About Atheism+… August 28, 2012

About Atheism+…

Ron Lindsay has spoken for me regarding reasons to like and criticize Atheism+, so I’ll just post a link to him here.

I’ll add this, though.

Over the past several years, I’ve heard people criticize the term “Bright” (to describe people who are naturalistic and free of superstition) for a number of reasons. I like the word. It’s not the first word I use for myself, but I’m an Enthusiastic Bright on their website.

Whenever I defend the term, I say something like this: For whatever reason, there are *many* people who never felt comfortable using the terms “atheist,” “Humanist,” “freethinker,” whatever. But when they heard “Bright,” it connected with them and it gave them a way to feel part of a larger movement. That’s good for all of us — to have more people proud to say they’re free of religious dogma. So I’m happy to have that term in our vocabulary.

In the same way, even if Atheism+ doesn’t resonate with you, even if you’re not a fan of the way it’s being promoted by various people, I would urge you not to denounce it so quickly.

There are people who don’t believe in god who don’t want to go public with their atheism, who don’t want to attend an atheist conference, who don’t even want to comment on an atheist blog because they anticipate the worst… but they might feel more comfortable doing all of those things in the context of a forum like Atheism+ where they feel more safe. So bring it on. We need more people to be activists and we need new ways of bringing them into the fold. If this helps them be Godless and proud, and if it makes them feel more comfortable about proclaiming their atheism out loud, great.

What if you want nothing to do with Atheism+? Ok. You’re not a bad person for saying it’s not something you want to be a part of. (Not in my mind, anyway.) I know plenty of awesome activists who aren’t thrilled about the way A+ was executed. But, again, just because it’s not for you doesn’t mean it can’t help a bunch of other people.

The kinks in the system, the way it’s talked about and described, the way people misinterpret it… will all get refined and fixed over time. When an idea comes about as quickly as this one did, it’s not going to be anywhere close to perfectly formed from the get-go.

Alright. Cue the commenters who are offended by whatever it is I just said that I shouldn’t have said.

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