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Sep 11 2012

Why Atheism+ Is Necessary

This comment by Stevarious on a previous post is perfect, so I am lifting it up and publishing it here. And honestly, if you don’t get that this is 100% correct, then you are nothing but a delusional selfish fuckebagge:

As yet, no one has even tried to explain how combining atheism (unpopular) with social justice (also unpopular) will help either atheism or social justice achieve their goal.

The reason you don’t understand is because you don’t know what it’s like to try to join an atheist group/meetup/movement/whatever and be unwelcome (whether subtly or overtly) because you’re not a cis white male.

Have you ever tried to join some group, something that you believed in, and been unwelcome because you’re an atheist? Yeah, it’s like that. It’s almost exactly like that. Except we now have atheism hindered – crippled, even – by it’s own refusal to accept and welcome women and minorities as equal members. How does this hurt atheism? Well, you may not have noticed, but cis white males only make up about 25% of the population of the United States. Is atheist activism in the US helped or hindered, in your humble opinion, by making 75% of potential members feel unwelcome and encouraged to join some other movement?

I’m not saying that all – or even most – of the cis white males are guilty of this behavior, or that this behavior is exclusive to cis white males. But it’s enough of them for it to be a real, genuine problem. And what’s worse, is that a much larger portion of the people who are NOT actively joining in, are standing back and ignoring it, or worse, defending the rights of asshole atheists to use words like ‘cunts’ and ‘trannies’ and ‘sluts’ and ‘tits or GTFO’ and otherwise treat others in a generally shitty manner.

So the women and the minorities and the people who support women and minorities are done trying to change atheism from within and are going away (as they have been told to do, over and over by the haters) to form their own movement. Except the haters just can’t let us go – now that we ARE going away and leaving them alone, the haters have become even nastier. They won’t even LET us take the GTFO option!

Is Atheism+ a split from the atheist movement? Yes, IMHO. But it’s not the A+’ers who are causing the split. And I for one welcome a split that leaves the crowd shouting ‘Tits or GTFO!’ out in the cold.

That is, I think about specific goals and about TACTICS. The tactic of explicitly combining atheism and (so far) third wave feminism makes as much sense as advocating (say) repeal of the incest laws along with repeal of tax exemptions for churches. One can perhaps make a strong case for each individually, but combining the two under one banner would make each far, far harder to sell.

I believe you’re wrong about this – Equal rights for atheists are a matter of social justice. So is feminism. The two are much closer linked than you imply.

But even if they weren’t, it’s become clear that a large number of atheists are not going to be able to fight for the rights of atheists under the banner of Atheism because they just aren’t welcome under that banner.

Surely, as a program manager, you understand that nothing is going to get done if everyone doesn’t work as a team, don’t you? Well, some members of the team have been telling other parts of the team to “shut up, get back to the kitchen, and make sandwiches” for far too long. And instead of telling the doodz yelling for sandwiches to shut up, you’re essentially telling the rest of us to shut up for saying ‘No, make your own damn sandwiches. There’s REAL work to do.’ And part of that work appears to be finding a new banner to fight under.

73 comments

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  1. 1
    smrnda

    I think atheism, without a social justice focus, ends up being an empty repetition of the same points over and over again, since religious dogma isn’t the only type of backwards thinking that a rational person ought to dismiss. Religion is a bunch of tripe handed to us by tradition, and religious leaders are hoping people simply accept the tripe without digging too deeply. However, a lot of other nonsense gets handed to us by society and tradition that is equally not based in reality.

  2. 2
    A Hermit

    “Make your own damn sandwiches…”

    I had a co-worker who brought the wrong lunch to work one day; he sat at the desk next to me and called his wife (at her workplace!) to sarcastically “thank” her for giving him the wrong sandwiches…

    So I asked him, “why don’t you make your own sandwiches?” He seemed truly puzzled by the question, as if the thought had never even occurred to him. That’s the kind of mentality we’re dealing with here.

  3. 3
    jenny6833a

    Dear Prof,

    That’s an interesting post, the little bit from you that calls me (and anyone who finds merit in my opinion) a “delusional selfish fuckebagge.” You really know how to win friends, influence people, and get them to take you seriously.

    As for the comment from Stevarious, the one you like so much, after two readings it didn’t seem all that responsive to anything I said. I’d hoped for a point by point rebuttal, one that would show me where I went astray, if in fact I did. What I think I got was a rehash of stuff said many times by many people, very little of which dealt with my thesis.

    I don’t think either your approach or that of Stevarious is much of a recommendation for this offshoot group you’re trying to form.

    But do have an exceptionally nice day,

    Jennifer

  4. 4
    Patricia, OM

    Very good. Thanks for highlighting this.

  5. 5
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Jenny, why would any sane and decent person give a quarter-shitte what a delusional selfish fuckebagge thinks about anything? People who have values and principles don’t sacrifice those things in exchange for being regarded more favorably by people who have other less-laudable values.

  6. 6
    ChasCPeterson

    I’d hoped for a point by point rebuttal

    learn to live with disappointment.
    You only had one point anyway: that in your opinion combining Movement atheism with other Movements of social justice is a mistake in marketing TACTICS.

    Well, a lot of other people disagree. Or maybe they don’t care. Even if the Goal of Movement atheism is simply to recruit more atheists, as you aver, a lot of people feel that some atheists aren’t worth recruiting (i.e. the delusional selfish fuckebagges). Deal.

  7. 7
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    And honestly, if you don’t get that this is 100% correct, then you are nothing but a delusional selfish fuckebagge:

    Thank you very much for highlighting my comment, but I kinda wish you hadn’t included this. I was trying very hard to avoid confrontational or exclusionary language, since the comment was directed at a person who seems to actually just disagree with A+’s methods, not its goals (instead of one of the hundreds of trolls running around right now just pretending). I don’t think jenny6833a is any of those things – I just think she’s wrong.

    jenny6833a, if you’re still interested, I believe I can make a more specific point-by-point rebuttal, instead of a bunch of generalities.

  8. 8
    Chebag

    I was trying very hard to avoid confrontational or exclusionary language

    what “confrontational” or “exclusionary” language? don’t you realize CPP has Tourette’s? Why are you so insensitive to his alternately-abled brain?

  9. 9
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I think atheism, without a social justice focus, ends up being an empty repetition of the same points over and over again, since religious dogma isn’t the only type of backwards thinking that a rational person ought to dismiss.

    Yes, THIS!

  10. 10
    Margaret

    As yet, no one has even tried to explain how combining atheism (unpopular) with social justice (also unpopular) will help either atheism or social justice achieve their goal.

    Atheism is not a thing that can have a goal. Atheists are people and hence can have goals. My goals, and the goals of many other atheists, include being part of a community of like-minded individuals. I also have a goal of decreasing the influence of religion in my very fucked up country (USA), but I will not STFU and ignore rape “jokes” and go make sandwiches to support the menz who are supposedly doing the more important work toward that goal. I also have a (related) goal of increasing social justice in my very fucked up country, but I will not STFU about my atheism or about the role of religion in spreading injustice just for the accommodationists and religious “moderates” who may share this one goal (social justice) with me. I have lots of goals, and I want them all, and I want them all while being in a community of people who don’t continually insult me and tell me to STFU about who I am and what I want.

  11. 11
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    @jenny6833a

    Actually, now that I look over your post again, I don’t think a full point-by-point is necessary, because your argument is fundamentally flawed.

    My thesis is simple. The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists. The goal of social justice advocates is to increase (what they define as) social justice.

    The ‘goal of atheism’ is not to increase the number of atheists – at least, none of the organized atheist activism that I am aware of has that as a goal.

    Atheist Alliance of America:
    Vision:
    AAA’s vision is to transform society into one that supports and respects a worldview based on the values of reason, empiricism and naturalism, and respects and protects the separation of religion and government. (Adopted Jan. 2009)

    American Atheists

    Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State.
    Since 1963, American Atheists has been the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion.

    Atheist Alliance International

    The vision of the Alliance (the “Vision”) is a secular world where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence.

    Increasing the number of atheists might be the goal of some individual atheists. But as far as actual movements, as far as organized atheist activism is concerned, the primary focus seems to more or less universally be to support and defend people who are already atheists. To increase acceptance of atheists and to protect their civil rights. And to protect atheists from being subject to religiously inspired laws and oppression.

    From that point of view, organized atheism absolutely is about social justice, not about numbers. I for one would rather have a smaller atheist movement where skepticism, rationality, and diversity are all respected by everyone involved, than a big giant movement full of bigots, misogynists, woo peddlers, anti-vaxers, and the like. And I really don’t see how anyone could think that achieving the latter could be considered more ‘successful’ by any rational measure.

    And even if the goal WAS to simply add numbers to the movement, you will get a bigger movement if you do not discourage 75% of potential members from joining by making them feel unwelcome.

  12. 12
    david

    “combining the two under one banner would make each far, far harder to sell”

    Maybe sometimes we do something, not because it helps us achieve a goal, but because it’s the right thing to do.

  13. 13
    Pierce R. Butler

    … cis white males only make up about 25% of the population of the United States.

    You know what they say about the need for cits… (Aren’t we closer to 35%?)

  14. 14
    Jon

    Maybe its just me, but wouldn’t it be better to fix the issues in Atheism, than simply walk away?

    Are we now 10 years old? “Well, I didn’t want to be in your club house anyway!” mentalities still haven’t gone away?

    So now you have Atheism+… and its helped how? Is segregating the Atheist Community your answer?

    Here I thought it was worth FIXING…

  15. 15
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    You know what they say about the need for cits…

    Well according to this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States

    People of non-Hispanic European descent make up 63.7% of the population. While it’s hard to say exactly how many of them are non-cis, the popular measurement I’ve seen in 1 in 10, leaving about 57%.

    Slightly more than half of the remaining are female (see first link), but that’s still more like 28%. So I suppose you were right to call me on that – I was more guessing the math in my head instead of actually calculatering it – but I don’t think it changes the point of my comment.

  16. 16
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Jon wrote:

    Maybe its just me, but wouldn’t it be better to fix the issues in Atheism, than simply walk away?

    Uh, where have you been the last year? Newsflash: it was tried and it failed because it was shouted down by very vocal hate and undermined by almost as vocal handwashing and denial by the moderates.

    People like Jen had a choice: be forced out of the movement completely by this combination of abuse and combined denial/apathy, or simply gather together a group of people who want to focus on the issue they share and leave those atheists who don’t want to make that as high a priority to keep doing what they were doing.

    And yet they still get so much hate they have to pull out for weeks at a time.

    What would you say to non-white atheists who say they don’t want to be involved with racist atheists? How about gay atheists forced to stand beside homophobic atheists? Why should people have to compromise their values – and, in this case, their health and safety – in order to pretend atheism is infallible?

  17. 17
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Maybe its just me, but wouldn’t it be better to fix the issues in Atheism, than simply walk away?

    Yes, absolutely, it would have been better. That’s what we’ve been TRYING to do, for the last year or so. (Perhaps you noticed?) But you know what? It’s fucking exhausting.

    I’m an American white cis male atheist feminist, and my support for feminism has gotten me more abuse from other atheists than my atheism has ever gotten me from the religious. I get, on average, 3 or 4 messages, emails, or comments a week from other atheists, threatening to rape or assault or kill me or insisting that these things should happen to me because I support feminism. These don’t bother me particularly because for one, most of these people threatening me assume that I am female (and therefore probably smaller and more vulnerable) simply because I support feminism, and two, I’m physically imposing and know how to defend myself. I recognize that one of the privileges of having these physical attributes is that I never actually fear being assaulted physically. (Not to say that I CAN’T or WON’T be attacked someday, just that I haven’t worried about it since I found the weight room behind the gym in junior high school.) I also understand that, if I were a women, the experience of someone I don’t know tracking me down over the internet and emailing me a picture of my house with a promise to rape me if they happen to find me would be fucking terrifying.

    How long am I expected to try and make friends with these people? How much effort am I really expected to expend trying to get along with people who hate me? Why should I expect to pretend to get along with people whose views are downright contemptible?

    They’ve demonstrated that they are, for the most part, intractably indoctrinated into the idea that their ‘freedom of speech’ is more important that women’s right to be welcome and comfortable in the movement. They’ve demonstrated that their opposition to feminism is more important to them than promoting atheism. They’ve demonstrated, quite clearly, that if I were female, I wouldn’t get any respect from them either, unless I had a nice pair of tits and were willing to wave them around for their benefit.

    I’m tired of fighting with other atheists. How many times are they going to say ‘Tits or GTFO?’ before we accept that they are serious? And then GTFO?

  18. 18
    fuckesatonne

    Sheesh. It always cracks me up when, say, Christians of different sects sit around arguing about which particular brand of delusion is the true version. Who knew? Atheists are just as schismatic!

  19. 19
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Sheesh. It always cracks me up when, say, Christians of different sects sit around arguing about which particular brand of delusion is the true version. Who knew? Atheists are just as schismatic!

    Well, it IS pretty demonstrable that some atheists believe that women are people, and some atheists believe that “Women should be terrorized by their men; it’s the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps.

    Does that make it a ‘schism’ when one type of atheist points out that the other type might not be correct or ethical? Is it a ‘schism’ when the former just doesn’t want to have anything to do with the latter?

    If so, than I guess you’re right. You’ll have to explain to me why it’s a bad thing, though.

  20. 20
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    fuckesatonne wrote:

    Atheists are just as schismatic!

    I’m less concerned about the schismatics in atheism than I am about the lack of insight that prompts a comment as inane as this one.

  21. 21
    Jon

    I’ve been around all year, and I get my own share of hatemail, most of which amuses the shit out of me.

    that said, If at a convention of 30K+ attendees has 2-3 incidents says to me MOST atheists, arent sexist assholes.

    To use a common comparison, I play a lot of online games.. and you here some pretty terrible shit. So I speak up when it happens, and acknowledge that MOST gamers arent dicks.

    Why is it so hard to admit most atheists arent evil sexist jerks, and instead of running for the hills because its easier (and I fully admit, it is easier), actually motivate people to fix the issues.

    Europe has done a pretty great job of it, without splitting the community into a “come with us, or you must be one of the misogynists”

  22. 22
    Pierce R. Butler

    Stevarious @ # 15: … how many of them are non-cis, the popular measurement I’ve seen in 1 in 10…

    Your linked article attempts to estimate the proportions of hetero- & homo-sexuals in the US & UK. Unless you interpret “cis” as “non-LGB”, that 10% figure comes in way too high.

    That article also leans heavily on survey questions like, “Did you ever once …”, which I suspect produces an overestimate of “gay” people by most useful yardsticks. Sexual orientation is much more of a spectrum phenomenon than a binary group, which makes finding and reading the numbers even more of a challenge, but I distrust those who assert the highest figures when sociopolitically convenient. (They do quote the Human Rights Campaign as counting US gay/lesbian voters at 4-5%, which seems a more carefully calculated estimate – but still irrelevant to the cis/trans question.)

  23. 23
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Your linked article attempts to estimate the proportions of hetero- & homo-sexuals in the US & UK. Unless you interpret “cis” as “non-LGB”, that 10% figure comes in way too high.

    Hmmm, I may simply be using the term wrong.

  24. 24
    I'm_not

    I’m thinking of starting Atheism Bus for atheists who use public transport, Atheism Cuss for atheists who really like swearing, Atheism Fuss for atheists who like this kind of thing, Atheism Huss for atheistic fans of the cod-like fish, Atheism Pus for atheistic teenage spot squeezers, Atheism Russ for atheistic fans of Russ Conway (not likely I know) and Atheism Wuss for you delicate, sheltered academic types who have the time and money to go to conferences and offend each other while the rest of us are doing actual work.

  25. 25
    Pierce R. Butler

    Stevarious @ # 23 – The wikipfft reports that “… 0.3% are transgender—approximately 11.7 million Americans.”

    Which is more than I would’ve thought, but considering how much pressure pushes against those closet doors, quite plausible.

    Hmmm – except that those numbers work out to a US population of 386 million, at least 75M too high. Can’t rely on that source either…

  26. 26
    Pierce R. Butler

    Me @ # 25 – I misread the numbers: that 11.7M figure refers to the combined US LGBT population, with the LGBs at 3.5% and the Ts at 0.3%. (And my calcs slipped a decimal point, and are good for nothing but pointing at & laughter.)

  27. 27
    Christoph Burschka

    no one has even tried to explain how combining atheism (unpopular) with social justice (also unpopular) will help either atheism or social justice achieve their goal

    That’s pretty much the point of an alliance, isn’t it?

    To go straight for the Godwin, the allies united against the axis not out of a deep-seated belief that they could fight them on their own.

  28. 28
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Jon, #21 wrote:

    I’ve been around all year, and I get my own share of hatemail, most of which amuses the shit out of me.

    Here’s a question you might want to ponder: what about all the people who aren’t you?

  29. 29
    SallyStrange

    Why is it so hard to admit most atheists arent evil sexist jerks, and instead of running for the hills because its easier (and I fully admit, it is easier), actually motivate people to fix the issues.

    Maybe because fuckwits like yourself are more focused on chastising those who object to sexism for simply objecting than they are on “fixing the issues.”

  30. 30
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    And SallyStrange scores the winning goal!

  31. 31
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Maybe because fuckwits like yourself are more focused on chastising those who object to sexism for simply objecting than they are on “fixing the issues.”

    Oh this.

    The biggest part of the overall problem are not the trolls. The biggest part of the problem are the insensitive clods going “Oh, you’re complaining about rape threats again?! Boooooring! Go back to talking about how dumb creationists are, and how all the catholics love kiddie rape! That makes me feel good about myself!”

  32. 32
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Stevarious wrote:

    The biggest part of the overall problem are not the trolls. The biggest part of the problem are the insensitive clods going “Oh, you’re complaining about rape threats again?! Boooooring! Go back to talking about how dumb creationists are, and how all the catholics love kiddie rape! That makes me feel good about myself!”

    Yep. It’s those who lack both the empathy to grasp why people are so unhappy/scared, or the insight to grasp that making people unhappy/scared keeps people from wanting to belong to the community who need to stop and think about things.

    If they were prepared to spend as much time standing up to misogynist assholes as they are talking down to those who do, A+ really wouldn’t be necessary.

  33. 33
    Johnnis

    “As yet, no one has even tried to explain how combining atheism (unpopular) with social justice (also unpopular) will help either atheism or social justice achieve their goal.”

    Atheism has no goals. Some organisations take on the goal of church and state separation and social justice for atheists, but this is not it self a part of atheism.

    Social justice on the other hand have several diverse goals that can be summed up as “equality for all”. This also includes equality for atheists.

    And that is as far as it goes. You cannot mix atheism and social justice and create some third thing that is both. If you mix atheism and social justice you still only get atheism and social justice.

    While social justice can do a lot for atheism, there is nothing atheism can do for social justice.

  34. 34
    jenny6833a

    Stevarious says, I was trying very hard to avoid confrontational or exclusionary language, since the comment was directed at a person who seems to actually just disagree with A+’s methods, not its goals (instead of one of the hundreds of trolls running around right now just pretending). I don’t think jenny6833a is any of those things – I just think she’s wrong.

    Y’know, if there were more like you around here, this A+ stuff would likely get properly analyzed and near unaminity achieved.

    jenny6833a, if you’re still interested, I believe I can make a more specific point-by-point rebuttal, instead of a bunch of generalities.

    I’m not only interested, I’d be delighted to engage in an interactive exchange of views. I’m not sure you’re still willing, however, given that you retract your offer below.

    One thing’s for sure, though, this isn’t the place: this thing is incredibly difficult to use, carpers abound, and (based on experience with other blogs) the thread might well disappear at the first sign that the discussion is tending toward a conclusion contrary to the blogger’s view.

    Here’s a suggestion which doesn’t involve exchanging email addresses, does eliminate much of the juvenile potty-mouth and/or off-topic carping, and yet does keep the discussion public: How about you start a thread on alt.atheism.moderated (NOT alt.atheism) entitled “Ping Jennifer Allen” and we can go from there. You wouldn’t need a news reader, although many usenet folk prefer one, since subscribing via google groups and using the google newsreader works just fine. I check in daily, so you wouldn’t have to wait very long.

    You might start by reproducing your remarks in which you claim that atheism does not seek to expand the number of atheists. Frankly, I found that highly unpersuasive. However, if you don’t, I will. I’ve kept both your remarks and mine.

  35. 35
    jenny6833a

    david says: “Combining the two under one banner would make each far, far harder to sell”

    Maybe sometimes we do something, not because it helps us achieve a goal, but because it’s the right thing to do.

    History is littered with such abysmal failures.

    The trick is to set achievable goals, and then do the ‘right thing’ in a way that does succeed and does NOT harm (or destroy) progress that has already been made.

  36. 36
    jenny6833a

    Jon says: Maybe its just me, but wouldn’t it be better to fix the issues in Atheism, than simply walk away?

    Are we now 10 years old? “Well, I didn’t want to be in your club house anyway!” mentalities still haven’t gone away?

    So now you have Atheism+… and its helped how? Is segregating the Atheist Community your answer?

    Here I thought it was worth FIXING…

    Jon, you just don’t understand. Doing what you propose would be hard work. It would also require effective organization, self discipline, a long term commitment, some serious and highly practical thought, and a whole lot of careful planning and replanning as the project progressed.

    I mean, be serious, these folks just aren’t into that.

  37. 37
    brucegorton

    I’d hoped for a point by point rebuttal

    Very well then.

    My thesis is simple. The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists. The goal of social justice advocates is to increase (what they define as) social justice. Both goals involve selling a point of view.

    Atheism is not specifically aimed at increasing the number of atheists. The ground for such action still needs to be cleared.

    The atheist movement’s goals, so far as I have observed, are more along these lines:

    1: Delegitimising things that prevent honest and fair debate. These things include outright violence, legal intimidation tactics (such as false DMCAs on YouTube), false balance (where commentators will elevate anger at lies to being just as bad as telling lies), to social taboos structured specifically to protect religious belief.

    2: To promote basic honesty in assessing reality – which includes the importance not simply of boosting education so that the next generation is better equiped to deal with reality claims, but also the importance of providing honest data. It also means encouraging the honest assessment of “other ways of knowing” in light of what we can reasonably reliably know.

    Faith, for example, has been found to be an utterly worthless way of knowing.

    3: To re-examine social mores that formed in the light of faith based thinking and religious dominance. This includes issues ranging from gender equality, to medical superstition to gay rights. Most social injustices are defended as being part of some divine plan, some are even actively promoted as part of a cosmic heirarchy.

    Without these excuses, what excuse has the man who tells a woman to shut up and make him a sandwich?

    As each of these issues is also a social justice issue. After all, how can we enact social justice in an environment where minority views face oppression rather than argument? How can we have social justice where the oppressor is free to simply tell lies about the oppressed? How can we change things for the better, when the divine tradition that encourages those things remains unchallenged?

    Movement atheism by its nature has to be a social justice movement, because so much of social injustice is excused by religion. Atheism, by its very nature attacks one of the main pillars of privilege that it cannot claim to be divorced from the fight over social justice.

    As to the social justice movement, the fact that it may be unpopular isn’t going to be helped by shunning the few natural allies it actually has.

  38. 38
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Jenny:

    Do you have a problem with atheist knitting groups? Or gay atheist groups? Or student groups based around atheism?

    Atheism+ is a lot like these groups. We’re atheists focused on social justice. If you’re not interested in joining Atheism+, no one is making you. If you’re pro social justice, but against Atheism+ then that’s fine, too.

  39. 39
    joeshabadoo

    What is “cis”?

  40. 40
    rorschach

    What is “cis”?

    And we have a winner!

  41. 41
    brucegorton

    joeshabadoo

    Its short for cisgendered – which basically means your identity conforms to what is socially expected of your sex.

  42. 42
    brucegorton

    @41

    Sorry, botched that, I was thinking of cissexual.

    Cisgender essentially means you aren’t transgender.

  43. 43
    WithinThisMind

    I am an atheist.

    This would be a non-issue except for the social injustices atheists face.

    I am a woman.

    This would be a non-issue except for the social injustices women face.

    I am a minority.

    This would be a non-issue except for the social injustices minorities face.

    A pattern is starting to emerge.

  44. 44
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 33: … there is nothing atheism can do for social justice.

    Ever noticed the role that religion plays in social oppression?

    Unless your concept of “social justice” has nothing to do with resisting patriarchy, authoritarianism, or blind acceptance of official creeds, you’re going to need atheism (or at least some awesomely comprehensive heresies) to undermine such pillars of The System.

    jenny6833a @ # 34: … and (based on experience with other blogs) the thread might well disappear at the first sign that the discussion is tending toward a conclusion contrary to the blogger’s view.

    Based on experience with this blogge, you have nothing to worry about (except possibly if you launch into paeans to the glory of the Red Sox, or peanut butter on pickles).

  45. 45
    skeptifem

    I’d hoped for a point by point rebuttal

    You said no one had explained reasons for position x. A bunch of people did explain their reasons. Instead of discussing that you’ve opted to complain about how they decided to explain it. I don’t think you are being very honest here.

  46. 46
    The Rose

    Q: How do you tell an atheist from an A† atheist?

  47. 47
    baal

    Except we now have atheism hindered – crippled, even – by it’s own refusal to accept and welcome women and minorities as equal members.

    What’s the % of the population that’s willing to sign up for liberal academic feminism? That’s the cap with the current ideology A+ is fomenting. Will the bushian “wave the flag or gtfo” rhetoric subside? Will the central dogma have a plank added about dealing compassionately with everyone?

  48. 48
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @The Rose:

    Well first off, it’s A(plus). Not A(footnote).

    But you can’t, not until they say “I’m an A+ Atheist.”

    Though it’s likely one who decides against certain social justice values (say, equality for transgender people) is not an A+ Atheist, you cannot say those who are pro-social justice are A+ without their explicit saying so.

  49. 49
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    I’m not only interested, I’d be delighted to engage in an interactive exchange of views. I’m not sure you’re still willing, however, given that you retract your offer below.

    I did not retract the offer, I realized (and demonstrated) that such an effort was unnecessary. According to your own post, all of your points were based on your original thesis, and I demonstrated that your thesis was fundamentally flawed.

    You are welcome to either substantiate your claim that “The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists”, or restate your other complaints based on the understanding that the primary goal of the modern organized atheist movement is in fact to increase social justice for atheists, so the inclusion of other social justice issues into a complimentary movement isn’t nearly as big a leap as you make it out to be.

    you claim that atheism does not seek to expand the number of atheists.

    Ummm, no, that’s not what I said, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by misrepresenting my argument. I said that increasing the number of atheists was not the primary goal of any organized atheist activism that I know of, and presented some very prominent examples. This was presented in response to your assertion that ‘The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists’. (emphasis mine)

    I also said that increasing the number of atheists may well be the goal of individual atheists, and that’s because it’s true.
    But at this point, you need to actually rebut the assertion (for which I provided copious evidence) that ‘the goal of organized atheist activism is to support and defend people who are already atheists’, instead of just complaining that you find it ‘unpersuasive’. Either that or restate your argument so that it makes sense.

    Here’s a suggestion which doesn’t involve exchanging email addresses, does eliminate much of the juvenile potty-mouth and/or off-topic carping, and yet does keep the discussion public: How about you start a thread on alt.atheism.moderated (NOT alt.atheism) entitled “Ping Jennifer Allen” and we can go from there.

    I don’t actually mind the ‘potty-mouth’ that much – it was Proffe’s assertion that ’100% of people who disagree are terrible people’ that I had the problem with, not the mild profanity – and the carping doesn’t bother me at all (and clearly you don’t mind the carping either, since you’re more than willing to do it yourself as in Comment #36 on this thread).

    But I tell you what – if you can substantiate your claim that ‘The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists’ here, I will go to AAM to continue this conversation.

  50. 50
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    @baal

    What’s the % of the population that’s willing to sign up for liberal academic feminism?

    I don’t know. Hopefully a lot? Regular old atheism will still be there for those who don’t want to be A+. This absurd rhetoric that A+ is supposed to supplant or destroy or replace standard atheist activism is a brainless troll distraction and not an actual real thing. It’s sad that you’ve bought into it, but hopefully you will soon exercise that skeptical, rational part of your brain and recognize it for what it is. If you don’t want to be A+, don’t. No one is forcing you. A+ is a subset of the larger atheist movement, not a coup.

    Will the bushian “wave the flag or gtfo” rhetoric subside?

    It already has, and was never a central focus. Carrier made one post that included it (or seemed to), and has since retracted the sentiment. There have been a few other comments made by other prominent members that can be misconstrued to mean that, but they are of course misconstruals. Not even Physioproffe’s comment in the OP here actually means ‘wave the flag or GTFO’ – he doesn’t state that you have to join, just that you have to agree that our position has validity or you are a terrible person. (And I disagree with him – I believe that a person can be wrong without being a terrible person.) Agreeing that a position is valid is not the same as adopting that position as your own.
    The hostility to current opposition is reserved for those who actively oppose A+, not those who just aren’t interested. After all, if you just aren’t interested and that’s it, why are you actively opposing it? You can’t take a neutral position if you are joining the opposition.

    Will the central dogma have a plank added about dealing compassionately with everyone?

    You are deliberately misusing the term ‘dogma’ in a manner that is indistinguishable from that of a troll.

  51. 51
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Comment #49 was @jenny6833a. Obviously.

  52. 52
    The Rose

    @Katherine Lorraine:

    You don’t think actions speak louder that words?

    Before all this, I could tell. I could tell about Ian Crom with his BECAUSE I’m an atheist series. I could tell with Al Stefanelli, Cuttlefish, Taslima, Natalie, Jen – you name it.
    I don’t read your blog, but I always stop to read your always thoughtful comments, and they show you care about social justice. Do I have a gift? I think not.
    Ya know, not so very long ago, even Greta Christina wrote that atheism demands social justice.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/04/19/why-atheism-demands-social-justice/
    That was back in April. I wonder what she thinks of that post now? You should go back and check out the comments there.

    Plus, maybe I told that joke wrong.
    Q: How do you tell an A†?

  53. 53
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @The Rose:

    I was perhaps a bit too snappish in my response to you. I’m severely sleep deprived, and I know it’s no excuse for rudeness. I apologize if I came across as rude.

    Actions do speak louder than words, but I still have to say that one’s actions as an atheist interested in social justice does not necessarily mean they’re an Atheist+. See Aron Ra for only one example.

    I used the example of a gay atheist group or an atheist knitting club as what A+ is. You can be an atheist who knits or an atheist who is gay, but you don’t have to join those clubs if you don’t want to do so, and no one is going to take away your “atheist knitting” creds just cause you don’t want to be a part of the group.

    And I’ll bite.
    How do you tell an A†?

  54. 54
    The Rose

    No need to apologize. I love reading your comments. And I just happened to have read Aron’s latest, and I interpreted it to concur with The Crom and The Voice in that one needn’t fly that A† banner up there in order to roll up one’s sleeves and get to it.
    I’ve never been a big flag waver nor do I believe one must be in order to share patriotic sentiment.
    The A†ers want you flyin’ that flag – and don’t tell me THAT sentiment ain’t out there.
    All that being said, I think it’s wonderful save for one TOTALLY SUPERFICIAL problem – I don’t like the way it sounds…but oh well…seems I’m the only one :(
    I recently linked off someone else’s comment who had coined a term “Promethics”…see now – that’s cool!

    But, luckily, thanks to good people like you, and our Comradde, I’m getting the help I need!

  55. 55
    Johnnis

    @Pierce R. Butler, comment 44

    “Ever noticed the role that religion plays in social oppression?”

    Yes absolutely. That’s why I am an antitheist.

    “Unless your concept of “social justice” has nothing to do with resisting patriarchy, authoritarianism, or blind acceptance of official creeds, you’re going to need atheism (or at least some awesomely comprehensive heresies) to undermine such pillars of The System.”

    Resisting patriarchy, authoritarianism, blind acceptance of official creed has nothing to do with atheism.

    Atheism is neither for or against religion.
    Atheism is neither for or against believing in a god.
    Atheism is neither for or against patriarchy.
    Atheism is neither for or against authoritarianism.
    Atheism is neither for or against blind acceptance of official creed.

    Antitheism, on the other hand, is all of the things you wrongly attributed to atheism.

  56. 56
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 55: Atheism is neither for or against believing in a god.

    ??? Pls check to see if your dictionary was printed in Bizarro World.

    Antitheism, on the other hand, is all of the things you wrongly attributed to atheism.

    We have a definitional problem here.

    To me, “antitheism” implies that one or more gods exist, and that the antitheist opposes (him/her/it/)them. See, for example, the protagonist’s father in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, or Milton’s Paradise Lost.

    In practice, or the world as we have it today, atheism (including A+) is the only social entity with a serious and unified critique of all those problems you mention.

  57. 57
    jenny6833a

    In #49 Stevarious says, But I tell you what – if you can substantiate your claim that ‘The goal of atheism is to increase the number of atheists’ here, I will go to AAM to continue this conversation.

    You sound reluctant; if so, forget it. That would be OK with me.

    It’s obvious to me to me that atheism seeks to expand both the number of atheists and the number of avowed, open atheists. How else to achieve respectability? How else to achieve political power? How else to separate church and state and do all the other stuff we claim to want to accomplish? Why else do most posts and blogs by atheists seek to define, explain, and tout the advantages of atheism? Why else the proliferation of books and interviews (Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, Harris, et al) that do the same? Why else the intense interest in, and even gloating over, the polls that show our numbers are steadily increasing? Why else the exhortations to atheists to get out of the closet? Why else, for example, the endless lists of famous atheists and the endless lists of quotes that explain and justify atheism? Why else ads on billboards and busses that say, for example, ‘You can be good without god’? Why else the atheist radio shows? I don’t think we do all that to reassure ourselves. We damn well do it, at least primarily, to educate and influence others in hopes that they’ll turn their heads around over time, and eventually join us. And, of course, we go after our own kids too, as with Camp Quest. We do all that, primarily, to increase our numbers.

    I didn’t pay much attention to your long recitations of atheist organizations’ statements of purpose, or whatever you/they called them. They’re irrelevant for several reasons, a couple of which I’ll mention.

    First, atheist organizations are not atheism. I don’t know the numbers, and I doubt anyone does, but damn few atheists are members of, or pay much attention to, AA or any of the others you listed. You can’t speak accurately of atheism by looking at atheist organizations.

    Second, statements of purpose, no matter who writes them, seldom if ever state the organizations’ truly top goal. Doing so would be crass, and a turnoff to potential converts. A few months ago I looked up such statements from a couple dozen Christian sects in the United States. Lots of ‘what we believe’ stuff and ‘what we stand for,’ but not one of them said their primary goal was to increase membership. Still, when I bothered to skim through the rest of a site and read their newsletter, it was mostly about inviting a friend to church, community outreach, spreading the good news, bringing the unchurched back into the fold, and so on. Most of what remained was about the need for money for evangelism — money to pay for billboards, ads on busses, radio shows, and other forms of community outreach. And, of course, they go after their own kids too via Sunday school and church camps. It’s all aimed at (dare I say it?) increasing their numbers.

    Do you really-really-really think that atheism in general and the organizations you listed are doing all the same stuff for different reasons?

    ——–

    That quick summary won’t persuade you, I know, and that’s OK. As I said, I take a look at AAM every day that I’m not on some airplane. If you start the thread, we’ll talk. If you’re don’t, we won’t. Que sera.

    Jenny
    (who has testing to finish, and maybe a bug or two to fix, and the plane is only four days away. C-ya)

  58. 58
    Johnnis

    @Pierce R. Butler

    There are about 7 billion people in the world.
    Imagine one of them, let’s name him Bill.
    Bill do not believe that Santa Clause exist.
    Bill thinks that believing that Santa Clause exist is a good thing.
    Bill is for the belief that Santa Clause exist.

    Here you can replace Santa Clause with what ever you want.

    So, yes, it is possible to not believe and at the same time be pro the belief, even though you don’t believe yourself.

    Not all atheists are against the belief in a god. That does not make them any less atheist.

    —-

    “We have a definitional problem here.

    To me, “antitheism” implies that one or more gods exist, and that the antitheist opposes (him/her/it/)them.”

    No we do not have a definition problem, you are simply wrong.

    The definition is against the belief, not against any god or gods.

    Wiki says:”An antitheist is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “One opposed to belief in the existence of a god.” The earliest citation given for this meaning is from 1833. An antitheist may be opposed to belief in the existence of any god or gods, and not merely one in particular.”

    I myself are both a atheist (do not believe) and an antitheist (agaist belief).

    —-

    “In practice, or the world as we have it today, atheism (including A+) is the only social entity with a serious and unified critique of all those problems you mention.”

    Atheism is not a social entity.

  59. 59
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Johnnis:

    The problem I see with the term “antitheist” is someone who is actively speaking against theism. It’s someone who’s telling their Christian friends and family “you’re wrong, this is why.” It’s like an atheist evangelist.

  60. 60
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @my 59:

    “…is someone…” = “… is that it sounds like someone…”

  61. 61
    Johnnis

    @Katherine Lorraine

    Yes you are right. This is often the case.

    However you can be against fur and not throw red paint on your mother when she wears her old coat. It’s also possible to be against fur and never ever act upon it or speak of it. Lack of action does not make you any less against fur.

    You don’t have to be an evangelist to be for the belief in the Jesus. It’s not your actions that define your opinions. Many anitheist are active, but there are also antitheists that never act on it or speak of it, and the non active antithests are not any less antithesit than the active ones.

    The “antitheism switch” don’t have to be on all the time. I avoid being the one that raises the topic of religion among my family and friends. Just as I hope an evangelist would be against his atheist friends.

    Christoffer Hitchens brother, Peter, is very religious. And there was times they didn’t speak to each other. Life’s to short to be right or wrong when family concerns.

    People are also different. Not all evangelists sleeps with a bible under their pillow. And the anger the “militant atheist” feels, most often mellows with time.

    There is a time to fight the good cause and there is the time to silently say nothing while the rest of the family is saying grace on christmas eve.

  62. 62
    Johnnis

    @my 61:

    I see I’ve written the word antitheist wrong several times, and possible other words too. I blaim it on my disoleksia :)

  63. 63
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 58: … it is possible to not believe and at the same time be pro the belief, even though you don’t believe yourself.

    “It is possible …” makes a very poor basis for a definition. Particularly when the examples chosen are of hypocrisy. Richard Nixon was both a Quaker and a mass murderer – shall we then define one by the other?

    If you’ve followed the discussions online, you will note that the definitions and nuances of such terminology are neither fixed nor agreed-upon, despite the needs of lexicographers for definitiveness. Meanwhile, “atheism” is the one making the ripples in the pond.

    Atheism is not a social entity.

    Again, we have a definitional disagreement. By “social entity” I mean a tendency or ideological body: just about any “ism” (vegetarian-, monarch-, antidisestablishmentarian-, commun-…) creating or manifesting a given concept. Unless you choose to disallow all abstractions, atheism exists as a social force (and, lookie there! – it opposes “belief in a god”).

    We might name a few other ideas which also oppose authoritarianism, but, e.g., anarchism seems to be moving in a purely sociopolitical direction; nihilism looks more and more like a psychological condition; and apathism just won’t accomplish very much (but who cares?).

    Atheism (and I see your “antitheism” as a subset of that), meanwhile, provides us a great potential vehicle to oppose social injustice.

  64. 64
    Johnnis

    ““It is possible …” makes a very poor basis for a definition. Particularly when the examples chosen are of hypocrisy. Richard Nixon was both a Quaker and a mass murderer – shall we then define one by the other?”

    It’s possibly for someone to have only nine fingers and still be an atheist. What does that tell you? That the number of fingers is irrelevant for the definition of an atheist.

    You can judge someones identity as a quaker, but whether some individual has murdered someone does not affect the definition of a quaker. Judging someones identity as something is not the same as deciding what a word means.

    So no, one definition does not define an other definition, that is what I’m trying to explain.

    “If you’ve followed the discussions online, you will note that the definitions and nuances of such terminology are neither fixed nor agreed-upon, despite the needs of lexicographers for definitiveness.”

    The errors done online and the ignorance many people possess does not define the words we use. Definitions and terminology are fixed. That’s the whole point with definitions and terminology, in fact that’s part of the definition of definition and the definition of terminology.

    You being wrong does not change a single fact.

    “Meanwhile, “atheism” is the one making the ripples in the pond.”

    Yes you are right, and both Richard Carrier and Greta Christina has also pointed out that there are misconceptions about what atheism is.

    That’s why it’s important to learn the right meaning to the words we use, otherwise misunderstandings and prejudice will continue to exist.

    Here you point to a misconception that exist. Let’s work together towards enlightenment.

    “Again, we have a definitional disagreement.”

    No we don’t. You are simply wrong.

    “By “social entity” I mean a tendency or ideological body: just about any “ism” (vegetarian-, monarch-, antidisestablishmentarian-, commun-…) creating or manifesting a given concept. Unless you choose to disallow all abstractions, atheism exists as a social force (and, lookie there! – it opposes “belief in a god”).”

    Atheism is neither a social force or a social entity. There are groups and individuals that do not believe a god exist, and some of them are also antitheists. No need to use abstractions when descriptions work fine.

    “We might name a few other ideas which also oppose authoritarianism, but, e.g., anarchism seems to be moving in a purely sociopolitical direction; nihilism looks more and more like a psychological condition; and apathism just won’t accomplish very much (but who cares?).”

    Yes, who cares?

    “Atheism (and I see your “antitheism” as a subset of that), meanwhile, provides us a great potential vehicle to oppose social injustice.”

    Nope. Non belief in gnomes is nobody’s vehicle.

    Instead of wasting your time on me, to be honest I am a nobody, so just buy a dictionary or do some online search whenever you are unsure of the meaning of a word. Here’s a trick I use frequently. I double click the word and drag it to the top of my browser.

  65. 65
    Verity Manumit

    CP: The reason you don’t understand is because you don’t know what it’s like to try to join an atheist group/meetup/movement/whatever and be unwelcome (whether subtly or overtly) because you’re not a cis white male.

    Those white devils! You know, not everyone who feels unwelcomed some place is always MADE to feel unwelcomed. Sometimes it can have something to do with the person’s own self-confidence or self-image.

    If you are the only white person there, and you feel uncomfortable for that based on your own feelings about race, then you can imagine that you have been “made to feel unwelcomed” even if this is not the case.

    If you attend an event and everyone is much more erudite than you are, and they are making references that are over your head, and you end up finding this intimidating, then you may well imagine it is because you were “made to feel unwelcomed.” But is that true, or are you just being insecure?

    My point is that it isn’t always fair to point the finger at the group when it may be the individuals fault just as much, or even more so.

    My experience has not been that the majority of atheists are unwelcoming to anyone. The large atheist book group near me is organized by a woman, and no one seems to mind. The e-group I was on was very open and accepting to TG people, blacks, what have you. I never saw any of this sexism that people keep going on about.

    When and if sexism rears its head, I’m sure those who enjoy being perpetual victims (because they can’t seem themselves as anything but), will cling to it, exaggerate it, and fly it from their banners as proof that they just can’t get a break.

  66. 66
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 64: Definitions and terminology are fixed.

    Actually, they change. Read a little etymology sometime – it’s fun, educational, and frees your mind of certain rigidities.

    Let’s work together towards enlightenment. … You are simply wrong.

    This sequence gives me too many giggles to continue. Nighty night!

  67. 67
    Johnnis

    @Pierce R. Butler


    “Definitions and terminology are fixed.”

    Actually, they change. Read a little etymology sometime – it’s fun, educational, and frees your mind of certain rigidities.

    On this you are right and I am wrong, I apologize.

    So among the somewhat lengthy comment I wrote, the only error I did was this text:

    “Definitions and terminology are fixed. That’s the whole point with definitions and terminology, in fact that’s part of the definition of definition and the definition of terminology.”

  68. 68
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 67 – We could argue about several other points in yr comments here, but I want to pull back a little and consider the actual and potential role of atheism in social change.

    Atheism as the abstract idea of not-believing-in-gods by itself is subversive to any political order in which authority claims the backing of gods. Whichever faction relies most heavily on the god concept thus becomes most threatened by atheism.

    In our historical context, atheism is part of the whole project called “the Enlightenment”, begun around three centuries ago. This ineluctably ties it in with a package of other values – science, the “social contract”, individualism, etc – which remain in contention with opposing trends (and to some degree with each other) today.

    Only in an imaginary realm of Platonic idealism does atheism exist without political implications. Those implications can be taken in different directions (see Rand, A.; Lenin, V.I.; Christina, G.; et al.), but to approach “pure atheism” with all those shaven off does about as much good as putting a human being in a vacuum.

  69. 69
    Johnnis

    @Pierce R. Butler

    “We could argue about several other points in yr comments here,”

    I doubt it. Unless you have some more giggling and quote mining to do?

    “… but I want to pull back a little and consider the actual and potential role of atheism in social change.

    Atheism as the abstract idea of not-believing-in-gods by itself is subversive to any political order in which authority claims the backing of gods.”

    The abstract idea… I understand there might exist such an abstract idea, but there is no such thing as an abstract idea that is itself. People might have ideas. People might be subversive. Ideas can not be subversive.

    Ideas are not things, (thinking) ideas are actions people do.

    “Whichever faction relies most heavily on the god concept thus becomes most threatened by atheism.”

    Not necessarily true.

    “In our historical context, atheism is part of the whole project called “the Enlightenment”, begun around three centuries ago.”

    There’s no such thing as “The Enlightenment Project”, or “Project Enlightenment” if you prefer. Even if there was, atheism did not emerge in the enlightenment until the end of the era.

    “This ineluctably ties it in with a package of other values – science, the “social contract”, individualism, etc –”

    Even if what you’ve said so far had been true, this would still be nonsense.

    “… which remain in contention with opposing trends (and to some degree with each other) today.”

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no, anyway it’s irrelevant.

    “Only in an imaginary realm of Platonic idealism does atheism exist without political implications.”

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no, anyway this is also irrelevant.

    “Those implications can be taken in different directions (see Rand, A.; Lenin, V.I.; Christina, G.; et al.),”

    Nonsense. One opinion of the world might lead to an other opinion. Those are, even though they nicely coexist, individual ideas. Those are not the same idea.

    Imagine if I have a red purse, that might lead to me wearing my red had. Let’s not confuse the one with the other, and let’s not make pretend those two things are one thing.

    The idea of a world with out a dictator in the sky might lead to the idea that there is no absolute truth decided for us, so we must think for our self. Atheism is still atheism, and not rationalism. Rationalism is still rationalism, and not atheism.

    “but to approach “pure atheism” with all those shaven off does about as much good as putting a human being in a vacuum.”

    There is no such thing as “pure atheism” that’s just the point. No man is pure atheist. Just as there is no such thing as “pure red hair”.

    I am thousands of opinions, I am thousands of feelings, maybe millions. A simple thing as non belief in orange elephants is a part of me, but not who I am. Do you understand?

  70. 70
    Pierce R. Butler

    Johnnis @ # 69 – I understand that we approach numerous things in fundamentally different ways, and that our dialog continually drifts into basically meaningless semantic wrangling.

    Given that, for practical purposes, we seem to be on the same side of most social issues; that our epistemological differences would (at a minimum) take many thousands of words before we could even begin to feel confident of having reached any solid common ground; and that it seems nobody else is interested in the points either of us is raising – I propose we call a truce for now and look for ways we can generate more light than heat if/when our online paths cross again.

    Whaddya say?

  71. 71
    Johnnis

    @Pierce R. Butler

    I’m not the one that constantly drifts into basically meaningless semantic wrangling. I’m not the one talking about pillars of the system, ideological bodies, entities, forces, abstract ideas, etc..

    Have you noticed how you go from one abstraction to an other to an other to an other and finally creates something that sounds real?

    I hope that my statements about reality requires as few links as possible. And that I avoid abstractions, because abstractions are not real, they do not exist.

    I have no quarrel with the person you are, you seem like a nice guy.

    What I disagree with is your language. The language you use is very useful within ideological propaganda.

    My main experience with apologetes is that if you take away their language, then every thing else falls apart.

    I believe we both now understand where we are, and that you are right about our us being allies. :)

  72. 72
    M

    I agree Atheism+ (or atheist progressivism as I’d call it.) IS necessary.

    So lets DO it!

    Form the movement, and get cracking!

    Yeah it means a split in the movement, but that’s great! We cast off the dead weight assholes holding the movement back and if we work hard at it, instead we reel in women and minorities now that they’re welcome. And not being scared off.

    Progressive Atheism should stand for the separation of church and state, but also social justice, for women, for minorities (ethnic or sexual), against the corporate corruption that taints the democracy in the western world, against poverty, for reproductive rights, for healthcare rights, for good science, for education, against senseless wars based on lies.

    Progressive atheism basically. And if someone doesn’t want to do that, then screw them. A smaller but well oiled group is stronger then a large group that squabbles with itself over everything. Atheism alone really hasn’t done much but sell books and clown some fundies on radio and public access shows. But the world rolls on just the same as before.

    So we need more then just atheism, and that DOES mean ditching the deadweight.

  73. 73
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    The goal of atheism is to..

    Stop right there. Atheism itself has no goals. That’s why some of us are joining this sub-group called Atheism+ so we can share common goals!

    It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

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