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  • http://evidenceandreason.wordpress.com Jason Bosch

    It does seem a bit that some people have got so attached to the atheist community, and the often-shared goals, that they think those should now become goals of atheism. I agree that issues of equality and social justice are important but I don’t see those as part of atheism. Atheism should be about rejecting religion. It should be a smaller part of a bigger movement, not the bigger movement that contains the smaller parts.

    • http://twitter.com/tauriqmoosa Tauriq Moosa (@tauriqmoosa)

      Agreed. You should read Notung’s post that Jacques links to above. It’s a good read.

  • http://twitter.com/OpheliaBenson Ophelia Benson (@OpheliaBenson)

    True, about the difficulty of identifying the real trolls, and the risk of institutionalizing the current deep rifts…But all the same I think it could help to marginalize certain kinds of behavior, or rather of harassment.

    • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

      Agreed, it could do those helpful things. I hope it does – just concerned about mindless – and sometimes thoughtlessly hostile – bandwagoning.

  • http://gravatar.com/joshuaslocum JoshS

    Jacques, the mindless and hostile bandwagoning is not even distributed between “both sides”. Those of us with humanist ideas are tired—-really, truly exhausted—of our time being taken up by people who want to do anything *but* address the goals we favor. We’re ready to move on. And it’s not thoughtlessly hostile. I hope you’re helpfully suggesting the same caution to those who oppose this effort. Are you?

    • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

      Yes, Josh, I am. And I agree with you.

  • http://thewritingengine.wordpress.com Luarien

    Atheism+ isn’t about making Social Justice the goals of atheism, itself. That’s silly, and it ascribes some kind of weird Agency that the philosophical notion of Atheism doesn’t have.

    What it does is allow people to self-identify as something more than “just an Atheist”. I’m not just an Atheist, I also follow philosophies that naturally flow out of not believing in a divine agent and examining the world I live in honestly and dispassionately. I follow a worldview built on empirical information and rational examination. That’s what makes me A+.

    And, as a note, the reason that someone probably thinks your’e in the enemy camp is because you don’t understand what Feminism is (the whole “not in the short term” bit). Feminism isn’t trying to make women superior, it’s trying to make women equal. There’s a lot of catching up that has to be done and, were you to examine the issues surrounding gender dispassionately and academically, you could see that. As several studies have. So instead of irrationally getting hung up on the word, examine what the academic discipline of Feminism is all about and what it means before dismissing it blithely in the middle of a not awful questioning of a new movement.

    • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

      A few too many assumptions – and prescriptions – there for my liking. These words and concepts can be debated without thinking that there is malicious intent in doing so.

  • Dave

    The a+ thing isn’t anything new, just something for the FTB clique to call themselves. The name is terrible, by the way. It connotes the same mixture of self-satisfaction and condescension that doomed the “brights” label. Actually, scratch that. It’s perfect for them.

  • http://blamer.wordpress.com @blamer

    This internal issue highlights for me the tension between being principled (Atheism+) and being pragmatic (New Atheism warts and all). At this point in history I lean towards the latter as being more urgent. I don’t feel the identity of an atheist is threatened by “those” atheists.

    If the atheistic can agree that social betterment necessarily involves curtailing the political clout of the Religious Right in the GOP, then I suggest the only strategy available to progressives is to do what (says me) good lefties do best which is co-operate and negotiate. Ours ought be a subculture of unity on specific issues, not schisming.

    if influential godless individuals and groups insist on only helping the outreach efforts of the like-minded, then I see little hope of influencing public policy & public opinion (again, says me). As contrarians to conventional wisdom we must remember there is “greater good” in the leveraging of (sub)groups that we know to be factually mistaken and/or think to be ethically wrongheaded INCLUDING helping advance a “good” pet project of an influential “douche-bag” whether it’s done carrying the flag for Atheism(+) or otherwise.

  • http://synapses.co.za Jacques Rousseau

    This Rebecca Watson post is worth reading, and I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment in the 2nd-to-last paragraph. It’s the momentum she describes in the concluding paragraph – and the possible directions it might take – that I’m a little nervous about.

  • Barry Pearson

    I have just posted to my blog:
    “Enlightenment” is better than “Atheism+”.

    I wonder whether “Atheism+” is taking off because so many of the advocates are in the USA, where atheism is a big deal? In Europe it can be pretty boring!

    I don’t object to atheists extending their viewpoint, but atheism isn’t the only valid starting point, and from a global point of view isn’t the most important. If we all treated religions as hobbies, (which is really what religious practices are), the other problems become far more important than religions.

  • Ric

    I agree with you 100%. It’s why I won’t join their movement. I agree with the tenets but I am dismayed by the vicious attacks against honest questioners and the dismissal of ANY disagreement as bigotry.

  • Sarandos

    I have recently stumbled onto this blog, (being a South African atheist in search of a place to share ideas), so I have not had the luxury of following all the threads and discussions referenced above. My apologies therefore if I am repeating what has already been said or rehashing issues that have already been settled. However, in this case it may be an advantage to comment on the woods before having been caught up in the trees.

    The whole concept of attempting to define a “denomination” of atheism is extremely disconcerting. At first glance, the discussions above look dangerousy like the types of discussions early christians may have had in the first few centuries CE, some sort of on-line Nicene Council trying to decide on the moral parameters that will define the “New Atheist”. It appears that the seeds of mutual excommunication have already be sown :”Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.” And as Jaques has so eloquently put it, who decides the details? A council of Atheism+ fathers? Do they wear a hat with a “+” on it so we can know who they are? Maybe they can carry a stick shaped like a “+” to establish their authority in dictating the morals that should be followed by all right thinking atheists.

    I’m sorry, I’m being extreme and facetious to make a point. For me atheism is about free thought. In my opinion, one of the key pillars of atheism is that morality is inherent in human beings, and atheism therefore rejects the notion that we need a divinely ordained set of rules to avoid sinking into anarchy. But that is only a start. Where our inherent morality takes us from there should have nothing to do with our belief or non-belief in a god. Saying that moral humanism is the natural consequence of atheism is dangerously close to saying atheism wil lead to immorality and chaos. Although it may one day be true to say that all moral humanists are atheists, it cannot be true that all atheists are moral humanists. Tens of millions of Russians in the Stalinist era can confirm that.

    I think it is a very slippery slope to therefore try to pursue political or social agendas in the name of atheism. I’m all for organised atheism, and even more in favour of antitheist activism. I’m even all for something like “Atheists for Womens’ Rights or Gay Rights or Against Racism”. But to try and write that tyope of thing into some sort of atheist constituition is ludicrous.

    We need to be very careful about mixing ideologies. Unlike Christian Democrats, atheist democrats are really just democrats. Atheist schools are really just schools. And atheists are really just free people who can discuss and argue and fight about issues based on reason, without ever worrying that their opponent will invoke some sort of divinely inspired authority to enforce their views. Let’s keep it that way before we end up turning atheism into a new religion.

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