It seems that there is a lot of fuss being made in the atheist community regarding an apparent sub-culture known as "Atheism-Plus."  I've noted a few pieces here and there on Atheist Nexus regarding it, though I don't know as any particular consensus has emerged out of A|N on the topic.  I DO know how I feel about it, and a few weeks ago, I shared my point of view on Reason Being's blog, to wit:

My personal evolution to atheism was a long and slow one, probably starting with the first time I read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land back in the late 60's though 9/11 and finally being emboldened by seeing atheists speak out on a discussion board I participate in. Somewhere in all of that I came to the conclusion that I was an atheist and began to strengthen myself in that position and become more vocal myself.

Long before then, I recognized that the GLBT community was getting the short end of the stick, that the environment was getting mucked up by indiscriminate pollution, that a woman's right to choose should remain solely HERS and not be at the whim of either government or religion. These and a lot of other issues were on my mind and I had arrived at what I think of as positive positions on them decades before my attitude toward atheism resolved itself. ALL of those positions were the result of my observations on how things were happening in the world and my own rational processing and analysis of them.

For what I understand, atheism-plus wants these issues and others to be bound together into a supposedly necessary superset of atheism. To me, this is an artificial and manipulated association of issues. I base that assertion on the fact that those positions came together within me ON THEIR OWN, not because of some supposed relationship between them but because they were all part of my own personal bent and attitude. Indeed, my position on these issues is more a product of my approach to them - rational, thoughtful, and informed - than it has been a product of any one of them, atheism included.

I am an atheist. I am also a supporter of my friends who are gay or Lesbian or bisexual or transgendered.  I support women's rights and am very conscious of environmental and other issues I care about. To me, each of these issues has one thing in common - ME. Otherwise, they have as much in common with each other as a fish does with a bicycle.

I don't associate them with each other ... and I Will NOT Be TOLD that I have to.

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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on February 8, 2013 at 2:05pm

Asa Watching, what are you watching? Has anyone here made a statement of belief based upon atheism? Not that I recall, not that I forgot at all. Atheism is no god, no gods-simple. Beliefs do not follow from the negation.

Theism is god, gods and attendant beliefs. Said beliefs are ipso facto invalid.

Rationalism and reason lead to atheism. Rationalism and reason also lead ineluctably, I argue, to certain beliefs. Not political beliefs. No sir. Reason and rationalism lead to belief in equality and opposition to discrimination. In a free market place of ideas divorced from our history of superstition equality and opposition to discrimination will win out at least as an ideal.

I know zero about atheism plus. But the title does not suggest it is beliefs springing magically from atheism. And if an atheist group wants to push its agenda, so what. Why the hell shouldn't they. If a conservative bunch of atheists want to push their's who cares. 

Comment by Asa Watcher on February 8, 2013 at 12:53pm

An essential issue Loren, as I have observed people making statements of belief based upon the perspective of their atheism.  This is the same mistake that others make about their beliefs that are based on the  perspective of their theism.

Atheists should not make the same mistake that theists make,  and that is arriving at beliefs based upon the status of their faith in god(s).  It is disturbing to see here on A/N arguments being made that some of our fellow atheists are convinced that various conclusions, political, social, or otherwise, are based upon them being atheists.

Until one can make the statement: “There is nothing I believe that is based upon my lack of faith in the existence of a god”,  is one truly an atheist.

Comment by Earther on February 8, 2013 at 6:07am

I support a more rational world as in psychology for people.  Peer pressure is so strong that give in to that which is not true.  I don't blame those who do give in though because all too often in our history of human life competition is met with threats of death. 

Comment by James Yount on February 7, 2013 at 3:25pm

Atheism is a lack of belief in any kind of theism.  That's it.  While most atheists lean one way on certain issues, it doesn't encompass all by any means.  I know quite a few conservative atheists that already feel alienated by many atheist political crusaders.  Frankly, atheism isn't a large enough percentage of the population that it can afford to be fractured over politics.  And if you are left leaning, you can be consoled in the fact that any steps we take to unite atheists and help it grow, will result in more progressive views because a lot of conservatives are so solely on the basis of their religion, Christianity namely.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on February 6, 2013 at 8:25pm

Oh my gawd, Harris is known as philosopher on recent real time episode, to that I say Gezpacho, fuck you.

Comment by Earther on February 6, 2013 at 8:23pm

Well, the point we are all here is because we are trying to deal with living in a dilusional world. Those who want to stick on there own personal branches of self to the main focus is just business as usual.  I could list a lot of things that I am struggling with besides being atheist and it may or may not be a direct cause of a dilusional culture.  I guess my mind tends to arch over rather than plow through.  I think there can be benefits to both.  Im new to the idea of A+ so I am not sure of why they are not satisfied with the title atheism.  Sam Harris argues we should be careful of labeling ourselves yet in my mind there may be times when you just need to do it. 

Comment by Loren Miller on February 6, 2013 at 6:25pm

Courtesy of Google:


  1. An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality,...
  2. The action of deluding someone or the state of being deluded: "what a capacity television has for delusion".

Now, my question is: what does that have to do with Atheism-Plus?

Comment by Earther on February 6, 2013 at 6:19pm

A dilusion is rationalizing something that does not exist, right?

Comment by Loren Miller on February 5, 2013 at 5:19am

Ruth, that statement was made by Sentient Biped, not me.  If you're going to take shots, make sure your scope is aligned.  And for the record, I'm 62.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on February 4, 2013 at 11:55pm

Loren, when you say

I had a fast reaction to A+ when one of the first things I read was disparagement of "old white guys".  Which means disparagement of me.

I think you aren't hearing the difference between criticism of particular behavior and criticism of the whole person. Feminist Atheists aren't against old white men, they are against particular behavior toward women which old white men tend to exhibit. Many of us are deeply in love with old white men, along with men of other colors and ages. And we hold them in respect until they say things which tear us down (often without malicious intent or even realizing that they are doing so).

In fact it's just because we love them and respect them that their mysogeny is so damaging to us. We just need the tearing down to stop. We seek change in behavior. Lots of men find this demand, for more just considerate treatment emotionally equivalent to an attack on their person. We realize that change isn't easy. It's human to resist noticing that ones behavior is hurtful. Nevertheless, we need to be treated with respect and it's our right.


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