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.

Views: 187

Tags: atheism, plus

Comment by CJoe on October 27, 2012 at 11:14pm

Ha... I'm sure this'll reach 10 pages of comments quickly. As much as I consider myself feminist, or for women's rights, I was uncomfortable with this "movement". I watched and observed for a while, and then it turned really ugly. Worst of all, people with honest and constructive criticism were censored or berated. All sorts of new slurs were invented ("chill girl" & "sister punisher", to name a couple) which I felt was very childish, counterproductive, and *gasp* hypocritical. Also, wow... the man-hating reached epic proportions. It sooo very much bothered me that they really, really believe[d] that, if you disagreed, you were actually sexist and not merely expressing concern that maybe they were going too far, being too venomous, or divisive. They made enemies out of allies in an instant. Men who are for women's rights were ripped to shreds for thinking their "white privileged male" feelings were worthy of consideration.


Yeah. The problem is not that these people are for civil rights, but that they're so fucking mean and vicious about it... and they feel entitled to treat others the way they feel they've been treated by men. Sorry, two wrongs don't make a right, and being a jerk isn't going to win friends/allies. I'll be glad when the whole thing dissolves into oblivion and ceases to embarrass those who actually want a civil discourse about human rights and dignity.

Comment by CJoe on October 27, 2012 at 11:15pm

(and I'll admit I feel hesitant to use the label "feminist" to describe myself because of the stigma... the one they're ironically reinforcing)

Comment by Obfuskation on October 27, 2012 at 11:31pm

I’ve been following the A+ bus wreck since it started.  While I was generally supportive of their stated purpose when they were new, I was critical of a of their name choice and an almost immediate exo-toxic attitude.

Now they seem to do little more than illicit eye-rolls, serve as the butt of jokes, and provide an example of how not to behave.  I have to admit that there is that tiny troll part of me that likes to stop by and read the A+ forums for the lulz and WTF moments, and hopes that their little fringe group hangs on for a while.  They’re way wackier than anything on television.

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on October 28, 2012 at 12:20am

The "Atheist Plus" nomenclature brings to mind the "Church of Christ, Scientist" sign posted on the church down the street from my house. The congregation craves the legitimacy of science so they staple it to an increasingly discredited Christ.

(Aside: That sign reminds me of a birthday gift Homer Simpson once gave to Marge: a bowling ball with the name 'Homer' engraved on it. But I digress.)

It looks like "Atheist Plus" was joined for similar reasons: to associate an unknown "Plus" ethos with the well-known cultural iconoclasticism of atheists. The words were safety-pinned together and there you have it.

I don't know much else about the group, so for now I'll reserve my opinion (on everything but the ill-advised name) although it doesn't sound promising.   

If you've just met me, and I self-identify as an atheist, you don't know anything at all about what I believe. You know exactly one thing I don't believe.  

Comment by Reggie on October 28, 2012 at 1:30am

I've been enjoying Greg Fish's blogs regarding the whole controversy surrounding the silliness that is Atheism Plus.  I'm just happy to see that many people weren't cowed into accepting the edicts of certain "celebrity" personalities within the community. Some of these skeptic and/or atheist "celebrities" pushing this stuff seem to be a little unbalanced.


Link to World of Weird Things blog:
http://worldofweirdthings.com/2012/10/24/because-it-turns-out-you-j...

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