+.
No matter how many topics one tries to cover under one umbrella, there are other areas which can’t be covered. You can still have right assholes in atheism+ who disagree with your ideals. So why the schism? Why the advocacy for this new type of atheism?
Be atheists. But also be more than that. Don’t be lazy and use a label that won’t be understood, that can be butchered and torn in many directions, that will have no leadership (or if it does, will become very similar to religious organizations), and that will do nothing more than to show yourself as someone who follows and not leads.
Atheism+ is a nonsensical ideology that is just a kneejerk reaction to prominent assholes in the atheist movement. It’s not a solution. It’s not going to fix any problems. And it’ll just cause more drama in a drama-filled online community.
I’m not going to label myself an atheist+. It doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with all of their positions on social issues. It doesn’t mean that I’m a douchebag, an asshole, or whatever else an atheist+ wants to toss my way. It simply means that I won’t put a label on myself that others can determine what it means.
I’m an atheist. I’m for women’s rights. I’m for social justice and equality. I’m against the death penalty. I’m against government and corporate corruption. I’m against homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism, ageism, or anything which discriminates on physical or social attributes.
I let my actions, my words and my support of these ideals show who I am. Not a label.