During one of my frequent twitter rants that I’ve come to be known for, I ran across a tag that kept coming up in the tweets of others that I follow: AtheismPlus. I was intrigued. I started asking around, doing searches, and eventually ran across a blog post by Richard Carrier with seems to have started the whole movement. I believe it was this one: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2207/. Feel free to read it for yourself. It’s ok, I’ll wait.
Did you read it? It’s ok, I’ll wait, I don’t mind, you should go read it first. It’s not the last blog post link I’m going to send you to. Go ahead.
Ok, I’ll take your word for it. So my take on it was: Hm, sounds like they’re taking Humanism and rebranding it as AtheismPlus. But there’s more to it than that. The whole idea seems to be about taking these people and saying we don’t want these other people so we’re going to have a new movement that’s just the people who believe what we like.
Don’t get me wrong, the beliefs they espouse are good ones, and I could easily join the AtheismPlus movement without cognitive dissonance. Richard Carrier is also a writer and speaker that I greatly respect. I saw him at Skepticon IV last year, and really liked his talks. But what bothered me is this: this is exactly what happened to religion. I don’t mean Hindus vs. Muslims vs. Christians vs. Mormons, but Lutherans vs. Baptists vs. Methodists vs. [about 600 other denominations here]. I don’t think this is going to work out the way they want it to. If the atheist movement goes down this path of splintering into smaller and smaller groups, the atheist movement as we know it will falter and die. We are more effective now than we have ever been because we are united, and the religious can no longer ignore us. If we become a bunch of small denominations of atheism, they can ignore us again.
Not to mention the fact that when you add a belief system to atheism, you take one of the more ridiculous arguments of the theists, that atheism is just another religion, and make it suddenly true. I kinda have a problem with that. Humanism starts out with the precept that it’s a belief system, and atheism is one of the ideas that it is based on, but it doesn’t try to rebrand atheism. It’s something else entirely. I consider myself to be a humanist, even though I’m not very involved with them.
So, basically I said all this shit, and a shitstorm came back at me. One side coopted me as an ally, another side told me I just didn’t get it. I managed to avoid some of the hatefulness that seems to be going around out there, but it still freaked me the fuck out.
Many well known personas whom I normally respect in the atheism movement seem to be into this and promoting it. A handful of others seem to be opposing it. Apparently I’m supposed to hate Thunderf00t now. Fuck that.
A brilliant, well thought out blog post by someone I consider a twitter friend is here on the subject: http://evolutionchild.com/2012/08/25/a-take-me-to-your-leader/
You didn’t read that, go back and read it now. It’s one of the best posts on the topic I’ve seen yet, and largely sums up how I feel as well. I’ll wait.
I was a little freaked out by all of this, and I don’t like where it’s going, but it seems to be happening all the same. So here’s my final say on the matter. Please don’t come to me with any more AtheismPlus crap after this.
I want out of the atheism movement all together. I am not going to pick “sides”. I am not going to pick a denomination of atheism. That’s bullshit. I was on my own before I found the atheism movement, and I can be on my own again. Atheism was already rather disorganized before this and now I apparently have to pick a new denomination. Fuck no. I’m the Cowboy. That’s what I am, and that’s all I need to be. I’m an atheist, I’m a liberal (well, not exactly but just roll with me here a minute), I’m a musician, I’m a lover, I’m a writer, I’m a geek. I’ll watch you guys from a distance and see where things go before I decide if I want back in.