2016-07-06

Meeting the Hispanic Atheist

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by Neil Godfrey

What an enjoyable read! I have caught up with Luciano Gonzalez’s latest response in our little exchange and found myself appreciating overall where he is coming from as an atheist and with his earlier comments. I am sure our different perspectives are primarily the product of our different cultures. I cannot say I would not embrace the same approach as Luciano were I living in a Latin American and/or Bible Belt culture. No doubt being an atheist in Australia is a strikingly different experience.

We may have different views relating to the psychology that is related to religious beliefs and ways of living, but that is a minor issue in the context of this exchange of views.

I confess I had assumed from the outset that Luciano was a “card-carrying” Atheist+’er because of his Freethought Blog (FtB) platform, but he has said he is not. So there we go. Never judge a post by its blogging platform. I also admit my interpretation of Luciano’s original post was coloured by recent exchanges I had here over my “no extras atheism” post as well as the flurry over developments in the FtB circle having to do with Richard Carrier. I loathe the way the knives come out publicly, the slander and character attacks, and especially the self-righteous justifications for the same. I am referring to both sides of that sort of issue, and to its history – the Carrier episode is not the first. (There are other more respectable ways to administer discipline in a group. The Atheist+ MO looks to me to be even worse than some of the ways the religious cults handle their wayward members.)

Anyway, this is just to say Hi again to Luciano, and to say I’m glad I’ve made your acquaintance. I strongly appreciate your perspective now that I understand more fully where you are coming from. I wish you a happy and fulfilling adventure as an atheist in your thickly religious environment.

.

Previous posts in this series:

What I “want” as an atheist — Luciano

What I want as an atheist a human — Me (Neil)

Vridar response — Luciano

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3 Comments

  • Sili
    2016-07-06 13:05:28 GMT+0000 - 13:05 | Permalink

    Luciano is far from the only FtBlogger who’s not an A+er.

    There are other more respectable ways to administer discipline in a group. The Atheist+ MO looks to me to be even worse than some of the ways the religious cults handle their wayward members.

    Well, there are at least three groups in play in this case. The FtBlogging commune, which initiated a formal ethics review, which Carrier effectively rejected by withdrawing from the platform; the A+ community (in which Carrier was one of the most vocal exponents) and the very loud group of trolls, who’s had it in for many FtBloggers since long before there was an FtB or an A+. A+ (and to some extent FtB) was largely formed in response to this very loud and insistent group of atheists, who rejected the idea that atheists should ever try to actually fix systemic injustices in society. Fighting religion and the religious are to them the only valid activity for an atheist. There is no oppression except religious oppression.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-07-07 04:22:48 GMT+0000 - 04:22 | Permalink

      group of atheists, who rejected the idea that atheists should ever try to actually fix systemic injustices in society. Fighting religion and the religious are to them the only valid activity for an atheist. There is no oppression except religious oppression.

      This is where I find myself lost. I don’t expect to find anything in common with someone just because he or she is an atheist. So the idea of identifying with a “group of atheists” or “as an atheist” is to me quite meaningless. I don’t see it being an atheist’s job to “fight religion”, either. The first anti-religious polemicists of the Enlightenment were by and large deists, after all.

      People choose their social justice causes as human justice causes, and they do so because they identify with those sufferings injustice as humans. Religious people, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, even (shudder) Christians are among those committed to social justice and fighting oppressive religious institutions.

      What worries me when one takes up a cause for justice in the name of some other idea that is narrower than humanity itself, we are facing an ideologue, someone fighting for an idea that is more important than people. We are facing the sorts of attitudes that led to “thought police” in past and some present countries, and that we are seeing act out to some small extent right now over the Carrier affair.

  • 2016-07-06 15:47:59 GMT+0000 - 15:47 | Permalink

    Yeah, being an atheist the USA is a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re not in one of the big cities.

    This psychiatrist whose blog I read religiously (heh) had a pretty good meta-view of the sorts of differences you and Luciano experience: All debates are bravery debates.

    I highly recommend his blog; he’s like a Daniel Kahneman who blogs! (He also keeps his anonymity because he sometimes uses fictionalized versions of his patients’ stories to springboard a post).

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