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+.
My introduction to Atheism+ was Atheism’s Growing Pains, where
McCreight ... called for a movement to advocate for an explicitly social justice-oriented flavor of atheism.
The animating idea behind Atheism+ is that atheism isn’t a stopping point, but a beginning. We’re atheists not because we want to gather and engage in collective back-slapping, not because we want to chortle at the foolishness of benighted believers, but because we care about creating a world that’s more just, more peaceful, more enlightened, and we see organized religion as standing in the way of this goal. We consider politically engaged atheism an effective way to demolish this obstacle, to refute the beliefs that have so often throughout human history been used to excuse cruelty, inequality, ignorance, oppression and violence. [emphasis mine]
...bloggers...[that] have decided that the community needs to be cleansed of subversive thought by expelling everyone who disagrees with them, and they are the ones to do it with a new movement called ‘Atheism Plus‘. The properties they most associate with folk like the horsemen are ‘old’ ‘white’ ‘male’ and ‘privileged’ (see below). Indeed a New Statesman article frequently quoted by the Freethoughtbloggers who started this, states quite clearly that:
“Atheism+ is a reaction against the “New Atheism” of Richard Dawkins”.
Thunderf00t cites the divisive "wildly over the top polarizing rhetoric of eradicating and purging dark evil impurities that threaten our purity of essence" of self-identified Atheism+ blogger Richard Carrier, who happens to be a white male.
As a feminist, I see Atheist women who are tired of sexual harassment, calling for Atheism to embrace social justice, just what Secular Humanism claims to embrace, instead of ignoring our own oppression of one another. White male Atheists backlash ensues. Atheism+ is interpreted by some white males such as Richard Carrier a vehicle to "cut free dead weight" such as Skepchick. Justifying other white males to put down the entire movement as cult-like targeting people rather than ideas.
... real unashamedly divisive, brazenly polarizing totalitarian ‘you’re either with us or against us’ type stuff.
There you go all you Feminazi gay whiners who just want to stop white privileged males from using Atheism to excuse cruelty, inequality, ignorance, oppression and violence.
Did you notice how we went from sexually harassed women informally sharing information with other women about which Atheist assholes men to avoid to assuming Atheism+ was an attack on white Atheist men as a whole? Did I see closing rank against uppity women?
One-two punch! Kapow! Backlash spin eliminates your feminist consciousness from the debate. So even an open minded guy like Sentient Biped buys into the idea that you Atheism+ folks have a personality disorder, you just need to create drama. You hysterical women who want the vote are all alike. Oh wait, that was last century. Oh well, good tricks never die.
It should come as no surprise that the battle between conservatives and liberals is as heated within atheism as it is within society at large. In fact, I'd bet that conservative v. liberal is a bigger fault line than religion v. atheism.
Liberals demand an open society, tolerant of just about everything and everyone, and dream of an open-borders one-world utopia. Conservatives regard that as a recipe for chaos and national suicide.
Atheism+ sounds like a liberal/progressive brand of humanism (in the broad sense). Really, they should just call themselves liberal humanists.
Atheism+ is a double negative (not theism + not conservative). The average man on the street will have absolutely no idea what Atheism+ is until it's explained to them. That's a weak brand. Brand names should tell you something about the brand. So it's a marketing dog's breakfast.
I greatly admire Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens. I am also what those people would consider an old white male, so am fully rejected for having 3 descriptors. I humbly suggest that someone who states "if you don't agree with me you're an asshole' should look in their own mirror.
Some self important people with attitude who reject me just for existing, and reject some of the great promoters of rational thought. Some humanists. Right.
Spot on, Mr. Biped,
Methinks they might simply be stupid people.
One can be an atheist, and still be stupid.
Not believing doesn't necessarily make one smart.
But if one aggressively advocates one's own not believing, well,
that's not smart, or thoughtful.
These arguments seem to have topics other than atheism.
I believe this quote from PZ Meyers explain closely what Atheism+ seem to be about:
There are lots of atheists who take this blinkered stance that atheism is just one specific idea about rejecting god-belief, and it has absolutely no philosophical foundation and should have no political or social consequences. And that’s nonsense. This commenter is deluding himself as thoroughly as any god-walloper. If there is no god, if religion is a sham, that has significant consequences for how we should structure our society. You could argue over how we should shape our culture —
And the thing is we could argue about how the lack of God would shape our culture... or we could not. By making this statement, PZ Meyers shows to me just how clueless he is about what atheism is and what atheism is not. It is not, as he claims, a specific ideology. Atheism is not secular humanism. Even if God doesn't exist, there's no specific imperative to believe a certain way, even if it contradicts values presented in the Bible.
You could be an atheist and be a tyrant; you could believe in inequality; you could be against women's or gay rights; or you could be apathetic to the whole humanist cause. Nothing about atheism states that because there are sexist verses from the Bible that are no doubt embedded deep in society, that we should fight to contradict that, or that it should be our primary political goal.
Despite what he says, I believe PZ Meyer's brand of atheism has no philosophical foundation since everything he is for is from a reaction to religion. To be sure, there is no atheism "group" at all. Atheism+ is just the liberal version of conservative Christianity -- trying to marry unrelated and sometimes incompatible belief systems and confused about what they really stand for.
Why read any further than "...if you don't agree with the groups goals,
...then you’re an asshole." ?
Why waste precious brain space following up a link with that intro?
Any group whose cohesion is based on putting down other atheists isn't worth your time.
They've already insulted me!!!! That kind of superior attitude makes Atheists look bad.
Having revisited this thread today I can say, I'm so glad to see that I am not alone in being an *Asshole according to PZ and friends, I much prefer the company I keep here.
Tammy, I'm proud to keep company with you and everyone else on here.
Same here Pat, I actually look forward to reading this site every day even if I don't post often. Most days I'll sit here and chuckle, or nod until I give myself a headache, it's a great group of folks assembled herein.
When the first thing out of religious people's mouths is usually something about how arrogant atheists are, despite earnest attempts to be thoughtful and kind, I don't think loud mouth, self-important, drama kings help our situation or image within society at all. If they drive off other atheists, then exactly what are they trying to accomplish?
Anyway, in my opinion and how I see humanism...
"if you don't agree with me you're an asshole" is to humanism what Dick Cheney is to peace