21 September 2012

more meanderings on atheism plus

I've been giving things a bit more thought and I think I have a more coherent take on Atheism Plus. Yesterday was the first time I ran across the term "Atheist Plus" and the turmoil it seemed to have caused some people.

Atheism Plus' Causes

First let's break down some of the causes listed by Atheism Plus, just so we are all talking about the same thing. I'm probably oversimplifying some of the causes here but please bear with me.


A person is an atheist if they do not believe in a god. In strict terms this means a lack of belief in any god. That's it.

Care for Social Justice

Action to have a lack of justice in our society that disadvantages or harms others rectified.

Support Women's Rights

Action to have women treated as equals to men and to protect women from being harmed or disadvantaged simply for being female.

Protest Racism

Action to have people of all races treated as equal and protect any one race from being harmed or disadvantaged simply for being of that race.

Fight Homophobia and Transphobia

Action to have homosexuals and transexuals treated as equals to heterosexuals and to protect them from being harmed or disadvantaged simply for not being hetrosexual.

Use Critical Thinking and Skepticism

Actively using logic and evidence in order to make rational decisions about claims in order to protect oneself from accepting falsehoods.

Atheism WRT Causes

Some people contend that the above causes are natural outcomes of atheism. I'm not so inclined to agree. Lacking a belief in a god does not make one more likely to support these causes than would having a belief in said god.

If you support the above causes it's because you believe in supporting those causes for one reason or another. Certainly, most good people support one or more of the above be they theist or atheist.

Conversely, supporting one or more of these causes doesn't mean one is an atheist either. Possibly being involved with these causes may cause one to see things that will challenge one's faith, but it doesn't guarantee deconversion.

A Bit About Myself

I am a skeptic and critical thinker, I care about social justice, I support women's rights, I am against racism and I support Homosexuals and Transexuals in their cause for equality. I support the climate scientists and other environmental scientists in their fight against the forces of antiscience and corporate greed.

I'm also an atheist, none of the above causes increase or decrease my status as such. By Atheism Plus' Charter I could possibly be a member, but I don't know if I feel the need for another label.

Certainly, I think that any atheist involved in any of the above causes, where it's reasonably safe to do so*, should let the people they're working with know that they're atheist. Similarly, other atheists should support each other if they're working in these causes. Atheists should make it known when other atheists (again, when it's reasonably safe to do so*) are working in such causes so that the general public knows that many atheists are concerned about these things.

I think Atheism Plus is a good idea, but I don't know if it's necessary or even if it'll work. When Atheism Plus started there were some divisionary comments made, but to be fair they came from both sides. There have been atheists on both sides that haven't made things better and there are examples where atheists on both sides have been trying.

In the meantime, I'll keep reading, watching and listening. All the best whether you are an Atheist Plus member or not.

*Sometimes the atheist involved might have his or her safety compromised if the people they work with know they're atheists. Even if there aren't safety issues sometimes there are personal issues that could be complicated if one's atheism is exposed, especially if one isn't ready.

20 September 2012

what the heck is atheism plus

(Please note that the following should be taken with a large helping of NaCl. I'm still researching Atheism + and lot of my ideas about it are still forming. I may have a totally new perspective on Atheism + come tomorrow.)

This is What Happens When You're Out of The Loop

c0nc0rdance posted the following video.

Apparently Atheism + (formally Atheism Plus) is causing some consternation among atheists. So, just what is Atheism +?

Declaration of Atheism+ on Ftb

The bloggers at FtB started the Atheism +. Richard Carrier posted an artcle Jen McCreight posted an article describing Atheism +.

In summary, Atheism + is:

We are…
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

Frankly, these are worthwhile goals. Personally, I'd put critical thinking and skepticism at the top as it was critical thinking and skepticism that lead me out of theism. When I think "atheist" I tend to think "naturalist" and "skeptic". I digress.

That said, let me examine these one-by-one from my own limited perspective on the whole Atheism + issue.

  • Social Justice: I'm very concerned about issues like social justice. I see social issues around me all of the time and I do what I can when I can. However, someone not being concerned about social issues, or even denying social issues doesn't make one less an atheist. Uneducated perhaps, maybe ineducable in others, but not any less an atheist.
  • Women's Rights: I consider myself a feminist. I have a wife that I love and who faces challenges in the working world simply for being female. I have three little girls and I worry about what kind of future they'll have. Women's issues weigh heavily in my life and it's important to me that the women in my life have equal opportunities and support. Again, even atheists that are misogynist pigs are still atheists. I agree that currently misogyny is the more pervasive and insidious of the two, but misandry exists and can't be ignored either.
  • Racism: Again, an issue I see around me all of the time. Again, atheists that are racists are still atheists.
  • Homophobia and Transphobia: Another prevalent issue. Same as above.
  • Critical Thinking and Skepticism: Important skills to have, but many atheists aren't critical thinkers or skeptics. In fact, there exist superstitious and even religious atheists. They just don't believe in gods.

All of these issues are good, but what if one is an atheist and otherwise a very good person, except they fall short on one area? What if this atheist were a homophobe, or racist? Is every good thing they've done undone?

If these issues are important than one shouldn't be afraid to correct or admonish the individual in question. One could state how they think others should interact with this person if they don't change. From what I've seen so far, atheists who don't conform to Atheism +'s ideals seem to get quite strongly attacked (by the movement?).


Currently I have none. I'm still reading and trying to figure out what Atheism + means to me, if anything. Now you'll probably want some water from eating all of that salt. :-)

19 September 2012

new blog

CvE's Chip

Chip, the admin from Facebook's Creation vs. Evolution - Who am I kidding?! has a new blog. Check it out, it's called There Are No Gods