Since it’s the thing making waves in the atheist community and I put the logo on my sidebar, I thought I’d post some quick thoughts.

1. This isn’t redefining atheism. We’re a subset of atheists who have long been interested in social justice making our existing subgroup more explicit with a label. We aren’t defining other atheists out of atheism. We’re defining who we are, not who you are.

2. You aren’t required to join. If you’re complaining about our devotion to social justice, equity, and so forth, we probably aren’t interested in signing you up, and we have no ability to force you to do so.

3. If you’re complaining about someone unfriending you from Facebook or something because they didn’t like your anti-plus speech, welcome to the internet and social interaction with other sapient beings. Just like we can’t force you to join atheism+, you can’t force other people to associate with you.

4. “Divisive“: From my point of view, the various forms of bigotry and apathy towards social justice were an existing point of division. The act of making an explicit label for which side we took in that division isn’t going to change anything except possibly bring more direct attention to the issue. What’s the problem?

5. There’s no ultimate leader. We seem to be getting some people who are accusing us of being authoritarian while simultaneously claiming to be baffled that we haven’t deified an infallible authoritarian leader. We don’t need an absolute authority, nor do we want one. This is an internet culture that’s gotten along fine without explicit leaders. We just have popular figures who act as a nexus for quickly bringing widespread attention to issues, and that’s enough for me. We’re a culture, not a hierarchical organization with a bureaucracy. We don’t have marching orders, we have suggestions.

6. There’s no “silencing” going on. Just criticism. Know the difference. We don’t have to give you a platform if we don’t want to associate with you. If an Atheism+ network doesn’t want you on their list of writers and speakers, you’ll just have to go to the many other forms of media to express yourself. It’s not like we hold a monopoly on blogging.

7. There is no dogma. There is no sacred text. There is no revelation from divine forces. I consider bigotry bad because I’ve seen some of its effects, know how its mechanisms work, and how those forces build on each other to cause inequity. I also paid decent attention in history class. I fail to see how any of that entails a leap of faith.

One response to “Atheism+

  1. I’m pleased to see this development. I decided to identify myself as an atheist rather than a secularist or humanist or something, because atheist seemed to be the clearest way to define my position in one word.

    I was gobsmacked and outraged at some of the idiocy of the last year or more in the online atheist/skeptic network. The recent thing about the rape jokes made me want to stop calling myself an atheist just to disassociate myself from it all.

    So I was glad to see this reaction against it. I think some good will come of it. I hope the A+ designation will make it clearer that atheism isn’t just a redundant description like “non-golfplayer”. I hope it makes it clearer that atheism necessarily implies an ethical position against injustice.

    As far as atheists wanting to perpetuate their fear/hate of women, I wish them a happy goodbye and a go fuck yourself, and a grow a brain for god’s sake.

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