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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No idea what that is. Thank gawd for ED.

Seems like some useless hipster stuff.

Nelson has been posting stuff about it in his Sunday School blog for the last two Sundays. Get with it, man!

Hawk: now I know and knowing is half the battle. thanks though. That being said, If you have an opinion to voice, I'd love to hear it.

Well... I'll start out by saying that it appears that I have the dissenting opinion on this at least for this discussion thread.

I came to be an atheist as I explored what we as a species have discovered about ourselves and about our world. It was a search for answers, a search for knowledge. That is one of the guiding principles of who I am and my atheism is an outgrowth of that. That principle has instilled within me a drive to enhance knowledge both in my own life and in what I can share with others. I purposely try to influence my friends and family to embrace a quest for knowledge and impart on them my joy of curiosity and learning something new. For me, being an atheist isn't just about rejecting false notions of spirituality. It isn't just about saying religion is a lie and harmful to society. Atheism, at least my own, is a natural outgrowth that flourishes as we cultivate rationality, knowledge, and take an honest assessment of ourselves, our lives, and our world.

Ignorance, on the other hand, doesn't lend itself to atheism. It is the antithesis, the enemy we must combat everyday. Ignorance is the fog of the mind where faith festers. It is within this foul cloud that the spores of bigotry thrive and feed off of the decaying and rotting masses that once resembled a person's rational brain. Without ignorance, bigotry doesn't survive in the same way that religion and superstition doesn't survive. The many forms of bigotry (racism, sexism, etc.) grow because individuals who express these ideas and behavior do not assess whether they should act in such a way; they do not step back and look with honesty at reality. Instead they take these beliefs about others and act on it. Those actions do not seek to find the knowledge of who people are, refuse to treat people with respect, and are as harmful to a group's perceptions as religious teachings to stone unbelievers. If ignorance is counter to knowledge, atheism is a product of knowledge, and bigotry is a product of ignorance, then atheism should not allow bigotry to exist especially among fellow atheists.

Now, I recognize that my atheism is not your atheism. People come to the same conclusions for different reasons; we all lead different lives and have different experiences. I'm not saying that the way I came to be an atheist is the "correct" way or that I'm some how a "better" atheist than others, but it is undeniable that knowledge and an honest view of reality leads to atheism. It is also undeniable that ignorant views of others allow people to do terrible, terrible things to each other.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I want atheism to grow in this country and around the world. I desire a society based on knowledge and rationality, a free society that treats others with respect where, whether we are all equal in status or not, we at least treat others as equals. I want a society where personal rights are respected and enshrined. That society will naturally be one that is atheistic so much so that it won't even recognize that it is an atheistic society. For me, the question becomes, "can atheism spread a quest for knowledge or is it that knowledge leads to atheism?" I have seen within this community and through others online that, among those who deconvert, both the search for knowledge and atheism are synonymous, because it isn't quite knowledge that leads to atheism; it is doubt, skepticism. It is by questioning that we discover the truth. So yes, atheism, as I have experienced it, does lead to an attitude that prizes knowledge. Spreading atheism will in general make us a more knowledgeable, and I would say better, society.

A+, from what I have read, has a strong desire to make a name for itself as promoting atheism not just as a rejection of religion, an idea which can entrench the religious farther into their views, but as a group that promotes the idea of equality and acceptance of each person's humanity. I have heard many anti-theist atheists decry that they have no need to be tolerant of those who promote intolerance in regards to the religious. I agree. Any individual who can't show basic respect for others because of an idea based in ignorance and is unwilling to assess that ignorance has proven that they don't deserve respect. By pushing out the elements that are already pushing people out of the atheist community, A+ is saying that they don't stand for that ignorant and abhorrent behavior. When it comes down to it, that's exactly how Christianity grew so rapidly. They said, "Hey, you the oppressed, downtrodden, and rejected, things don't have to be that way. It can get better; come and join us." A+ can use its position of inclusiveness to become a more inviting brand of atheism and thus further its spread. Take the billboards that were attempted to be put up around Tampa and Charlotte. They were confrontational and abrupt. If we attack people, they will just go on the defensive, but if we put up a warm and inviting presence, then people will be attracted to that and be willing to hear us out. If we want to spread atheism, which I recognize that not all people are going to agree on how to do it, then it does help to enhance our positives rather than point out people's negatives. We can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

I understand people's reservations about A+ becoming an exclusionary group, but really if we allow bigotry in its many forms to exist among out and out atheists without standing up to and making that bigotry recede more and more, then we are already becoming an exclusionary group, but we are being inclusive of deleterious ignorance. It's a matter of which group would you prefer to be, one that promotes rationality, or one that allows ignorance to continue to exist. (In one sense, we already are an exclusionary group because you have to reject divinity to be considered an atheist, which automatically excludes all theists.) The whole reason they sort of collectively decided on the name Atheism+ is not to discount those who were atheists and didn't chose to be a part of the group nor imply that those who don't claim to be part of A+ is a bigot (I think all of us atheists know that we have many reasons for doing things and not all are the same), but it is to say that those who claim to fall under A+ are something more than just atheists. It's an attempt to say, "Atheism is a strong part of who I am, but I'm not just an atheist; I'm something more."

I can understand, also that we are a small group in this country and globally, and any sense of division in a group so relatively small has a much larger impact. But are we trying to do something as atheists, as a cohesive group? As one person has already noted the only thing that unites all atheists is our atheism, but what are we united for? Seriously? Is there anything we are united for? I have heard so many times here on these boards, from prominent secularists, and I came to the conclusion myself, that we make our own purpose. We create our own meaning. Well gods be damned, let's make our own purpose and meaning as a group.

I know. I know. The only thing being an atheist qualifies a person for is a rejection of ideas on gods and to do otherwise might prevent people from saying they are atheists. I got it, but why can't there be something more? Should there be something more? Those who came up with A+ feel the same way I do. We want to be recognized primarily as atheists, and we want to do something collectively
as atheists. Atheism is in dire need of a positive message, because a positive message will attract more people and bring us more acceptance in the long term. There are a lot of liberal and progressively minded theists, religious moderates, out there. They see their conservative brothers and sisters spreading hate and ignorance. They see where religion is taking them, but they cherry pick the more tolerant parts of their religion rather than see the truth for what it is, and they remain ignorant. Like this guy right here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-watson/christians-gay-marriage_b_.... We need to take hold of those doubts, show them that there are others who share the same values and that there is a community for them that is accepting, and expose them to skeptical thinking. We need to dispel the fog in their minds and really set them free, but how can we do that if we allow ignorance to hole up amongst us?

I'll say to finish, because I've gone on long enough, that I agree with A+ in principle. The idea I think is good for all atheists, except those who choose to remain bigots. Those people can go stand in the corner with the theist bigots. I'm sure they'll eventually find something in common. The part I'm most likely to get hung up on, and more importantly, the part that has yet to really play out, is Atheism + in practice. Like any plan, it looks like it'll work until it's it enters the bumpy road of reality. I mean, this is only an idea that has been around for maybe three weeks or so. That's not a long time; legions of internet memes have budded and perished in that time without ever taking root. Nothing has really happened concerning A+. They haven't done anything except express their desire to form this group. Anyone who condemns this fledgling group is, I think, being too quick to judge. All we can really form an opinion on is the intent, because the group has yet to truly coalesce and actually accomplish anything. I'll reserve my judgment for them for maybe six months to a year in order to see first if this tree bears fruit. Until such time, I wish them the best of luck.

 

Im completely against an exclusionary group that has decided to ride on the coattails of atheist authors like Dawkins, and at the same time hold him up as an evil to be purged from the "ranks" of atheism as an elitist white male.

Its really sad that their ideals are shared by many but the tone of their leadership and the derision this whole concept causes simply makes those of us who are not atheists by social conscience but atheists by simple logic sit on the outside and wonder why we are called vile for not wanting to play in their clubhouse.

I am an atheist it is not what defines my morals or who i am. To try and link the two as necessary to each other is a horrendous misunderstanding of a huge portion of atheists.

If they had called it Secular Humanists+ i would not have cared but to infer that i must agree with their way of thinking and lend my voice to their leaders who were created out of controversy and self promotion or i am somehow less then they are is a crime of social manipulation.

There is a famous quote from George Carlin you can look up yourself that basically says don't be a joiner.. and if you must be a joiner.. don't participate because it will be the death of your individuality. I refuse to commit personal value suicide just because something sounds like a nice and pleasant thing on the surface.

Stephen,

I agree with much of what you said and I also am a "logic -oriented" atheist. What sources did you reference in making your particular observation about Atheist+?

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2412/ Richard Carrier laying out his arguments for atheism Plus

http://thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/ Thunderf00ts thoughts on the subject.

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/religion/2012/08/atheism-plus-new... Newstatesman article on the "movement"

Oh and a person anecdote. About a month ago there was a post on facebook by Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience tv show who has as of late become a vocal supporter of the skepchiks agenda. He posted a simple post. "If you think that elevatorgate was an overreaction respond yes if not say nothing"  He then proceeded to remove the hundreds of people that said yes and ban them from his facebook. Later in the day he recounted the ban. I personally never resubscribed. This is the kind of reactionary nonsense that you can also view at the Atheist Plus forums where any questioning of the concept is met with disdain, vile behavior, and a ban hammer. http://atheismplus.com/forums/index.php?sid=9d48696b1d03aafb5467f16...

I included both for and against article come to your own conclusion but for me i really cannot stand cliques.

Yay, another label.  Just what we all need.  Soon there will be multiple denominations of atheism who will all think each other is doing it the wrong way.  That sounds awful familiar to me.

It seems critical thinking is common in the individual but rare in the group. 

Soon there will be multiple denominations of atheism who will all think each other is doing it the wrong way.  That sounds awful familiar to me.

It really is unsettling how that sounds. Soon theists might be right in calling atheism a religion.

Reminds me of an episode of South Park.

Heard of it, and I'm not interested.  As an atheist woman, this group seems to share a lot of my values BUT there's one big thing that I dislike.  It's not simply an interest group, and it divides us on political issues and values that are not solely atheist in nature.  This is one of my biggest gripes about organized religion in society, and I'm not about to participate in more of the same.  Politically, I'm much more interested in uniting with anyone who embraces secularism, reason, and social justice.  There's a group for that - Secular Humanism.  E pluribus unum.

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