I came across an article in the British on-line version of The Guardian, describing a new group called "Atheism+". And, not a very flattering article at that. The Guardian describes the group, in the sub-title to the article, as "A new movement, Atheism+, has prompted non-believers to spit venom at one another rather than at true believers."
I was curious, so I dug a little further. It's reported that the members describe themselves as the Third Wave of atheism, rejecting the New Atheists (Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens) as a group. Purportedly based upon humanist ideas, PZ Meyers, in promoting Atheism+, clearly stated that if you don't agree with the groups goals,
...then you’re an asshole. I suggest you form your own label, “Asshole Atheists” and own it, proudly. I promise not to resent it or cry about joining it.
I just had a thought: maybe the anti-atheist+ people are sad because they don’t have a cool logo. So I made one for the asshole atheists.
Part of the rejection of the New Atheists comes from a founder, one Jennifer McCreight, who stated her critique of the atheist movement is because it includes groups of old, white, men.
Noted atheist Thunderf00t did an article that eviscerates Atheism+, entitled A+ (atheism plus), For A Third Glorious Age of Total Agreement
As to myself, I can't say that I really know that much about it. Maybe what I've read so far is nothing more than unfavorable bias. And, am just wondering if anyone else has heard of this, or knows anything about it.
This is the link to go to Atheism+.
I've heard of it but to me it's just not that sensible. Atheism is what it is. There is no ideology attached to it to make it a +. It's a classification for other philosophies or religions (like atheistic Buddhism or secular Humanism). In fact, putting such an uplifting and positive spin on Atheism makes me just wonder why they don't skip to supporting the word Humanist. I'm not going to call myself an Atheist+, my Humanist classification already expresses my positive outlook for me.
Lots of luck to these Atheist+ folks if they think atheists will follow a herd. Our greatest strength, independent thinking, leads to our greatest challenge, organizing.
My understanding is that Atheism+ is just an attempt to acknowledge that there are certain values that we, as rational humans, are likely to embrace alongside a non-belief in gods, such as feminism, anti-racism, LGBT rights, social responsibility and so on. Of course there are people who don't believe in god who do not support those things, but without a prescribed patriarchal structure and other 'in group/ out group' attitudes encouraged by religion, I'd have to agree with PZ that those people are basically arseholes.
The religious right is on the rise all over the world, not only in the US, and thoughtful people within the atheist community have a valuable role to play in calling them out on their crap. A woman's right to manage her own reproductive health, decent healthcare and education for everyone, equal rights for LGBT people, protecting children, non-discriminatory labour laws and other social issues are all areas where we could make a valuable contribution, even though they are not necessarily 'atheistic' in principal.
Theists have often tried to argue that atheists have no moral compass, but that's rubbish. We are social creatures and have a strong social conscience - perhaps more so because we know there's no invisible friend to look after us if we're ill or poor or if we wreck our environment. I may be a healthy high earner today, but I want to live in a society that will care for me if that changes (and I don't want to have to step over homeless people on my way to the opera (snark)).
So, you might not like PZ's aggressive tone, but my understanding is that he doesn't want or claim to represent anyone but his irrascible self. Atheism doesn't exist in a social vacuum and I think Atheism+ is a great idea.
Well, I don't mind if you want to call people assholes who don't share your values. (How many people do we all know that have done just that? I'm numb to it.) But let's not pretend humanism has anything to do with "rational". There's no logical argument you could make that would defend humanism as an imperative -- well, besides the "Asshole Argument":
1. X is a worthy goal.
2. Therefore, people who don't believe in X are assholes.
3. Therefore, X is rational.
I know we don’t like to be compared to religion. We criticize Christians because of the many denominations pointing fingers and yelling “You’re not worshipping the right way!” I am beginning to see the same mentality among Atheists.
Atheism, or being an atheist, identifies just one, small fact: the disbelief in a god or gods. Atheism ends right there. It carries no further implications or expectations. However, atheists, just like anyone else, search for a label to define their political and world views. That's where secular humanism enters. I will venture to say that the vast majority of atheists are also secular humanists; subscribing, at minimum, to some common, fundamental human values. But even Humanism encompasses a vast array of political and ideological world views. I see Atheism+ as nothing more than a re-branding of secular humanism. I suspect Atheism+ will be short-lived, much like the previous attempt to relabel atheists as "Brights."
P Z Meyers is mentally handicapped.
Do we really care that much? We have fanatical Christians, fanatical Muslims, Mormons baptizing the dead and just about anything that stands still (I think that's taking the delusion a bit too far!) So now there are a few fanatical Atheists. I'm pretty sure that anyone on this site will treat them with the contempt they deserve.
I am reminded of an old saying...."first god gave mankind the truth, then the devil said, let's organize this truth and call it religion".
This A+ thing feels very much the same, we now have the 'benefit' of other atheists instructing us on what and how we should think on various matters. And, if we do not agree with the 'rules' we are assholes.
I was more amused than offended by PZ's post. He certainly has a way with words that can be easily misunderstood, but I don't believe he was truly calling everyone an asshole the way it's been presented by others in this thread. It was a joke, and some people took offense.
I've heard many atheists bemoan the fact that there are other atheists out there who really are card-carrying assholes (*ahem* Karl Rove), and wouldn't it be nice if we could kick them out of our ranks? That seems to me to be more of the goal of Atheism+, to create a little club of not-that-much-of-an-asshole atheists. Of course, you can still be a regular asshole like PZ, and I doubt he would take offense to being called such... But he's not that much of an asshole. And so, if you want to join a group that will essentially function as a safe haven from neo-con assholery, maybe you might be interested in A+. And if you don't, that's fine too... Except if you're vehemently opposed to their ideals (note: not the group itself, but their ideals) of social justice, it might make you a serious asshole.
I think the A* logo is terrific, by the way. I would proudly wear it even though I do agree with a lot of the points the A+ guys make. A* is just so much better, though! It makes me think of Vonnegut's illustration of an asshole in Breakfast of Champions.
Apparently, I've already been excluded before I even looked into it. Ms. Mcreight has already excluded me on three grounds.
1. I'm old - ageism.
2. I'm male - sexism.
3. I'm white - racism.
Any organization that seeks to exclude members on bigotry and dogmatism, is not something I'm going to sign up for. I abandoned religious nonsense, in part, on those grounds. Not signing up for another clubhouse that defines other humans on the "cooties" that is an inherent part of whom they are.