“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” at Last Gasp – Wholesale and Mail-Order!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? coverMy new book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless?, is now available through Last Gasp!

This is very exciting for a couple of reasons. For one thing: Last Gasp is a wholesaler, as well as doing retail mail-order. So stores who want to carry the book, but didn’t want to buy direct from the publisher — now you have a wholesale source! Also I worked for Last Gasp for almost ten years, I love the place and am very proud to have been part of its underground comix/ hippie/ punk/ anarchist/ freak/ lowbrow art history, and it tickles me pink that they have my book.

You can also get the print edition through the Richard Dawkins Foundation bookstore, and it can be ordered directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. (You can also pre-order the print edition through Amazon — but Amazon and most other retailers won’t have the book until the fall.) The print edition is $14.95.

The book is also available in several ebook formats: the Kindle edition is available on Amazon, the Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing. All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

The audiobook version is available at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. And yes, I did the recording for it!

And again — if you want the print edition, you can now get it at Last Gasp — wholesale for stores and businesses, or mail-order for regular folks!

Here is the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs. [Read more…]

Runway Recap: Quote Unquote “Real Women”

Sorry for the delay in getting this out! Yesterday was a bit, shall we say, challenging. Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers about last Thursday’s episode of Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 6, “Fix My Friend.” If you’re a fan of the show and you haven’t seen it yet — you stand warned.

So what’s this ridiculous business of designing clothes for women who aren’t fashion models, anyway? How could anyone expect a serious designer to stoop to such a level?

m-/

Project Runway Fabio and clientIt’s become a Project Runway tradition. In one challenge each season, designers have to do an outfit for, quote, “real women”: the very unfortunate term of art in the fashion industry for “women who don’t have the bodies of fashion models or A-list celebrities.” It’s a terrible term, with all sorts of ugly implications… including the implication that fashion models and A-list celebrities aren’t real people. I guess they’re androids or aliens or something, or maybe ethereal angels, far above the messy human business of digestion and respiration. (Ingrid and I have been trying to come up with a better term. “Regular women,” maybe? That’s not great, either. “Women who aren’t built like fashion models” is the concept we’re trying to convey, but it has way too many syllables.)

I actually have some compassion for designers trying to do this. Especially in the world of standard clothing design and manufacturing, where you’re not doing custom work for one person whose measurements you can take precisely.

When I was fat, I used to get very angry about clothes shopping: I’d go into a clothing store, and find that maybe two percent of the clothes fit me and looked good on me. (A totally legitimate anger: there isn’t nearly enough in the way of good clothes for fat women, and manufacturers tend to just take the stuff designed for smaller sizes and embiggen it, instead of making different designs that look good on larger bodies. When they’re not just making crappy boring swaths of fabric for fat women to hide in, that is.)

And it is easier now. Now that I’m about a size 8 or 10, when I go into a clothing store, I find that maybe five percent of the clothes fit me and look good on me.

That’s not a trivial difference. But the reality is that there is literally no way to make an article of clothing that looks good on every woman. Fatness or thinness isn’t the only issue. Height is an issue. Basic shape — busty? angular? pear-shaped? hourglass? — is an issue. Muscles are an issue. Age is an issue. The person’s individual style is obviously an issue. It’s something Ingrid and I have been both frustrated and entertained by: she and I have very similar bodies, with very similar heights and weights… but some pieces really do look great on her and crummy on me, or vice versa. My theory is that it’s because I’m long-waisted and short-legged, and she’s short-waisted and long-legged. Which gives you an idea of how impossible this is, if a distinction that fine can make the difference between a dress looking great and looking like ass.

So I do have sympathy for designers trying to do this. It can’t be done. All you can do is make clothing that will fit some women and look good on them, and do your best marketing to get those women into those clothes.

However. That being said. [Read more…]

Atheism Plus – The Site Is Here! Plus Some Updates

Some important updates on Atheism Plus!

First of all, and very importantly: Atheism Plus is here! Which is to say: Atheism Plus is now more than just an idea. Atheism Plus is now a thing. Right now, that thing is a website: still under construction, but active — and with a forum happening right now!

What is Atheism+?
Atheism+ is safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime.

Right now, the forum is happening. There’s a Main Forum — “the place for on-topic discussion about atheism, humanism, skepticism, and social justice.” There’s an Educational Forum — “where introductory questions will receive civil responses.”

In discussions about Atheism Plus, a need for both these things has been widely expressed: a place where people who want to discuss social justice can do so without constantly being derailed into explanations of 101-level concepts, and a place where people who want and need to discuss 101-level concepts — which at some point is going to be all of us, probably — can do so without being flamed. As Jen says in her introduction to the site:

This is to avoid the problem of what’s known as “JAQing off” – or “Just Asking Questions.” Often trolls will try to derail conversations by repeating basic questions that have been addressed numerous times previously. This results in many veterans losing patience and attacking the person. However, this sometimes results in attacks on people who are sincerely asking questions and may become potential allies. The Educational Forum attempts to solve this problem by giving a safe space for people to ask questions and receive civil responses, while those who are not interested in responding to basic questions can continue advanced discussion in the Main Forum.

Note to bloggers (including the very important Note To Self) and to blog commenters: This introductory forum will be an excellent place to point people in a discussion thread who seem to be JAQing off… as well as people who seem well-meaning but who are nevertheless derailing comment threads by asking 101-level questions that you’re sick of answering. Speaking only for myself: My preference would be that you point people there, instead of being snide to them in my blog.

And there’s a General Chat section on the Forum, to talk about whatever you wan with others who share the values of Atheism Plus. Cats, skeet shooting, Project Runway… whatever.

The Atheism Plus website will eventually contain resources and information on social justice issues. Right now, the forum is happening. If you’ve been excited about Atheism Plus, come check it out!

In other Atheism Plus news:

Jen McCreight, the instigator of Atheism Plus, has a very good FAQ about Atheism Plus, Responding to common misconceptions about Atheism+. If you have questions or concerns about it, go there first — she may well have answered them.

There’s also a very good discussion thread on Jen’s blog, crowd-sourcing ideas for what exactly people involved with Atheism Plus could do and how. Atheism+: It’s time to walk the walk. Check it out.

Dana Hunter at En Tequila Es Verdad has a linkfest of FTB blog posts about Atheism Plus. Not completist, but useful nonetheless.

Much of the commentary and controversy about Atheism Plus has focused on Richard Carrier’s original post about it, and the “not one of us” sentiment in it. He has since clarified this point, both in an update in the final paragraph of that original post, and in a new, separate post dedicated to this clarification. He has also written a lengthy post apologizing for and re-thinking some insulting language he had originally used in comments on that post. If your concerns about Atheism Plus were focused on Carrier’s vision and perception of it, please read these updates. If you have been publicizing those concerns (via Facebook or Twitter), it would be nice if you would spread these clarifications/ corrections/ retractions/ apologies with equal fervor.

If you’re wondering whether an Atheist Plus community is viable, or whether it will eventually disintegrate into factionalism while driving off the old-timers… Kazim has an excellent post at The Atheist Experience, about how the Atheist Community of Austin has essentially been an A+ community for years… and has been flourishing.

And finally: Did I mention that Atheism Plus is a thing now? It is! If this “atheism plus social justice” thing interests you, go check it out! I’m going to be hanging out there regularly. If you’re interested, come hang out there with me!

#mencallmethings: “whining, annoying, cunt.”

UPDATE: The “oolon” who wrote this comment is not the usual “oolon” who comments on FTB. The writer of this comment sockpuppetted the existing blogger’s ‘nym.

Comment from oolon, in the discussion on the post #mencallmethings: “Old bag”

A “derailment”? No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism. Whining about trolls saying sexist things? Oh, that’s really important. :|

Do you know what you are? You’re a cunt.
That’s right, you’re a CUNT.

Now, don’t pretend that I’m a sexist… I’m not saying all women are cunts. I’m not even saying most women are cunts. But someone who whines about sexist trolls is just that – a whining, annoying, cunt.

#mencallmethings

A few notes:

1: This commenter does discredit to the proud name of Oolon.

2: I hope everyone here will understand why the word “cunt” is a sexist insult. Not when used in a consensual sexual context, of course… but when aimed at women in a deliberate attempt to hurt and insult them. In case you don’t, Noadi said id very well in their reply to oolon’s comment:

No, we won’t call you a sexist because you don’t think all women are cunts. We’ll call you a sexist because you believe that reducing a woman to her genitals as an insult is acceptable behavior. You have shown yourself to believe that women, and treating them like human beings, is of little importance. That makes you a misogynistic asshole.

3: The #mencallmethings hashtag does not say #allmencallmethings, or #mostmencallmethings. If you want to learn more about the history of this hashtag and why people started using it, please read But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up and Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds! on Tiger Beatdown, where the hashtag originated. And please do not start a “but not all men are like that, so the #mencallmethings hashtag is reverse sexism!” argument. That has been addressed, at length, in the comments in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, as well as elsewhere. Please read Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny if you’re wondering why I will not take kindly that that particular line of conversation.

4: I am getting very tired of people responding to these posts by saying things like, “Don’t give them attention. Don’t feed the trolls.” This has been addressed at length, in the #mencallmethings: “whore” comment thread, and elsewhere. (Here is a very good short video on that subject, summing up why “don’t feed the trolls” is a terrible response to sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or other group-based hate.) The tl;dr: This is not a few trolls trying to get attention and stir up any kind of response. This is a sustained campaign of misogyny, aimed at driving feminist women out of a community. And ignoring it does not make it go away. Ignoring it gives it tacit consent. The only way to deal with it is to point it out, and shame it, and make it clear that our community does not tolerate it. When you respond to a woman speaking out about misogyny by saying, “Don’t feed the trolls,” you are essentially telling us, “Stay silent about the misogynist shit you have to deal with on a daily basis.”

And in particular, in the context of the discussions about Atheism Plus — the proposed new wave of atheism that focuses on atheism plus social justice — it’s important to make it clear exactly why Atheism Plus is happening. There are far too many people who want to ignore the reality of sexism and misogyny in the atheist community: who want to pretend that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not really that bad, or that it doesn’t really happen that often. I think it’s important to show people why, exactly, many of us are finding the idea of Atheism Plus so appealing. In fact, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m starting to get more of these kinds of comments in response to my posts about Atheism Plus, and about how atheists who care about social justice are forming a subset of the community in which this sort of hate will not be tolerated.

And finally, 5

5: As I said in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, and again in the #mencallmethings: “whore” post, and in the #mencallmethings: “Old bag” post: If anyone is still wondering why some atheists might want to carve out a subset of atheism that’s specifically focused on social justice issues — such as misogyny, rape culture, and the reality of what life is like for women on the Internet — and that’s specifically focused on making atheism more welcoming to women, people of color, and other marginalized groups — I hope this puts your questions to rest. This is Exhibit A.

Except it’s not Exhibit A. It’s more like Exhibit W. It’s more like Exhibit W (2) f (xi). I get this all the time. I get this so often, I’ve lost track. As has every other woman I know who speaks publicly about feminism.

I think that’s all from me on this for now. Thoughts?

UPDATE: There’s one more thing I want to mention: This is the fourth one of these I’ve gotten in three days. Again — all in response to discussions of misogyny, and why atheism might need a new wave that explicitly gives a damn about misogyny and other social justice issues. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

#mencallmethings: “Old bag”

Comment from Goldstein Squad Member, in the discussion on the post #mencallmethings: “whore”

The picture was not that great, Greta.

Old bags don’t do it for us.

#mencallmethings

A few notes:

1: For people who aren’t familiar with it: The nude photo in question was done for the Nude Photo Revolutionary calendar, created in homage and solidarity with Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself, announcing the post on Twitter under the hashtag, #NudePhotoRevolutionary, as an act of defiance against Islamist theocracy. It was not intended to be erotic. If someone’s sole response to any picture whatsoever of a naked woman, in any context, is to evaluate that woman on the basis of whether or not they would like to fuck her… that’s pretty pathetic. And even if the photo had been intended to be erotic… the question of whether hateful, venomous, woman-hating trolls find me attractive is of exactly zero concern to me. As British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith wrote in her excellent, must-read piece, Thanks (but no thanks…):

What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?!

Which leads me to:

2: I’m going to issue the standard request that I always issue when the #thing that #menhavecalled me is some version of “ugly”: Please, unless you’re a personal friend or someone I’m having sex with, don’t try to make me feel better by saying that I’m not ugly. If I write about fashion or post the hot pic of myself in the Skepticon calendar, you can say nice things about how I look… but please don’t do it here. I’m not calling this out to garner reassurance about my appearance. I’m calling this out to show people the kind of shit women routinely deal with. I have a thick skin, and I don’t get my feelings hurt by sexist jackasses calling me names. That isn’t the point.

The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

3: I’ve noticed that my Nude Photo Revolutionary calendar picture has been coming up a lot in discussions of me among misogynist haters. Some of the comments are along the lines of, “Greta posed nude, and it’s hot and I jacked off to it, but I hold her in contempt because of it.” Others have been more like this one, along the lines of, “That’s disgusting, who would ever find naked pictures of her attractive?” (Both ignoring the issues addressed in #2 above, of course…) So I’m starting to wonder: Is there going to be a schism in the misogynist hater community over whether my #NudePhotoRevolutionary photo was hot or not?

4: The #mencallmethings hashtag does not say #allmencallmethings, or #mostmencallmethings. If you want to learn more about the history of this hashtag and why people started using it, please read But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up and Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds! on Tiger Beatdown, where the hashtag originated. And please do not start a “but not all men are like that, so the #mencallmethings hashtag is reverse sexism!” argument. That has been addressed, at length, in the comments in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, as well as elsewhere. Please read Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny if you’re wondering why I will not take kindly that that particular line of conversation.

5: I am getting very tired of people responding to these posts by saying things like, “Don’t give them attention. Don’t feed the trolls.” This has been addressed at length, in the #mencallmethings: “whore” comment thread, and elsewhere. (Here is a very good short video on that subject, summing up why “don’t feed the trolls” is a terrible response to sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or other group-based hate.) The tl;dr: This is not a few trolls trying to get attention and stir up any kind of response. This is a sustained campaign of misogyny, aimed at driving feminist women out of a community. And ignoring it does not make it go away. Ignoring it gives it tacit consent. The only way to deal with it is to point it out, and shame it, and make it clear that our community does not tolerate it. When you respond to a woman speaking out about misogyny by saying, “Don’t feed the trolls,” you are essentially telling us, “Stay silent about the misogynist shit you have to deal with on a daily basis.”

And in particular, in the context of the discussions about Atheism Plus — the proposed new wave of atheism that focuses on atheism plus social justice — it’s important to make it clear exactly why Atheism Plus is happening. There are far too many people who want to ignore the reality of sexism and misogyny in the atheist community: who want to pretend that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not really that bad, or that it doesn’t really happen that often. I think it’s important to show people why, exactly, many of us are finding the idea of Atheism Plus so appealing. In fact, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m starting to get more of these kinds of comments in response to my posts about Atheism Plus, and about how atheists who care about social justice are forming a subset of the community in which this sort of hate will not be tolerated.

Which leads me to my final point on this (for now):

6: As I said in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, and again in the #mencallmethings: “whore” post: If anyone is still wondering why some atheists might want to carve out a subset of atheism that’s specifically focused on social justice issues — such as misogyny, rape culture, and the reality of what life is like for women on the Internet — and that’s specifically focused on making atheism more welcoming to women, people of color, and other marginalized groups — I hope this puts your questions to rest. This is Exhibit A.

Except it’s not Exhibit A. It’s more like Exhibit W. It’s more like Exhibit W (2) f (viii). I get this all the time. I get this so often, I’ve lost track. As has every other woman I know who speaks publicly about feminism.

I think that’s all from me on this for now. Thoughts?

#mencallmethings: “whore”

Comment from wondering, in the discussion on the post #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT”

Lol at Greta thinking anyone takes her seriously after her nude pic:

http://embruns.net/images/nude-calendar-greta-2012.jpg

Expecting us to take a whore seriously is when you know Feminist Thought Blogs has gone too far.

BTW, I don’t like Rebecca Watson either (she’s another person who only wants to talk about feminism, not atheism) but I still respect her as a person.

And before anyone accuses me of being a prude, I’ve masturbated to that nude pic of Greta lots of times before.

I’m not even joking, I like mature women and I’m a huge fan of MILF porn. :)

But I separate whores from women I take seriously and I separate feminism from atheism advocacy.

Leave the atheism up to the real atheists (like Dawkins) and stop with the feminism bullshit, alright? :)

#mencallmethings

A few notes:

1: I think whores are fine. I’ve never worked as a prostitute, but I have worked as a stripper, and I have many friends and colleagues who have worked or continue to work as prostitutes. I respect them, and I respect their work. But the use of the word “whore” as an insult to any woman who steps out of line with sexual norms is disgusting. It’s insulting to all women — and it’s insulting to prostitutes, of all genders.

2: The #mencallmethings hashtag does not say #allmencallmethings, or #mostmencallmethings. If you want to learn more about the history of this hashtag and why people started using it, please read But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up and Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds! on Tiger Beatdown, where the hashtag originated. And please do not start a “but not all men are like that, so the #mencallmethings hashtag is reverse sexism!” argument. That has been addressed, at length, in the comments in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, as well as elsewhere. Please read Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny if you’re wondering why I will not take kindly that that particular line of conversation.

3: For people who aren’t familiar with it: The nude photo in question was done for the Nude Photo Revolutionary calendar, created in homage and solidarity with Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself, announcing the post on Twitter under the hashtag, #NudePhotoRevolutionary, as an act of defiance against Islamist theocracy. But even if it hadn’t? Even if it had been the most purely pornographic porn in the world? Why would that render me unfit to be taken seriously?

4: As I said in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post: If anyone is still wondering why some atheists might want to carve out a subset of atheism that’s specifically focused on social justice issues — such as misogyny, rape culture, and the reality of what life is like for women on the Internet — and that’s specifically focused on making atheism more welcoming to women, people of color, and other marginalized groups — I hope this puts your questions to rest. This is Exhibit A.

Except it’s not Exhibit A. It’s more like Exhibit W. It’s more like Exhibit W (2) f (vi). I get this all the time. I get this so often, I’ve lost track. As has every other woman I know who speaks publicly about feminism.

And 5: I hope I don’t have to point out the grotesque irony of this comment appearing in a post about a misogynist rape threat. The idea that someone would read a post about a comment saying ““GRETA CHRISTINA YOU FUCKIN HOE… I HOPE YOU GET RAPED YOU FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT… GO CHOKE ON A DICK AND DIE,” and respond by calling me a whore who doesn’t have to be taken seriously, is… I don’t even have words for what that is.

Maybe some of you can help me out.

Greta Speaking in San Francisco, Saturday 8/25!

Reminder: I’m speaking in San Francisco tomorrow, on the topic of Atheism and Sexuality. Details below. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope to see you there!

CITY: San Francisco, CA
DATE: Saturday, Aug. 25
TIME: 4:30 pm
LOCATION: Schroeder’s Restaurant, 240 Front St., San Francisco, rear dining room (near Embarcadero BART)
EVENT/ HOSTS: San Francisco Atheists
TOPIC: Atheism and Sexuality
SUMMARY: The sexual morality of traditional religion tends to be based, not on solid ethical principles, but on a set of taboos about what kinds of sex God does and doesn’t want people to have. And while the sex-positive community offers a more thoughtful view of sexual morality, it still often frames sexuality as positive by seeing it as a spiritual experience. What are some atheist alternatives to these views? How can atheists view sexual ethics without a belief in God? And how can atheists view sexual transcendence without a belief in the supernatural?
COST: Free (although attendees are generally expected to buy food and/or drink) and open to the public

#mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT”

Comment from Tim, in the discussion on the post Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism

“GRETA CHRISTINA YOU FUCKIN HOE… I HOPE YOU GET RAPED YOU FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT… GO CHOKE ON A DICK AND DIE

“What are you gonna do, Greta? Are you gonna ban me again? :)”

#mencallmethings

If anyone is still wondering why some atheists might want to carve out a subset of atheism that’s specifically focused on social justice issues — such as misogyny, rape culture, and the reality of what life is like for women on the Internet — and that’s specifically focused on making atheism more welcoming to women, people of color, and other marginalized groups — I hope this puts your questions to rest. This is Exhibit A.

Except it’s not Exhibit A. It’s more like Exhibit W. It’s more like Exhibit W (2) f (iii). I get this all the time. I get this so often, I’ve lost track. As has every other woman I know who speaks publicly about feminism.

And yes, based on the other comments he made, Tim seems to be an atheist and a skeptic.

How Confrontationalism Can Open Doors

A woman walks into a café, orders a coffee and, before she pays, crosses off “In God We Trust” on her $20 bill. The woman is me, and scratching the motto off money is something I often do.

This time the woman behind the counter gave me a look. Irritated, offended. She looked like she wanted to tell me off, or start an argument. But instead she shrugged, and said (paraphrasing here), “Whatever floats your boat.”

I felt uncomfortable. Like most people, I don’t like upsetting others or making them mad at me. I’m fairly comfortable with confrontation online—heck, it’s my job, and it’s a job I enjoy—but when it’s in person, it makes me feel self-conscious and anxious. While the woman was getting my coffee, I had a brief argument with myself in my head. Was this bit of visibility for secularism worth the irritation and offense I had caused? Had I actually turned someone off to the ideas I was trying to convey? Was it obnoxious of me to do my little “secular government” visibility action in front of the barista, who is professionally required to be polite to me and doesn’t have the option of telling me to piss off? In doing my visibility shtick and trying to open some eyes to some new ideas and questions, had I instead just closed a door?

Here’s what happened next.

*

Thus begins my first piece in my “Fierce Humanism” column for The Humanist magazine, How Confrontationalism Can Open Doors. To read more about how confrontation can start conversations rather than stopping them, and why confrontationalism and diplomacy aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

Humanism Is Great — But It’s Not Atheism Plus

I like humanism. I support humanism. I think humanism is important. I even call myself, among many other names, a humanist.

But Atheism Plus isn’t humanism.

Atheism plus logo As most readers here probably know by now, Jen McCreight recently proposed a new wave of atheism — an “atheism plus” wave that explicitly focuses, not just on atheism, but on the intersections between atheism and racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other social justice issues — externally in what issues we take on, and internally in how we deal with our own stuff.

This has generated a lot of conversation and debate. Some of it productive, some not so much. And one of the questions that keeps coming up is, “Why do you have to invent a new thing and a new name… when humanism already exists? Isn’t ‘Atheism plus social justice’ just another term for humanism?”

I don’t think it is. But I do think this question is worth addressing. I’ve been a little surprised at some of the nasty, spiteful ugliness that’s sometimes been accompanying the question (humanism — you’re doing it wrong!). But many people are asking it sincerely, and I want to try to answer. [Read more…]