I’ve noticed a trend in the #atheism tag as of late, and that’s a lot of people complaining about atheists. Not just theists who’ve been on the receiving end of some atheist’s almost certainly heavy-handed jibing, but atheists complaining about atheists too. Sound weird to you? It sure looked weird to me.
The complaints from theists are pretty much what you’d expect. If you’ve ever looked at any atheism discussion, you know what I’m talking about.
Now, where atheists draw down on each other is interesting. You’ve got people who don’t want to be associated with atheism because of its “reputation.” They’re still atheists even if they don’t consider themselves as such, so long as they don’t believe in any gods. It’s a word with a meaning, and it describes their beliefs.
You’ve got people who attack the atheism+ movement for various reasons. The most venomous of which are the likes of TheAmazingAtheist and Thunderf00t who are colossal douches who’ve spent loads of energy attacking feminism(probably in the same sort of knee-jerk reaction that spawns most MRAs).
I’ve also seen people slam them for deigning to cross their streams so to speak. People who support social justice movements, but don’t want it in their atheism. And of course, there are the atheists who attack those atheists for being insensitive at best, and sexist/homophobic/racist at worst.
I think the goal of atheism+ is to offer a friendly space for people who don’t look like Richard Dawkins, who don’t take kindly to sexism, racism, or other forms of bigotry. It’s not that they’re saying atheism leads to these progressive beliefs, but rather that they are atheists who also hold those beliefs, and that bigotry will only serve to drive people away. Typically atheists will claim to have reached their position via rational examination of the facts, the atheism+ people want to apply that to other areas of life, and I for one think that’s got some real value. Objective critical examination of ideas, any sort of idea, is how you get better ideas. If you think it’s worked for you with regards to god, then why wouldn’t it work for other parts of life?
I can’t believe I’ve had to write up a post about why it’s a good idea to have a socially progressive space in the atheist community, but there you have it. If you allow your community to alienate people by overwhelmingly emphasizing white men, you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential allies. I think the Republican party is a sterling example of that at work, and atheism can’t really afford to run on the Southern Strategy.