For more thoughts on this subject, read this article.
A few days ago, I posted this scathing review of Atheism Plus (usually styled as Atheism+ or simply A+) in which I accused the new movement, which seeks to marry atheism to a progressive social justice agenda, of being dogmatic, exclusionary, and fundamentally religious. Today, after learning a little bit more about A+’s overall goals, aims, and governance strategies, as well as reading this article by one of Atheism+’s leaders, Richard Carrier, I realize my original statements were overly strong and somewhat misguided.
While I still stand by a few of my original criticisms — I disagree with the movement’s anti-socialist bent and its explicit and vocal atheism — I now feel A+ is a fundamentally good movement, with which, despite a few reservations, I’d be comfortable aligning myself.
Specifically, I’m greatly impressed with A+ commitment to action on social justice issues, such as fighting homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, and ableism within American and global society. In an age where activism has a trendy, hipster appeal, social justice as a fashion statement is de rigueur. Kony 2012, Che Guevara shirts, pithy bumper stickers, and fast-food drive-thru donations help make people feel as though they’re doing something to help make the world a better place, however, such surface-level actions, as good-intentioned as they may be, do little to actually solve the aformentioned injustices and inequalities.
In contrast, A+ members are actually planning direct action against many of the above equalities, which is like a spring of fresh water in this 21st century desert of apathy and hip but ineffectual “McActivism.” The fact that A+ is aligning itself with positive action to bring about social justice gives me a deep admiration for the movement, despite my disagreements.
While I’m not yet ready to throw in my lot with the movement and brand myself A+, many of my initial apprehensions about it have been allayed, and I’m at least willing to take a deeper look at it and see whether or not there’s a place for me among these folks.