Friday, 24 August 2012

atheism+: if you're not with us, you're against us

This is not a mentality to which I can subscribe.

Richard Carrier has weighed in on atheism+, and though I find myself nodding my head in agreement with the majority of his post, I can't get behind the us vs. them mentality. That some atheists choose not to get on board with atheism+ does not make them our enemies. We still have more in common than we have differences.

Among those who choose to eschew adding the 'plus' to their atheism will be the misogynists, the racists, the homophobic and the transphobic, the privileged with no recognition of it.

But also among them will be those who think the name is dumb. Those who want to remain dictionary definition atheists. Those who identify as atheists but aren't part of the movement at all. Among others.

So I disagree with Carrier when he claims, as he appears to do in one comment, that anyone not joining a+ is voting for misogynistic douchebaggery. Some of them are. But not all of them, not by a long shot.

And as we go on, each side of the schism doing its own thing, I'm convinced that our side will grow. Many of those who remain as non-plus atheists will eventually be turned off by the harassment, the victim blaming, the misogyny, and will see our side for the positive, accepting force that I hope it will become.

For obvious reasons I think that most of these will be women. Again, not all of them. But many.

In the meantime, I intend to go on more or less as I have been. I'm well and truly on board with a+, but those who are not are not automatically my opponents. Those who show their bigotry are my opponents, whatever they call themselves, whatever movement they ascribe to.

But with the advent of a+ I'm excited at the thought of being part of a community where the bigots are not tolerated, where they're shouted down instead of tacitly accepted. That's what I thought atheism would be when I began my activism, and I'm glad to be joining a movement where those ideals are not just encouraged, but explicitly stated as necessary.


  1. I don't see this as a schism, more like an embellishment.