I’ve wondered for years what people meant when they referred to Organized Atheism. There are certainly organizations around the world that purport to represent the interests of atheists but do they really? I think the scorecard is somewhat muddled.
I’ve written a few times in the past, here, here, and here about how I disagree with the idea that atheists are a community and that atheism is some sort of movement. Although technically we may be described as a community simply because we attest to the non-belief in god(s), that appears to be the only attribute that would qualify.
In fact, atheists are very much individuals with varying thoughts and ideas on a number of other issues, none of which have anything directly to do with atheism. Remember Atheism Plus? How quickly did that fail because atheists didn’t want to be subject to groupthink. Consider that as individuals, we each have our own ideas concerning social and political issues.
There are many atheists I’ve met personally or have become familiar with online that I admire. I can’t say that I agree with much of their social or political opinions, but those have nothing to do with what I view as them being atheists. In a few cases, I’ve discovered that I actually do agree with them on a particular issue. For instance, I’m against the death penalty and I know atheists on both sides of that equation.
What does that have to do with atheism? Nothing at all. it’s the same as those that promote same sex marriage or are pro-choice on the abortion issues (there are some that have opposing views, BTW). These are social/political opinions which have absolutely nothing to do with being an atheist.
Atheist organizations around the world have taken these and other issues as some sort of rallying point. They’ve mostly moved from promoting the separation of church and state and working against oppressive blasphemy laws in countries to becoming no more than advocates for Social Justice.
I’d like to see all of these organizations return to their founding principles, but I know I’m in a minority. Social Justice has become an overriding ideological imperative and I don’t see this changing in my lifetime.
I won’t be part of that community, or movement, as those supporting would like to claim. I can’t become a bot that agrees because well, the majority does.
It’s actually tiresome to argue this, but I will continue to and hopefully wake a few of those snoozing atheists that don’t seem to care about the state of atheism wherever they live.
2 thoughts on “What Happened to Organized Atheism?”
Atheist are free thinkers to begin with…. so trying to round them up into a movement, in the words of Dawkings, is amount to “herding cats”.
That’s why there’s no ‘Atheist Movement’ out in the public.
I agree. There’s nothing about atheism that could ever be described as a “movement”. I’ve had many that disagree with me but then I ask them to point to that movement.