Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#AtheismPlus - The Old New Atheism Plus

I was recently reminded that the producers of the Oklahoma Atheists Godcast coined the term “Atheism Plus” a couple years ago, but it meant something totally different back then than it means now. To us, it meant that you start with the idea that gods are made up, and then layer on whatever other values or goals or rituals that you happen to choose for yourself, as a freethinker, unburdened by dogma or hierarchy.
The point of our Atheism Plus series was to hear from atheists about what really drives them. We spoke with the leader of Oklahoma Atheists about Secular Humanism, talked with CJ about scientific skepticism and fighting medical quackery, interviewed a local LaVeyan Satanist, talked to the leader of the Norman Naturalists about the relationship of metaphysical naturalism to atheism, and conversed with a UU minister about how Unitarian Universalism welcomes unbelievers in their congregations. We also did an couple episodes on Communism, but it was more fitted to the book club format than the plus series, because we somehow ran into trouble finding an outspoken Communist in Oklahoma City. I'd also intended to interview an Objectivist, but he kept canceling the interview out of rational self-interest.
Many of these various worldviews are compatible with each other, some not at all, but they are all available paths to those who do not believe in any gods. It behooves us to be aware of them, if only because godless people are more apt to convert between them than revert back into the fold of theism. My point in bringing up this bit of history right now isn't to plug the podcast (now available on iTunes!) but rather to show that the phrase "Atheism Plus" has previously been construed in a broadly inclusivist sense, "atheism plus whatever you personally happen to believe and practice" but is now being used in a totally different way, to indicate "atheism plus whatever an elite few approve of doing and believing - and if you're not with us, you're against us." Call that what you will, but I will never call it freethought.

1 comment:

Taqiyya Mockingbird said...

Even worse: "If you are not for us, you are 'against compassion, integrity, and reasonableness', and you are a douchebag misogynist priviledge-defending homophobic transphobic social justice-hating psychopathic priviliged old white male bigot."

Why? Because we say so, that's why...