• Accommodationalists Aren’t So Accommodating

    While I have no problem letting religious believers know that their beliefs are silly, dangerous, and flat-out wrong, I know that there are other atheists who might not want to be so blunt about it. That’s totally cool and I have no problem with atheists who want to bite their tongues so that they can work with religious believers while accommodating religious believers’ sensitivity to any criticism of their beliefs.

    If an atheist want to work with inter-faith groups or just with a particular faith group to help those in need, that’s awesome. If that atheist feels that they ought to refrain from criticism of religious ideas in order to do that joint work, that’s on them. It isn’t how I roll, but hey, they are putting on a friendly face and doing good work that needs to be done.

    I don’t have a problem working with religious groups for humanitarian causes. But I’m also not going to stop criticizing ridiculous beliefs and ideas just to placate those I am working with. They should know that as an atheist I don’t think their beliefs have any validity and that they are not based on reason. I’m also going to be critical of their efforts to use humanitarian causes to proselytize to those who are in vulnerable situations. I would ask those religious believers who I work with to keep their Bibles at home and not try to capitalize on helping others as a PR stunt for their church.

    But hey, that’s just me. If another atheist wants to partner up with religious groups to do service projects, they are free to keep their mouths shut about any criticism of the religious. Those atheists who have been labeled “accommodationalist” can play as nicely and politely as they like. If they don’t want to criticize religious beliefs and negative actions, that fine with me.

    However, what I have noticed is that many of those atheists and humanists may refrain from criticism of the religious, but they have no problem criticizing other atheists for not being so accommodating to the every whim and sensibility of the religious. Atheists like me are told that we are being “mean” when we refuse to accommodate every religious sensibility. But worse than that, we are told that we are part of the problem because we don’t hide our criticism or bite our tongues. We are told that we are just like the fundamentalist religious believers.

    These accommodationalists have no problem being less than accommodating to other atheists. On that, I have to take issue. If some atheists want to work with the religious, that’s great. I would love to work with the religious too, but don’t demand that I bow down to their every whim or that I accommodate their fragile sensibilities. Definitely don’t make a false equivalency between my not allowing the religious to walk all over me or others and fundamentalist religious believers who actively campaign to take rights away from people, dumb down our society and pretty much wage war on human progress. That is not cool!

    Why do accommodationalists feel the need to attack other atheists because we don’t think we should hide our criticism of religious beliefs?

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    Category: AtheismAtheist Infighting


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.


    1. Is because they drank the kool-aid and they don’t think of religion as a force of evil or an ideology that poisons everything – quite the opposite. They think religion usually is a good thing.

      It’s like Christian women who regard liberal women as sluts and attack womens’ rights!

    2. I agree, I have no problem with any atheist wanting to tone down their own actions to be able to work with religious types. What I object to is when they tell me I must also tone down my actions. Why should I? I don’t try to force them to behave in the same way that I do, so what right do they have to try to enforce their behaviour on me?

    3. Hmm, where to start? First of all, by labeling them “accommodationalists” and vilifying them you are engaged in the same us versus them mentality that causes problems. Second, there is a vast difference between criticizing in the large marketplace of ideas and face to face criticism of an individual. You have a blog on a rising network. Feel free to use your soapbox to hurl as much criticism as you feel is necessary.

      I do have a problem with atheists that feel the need to convert others. Not content to leave others alone in the benign beliefs, the feel the need to lash out and attack. They are not very different from the Mormons or the Jehovah’s witnesses. They are out to convert. However, what makes them more obnoxious than the two groups I listed is the smugness and vitriol of their conversion attempts.

      I’m certainly not an “accommodationalist.” I simply anti-a$$hole.

      1. I didn’t label them “accommodationalists.” They have already been labeled that. I was using the label in a descriptive fashion.

        Second, I am out to educate people. If someone makes a claim that is incorrect, I have zero problem telling them so. I am not out there knocking on doors on Saturdays trying to de-convert people. But when they come to me and give me false information, I will correct them. I hope they will learn and de-convert, but I am not out at their doors. I don’t go down to churches and “preach” atheism. But when churches come to me, I will correct them and yes I will try to de-convert them. If they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t come to my door!

        If you are anti-asshole, then you should look in the mirror because right now you are being an asshole. I don’t mind, but that is the point of this post. to point out that those who claim to be anti-asshole have no problem being assholes to other atheists. You’re just anti-asshole where religious believers are concerned. Just say’n.

        1. Let’s see, I make critical remarks and suddenly I’m an asshole? What, are atheists immune to criticism? Besides, you honestly don’t know how critical I am of religious people and made a big huge asshole assumption. Just say’n.

          1. Critical remarks? You called me obnoxious, smug, vitriol, and implied that I was an asshole. Those aren’t critical remarks; they are insults. So again, if you are anti-asshole, look in the mirror because you were just acting like an asshole. Criticism is always welcome. Hell, I don’t even mind the character attacks, but I sure as hell am not going to let you pretend that you are anti-asshole when you are calling me names.

            1. Well, apparently you have self assigned yourself to the group that feels the “need to convert others.” Try reading and comprehending that paragraph before you say I’m “calling” you names. Do I need to parse the language for you before I call you stupid?

              However, if you want to view that as a personal character attack, then apparently you have a very fragile and highly insecure ego. That probably explains why you’re simply the sort of insecure petulant child who feels the need to constantly correct others to prove how much you know and prove what a smart little fuck you really are.

              In the meantime continue, as MosesZD said, demonizing others. You may not be associated with PZ Myers, but you may as well have your lips firmly attached to his back side because you are both clearly cut from the same cloth.

              I’m beginning to think that Skeptic Inc needs to make sure their bloggers have an emotional intelligence over age 14.

            2. Oh please. You are the one name calling and demonizing here. Again, as I said in the post, I have no problem with atheists who take a less confrontational position, however, you are the one who claims that anyone who doesn’t agree with your less confrontational position is an asshole. That was you. And look at the personal attacks of your last comment, let alone your comment before that. I’m just saying you should do your thing without needing to call me an asshole ans other assorted names. I also take issue with your claims that I act like PZ Myers in demonizing others. You have yet to point out how I gave demonized anyone. All you seem to be able to do is hurl insults. Like I said before, I don;t really mind the insults, but the hypocrisy… that’s another story altogether.

            3. OK – now I’m going to call you a direct name and finally level a personal attack. You’re stupid. Try going back and carefully reading paragraph 2 of my original comment. Did I ever use the word “you?” Now I know this is going to tax your very small brain but try to parse each sentence in that paragraph. Then tell me that I leveled a “personal attack” at you.

              I really don’t like to get into games like this with folks like you, but apparently your very fragile ego thought I was calling you an asshole and then proceeded to lash out. When I made the original comment I wasn’t referring to you individually; however, you’ve since made me reconsider.

              You are nothing more than the PZ Meyers, reddedit, type juvenile atheist that give so much ammunition to critics of atheism.

              I’m totally at a loss as to why this network gives you a voice.

            4. LOL. Now you are hiding behind semantics. You clearly waged a character attacks on a set of people. A set of people in which I happen to belong. Did you use the word, “you?” No, but you were referring to a set of people that includes me. So yes that is a character attack. in like you, I’m not going to call you stupid or any other names. I’m just going to call you out on your hypocrisy. You claim to be anti-asshole, clearly implying that those who are more vocal when confronted are assholes (a set of people I belong). So yes, you did imply that I as an asshole which is in itself an asshole thing to do. That of course was the whole point of my post and you illustrated it perfectly. Congratulations 😉

              What other names are you going to call me? The deeper you dig, the more you prove my point.

            5. “No, but you were referring to a set of people that includes me.”

              I had no idea when I made that comment that you’d choose to self include yourself into the group that I criticized. So, no, I didn’t make a personal attack on you. You simply applied my comment to yourself then got defensive and well the rest is history.

              In the future, try taking a step back, read what people have to say, and then (the hard part) think a little bit before you respond.

              In the meantime, you’ve lost one of the handful of readers that even give your pathetic little blog and your pathetic individual opinions any attention.

            6. Obviously you were not one of my readers. You didn’t even read the post you had commented on because if you had, it would have been pretty obvious that I fit your set since I stated it in the first paragraph of the post. Second, even if I didn’t fit that set, you were still acting in the very manner you were attacking others as acting. You said you were anti-asshole implying that people who disagreed with you were assholes, which in itself is an asshole thing to do. When I pointed that out, you started name calling and haven’t stopped. Third, as I said three times now, I don’t really care about the insults. But I guess you can’t step back and read what people have to say, let alone think a little bit before you respond. What I take issue with is the hypocrisy. That after all is what this whole post was about and you stepped into it and just stepped into it again in this last comment as I just pointed out by paraphrasing you. 😉

        2. Calling your readers “assholes” is certainly a novel way to grow a blog. I’m critical of certain atheist and suddenly I’m an asshole? What, are atheists immune to criticism? You have no idea how critical I am of others and make a very large, very asshole assumption. Just say’n.

    4. You understand that PZ Myers and a number of other athiests went out of their way to demonize and harass all these people just a few years ago, right? That they attempted, with their new-found popularity, to quote mine, distort and other wise strawman them into oblivion?

      You didn’t miss that did you? The months of brow-beating Phil Plait, Chris Mooney and Barbara Forrest, who have done more for promoting atheism and science than most of the butt-monkeys that follow the loud-mouths, right?

      This all coming from the “Gnu Atheists” not understanding the social dynamics of coalition politics. Or, if you’re ‘fighting Hitler,’ don’t fucking attack Russia (or even let them hang-out-to-dry) in WWII because you also don’t like communism/socialism.

      I’ve got no problem criticizing religion. I have no problem pointing out the evil in the Bible, the lies, the contradictions, that it’s a load of myth from front to back. In the marketplace of ideas, I have no problem with attacking ANY silly belief system (religion, CAM, radical feminism, much of the right wing, libertarianism, etc.).
      But I do have a problem with the demonization of others for the sake of demonization and power-politics. Especially of those who are working toward the same goal as the rest of us solely because they do the job differently or they don’t buy into your other pet ideologies.

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