It’s something of a standing joke that it is so common to see priests outed as pedophiles — it’s as if their religion doesn’t actually do anything to promote moral behavior. That individual priests are repulsive in their behavior doesn’t necessarily indict their faith as contributing to the problem, though. What does is when their religious hierarchy permits or enables it, or makes excuses for it, or ignores the problem altogether.
So I’m dismayed to read this story about identifying the founder of the Redpill Subreddit, a vile online sanctuary for misogynistic abusive men. The Daily Beast did a thorough job of tracking down the creator; read the article and there is more than enough evidence that Robert Fisher is the name of the man who built “the web’s most popular online destination for pickup artistry and men’s rights activists, The Red Pill”.
It turns out he’s a Republican. Check, no surprise there.
He’s a computer nerd and businessman, check.
He’s been elected to his state Congress, check.
Aaaaaand…he’s an atheist. Check, and no surprise, I’m sorry to say. Online, he went by the alias Pk_atheist.
A post by Pk_atheist in the early days of the forum advertises the author’s blog, Dating American, a blog that immediately precipitated the establishment of The Red Pill in 2012 and which was “dedicated to the woes of dating in the American culture.” On the “about the author” section of Dating American, the author, who calls himself “Desmond,” promotes two other blogs he’s “authored”: Existential Vortex and Explain God. Performing a search of the unique URL for Existential Vortex led to a comment on an ex-Christian message board again advertising the blog, existentialvortex.blogspot.com.
Futrelle summarizes his repellent misogyny. He’s simply a terrible person. He’s a perfectly acceptable atheist, of course, as I’m sure many will tell me. He’s a person who doesn’t believe in gods, and that’s all it takes to be an atheist, and the amoral contingent within movement atheism will take this as good evidence that my pleas for the atheist movement to adopt some degree of moral responsibility, to regard acceptance of the natural world and rejection of the supernatural as a proper foundation for justifying ethical behavior, are completely wrong.
I’m beginning to be swayed to agreement.
Unfortunately, if this movement is willing to accept Robert Fisher as a member in good standing, if we are so pleased with the absence of any kind of ethical stance to this collection of random people united by one trivial idea, if this is nothing but a granfalloon that gives a tacit welcome to anyone, no matter how vile, then…
Why would anyone want to be identified as an atheist?
I mean, it’s not as if atheism does anything to promote moral behavior, and a hell of a lot of atheists treat it as a point of pride that their identity lacks any expectations beyond not believing in deities. If I will condemn the Catholics for condoning the rape of children, why would I want to be part of a movement that implicitly condones the rape and harassment of women, with many of its members gladly joining misogynistic fora on YouTube and Reddit? It is looking rather pointless.