PSA: I oppose fundamentalists of all stripes… even the atheist ones.
We’ve had a passel of atheist dude bros tell an underage teenage girl how much they want to have sex with her after she posts a picture of herself holding a gift from her mom on Reddit. We have the PETA-like clowns of American Atheists with their constant trickle of deliberately offensive billboards. We have an Islamophobic hater in Pennsylvania who dresses as a zombie Muhammad in a Halloween parade, hateful anti-Muslim drawings at The “Friendly” Atheist during the last Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, a cluelessly racist billboard by an atheist group near Harrisburg, and many, many rounds of generally sexist bullshit from new atheist men.
Then, there is the widely accepted notion among new atheists, that any religion, anywhere is evil and will lead to immoral behavior. If you dare look upon the world in a way that exists outside of scientific materialism, you risk ushering in humanity’s barbarous self-destruction. Step outside of the boundaries of scientism and you will be branded as a cognitively damaged idiot worthy of shame and scorn. Religion, spirituality, and similar ways of seeing the world are best shamed into non-existence… for humanity’s own good.
Atheists are intellectually superior to believers. Atheists have a better understanding of morality and are more civil. Atheists see the world and its inhabitants with greater clarity and understanding. Atheists have a better grasp of world events, human relationships, sex, history, emotions, politics, and virtually any topic that could involve thoughtful analysis.
In other words, atheists are better people than those who embrace the dangerous stupidity of religion. People who embrace religion and/or spirituality are psychologically defective and can not be trusted. They are adults who have the beliefs of children and behave as children.
These are themes both spoken and implied that I see spattered across the internet and in atheist literature. We are better. We are superior. We are the protectors of Truth. Is it me, or does this seem oddly familiar? This sounds suspiciously similar to a negative form of religion. Sexism, racism, intolerance of other religions, and moral superiority. Are we talking about atheists or Southern Baptists, circa 1955?
Us vs. them. It is ancient music, born of human blood and bone, and I recognize it well.
You know, as an “old atheist”, I’ve grown incredibly tired of new atheist dysfunction. What I see written in many new atheist spaces is nothing more than another form of prejudice and religious intolerance. There’s already enough dysfunction and animosity on the planet. Why do people knowingly exacerbate existing levels of intolerance? Must we stumble upon this human failing at every turn?
The question that plagues my mind is this: why do the loudest, most obnoxious people of any given faith or philosophy seem to rise to the top and receive the most exposure? Looking at the boorish, intolerant behavior of my non-believing peers, I now realize what it must be like to have a humane, caring interpretation of Christianity and have your voice drowned out by prejudicial, conservative Christian assholes. New atheist hatefulness has actually led me to a place where I feel greater levels of empathy for moderate and progressive Christians.
New atheists, you bring more dysfunction into the world than you challenge. Consequently, my dear non-believing compatriots, here’s my pledge to you:
I am not your friend.
I am not your ally.
I will stand with more sensible non-believers and religious people who oppose your hatefulness, just as I stand with others in opposing all religion-based intolerance.
I will be a traitor to your cause.
I will be your “uncle Tom”.
I wash my hands of you.