Friday, 24 August 2012

Atheism+

Reading through my favourite social websites this morning, I came across the term I've used as the heading for this post. 

There is a simple point that is missed, even by atheists themselves, and that is that not believing in gods doesn't create some sort of solidarity among the non-believers. The only thing the non-believers have in common, is their non-belief. Not believing in a deity doesn't automatically guarantee a commonality of personal philosophy with other non-believers on every other topic.

As demonstrated in this post by the woman who initiated the "boobquake," Jen McCreight, atheists come in all shapes and forms, and with all sorts of values and also weaknesses.

Atheism is simply a disbelief in the existence of gods, and generally, among the more knowledgeable about the beliefs in the various gods worshipped in the world's religions, it is the disbelief in all gods, not only the ones of Judeo-Christianity and Islam.

Trying to place atheism under some sort of banner, and forming committees to define what does and what doesn't fall under that banner would be equal to herding cats.

I'm sorry that she's experiencing resistance to her feminism in her society, and that she is being accused of being a man-hater. (I'm not going to comment about that here, because that is not the topic of this discussion).

What she is calling for is ridiculous. She is speaking from the point of view of the perceived misogyny directed towards her. She merely wants to enforce some sort of conformity about the perception she has that she is being targeted by the men in her society because of her gender. In order to achieve this, she is using the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, i.e. no true atheist would also be a misogynist.

People are just people. Whether they believe in gods or not, they will still be the people she perceives them to be. She is trying to get people to change their behaviour towards her by shouting about their not being "true" atheists because "no true atheist would be a male chauvinist."

Atheists, and even religious people, need to understand that the term "atheist" simply means that the person using the term to describe themselves simply doesn't believe in the existence of gods. It does not also imply an advanced knowledge of science, or a support of the theories of climate change, feminism, vegetarianism, animal and human rights and racial tolerance. The term is nothing more an a single word for "not believing in gods," and nothing else. Forming a defined movement under the label "Atheist+" will merely achieve exactly what atheism isn't - a religion.