It seems that the atheist movement has reached a place where just calling ourselves atheists is not enough. No longer can we just be people who unite under one common, succinct belief, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.
Richard Carrier, and a few likeminded atheists, have decided that it is time for a new kind of atheism, an atheism called atheism+. In a three thousand plus word blog post, Carrier states clearly the tenets of atheism+. Like the religionists Carrier despises, he makes it clear that if a person wants to be a part of the atheist+ religion they must believe certain things. Carrier’s goal is exclusivism not in inclusivism.
Carrier certainly has the right to start any new group that he wants to. In fact, I agree with virtually everything he writes in his post. His values, for the most part are my values. However, I see no need to have a-n-o-t-h-e-r atheist group. Evidently, all the other the tents atheist congregate under are deficient and atheism+ aims to be the exclusive tent for select, ideologically correct atheists.
Carrier makes it very clear in his post and comments that he intends to cause division among atheists. In classic George Bush fashion, Carrier states, either you are with us or you are against us. And like the fundamentalist Baptist preacher, Fred Phelps, Carrier eviscerates anyone who disagrees with him. It is this behavior that I find offensive. Simply put, while I agree with the values put forth by Richard Carrier, I find his behaviour offensive,indecent, and harmful to the atheist cause.
Carrier’s vitriolic response to those who disagree with him is there for all to see. Carrier’s favorite word, douchebag, is used time and time again to disparage those who dare dissent from the stated position on atheism+. Other comments are laced with profanity and name calling. (and I am no language prude) Evidently, Carrier lacks the social graces necessary to be a front man for a new movement but no one is telling him this or he is not listening.
I left the following comment on Carrier’s blog. It has not yet been approved. (Carrier never posted my comment)
I embrace the values you speak of in this post. However, your approach to those who differ with you is offensive and does little to advance the cause you are championing. Calling people names and demeaning any and all who differ with you reminds me of what I saw and experienced in fundamentalist Christianity.
Truth is, I don’t need you and your movement in order to demonstrate the values you mention in your article. Your conduct is what has turned me away not your values.
Unlike you, I don’t need purity from others in order to cooperate with them. The humanist tent suits me well, even with religious humanists under the tent. The pressing needs of our world are too great for me to be drawn away into a sectarian, creedal form of atheism.
Feel free to add whatever invectives you think appropriate, Richard. In doing so, you are showing who the real douchebag is. (to use your favorite word, not a word I would use)
Note in your replies, Richard, that you refuse to knowledge even one challenge to what you have written. In a verbal style akin to Fred Phelps, you refuse any and all who dare challenge your orthodoxy or orthopraxy.
You have provided no compelling reason why I should join your cause. Your values are not enough. If I wouldn’t eat a meal with you because of your ill treatment of others who differ with you, I certainly wouldn’t join a group you are a central part of. Simply put, you are not my kind of atheist, not the kind of person I would want to be around.
The bottom line? Richard Carrier shot the atheism+ horse dead in the starting gate. When atheism+ shrinks quickly to the back page Carrier will have no one to blame but himself.
I recommend Daniel Finke’s post,No Hate.