Some of you might remember when I blogged about the controversy over “atheist plus”. Someone disssed a hero of mine, Neil Armstrong, so I finally stopped ignoring the fence. One of my recent commenters here was kind enough to comment on another post and I went out to see his website. That got the whole thing started again. I wanted to give this a little more air than just replying in comments here. All of this just goes to show that atheism means nothing more than having no belief in gods and that atheists are as varied as theists. We’re all so-very human. And that’s what the Boss likes.
The comment (from the link above)I am replying to from “myatheistlife“:
I used ‘my atheism’ in reference to atheism plus because they insist that to be a good atheist you must agree with their platform of social justice… which of course really isn’t social justice. It’s more feminism than social justice. They do not promote equality for all unless they’ve undergone radical doctrinal changes quite recently. Their use of censorship in several forms and insistence that even those who originally supported the idea be censored because they actually believed in equality for all is the reason that I have no kind words to say about atheism plus-ers.
When you assert that for me to be a good atheist I must agree to your social justice ideals it is ‘my atheism’ that we’re talking about. My understanding of this group is not easily said in a sound-bite so where you read those words may have been less than illuminating. For the record, atheism plus is a bad choice of names in the views of many. When you read it, it does not say social justice, it says atheism plus something else. Atheism is not a world view. They might as well have said ‘godless people doing stuff’ but the idea as I understood it was that atheist doesn’t carry enough of a world view for them so they wanted something more but used the same name. It didn’t help them nor atheists in general.
Consider the Westboro baptist church. When you mention that name and someone is unsure of who you mean as in the case of calling them the WBC, the easy way to clarify is to say those ‘god hates fags’ protest people.
When you say atheism plus and are asked to clarify, what comes to mind? The feminazi atheist club. They’ll have to work pretty hard to get over that one.”
I find your excuse to be weak, MAL. You could have written the sentence without the word “my” but you didn’t. Your post demonstrates repeatedly that you think you have some right to the term “atheist” and the concept of atheism, declaring anyone who doesn’t agree with you a “cult” (how reminiscent of how religions treat new sects) and using “my” only underlines that fact. You cannot cope with people coming up with a phrase that dares use the term “atheist” in a way that you do not approve of. If you did not think you owned that term, there is little reason you would be upset. For example, if I saw someone say “ailurophile plus” I wouldn’t have a fit over someone else claiming to like cats *and* something else. In this post above, you want to claim that “atheist plus” people claim that a “good atheist” are those who agree with them. I identify as atheist plus and I find that a “good” atheist is one that can defend their atheism, not some moral view. And you, MLA, have decided that you can call atheist plus people “bad”. How curious that you find it acceptable to do yourself, declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is good or bad. It seems hypocritical.
I’ve readed the whole debate about Atheism Plus and I do not find it to be the case that “they” as a group insist on any such thing as you claim. I blogged about this myself. I identify as “atheism plus” and I do not consider atheists who do not do so as being any less than me. I may dislike them for completely seperate reasons, such as they *do* support racism, misogyny, etc. I also find it amusing that you have declared yourself the definer of “social justice” and poof! feminism now has nothing to do with it. It seems, that for all your protestations on how words shouldn’t be changed, you are guilty of trying to define things as you want, ignoring anything inconvenient. I also do not find that using the term “atheism plus” has hurt anyone who uses it or that it has hurt atheists in general. The only ones who don’t seem to like it are people like you. All your offense seems based on misapprehensions and strawmen.
Atheism isn’t a world view, why whodathunk! No, it isn’t, but “Atheism Plus” is and if you can’t figure out the difference between those sets of sounds, it must be very hard for you to do many things in life. A burger with cheese and a plain burger are now the same for you, unable to distinguish what they are called. As for what “many” think to be a good name or bad name, golly, I’m going to follow the masses (if they exist) because you said to!
It seems that feminism is what gets your panties in a wad like nothing else related to social justice. Feminism has been a tool to achieve social justice, aka equality, for women. Now, from what I’ve gathered from your posts is that you attempt to conflate feminism to being anti-men. Feminism does not mean “gynocracy” or some such nonsense, even though some women have went that extreme. Then we call their position “extreme feminism” or “women power” or whatever, funny how words work that way. To say that feminism is only being “anti-men” is incorrect and makes you appear as if you are only interested in strawmen arguments, attempting to make a position the equal of the most extreme part of it, much like how atheism can be conflated with anti-theism by Christians in their whines about being “persecuted”. I would expect better than that from you but I know that being an atheist means nothing more than the person does not believe in any gods. Women *still* aren’t considered equal, so there is little reason to abandon the term that has worked so well working for that equality and even less reason to abandon the efforts behind it, just because you find it uncomfortable for some reason. The problem is still there, declaring the word “icky” won’t make it go away.
You seem quite indignant about censorship, but lo, I see a blog of your own. Could it be that this conspiracy is not as you claim? Oh darn, you’re not on FTB. Neither am I. Your words seem to come from your rather simplistic attitude that everyone should be able to do anything they want anywhere they want, this concept of “equalist”. However, from my observations of your action, a better definition of what you are is a person who wants to claim they are very interested in absolute equality, but when someone says they do not feel equal yet, throws a fit and insists how they should feel equal and how dare we want anything more than what you are prepared to allow. You hide behind the skirts of the ideal of “free speech” but when others use exactly that, you whine about “my atheism”.
You then try to claim that “everyone” thinks as you and that they *must* think of those who identify as “atheist plus” as “the feminazi atheist club”. That is just so cute that you believe you are psychic! 🙂 But alas, claiming that everyone thinks this is simply a lie, an attempt on your part to use the fallacy of “everyone thinks this so it must be twue, twue!” to bully your readers. Happily, many of us aren’t quite that unthoughtful. I think of “atheism plus” to be a group of people who are atheists and who choose to be something else. They have chose to identify to each other this way. If you want a special name for yourself and those like you, have a go at it. Atheist Negative, Atheist Minus, Atheist Only, Atheist Anarchist, etc. No one is stopping you. But you don’t have to have one either. Don’t fear, I don’t think anyone will will ever mistake you for being “atheist plus”.
Postscript – unsuprisingly, no rebuttals yet. To form a rebuttal, one must read the opposing views. If one is afraid of being exposed to such things, then writing a rebuttal is difficult.