I have some disagreements with PZ Myers but I also have some ironclad agreements, such as his post back in mid-March:
He concludes (with my own emphasis)
You want to defend the skeptical and atheist community? We’re going to have to face up the fact that the popularity and persistence of terrible people who wave the banner of atheism has already compromised us, and realize that when some of our ‘heroes’ go further and commit sexual harassment, that doesn’t mean that they’re exceptional, but are perhaps more representative than we like to admit. At the very least, we have to recognize that being a misogynistic scumbag does not disqualify you from claiming to be an “amazing” atheist.
Further, that so many atheists insist that no moral stance can be assigned to atheism means that the awful people can not be repudiated as atheists; we can do so as individuals, as human beings, and as humanists, but the lack of any principle but “there is no god” in atheism means there are no grounds for forswearing or dismissing these people within the atheist movement.
So what’s the point of the atheist movement? There is none. It’s killed itself.
Agreed. So when theists mock “angry atheists” I cannot deny that many atheists deserve that charge.
The idea of an atheist movement gives those atheists who do not welcome a tribalist or group mentality are going to be embarrassed by those who do.
Some will say, But hey, look at the encouragement the atheist movement has given to atheists suffering persecution in places like Bangladesh. My reply is that such people would find encouragements in any atheist author in the West or anywhere else. I did not become an atheist because of any “atheist movement” and I suspect the same is true for many others.
An “atheist movement” seems to me to invite a tribalist mentality with all the negatives and intolerant attitudes towards outsiders that that brings.
Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)
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