Yesterday, some Jeremiah Traeger posted something related to the atheist rift that was so wrong on so many levels, I just had to set the record straight. According to him, the atheist rift is between people who care about social justice, and people who don’t. That’s not, by any stretch, what the atheist rift is about.
It’s between people who follow Enlightenment principles (freedom of speech and thought, free discussion of ideas, skepticism, tolerance for different world views) and those who believe in authoritarian principles (ideological purity, a list of topics which are beyond rational discussion, dogmatism, intolerance for anyone who disagrees)
We all (or the majority of us) care about women’s rights, LGBTQ issues, racism, and social equality in general, and we understand that religion has played large roles contributing to bigotry and discrimination. We get it.
The rift has nothing to do with the ends —most of us agree on those— but with the means. We, on the Enlightenment side, want equality, we just want to achieve it without resorting to what we hate about religion.
That’s all there is to it. If you’re part of the organized atheist movement, odds are you care about all the social ills in which religion has played a role, and want to help fight those wrongs somehow.
The atheist rift is about how you’re gonna play things. There’s more to say about this, but that’s for future posts.
For now, let’s just leave it like this: do you think it’s okay to lower your standard of conduct to the level of religionists, just because you have the right causes?