As anyone who has read the blog for any length of time knows, I’m a very multi-faceted individual. I enjoy a lot of things. I am an atheist. I am a skeptic. I collect stamps. I read science fiction. I have pets. I watch copious amounts of TV and movies. I play video games. I debate politics. I am a conservative. The list could go on and on.
However, one thing that I recognize that apparently some other people don’t is that none of those things necessarily has anything to do with any of the others. Collecting stamps has nothing whatsoever to do with having pets. Playing video games has nothing to do with being a skeptic. Every person out there in blog land is at least as multi-faceted as I am and has at least as many interests.
So why don’t they understand that these interests are not all the same thing?
Over at Blag Hag, Jen McCreight has suggested, and I don’t know who came up with the idea originally, that they need an entirely new label, “Atheism+” to describe the sum total of everything she and her compatriots wish to accomplish. In her own words.
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.
That’s really entirely fine with me, I agree with most of that, but I feel no need to define all of my interests into a single category. Indeed, it would be absurd to do so. Women’s rights (interesting they don’t care about gender equality) have nothing whatsoever to do with a disbelief in the existence of god(s). Neither does racism. Neither does homophobia. Critical thinking and skepticism, while not strictly related, at least fall within the same sort of purview but still represent different things. You can be an atheist without being skeptical.
So why do they want to cram everything together into a single term? Unfortunately, Richard Carrier is quite clear on that point. They want an anti-liberal pogrom against anyone who doesn’t agree with their liberal views. Those who don’t drink their koolade are expected to slither back to their metaphorical sewers. Clearly their “movement” wasn’t as overwhelmingly successful as they might have wished and therefore they have to form “true atheism” to get away from everyone else that might otherwise corrupt their faith.
Frankly, I say let them go. If they want to play in their little ivory towers and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist, more power to them. It honestly won’t affect the rest of us and if they want to have their own conferences, far away from TAM and all the other evil gatherings that don’t respect their authority, that’s fine with me. At least I won’t have to listen to them bitch anymore.
But for the rest of us who understand what atheism is and that it is not a universal term, we’ll go on as usual. We’ll go to atheism conventions to talk about atheism and we’ll go to secular humanism conventions to talk about secular humanism and we won’t even confuse the two. One of the things that makes atheism so powerful is it’s diversity, something the Atheism+ crowd is desperately trying to stamp out. They’re trying to frame it in such as way to make it seem like the opposition, the ones who won’t wholeheartedly embrace their fanaticism are evil, but in reality, they’re just trying to enforce group-think and those who won’t comply are guilty of “mind crimes”.
Holy 1984 Batman.