It has become all the vogue in the atheist coffee klatsch. Atheism+ is where you should be if you’re a decent, upstanding non-believer, and let’s all leave those despicable, raping, slandering, bothersome atheists out in the cold with their weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
I’ve tried to understand what this new and saintly atheist movement might be about and I’m afraid I’ve come out of it underwhelmed. As I scan through Greta Christina’s post on the subject, I easily dismiss her points with simple responses in my mind. Linking from there to Jen McCreight’s blog, I find that the basis for the new “movement” apparently stems from fear of women that the evil atheist world is too violent for them to visit. So they want to create a safe haven where female atheists and their male supporters can rise above all the perfidy of the zombies at street level. The bad examples of atheism become dead to them.
Looking at the list of violators, we start with the 15-year-old girl on Reddit Atheism who posted a picture of herself proudly holding a Carl Sagan book who was then threatened with rape and death by the hordes of prepubescent troglodytes who sneaked onto their mom’s computer and reveled in the anonymity of the internet to spew their infantile jests and threats. Excuse me, ladies, but I find this to be a less than credible threat. Perhaps when their balls drop, these be-pimpled video game rejects will eventually learn to play with others but this is hardly an example of what happens to women in the atheist community. As long as these mini-perverts stay on Reddit, the world is safe.
The next example is a small bit regarding Rebecca Watson telling guys to not approach her in an elevator when they’re drunk, which then became the scandal of the atheist world. Well, sometimes it’s difficult to be a part of this sordid species that sometimes has to have their mind altered before they get up enough courage to proposition a woman, but there it is – certainly not a tempest in a teapot, but more like a drip of water on a hot stove.
I understand that there is a form of female response to unwanted male control called feminism. What I do not understand is why that should be the basis of founding a new movement within (or without) atheism. It is perfectly acceptable to not believe in gods and at the same time belong to the feminist movement.
I also understand that to give this movement more solidity there are other causes brought in to be embraced, such as the LGBT acceptance and defense. You know what? I don’t give a holy whoop in hell for the LGBT movement, any more than I’m interested in the Black experience because they are and were oppressed. I stand for any underdog and any woman and any tyranny against the mind of man (colloquial and inclusive!) and always have and always will, but I certainly do not need a safe place away from the atheist general community to hold those positions.
Like Noel Plum, I care little whether some atheists want a safe haven or a metaphorical gated community to be free from their oppressors. But it should not become a line drawn in the sand in a playground where you rush to join your friends’ team. We are too few in numbers in this part of the world to be breaking off into sects. The very idea that we need to be divisive to be united into a purist version of an already amorphous movement is yet another silly venture into the world of the Brights. “Gentlemen,” said Ben Franklin, ” we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
As our numbers grow we are bound to see many bright ideas about how we should be aligning with one cause or another, or how we should adopt one or another stance. With luck, most of these brain farts will end on the dustbin of history before they have a chance to nip at our ankles. Once again I must bring out this quote:
“If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you oughtta go back home and crawl under your bed.
It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross,
but it’s not for the timid.” – Q (Star Trek, the Next Generation)