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No True Scotsman, Atheists, & Apathy

Okay. So, atheists. You might have seen some arguing in the blogosphere lately. You might have heard people with pleasant accents saying unpleasant things about feminists. Or you’ve been ensnarled in a Twitter spat. Or three.

It’s exhausting, and I get it. You want us to all get along and stop writing blog posts at each other, stop arguing amongst ourselves and all that nonsense. It’s hard to wait–to even have to anticipate–the next back-and-forth. There’s YouTube videos and forums and vlogs focused internally. Comments on blogs and blogs about comments.

So, for a second we’re going to talk about ‘pure’ atheism, the non-intersectional vanilla kind.

You know, you’re upset about the last thing the Christian right said. So you say something on r/atheism, Facebook, in public, and the next thing you know, there’s a liberal Christian type saying….

“But True Christians ™ don’t do that!”
“But if you read the Bible correctly, Jesus just preaches love!”
“The Westboro Baptist Church isn’t REAL Christianity”
“The Ugandan kill-the-gays bill wasn’t supported by Real Christians!”

It’s obnoxious. And we, understandably, grouch about it.

Police your own, we say. You don’t get to say ‘I’m Catholic! But I support contraception and choice–I just won’t speak against the Pope’s harmful policies!” You can’t just pretend that people in a religion you choose to be a part of aren’t doing awful things. When you decide to join a group–hell, when you are part of any category–that’s how it works. Shrugging off bigotry and injustice as a ‘different interpretation’ of equally devoted believers and nothing more is intellectually dishonest.

I’m mad. Greta Christina is angry–it’s numbers 94 and 95 out of 99 Things That Piss off the Godless. JT, Ed, PZ, Cuttlefish are frustrated. I think we can agree that the progressive Christians aren’t exempted entirely from critique just by pretending that the rest of Christianity doesn’t sometimes do horrid things.

You know what I’m saying? Right? Right.

Okay, easy vanilla part’s over.

We’re hypocrites if we don’t take this to heart in our own community. 

If we’re going to try to act ‘better’–actually, I think that’s arbitrary measure–if we’re going to be intellectually honest, we DO need to be arguing, critiquing, and otherwise speaking up about intolerable behavior. We need to–to cherrypick from the Bible myself–cast the beams from our own eyes.

Stepping out and saying that you don’t want to be involved in all that drama is equivalent to what we object to of the religious. I’m sorry it’s stressful, exhausting, and disheartening. But we’re worth it. The people of this movement, and the people who will be part of this movement are worth it.