While browsing the outer reaches of the interweb, I stumbled across something called “Atheist +.” Has anyone heard of this? What are your thoughts and opinions? I looked into it and discovered an interesting blog post on the subject worth a read http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2012/08/atheism-plus-arguments-...

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Answer enough?

Yeah, I'd call that knee-jerk reaction.

A personal experience

Wow. Well, like I said I agree in principle, but in practice...

Wonderful, next thing you know they'll condemn us to hell. ;)

I'm wondering if they're atheist Poes.  I can see the irony of the whole thing, and it's really kind of funny.

I'm not sure if this (Alonzo Fyle's comment) was directed at me or not; it's directly below my top level comment but not nested under it, and it sounds like he could be addressing me.  I'll toss a coin and assume it is, if not, please pretend I made it a top level comment.

My complaint is not with atheists that apply judgment of other people; it's with atheists who assume that being atheist logically entails left-liberal politics in other areas.

For instance I have no gripe with the Humanists--they say they are humanists and part of that is being atheist.  There's no inference that non-humanist atheists are necessarily being inconsistent even though they disagree with them on many issues.

On the other hand, there is a new "Atheist Party" that is trying to rope all atheists, regardless of their politics on other issues, into being their constituency for some very left-wing platform planks.  Personally I am sick and tired of the presumption by non-atheists that atheists are way out in left field on anything other than church/state issues and people like this Atheist Party only help to perpetuate it.  I frankly hope they fail.  If you want to push progressive or socialist politics, call yourself the socialist or progressive party--it is a more accurate label for where your emphasis would necessarily lie once you got into office (you can't spend all your time on church/state issues).  Hell you may even get a bunch of religious folks to join that party (since it doesn't have that dreaded A word in the name) and boost your membership.  (You'd be amazed at how many leftists are not atheists... sure they won't be fundie evangelicals, but they aren't atheists either, and probably have some of the same stupid misconceptions of us that the fundies have and push.)

Atheism Plus (A+) is, I think trying to straddle the line between these two situations; they are a political advocacy group on a bunch of issues unrelated to atheism per se, that is wearing their atheism on their sleeve.  I think it's very easy to get the message that they think, not that I am wrong for not agreeing with them (of course I expect them to think that) but that I am somehow less worthy of the label "atheist" because I don't agree with them on these other issues.

My comment was a generic comment to several posters, and the "you" i spoke to was "you, the reader."

I do not see anybody claiming that atheism "entails" any particukar set of moral values. Instead, there are those (myself included) who hold that atheism is not the only thing that matters - that other thngs matter as well.

There are two possible criticisms of that view.

(1) No. Atheism is the only thing that matters. Nothing else matters. Nobody shall be judged by any standard other than on the standard of belief in God.

(2) Yes, other things matter, but you are mistaken on what those things are or or how to address them.

There is an incoherent third option. "It is okay to judge but wrong to act on that judgment (e.g., by refusing to attend a gathering histed by somebody whose behavior you find objectionable). For all practical purposes, this is the same as Option (1) - perhaps expressed as "Thou shalt not EXPRESS judgements of others".

I categorize a post I read as a Type 1 or Type 2 response according to whether the poster criticizes the fact that Atheism Plus is making judgements and acting on them, or whether it presents a criticism of the judgments or methods.

My post linked to in the title of this thread was a Type 2 response. However, many of the posts and comments I read offer Type 1 criticism - which I hold to be an incoherent position. That is the position I objected to in my comment above and seems to be found in several posts on this thread.

There is an important difference between the Atheism Party and the Atheism Plus. The latter is trying to reform the Atheist community itself - the community to which they belong.

It s a community, with the same people meeting and sharing each other's company at different venues and online - as much or more of a community as any physucal township. While they also hold that those values are right and should be practiced across all communities, it is particularly important to us that they are adopted in the community their community.

"I want to be treated in a particular way by those with which I interact in this community. In particular, I want to be free of the anxiety that is a rational response to living in a community where people laugh at sexual violence. I want to live in a community where I can relax because I know that those who surround me condemn thase attitudes and attempt to who have those attitudes do not threaten me or those I care about."

This, I hold to be a perfctly legitimate attitude.

What, exactly, constitutes a threat?

The will never be total agreement on this. It is a bright line in a field of gray. Clearly, a stream of emails describing the violence a person would cause to a female community member if given a chance is black, and few if any if us woukd object to excluding that person. Sexually violent comments, e.g., "Slap the bitch" or "Someone should rape her with a knife") i hold to be slightly less black. Those who would make those comments show at least a disposition towards becoming the first type of person and give the first tupe of oerson a sense of spproval or entitlement.

These type of people help to create an environment in which women are - often enough - brutalized and killed at worse, or regarded merely as potential sexual prizes to be harvested at best.

Yet, does merely asking somebody for sex itself constitute an act of sexual violence? Perhaps not. However, when made by a gatekeeper - a person of power and influence with the ability to open dors or slam them shut - it may well be.

There are some elements of social advocacy in Atheism Plus. However, I see it more as a community reform group. It is, "I want to feel safe in this community of atheusts. This requires that the community adopt certain standards. If you will not create a community in which me and those I care about can feel safe, we will create one for ourselves."

"There is an important difference between the Atheism Party and the Atheism Plus. The latter is trying to reform the Atheist community itself"

I was not aware that the atheist community was in need of "reform" at all. This particular attempt seem especially poorly thought out and to be a product of the echo chamber FTB is increasingly seeming to become. 

"Yet, does merely asking somebody for sex itself constitute an act of sexual violence? Perhaps not."

Perhaps?! Seriously, what is the world coming to when words can be construed as violence? The correct answer is: Of course it's not! It is this type of juvenile and silly argumentation which completely obliterates any claim to credibility this "movement" claim to have.

A person places three people in a room.

He asks the first, "Will you have sex with me?" She says no. He kills her.

He asks the second, "Will you have sex with me?" She says no. He kills her.

He asks the thrid, "Will you have sex with me?"

Would this not an instance of rape?

Now, let's remove the context.

Two people are alone in a room. One asks the other for sex. Is this an act of sexual violence?

It's the same situation. We are simply choosing to turn a blind eye to the two bodies on the floor and how they got there.

context matters.

When you answer "Of course not!" you are ASSUMING a context in which your answer is correct. However, to determine whether any specific instance is an instance of sexual violence or not, we must examine it in its actual context - and not remove it from that context.

Thus, my answer, "perhaps not" is the more accurate answer. I could also phrase it as, "It depends". Clearly, it depends on the context.


1. This doesn't really make sense on any level I can quite relate to. Is the murder of women denying guys sex a common occurrence at atheist gatherings in the US?

2. What the hell does any of this have to do with atheism in the first place?

The purpose of my example was to defend the proposition that "Context matters" is true - and that an answer of "It depends on context" is a more accurate response than "Of course not!"

Now that we have established that context matters, let us look at the context.

Rape, murder, and other forms of assault against women are a common enough occurance that the rational woman has reason to ask herself, "What type of situation am I an now?" A woman and a stranger in an isolate spot with no witnesses . . . "Yes" does not always imply consent.

Furthermore, we would be fools to deny that there men using their positions of power to grant favors to those who provide them with sex - who use implicit promises and threats as a means to obtain sex. (And women, too, to be honest.)

Finally, even those who have no intention of engaging in this type of exploitation should be aware of the fact that, "She has no way of being certain that I am not that type of person. Therefore, she may be agreeing to sex out of fear even though I know she has nothing to be afraid of."

These are all a part of the real world in which decisions are made. These are all a part of the context.

They make things complicated.

We would like things to be simple. Unfortunately, what we would like does not dictate what is true. (A lot of theists have not grasped that simple concept.) Turning the universe that exists into the universe we want it to be usually takes more effort than a wish or a prayer.


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