Becoming those you despise

Over the last several years I’ve been keeping a loose eye on things regarding atheism online. Unfortunately things on that mark have kind of turned stale, though there are plenty of people trying their best to keep things fresh. Perhaps it is in that mark that the new Atheism+ idea got started. Perhaps not. I’m not entirely sure what was running through the heads of those starting this whole thing, but I don’t really care either.

My worry with regard to the Atheism+ "movement" (using that word loosely here) is already well voiced by YouTube users C0nc0rdance and xxxThePeachxxx, but still incompletely.

Christian conservatism is Christianity combined with politics. It is Christian doctrine overwhelmingly influencing public policy. And I’m all in favor of undoing as much of that as is logical and possible – let’s be clear that we still need laws stipulating punishments for actions that clearly violate someone else’s autonomous rights.

But virtually all of those that started and first promoted Atheism+ can be described as hard-core liberal former Christians – i.e. they’ve traded one deity (religion) for another (the State). And many hard-core liberals want to use the yoke and force of the various governments to not only undo the excessive entanglements that already exist between church and state, but install their own entanglements between atheism and state.

Socialist statism is one of the key attributes of hard-core liberals: using the force and power of the State to effect social change, often by seeking equality of outcomes rather than opportunities. This is entirely the wrong focus. If the goal is greater equality, as prominent atheists like Matt Dillahunty have stated, using the State to accomplish this will only result in failure. And before anyone tries to quote the civil rights movement at me in an attempt to refute that, bear in mind that the civil rights movements were largely effected through Courts, not legislatures, to undo the social shackles legislatures had previously installed. Only after the Courts had largely undone much of the shackling did legislatures act to clean out the rest while installing through amendments to State constitutions and the Constitution of the United States guarantees of additional liberties.

I fear that Atheism+ will become atheist liberalism or, arguably worst, atheist statism. This would be entirely the wrong direction to go. It would only confirm what Christian conservatives have been accusing atheists of doing for years. After all atheists are already called so much by Christians and Christian conservatives merely because we don’t subscribe to any religious ideology, and they make many assumptions about our political views or aspirations, including assuming that atheism means believing everything that is the exact opposite of what Christian conservatives believe. I’ve seen this first hand. And Atheism+ appears to only feed into that, intentionally or not.

Further mixing atheism with politics will only seek to alienate rather than unite, and given that we are still a minority, division and alienation should be avoided. Unfortunately I am too late in my words on this. Many atheists like myself, Shane Killian, and others do not subscribe to hard-core liberalism. And others like Stefan Molyneux are anarchists (or voluntarists, to borrow Molyneux’s assertion). And it seems those on the Atheism+ forum have already declared that libertarianism (and by extension anarchism) is not compatible with their focus, while also trumpeting Marxism and saying the focus needs to be on equality of outcomes rather than opportunities, so they’ve already excluded a lot of people right off the bat.

Some libertarian-minded individuals have attempted to defend libertarianism as seeking similar ends as Atheism+, just through different means, but I feel the fruits of such attempts will be rotted through with the stench of frustration and near insanity and suggest to other atheist libertarians and anarchists to just not even bother trying.

The last thing we need is for atheism to become defined as a political ideology. Yet it seems that is what Atheism+ wants to become: an atheist political ideology. And the table has already been set, to borrow C0nc0rdance’s words from his video.

If Atheism+ is intended to be the "new wave of atheism" called for by Jen McCreight, I think it’s doomed for failure right off the bat. For one there are more atheists than those who actually use the label "atheist", and more using the label "atheist" than those active in the atheist movements, meaning Atheism+ is, by definition, another minority within the totality of all who fit the definition of "atheist" even if they don’t use the label.

And now they’re going to tack specific political ideologies onto the label "atheist" and call it Atheism+? And apparently there seems to be a "you’re with us or against us" mentality among those in Atheism+. Yeah I don’t see this getting too far. Instead what it likely may do is undo some of the societal progress that has been accomplished for secularism over the last couple years.

And the reason for this is simply this: they are becoming those they despise. Instead of Christian conservatives, they will be called atheist liberals. Not just liberals, but atheist liberals. A politico-religious ideology.

I guess the label "atheist" doesn’t have enough negative connotations already. Perhaps I need to stop using that label for myself and go back to using the label "agnostic" (yes, I’m a "weak atheist") to avoid being mixed in with this mess. I don’t see it going anywhere good.

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Note in advance: don’t bother trying to argue with me about Atheism+ as your energy and keystrokes will only be wasted with the first click of the Delete button on your attempts. This is my blog under my domain name hosted on web space that I pay for, so that is not censorship but me exercising editorial discretion over my own digital property and landscape.