The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.
but the humor of this is really hard to suppress.
The question here isn’t, is Atheism+ signaling a split in their movement but what exactly IS it? Now as per dictionary.com the the Word “Athiest” has a simple meaning
[ey-thee-iz-uhm] Show IPA
the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Now lets look at a piece quoted in the article by everyone’s favorite professor PZ “let’s drive nails through the Eucharist” Myers on What Athiesm+ is. I think it sounds really familiar:
If you’re resentful that many atheists think that feminism is important, that we should be fighting for racial equality, that we think reason and evidence dictate that excessive income inequity does harm to the nation, that the gun madness needs to stop, or whatever social and political issue pushes your buttons, then tough. I’m not making you write legislation to increase spending for schools in poor neighborhoods. I’m not forming you up into squads going door to door to take away people’s guns. I’m arguing for the importance of those issues, and I’m finding allies who agree with me.
It seems to me that the New “Atheist+ group is simply Atheism + Liberalism. As he puts it in this rather incredible paragraph:
Yes. I’m a white male middle-class professional. I profit from disparity, and it simultaneously gives me guilt and worry that someone might take my privileges away from me. But I can’t in good conscience live in the illusion that I somehow deserve more than a poor black woman making ends meet with menial labor; I don’t. I’m just the recipient of the blessings of chance and history.
Think about that paragraph for a second. Whatever I think of Professor Myers, he IS in fact a college professor, who has earned a PhD. This is not achieved without effort, dedication brains and hard work, a lot of hard work. Yet by his own set of standards it is an illusion. These years of effort and study is of no more value than any menial labor that he could have done if he decided to bag college altogether.
This is beyond Obama & Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren’s “You didn’t build this” this is “I didn’t build this”!
Atheism ought to be a progressive social movement in addition to being a philosophical and scientific position, because living in a godless universe means something to humanity.
And that’s what our new Athiest+ (liberalism) club means and if you don’t buy into it…well:
And if you don’t agree with any of that — and this is the only ‘divisive’ part — then you’re an asshole. I suggest you form your own label, “Asshole Atheists” and own it, proudly.
Read that one more time. If he had just stopped with this sentence…
…isn’t it really silly to complain about not belonging to a group with ideals you don’t agree with?”
…he would have a valid argument, but what is says is this: If you don’t believe what we believe, if you are a Bill Quick or an SE Cupp an Allahpundit or a Doug Mataconis and you don’t buy his brand of Athiesm your an Ass.
Peter McGrath, The author of the article, used the clip from Life of Brian about the Judean’s People’s Front vs the People’s front of Judea, but I think the better clip might be this one. (Language warning)
Maybe he won’t call for you to be killed but at the very least he will take your juniper bushes and give them away and if you don’t agree, then you’re unworthy.
Update: Here is an atheist perspective on this (HT Doug Matacoins)
Look, it’s fine to say that you’re creating your own social movement of godless people who believe in something. Fine. But the implication of many of these folks–particularly those like PZ, who automatically lumps libertarians in with “jerks”–is that you cannot be an atheist and yet not be of this mind on politics at the same time. That’s just bonkers, and absurd. And I thought atheism was all about reason and logic, because we don’t believe in superstition?