Greta Christina’s latest post regarding Jen McCreight’s proposal for an Atheism+ movement focussed on Atheism + Social Justice sums up the last few months pretty well: Atheism Plus, and Some Thoughts on Divisiveness.
Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, religion, social justice
I’m just catching up on Jen McCreight’s Atheism-Plus FAQ post at BlagHag too. It’s fascinating how many people are accusing the Atheism+ promoters of having a straw-goal of exclusionary “Nyah Nyah you can’t join us” bullshit instead of the actual goal of “Hey, you know all that important stuff that mob over there don’t want you to talk about? You can come and talk about it over here with our mob instead”.
From what I’ve seen, the people making these accusations tend to be exactly the kind of people you’d want to exclude: people defending their privilege, their right to (intentionally) offend, harass, and oppress. The kind who think that nobody should think, talk, or want about anything they don’t like.
But to the extent that Atheism+ is a movement, rather than a formal organization, there’s no way to exclude anyone, other than by giving it a reputation they don’t want to be associated with, or by having most of the events with “Atheism+” in the name being ones they don’t want to go to.
I’ve been following the discussion since the A+ idea was mooted, and it has stuck me how its critics need to expressly distort it’s stated nature and purpose if they are to find something to object to.
What do y’all think about Natalie Reed’s comment about how she thinks A+ has a “with us or against us” thing going?
As someone who decided over a year ago to bow out of social justice movements, I sympathize with a lot of what she’s said re: the atheist movement. But I think it was kind of crappy of her to spend a paragraph on what she sees as the problems of A+ (mostly with vague and, to my eye anyway, inflammatory language) and then, when asked for clarification on her thoughts, to say that she wants to keep her separation from movement atheism consistent and that includes staying out of discussions about it. Which, if that’s what she had said in her OP, I would be 100% behind. But as it stands, the feeling I got walking away from that post/the comments is that she was done with the discussion because she had already had her say.
I dunno, maybe I’m being overly defensive of a movement I’m not even a part of, but her words on it just really rubbed me the wrong way.
Seems to me like there’s a lot of raw nerves being rubbed unpleasantly around the continuing fallout since ElevatorGate, tekanji. Since Natalie has already said that she feels the need to distance herself from movement atheism, I’m not surprised that the atheism-plus concept just gives her more of the same sort of jaundiced feeling.
As to the “with us or against us” thing, I’m sure that some people who are cheering for Atheism+ do indeed feel that way, but not all. I suspect there’s more in the “just leave us alone” corps, frankly.
P.S. I suspect that her remark was particularly pointing at Richard Carrier’s sorta-manifesto, which has been criticised quite widely, and for parts of which he has since apologised(fauxpologised?).
But hey, Carrier’s not the pope of me, nor the pope of Atheism+, and he makes a few good points in there as well about who is worthy of regarding as an ally and who should just be avoided/shunned.
Tigtog: Yeah, I completely understand why she would feel wary/bad feelings towards Atheism+. I think for me it comes down to this: I think that–as it has currently played out–what her actions amount to are spreading shit about A+.
I think she has every right to feel her feelings and to discuss them on her blog (or not) as she sees fit. But I am really uncomfortable with the way she casually dropped accusations (I didn’t even know about the Carrier post until you linked it) and then to bow out of any meaningful discussion with “well I don’t want to involve myself in discussions on that topic”… I feel like if she didn’t want to discuss her feelings then she shouldn’t have made accusations, if that makes sense?
Ugh, I don’t even know why it’s bugging me so much. It’s not like I ever really read Natalie’s blog or am interested in identifying as an A+er or anything…
I’m glad to see that the 2nd Women in Secularism Conference is now taking registrations for May next year in Washington DC – now is a very good time to announce something for people keen to experience Atheism + to anticipate.
Stephanie also linked to an accessibility activist initiative spurred by Atheism+ …. A+Scribe.
I went to an offshoot of the Richard Dawkin’s forum after I had myself permanently banned from Rationalia, the forum where the “Rape Joke” originated. I started a thread about misogyny in the atheist community, and I commented that there might be a possible correlation between rape jokes and rape culture and got bullied for my views. So I left that forum too, and joined the Atheist+ forum, where I felt safe to express my views without being bullied or verbally abused for having them.
People from both of the forums I left, are now saying I joined a cult. They are saying they are worried I cut myself off from friends – yes, friends just look the other way when they see their friends being bullied.
Greta’s post spoke for me, personally. I was one of the women who wrote to her.
Like I wrote to you tigtog, who listened to me too.
I’m glad Atheism+ is happening. We need it.
Mai, I’m glad that you felt welcome here and that it helped you sort out your options. I really liked Greta’s post on Atheism Plus, and Some Thoughts on Divisiveness as well.
[eta: oops, I got confused about which post I’d linked to in my OP. Too much good food for dinner!]
I hope you don’t mind, tigtog…
Up to 100 thousand Untested Rape Kits In the US
It would rock if you came by and visited once in a while too!!!
There’s been a lot of concern about what Atheism+ would actually do. Well, if it provided a space for Mai to post that, without dismissive comments about trivia getting in the way of really important stuff like Bigfoot and UFOs, it’s done its job.
I hope you have many happy and productive moments here in the cult that thinks women are people, Mai
PZ’s latest is a fun display of quotes from folks who are seriously antagonistic towards the idea of a subset of atheists setting up a platform for voluntarily associating with atheists who share their broader aims rather than continuing to associate with the atheists who do not share their broader aims.
Meanwhile, Jen McCreight at BlagHag has had to take an indefinite break from blogging owing to bullying prompting an episode of depression; at Almost Diamonds, Stephanie Zvan posts a round-up of haters and denizens of the ‘slime pit’ falling over one another to congratulate themselves. (TW: nauseating hatred from the Twitter bullies.)
Thanks Xanthë, I forgot to link to my rant about that from a couple of days ago on this post. The vindictive gloating from the anti-FTB mob has been appalling.
Here’s my rant: The thing about intimidatory silencing tactics?