Remember this old debate?
Dictionary Atheists disbelieve in gods and dislike religion, but that’s it. The fact that the universe is an uncaring place, that we’re products of chance and necessity rather than benevolence, that we only have each other to help ourselves through this life…none of that matters. So when you say that reason demands equality, when rationality dictates community, when justice ought to be part of the godless agenda, they reflexively throw out that dictionary definition to deny any expectation that there ought to be more to atheism than cussing out gods. They’re intellectual cowards who run away from the full implications of living in a godless universe.
So I get despairing letters from people who once saw atheism as a shining promise, and now see it as a refuge for the same old haters, the same old deniers, the same old reactionaries trying to use their received wisdom as a [tool] to silence new voices and new ideas. And sometimes I feel a little despair, too.
That’s PZ Myers from 2013. This “dictionary atheism” was often invoked whenever one of us wanted to pipe up about social issues. It was a call to stay in our lane.
[CONTENT WARNING: Transphobia]