I try to not pay too much attention to what seems to be the never ending Atheist Wars where it has become increasingly impossible for two (or more) adults sit down and discuss calmly and rationally, their differences without whatever the issues are, becoming fodder for the general public. In the past, I’ve referred to this as the Atheist Schism, but it seems lately that it’s come down to a real war of words; It doesn’t matter what one sire or the other says or does, they’re inherently wrong. When reading a blog or listening to a podcast, I can feel/hear the underlying seething rage that some people have for others. So, there’s my opening shot, or rant. It seems ridiculous for these arguments to be rattling around where, in the end, there is no winner, but it’s almost impossible to get any of those invlived in a dispute to recognize that.
What sparked this for me was a chance encounter with a blog post by Michael Sherlock. It’s lengthy and appwars to e to be an excoriation of another person, in this case Hemant Mehta. I don’t know ether of these people, at best, I remember maybe a year ago exchanging a few tweets with Michael, but I cannot remember ever having any direct contact with Hemant. The reason for the later, is because I think Hemant has become an angry man. I can’t explain why but when I first stumbled upon his blog, a decade ago?, his writing was very different that it appears today. I don’’t even bother to read his content anymore. It is absolutely not worth my time to read what comes across to me as anger and hate at anyone that happens to have an opinion on any subject that is not Hemant’s.
I came across Michael on Twitter last year and I asked him what the “ethical” reason was why they lost so many staff in one day (and went to form their own organization, IAA). He refused to answer, of course, I didn’t like that but after a few tweets between us I didn’t want to antagonize any further, he seemed to be very defensive. TO this day, I have no idea the exact cause of the split and by now, I don’t care. It seems that every time I thin I want to become involved with a particular atheist organization, I find myself disappointed. Yes, I guess my expectations are different than the reality. I’ve decided not to waste any more money being a joiner. If there’s a specific cause I am interested in supported, I will probably just do that.
I’m not going to go into the specifics about what Michael wrote because I am outside the argument and it would be unfair to attempt to analyze it from one side. I do have to say that there is something Michael wrote that I absolutely agree with under the subhead The Way Forward for the Atheist Movement:
Atheist organizations should not become feminist organizations, or LGBTQ-rights organizations, or Black Lives Matter organizations, or any other peripheral civil or human rights cause that may at times intersect with an atheist organization’s temporary campaigning goals.
This is exactly why I end up on the outside of these organizations.
Where I disagree with Michael in this post is his patting AAI on the back for being associated with the UNHRC. Seriously something to be proud of these days? Does he even know who sits on that council? Some of the worst human rights abuser states sit prominently in that council and talk about the human rights violations of others. Not something I would really want to brag about, but that’s just me. I’n not a fan of the U.N. in general as they hav done nothing in my lifetime to prevent wars or help victims of famine or victims f anything. Here’s an irony the reader may not be aware of: The U.N. complex in New York City is built on land that used to be the Slaughterhouse District in NYC.
I think that atheist organizations have a long way to go before they are able to say that they represent the atheist community, because right now, they don’t. They all seem to represent their specific ideology and not atheists at large. Yes, I think most of us are at large because atheism has nothing to do with politics or social justice and those that want to work in that area should dissociate themselves from declaring themselves an atheist organization. We all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to politics and social issues and these should never be a part of the discussion when atheism is the topic. It is increasingly disturbing to me that petty squabbles, like this between Hemant and Michael have to become public because I think all this does is make both ripe for scorn.