A new wave of atheism has emerged in the last week or so, called “Atheism +.” From what I’ve read, it’s generally a combination of atheism, feminism (which started all of this), and humanism. I am, by strict definition, all of these things. However, I will not adhere to the Atheism + “movement.”
First, this is a clear attempt by certain atheists to distance themselves from others and start a new subgroup within atheism, and when you start bundling concepts together, people can get alienated. This new group has caused great divisiveness within the community (and yes, we are a community), a community already weak on resources. And based on the blogs I have read from those “in the know,” (e.g., Richard Carrier) either you’re 100% in or you’re 100% out. That’s a very poor attitude, and it sounds dangerously close to the strong-arming done by religions. It used to be that atheists supported atheism, feminists supported feminism, and humanists supported humanism. Why these are all bundled together, I have no idea.
Second, religions have been arguing for years that atheism is just as dogmatic as religions (which, of course, is false), and this new movement is toiling dangerously close to being dogmatic, not to mention the fact that a single belief has now been transformed into an entire worldview. That’s just more ammunition for the religious. They are laughing at us.
Third, although I am technically a feminist, I don’t like the term or the concept, because it is inherently exclusionary. How about equal rights, opportunity, and treatment for everyone? It’s like people who support breast cancer. How about supporting melanoma and leukemia, or all cancer? Or people with stickers on their cars that say “watch for motorcycles.” How about watching out for bicycles, pedestrians, children, the blind, or trains at train tracks? Isn’t the overarching concept motoring awareness and safety? So to say that I support equality for women, I do, but I also support equality for everyone else, too, regardless of gender, age, race, or even religion. I bet for every woman who may have been propositioned on an elevator, there’s an African American denied a job because of the color of their skin, or middle-easterner leered at by every passerby at the airport, simply because of the turban on their head. We’re all deserving of fair, equitable treatment, and worthy of respect, when earned.
Fourth, why is it called Atheism +? Why isn’t it “Feminism +,” “Humanism +”, or just “Secular Humanism” (which it basically is)? Why doesn’t it have a completely new word for its name? How and why is atheism the backbone of this group? I’ve never heard of a liberal calling themselves “Gun Control +.” Although I hold many opinions, some liberal and some conservative, I do not wish to be labeled as anything in totality. I am not a liberal, conservative, Democrat, or Republican. I hold specific views on specific issues, and in no way care to bundle them into a dogma, certainly not one in which I want to “recruit” others to follow.
Therefore, I propose a new group, Atheism – (minus), which is absolutely nothing but disbelief in any gods, stripped of anything else. Oh wait, that’s what atheism actually is…let’s keep it simple. I’m all for fairness and equality in the atheist community, but not like this.