Atheism Plus. Where Atheism and Feminism Meet – Part II

The first part of this post can be found here : Where Atheism and Feminism Meet – Part I

Atheism Plus. The term was coined by Jennifer McCreight and the commentariat of her blog, Blag Hag. The idea being that we want a label that applies to more of what we do believe, and not just what we don’t believe. Jason Thibeault , from Lousy Canuck, defines it thusly : ‘the “atheism plus” label takes the part of the Venn diagram where humanists and “new” atheists and social justice advocates overlap, and defines itself as that overlap.

I am wholeheartedly on board with this suggestion. I’ve often said that my feminism and social justice ideals stem from my atheism. And yet, atheism at its core has nothing to do with either of the other movements. I am a feminist because believing half the population is somehow inferior to the other is irrational. I believe in Social Justice because we only have one life and we should strive to make this place where we live the most pleasant place we can, before we die and the ride is over.

At its core, atheism is merely the lack of belief in gods. Many people have no belief in gods. People who identify as MRAs, and racists, homophobes, people who are not skeptics, and people who are capitalists all may have no belief in god. I share this label with people who do not share any of my philosophies. The irony being that it was my atheism that brought me to these other philosophies. It didn’t bring everyone here. It did bring enough of us to the destination where we should probably have a label to describe where we’re coming from.

The idea of creating a new wave of atheism for those atheists who fit the description of Atheism+ seems to be receiving a lot of pushback. People who insist that tossing all this extra luggage into the trunk is going to cause division and strife amongst atheists. Guess what? The division and strife is already there. As I noted in my previous post, I feel very unsafe and unwelcome in the atheist movement as it stands. I am not the only one. Jen’s original post on starting a new wave of atheism explained her feelings on the subject and they are very similar to my own.

And then I found this quote :

An atheist movement cannot be inclusive of atheist women… and also be inclusive of people who publicly call women ugly, fat, sluts, whores, cunts, and worse; who persistently harass them; who deliberately invade their privacy and make their personal information public; and/or who routinely threaten them with grisly violence, rape, and death.

Greta Christina, Why Atheism Plus Is Good for Atheism

Not just women, either. As it stands, the movement is already divisive and exclusive in regards to sexism and racism, and homo/trans-phobia. Which explains why the current face of the atheism is a group of old white men. That’s not my atheism. It’s not reflective of the rest of us. And there are a lot of ‘the rest of us‘. So give us a banner to crowd under. So we can march forward united. The chaff having been left to the wayside. They were making us look bad and they weren’t contributing anything worthwhile anyway.

Atheism Plus. Where Feminism and Atheism and Social Justice meet. Call me an optimist, but I have high hopes for this movement. It’s exactly the face we need to help secularism grow. One that is supportive of LGBT issues, feminism, people of colour, and one that embraces social justice. A friendly face, as it were.

2 thoughts on “Atheism Plus. Where Atheism and Feminism Meet – Part II

  1. hiramcrespo says:

    This is sort of a similar idea to the youtube video Atheism 2.0, which was a TED speech if I remember correctly.

  2. Strahl says:

    The greatest concern I have with A+ is that if it takes hold that’s just another pile of bullshit that’s going to be assumed about me based on one irrelevant fact. Already many people that I care about would very likely shut me out of their lives entirely if they knew I identified as an atheist because HURP DURP ATHEISTS HAVE NO MORALS DONTCHAKNOW and the last thing I need is to be associated as well with the lot who go round calling people rape apologists because they breathe too hard or don’t hold doors for women at or above the appropriate ratio. That crap doesn’t have anything to do with gods, and it should remain divorced from atheism. A+ is using the word atheist to mean something that is totally not atheist and I for one do not appreciate the risk of even more bullshit that I don’t like.

    I’m an egalitarian and a humanist. What I am not is a MRA and certainly not a feminist. The problem I (and many, many others) have with feminism are the retards who throw every damn thing ever under the “rape” umbrella if it ever makes a woman slightly uncomfortable, but completely ignore the things that can make men uncomfortable and occasionally even puts them in jail for it (noteably the ‘predominant aggressor’ policy used by most police departments, at least here in the States), and the feminist community at large does very little to tell those people to piss off. The MRA people seem equally narrow minded because there are legitimate issues that affect mainly women, particularly standing out to me at least being the staggering degree of sexual assault and coercion facing women in uniform. And so it’s bad enough I get accused of being a rapist because I’m an atheist who lives in a shitty part of the US, and because I’m a male at a university with a strong contingent of hateful feminists (read: feminists who are hateful, not saying that feminism is hateful inherently, and incidentally I also resent having to throw in that caveat because so many feminists are so damn eager to take offense at literally anything ever), I really don’t need to the association with idiots who casually fling around the phrase “rape apologist” like we’re already seeing in A+. Tying gender bias crap into atheism isn’t going to make anybody more comfortable with each other.

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