Define your terms

An interesting question. American Atheists asked on Twitter:

Seeking input! What blog do you think best represents #atheists/#atheism positively? Doesn’t have to be an exclusively atheist blog.

But what does AA mean by “positively”? I asked, in several doubtless annoying tweets, but AA had skipped off to other activities so I didn’t find out.

The word has come to be a blanket term for nice or not hostile aka not critical while “negative” has come to be a blanket term for nasty or critical or skeptical.

So you see why I asked. Organized, campaigning, activist atheists don’t necessarily see “not critical” as “positive”…so what are we talking about here?

Of course the candidate that came immediately to mind as answering the apparent question was The Friendly Atheist – and sure enough the three replies that came before my annoying questions all named that very blog.

But is that what we mean by representing atheists and atheism positively? If we say that aren’t we buying into exactly the canard that AA exists to combat? If we say that aren’t we buying into the conventional wisdom that outspoken unapologetic atheism is itself, and by itself, not “nice” and not “friendly” and thus not positive? Don’t we want to get away from that perception?

Plus there’s the problem that calling yourself The Friendly ______ implies that other ______s are not friendly, and that too is not altogether “nice” or positive.

So I replied Eric MacDonald’s Choice in Dying. I think Eric represents atheists and atheism positively because of his thoughtfulness, learning, careful argumentation, passion, commitment, and fire of indignation.