It’s been said that getting atheists to agree on something is like herding cats. I’d say it’s more like trying to herd cats into a tub of water. Atheists tend to be an inquisitive bunch; an intellectually bunch. We reject dogma and the authority that goes along with it, hence we are loathed to being told what to do and what to think. You could say we are fiercely independent (at least I say that we are).
Given all that, you can see why trying to get a consensus about where to go for breakfast might be hard enough, never mind were we should all stand on a particular social issue. And that’s the real issue in getting us all to band together for a common cause: we don’t like to be told what we should think or feel.
Still, being openminded and skeptical (yes, they do go hand in hand) we are able to listen to each other and really consider what each one of us has to say. This attitude tends to lead to civilized debates, respect for each other’s rights to express ideas, and compromise, or at least it should. I believe that it can and that it does.
The atheist/humanist/secular/(add your own label here) movements have much more in common than they do differences. Most of us in these movements (and most of us identify with more than one) understand this and this has allowed us to begin to come together in the past few years in greater numbers and with great effect in support of issues that we all feel that we have a stake in.
Still, there is an ugly side to us as well. Anti-feminism has shown its self to be much more prevalent that most of us imagined it was. This is both bad and good. It is bad, for the obvious reason that it shows that we all are not as enlightened as we’d like to be. It is bad because it distracts us from working together to achieve our common goals.
It is good, however, that this is now out in the open. You can’t tackle a problem until you can first acknowledge it. Also, it is an opportunity to clean house, as it were. By exposing the misogynists in our midst ( actually they tend to expose themselves) we can shame them into recognizing their misplace sense of privilege or shun them from our ranks. It is vital that we do so because we have the fight of our lives with the religious and social conservitives on our hands.
This is where Atheism+ comes in. The new movement is not an attempt to establish an atheist dogma, as some try to claim. Atheism+ is an attempt to bring together atheists who believe that we have a responsibility to go beyond fighting against superstition or fighting for the separation of church and state. We strongly believe that we have a responsibility as atheists to fight for social justice for everyone, theist and non-theist, the superstitious and the skeptical, the religious and the non-believers.
Feminism, gay rights, separation of church and state are just a few of the issues that most of us feel are important and that we are doing a good job of brining to the forefront of the social and political forums.
We have already begun to raise our profile in the general public’s minds. Just this year we had the Reason Rally, which made the national news. We also have many good organizations supporting critical thinking and humanist issues such as the Secular Student Alliance, CFI, FFRF, American Atheists, the JREF, and American Humanists.
Except for American Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, most of these, while they might have many atheists as members, are not atheistic groups. What Atheism+ is, or can be, is a way for those of us who self-identify as atheists to get out and fight for social issues in public where we can meet “average” people and have them get to know us. It will allow us to be seen as people who care for others, who do good things. This is vitally important if atheists hope to ever become accepted by a society that currently sees us a amoral, selfish, heartless.
I urge those of you want to fight for social justice for everyone, who want to fight against misogyny, racism, bigotry, homophobia, poverty, and ignorance to consider joining the Atheist+ movement. Talk about it with your friends and family (if they are still talking to you, that is), write about it, blog about it, tweet about it, set your Facebook profile picture to the Atheists+ symbol (see below), join the Atheist+ forum.
Let’s show the world that we are not only good without God, but we do good without God.
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