Luckily for me, it was the part of me that is easily ignored.
You know, when I first decided I wanted to write a blog, I thought that I would devote most of my time and effort to atheism and the atheist community. After all, the blogs that inspired me all dealt with non-belief, chief amongst them PZ Myers’ Pharyngula. Don’t get me wrong, I was also influenced by Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars, as any of my readers can tell you, so there was always also going to be a bit of politics and social issue stuff, but I honestly thought the majority of my posts would be about atheism and the atheist movement, with a healthy dose of skepticism thrown in. I mean, look at my book shelf.
Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford….
And yet, the more I posted, the more I strayed from posting about atheism. I never stopped posting about fringe religious elements and the Christian conservative control of the GOP, but that was much more due to the social issue ramifications than anything to do with an atheist, or skeptical movement. And as much as I didn’t want to be just another liberal, progressive political blog, the more I posted, the more that is what I became.
Why? Look at my book shelf.
Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford….
Why People Believe Weird Things was my baptism in skepticism. The God Delusion my intro into the “New” atheism. I loved The End of Faith so much that Harris became my second favorite author with a last name beginning with “H.” And not only did I love Radford’s team up with Joe Nickell for Lake Monster Mysteries, but Monstertalk was my favorite podcast. Two of my favorite magazines are heavily involved with Radford and Shermer. From what I could tell, organized skepticism and atheism was entwined with these men.
And yet I found myself drifting away from skepticism and atheism as movements. Why?
Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Benjamin Radford…..
First there was “Elevatorgate” and Dawkins showed his privilege. Oh, but if only that was the only bit of sexism to make itself known in the community. For those of you not involved in atheism or skepticism as a community or movement, I will spare you the details. Those of you involved know exactly what I am talking about. As time moved on, the list grew longer and longer. DJ Grothe inserted foot firmly in mouth. Sam Harris let us all know that he isn’t the sexist pig we’re looking for. Go ahead and Google Radford and Shermer. All I’ll say is Karen Stollznow was the best host of MonsterTalk.
You won’t get your philosophical atheist utopia at all if that utopia considers the dignity of all human beings to be a secondary matter. You will effectively kneecap the whole movement if you don’t care about social justice, and worse, are more afraid of driving out the hateful and intolerant who are already inside our ranks than of embracing the needs of the many millions outside of them.
It’s already happening, though. The disenchantment with the movement is growing.
Libby Anne wonders, Do They Care about Women, or Simply Bashing Religion?.
Frankly, I feel used. These atheist activists are the sort of people who want to use my story as proof that religion is horrible to women but aren’t willing to listen to what I have to say about sexism in our culture at large. They are the sort of people who are eager to use the shooting of young education activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban to prove how horrible religion is for women but somehow fail to mention that Malala is a Muslim who speaks of drawing her inspiration to fight for gender equality from the Koran. This is not standing up for women. This is exploiting women as merely a tool in a fight against religion.
I’m done. I’m so, so done.
Katha Pollitt thinks that Atheists Show Their Sexist Side, and are currently having a “sexist tantrum”.
Alas, the ability to take such instruction is in good part something Sam Harris thinks women sadly lack. “There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree intrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women,” said the bestselling author of The End of Faith. “The atheist variable just has this—it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.” It seems to me, judging from recent events, that atheist men are the fragile flowers here—they, not women, are the ones wilting under criticism. Perhaps they can’t stand it that women are withholding that “extra estrogen vibe” that used to make conferences so much fun. (Amanda Marcotte, of the steel-trap mind, has a fine time slapping Harris around at Pandagon. Remind me never to get into a fight with her.)
Why would women join a movement led by sexists and populated by trolls? If this is atheism, I’m becoming a Catholic.
Tauriq Moosa says the reason he became an active atheist is now why he’s not one.
I won’t be part of a movement resolutely more focused on shielding rich, white dudes than by being inclusive of marginalised, non-male, non-white people. Count me out. Call me back when we give a shit about women and you can admit those of us writing in a small corner of the internet actually care about moral action, not money, for what we do.
The only people who can survive off atheist clickbait are people who write books called The God Delusion. It’s not fucking bloggers.
I will make a prediction, right here and now. The number of people identifying as “nones” will grow in this country in coming years, because we’re on the right side of history, and because organized religion is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on other-worldly issues that don’t help people. The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people.
I can’t say that’s a bad thing. The name of atheism has been burdened with unfair and inaccurate stigma for a great many years, and we’re now drifting into an era in which atheism will be burdened with a totally fair and accurate stigma.
Unless we change.
I don’t know that we can.
I took part in a nice little bit of atheist activism today. There were men, women and children in attendance, working together, because atheism isn’t a men’s issue, or a women’s issue, it is a human issue.
I don’t want to be a political blogger. I want to be part of an atheism/skepticism movement, a community that I can be proud of.
I’m so sick of watching my heroes prove themselves pigs.
(And yes, I am going to do something besides bitch about it.)
Now go enjoy your weekend. I’ll be back on Monday.