Hey! I don’t know about this arrangement — Salon ran an article I really wanted to rip into, and while I was distracted, Chris Clarke snatched it away from me, and made all the good points. Now I’m left with the dregs.
It was an article that asked “Where are the women of New Atheism?”, while weirdly and obliquely citing a number of prominent woman atheists and putting pictures of atheist men at the top. I felt like screaming, “They’re everywhere! But lazy media always makes the story about the men!” But Chris already said all that.
So, dregs. That story actually annoyed me from the very first paragraph.
“New Atheism” is old news. Enter “New, New Atheism”: the next generation, with its more spiritual brand of non-belief, and its ambition to build an atheist church. It is an important moment for the faithless.
Say what? The author really is trying to build up her bizarre misperceptions into a reality. I see no significant effort to incorporate “spirituality” (whatever the hell that is) into atheism, or to mimic the trappings of institutional religion. There are a few scattered individuals who are doing that — atheism is diverse and unregimented, so of course there are varieties of exploration of the implementation — but no one I know is interested in building atheist “churches”. I have seen no shift in the newer atheists towards the spiritual — if anything, the young atheists I know are more likely to take for granted that spirituality is meaningless. The new, new atheism is about taking material action.
I really wonder if the author has had any experience with atheists at all, because this was more of an outsider’s warped view of struggles within the atheist movement (we are all trying to end discrimination against women and broaden our reach), distorted into her preconceptions about what it should be like.