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.
12 thoughts on “Atheism Cannot Get Past Petty Squabbles”
I don’t argue religion anymore. My only question for the deluded, “Where is heaven?” GROG
I agree, Jim. Atheists that organize in a political/societal manner should do so as political/societal groups, not as atheists. We used to accept that getting atheists to agree on any given subject and possibly work somehow on that was like trying to herd cats. Recently, atheists groups feel they MUST be political on societal subjects and that their members MUST toe the line the leaders set.
I haven’t belonged to any atheist groups for many years. I didn’t realize there was an Atheist War raging, nor do I care…except it makes it difficult for those of us who stand on our own unique atheist viewpoints. As we well know, there are assumptions about atheists. Heavy sigh…
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Getting atheists (nonbelievers) to agree on any given aspect of not believing bothers me too. It seems so many get wrapped around the axle of holy books, gods and all the rest. There is one thing that aces everything and that is the nonexistence of the supernatural realm/agents. No heaven, no place for gods to sit. Cheers. GROG
I of course didn’t get into this, but, especially in this one instance, it’s a battle of egos. This is what happens when someone becomes well known in the atheist sphere and believes their own tripe. anyone that mildly disagrees is cast out and if that person happens to orbit that ego, it’s worse. This is what has happened to atheism. It’s become a popularity contest between some bloggers/podcasters who, until relatively recently, were mostly unknown. Now, these same people want the rest of us to believe that whatever drivel they produce is somehow sanctified.
There are at least 2 Atheist bloggers I have stopped reading. Both of these guys have merely leftist politics, democrats and or hatred of Trump as their new god. Anyone who doesn’t tow the line is excoriated and thought as stupid. The irony of these guys is they brag about being “thinking” – one of them has this word as part of the title of their blog.
I fail to see much thinking or having an open mind. Both of these guys have something to sell so I guess maybe its a marketing ploy. It looks like projection to me but what do I know.
Funny how their new anointed one is a practicing Catholic. Wasn’t it just last year they were screaming about a practicing Catholic on the Supreme Court?
Thank you for being here – its good to know I am not alone. Been reading your thoughts for a year or so and almost always agree.
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I’ve had the reaction, of being a conservative and an atheist, as someone not genuine because an atheist cannot be a conservative. I’ve had people actually believe that conservatism was an offshoot of Christianity and that I must be some sort of fifth column coming to destroy atheism. I don’t expect everyone that reads my words to agree with what I say all the time. That would be boring wouldn’t it? I’ve actually expanded my view in certain areas based on feedback I received from readers. It’s healthy dialogue and if people aren’t open to new ideas or to the fact that – OMG! – they might be wrong, they are a said excuse for, well, anything other than a potted plant.
I’m not saying that everyone should be open to all ideas all the time, but to listen to something new, consider what is being said, then rationally argue against whatever that is if required is something a skeptic would do, I think. Hmm. I think I’ll save further thoughts for another post. I may actually copy some of this. 🤠
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The so-called “friendly atheist” has always struck me as petty, thin-skinned, mean-spirited, vindictive, and supercilious in his haughty wokeness.
When denizens of The Slymepit researched and exposed the rampant plagiarism of FTB blogger, Avicenna, Hemant grudgingly acknowledged their labor, but could not resist getting in a slanderous dig at them. Interesting, but not surprising, to learn here that Hemant himself is a serial plagiarist.
Not too far back, Hemant crowed about a new poll showing increased support for transgender use of sex-segregated facilities. In the comments, I pointed out that he’d mistakenly inverted the results — in fact, support had sharply decreased. Hemant hastily & crudely edited the OP while deleting my comment. When I commented again to the same effect, he deleted that. When others noted my observation and its subsequent memory-holing, he deleted their comments as well.
A big man can readily admit his mistakes. Hemant is a manlet.
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Yes, an angry, vindictive little man. I think when I first ran into his work, that this was not the case, but he had a need for acknowledgement and those with a higher profile in atheism than him were willing to help him as long as he stayed with the narrative they were trying to push at the time.
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With any group that’s a distinct minority, the temptation is to embrace anyone of the same cloth. In actuality, the imperative is all the stronger to cull bad actors early on.
It would be nice to be able to cull these out but we have no way of knowing, initially, who these people are. There is no “atheist community” because almost none of us have actually met. You can’t have “friends” that are internet only, just acquaintances.
“I think when I first ran into his work, that this was not the case” Agree, I can’t see today’s Mehta selling his soul on eBay.
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