I recently reached out to past interviewees for questions as a "turn the tables" interview for an upcoming post. Atheist Revolution
’s Vjack asked what I thought about Atheism Plus. I decided that since I haven’t yet touched on this (and I’m one of the last atheist blogs that hasn’t) I might as well throw my two cents in the hat.
Why the delay on the A+ post from a guy who is obviously starving for content? I didn’t want to encourage what I expect to be a short-lived blip on the radar of a very niche community. I didn’t think Atheism Plus was a good or bad thing, just an unneeded thing. Now, I’ve kinda turned the corner. I think it's a bad thing and it should be addressed. To be clear, the concept isn't bad. It’s bad because it is divisive. It’s causing arguments within the atheist community that serve no purpose. The atheists who promoted atheism “plus” equality or “plus” skeptisim already did so before they adopted the label of Atheism Plus. Those who promoted atheism and skipped the rest, still do so, which is fine. Now sects of both groups are burning calories attempting to shame the rest. To what end? I’m not sure. Probably just to get back to the status quo.
It’s not Jen McCreight fault that this happened. She fired the first shot when she kicked off the movement, but she didn't know it would be a war. There's a shared blame among everyone who is still bickering about it. I think the backlash the BlagHag felt after her original posts showed the worst in an otherwise rational community. She fell in love with her idea (that wasn’t entirely hers) and expected her friends that love it too. Not so much, a perhaps rightfully so.
Politically, Atheism Plus has become a mess and for this reason alone we should cut bait. It’s not a concept that needs defending, it’s just a bundling of values that isn’t as one-size-fits-all as it appears on the surface. Atheists are more likely to support equality with women and gays ONLY BECAUSE theists follow holy books that explicitly DON't support equality with women and gays. I’ll vote in favor of gay marriage whenever it comes up and I’ve debated about equality within larger debates about religion, but feminism and rainbows aren’t my cross to bear. I won’t be guilt tripped into thinking I’m not doing enough for this or that group.
I value skepticism and critical thinking highly, but neither should they be bundled with atheism. If anything, atheism is a subset of skepticism--not the other way around. The political parties have bundled values to such a degree that someone who is fiscally conservative will likely adopt the completely unrelated opinions that capital punishment is a good method of keeping crime down while gun control doesn’t work. Blindly adopting beliefs for the sake of conformity is the antithesis of skepticism. It's the same need for belonging that motivated and still motivates people to gather to worship literary figures.
This speaks to a larger issue with which even Atheism Plus opposers may disagree. Atheism should have no qualifiers. The only atheist movement should take place while the nonbeliever is on the crapper. I'm not writing this blog to be part of a larger whole, I'm writing this blog to be an individual and to show that other individuals that they don't have to accept the norm. Theism is the norm. Church is the norm. Religion is the norm. Free thinking should be the norm. At least, that's what I think.