Strictly speaking, atheism is simply a lack of belief in deities. However, being part of the greater community of reason for several years now, I have noticed something. Most active atheists tend to also be humanists… even if they don’t like that term. In this sense there are atheist values.
Most atheists who are active in promoting atheism tend to be progressively liberal. A good handful are Libertarians, but even these Libertarians tend to be socially progressive on issues on issues like gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights, and free speech issues. There are very, very few Republicans who are activist atheists. Sort of like how there are very few gay activists who identify as Republicans even though strictly speaking being gay has nothing to do with political affiliations.
Keep in mind that I am talking about atheist activists and not just atheists within the general population. I say this because I have met a small handful of people in the general population who lack the belief in deities, but who are also horribly racists, sexist, and homophobic. Those people aren’t generally involved in the atheist community. They don’t go to atheist lectures or read atheist books or blogs.
So what does this mean? I think part of it is that those active in activism care about humanity and the future of the human race. Education may also play a role or at the very least a value in education.
But there is no dictate that all atheists activists must hold certain positions otherwise they will be drummed out of activism. No, it isn’t a top-down authoritative structure. It’s more organic than that. I have no problem working with a Republican atheist on issues that relate to atheism. I also have no problem working with theists on issues that relate to atheism. I will however continue to criticize both Republicans and theists on issues that I disagree with them on.
When I have done this, I have discovered some interesting things. I have discovered that some of these Republican atheists actually agree with me, but have some sort of misguided view of the Republican Party. They often claim that as a Republican they only care about lower taxes and so called small government. I can argue with those positions, but the real problem is that those positions are not really what the Republican Party of today is about. So it is a moot point.
Liberal Christians have the same problem. Many liberal Christians agree with most of my humanist values, but Christianity is not what they think it is. Jesus was not just a hipster hippy preaching peace and love. According to the Gospels, Jesus preached eternal torture… a lot. Plus, there is Paul and much of the rest of the Old and New Testaments which are horribly barbaric and hateful. That God character is no prize either. My problem with liberal Christians isn’t their liberal values; it is their misguided support for their religion.
So what do we do about that? Well, we can work with them on the values that we all value and we can also point out to them how their values don’t match their stated religious/political beliefs.
It does isn’t a minority of Republican extremists who reject church/state separation. It just isn’t a minority of Christian extremists who deny the science of evolution. The Republican platform has a lot of very questionable positions and the Christian holy book has a lot of extremely horrible passages.
- Why Advocating For Atheism Is Important (skepticink.com)
- Atheists raising money for West Texas explosion victims (examiner.com)
- Atheists raising money for Boston Marathon victims (examiner.com)
- Secular Coalition for America attends CPAC (examiner.com)
- Harvard humanists spearhead ‘Humanist Community Project’ (examiner.com)
- Arrest of atheist bloggers inspires protests in Bangladesh (examiner.com)