A rose by any other name

An Atheist is by definition someone who lacks belief in the existence of deities. Taking this simple (and arguably logical) idea and saying it is a basis for any particular set of ethics is just daft. Atheists may be more likely to be liberal than the average man but they certainly are not required to be. The right-wing mentalist David Starky often seen on UK TV is an atheist. Telling him he is not a proper atheist as whilst he may not believe in god his racist misogynist views are inconsistent with views extending from atheism makes the person stating this sound like a child who does not understand the meanings of the labels they apply. Of course "atheism plus" or A+ admittedly is not atheism and I realise supporters have unilaterally redefined the term but it still SOUNDS to the vast majority of the english speaking world the way I portray. To be honest when I read A+ posts my own mind cycles around these four thoughts:

  1. They really don't understand atheism.
  2. A+ sounds like a Disney version of a Brave New World caste.  
  3. A+ really? Are they dying for intellectual acknowledgement.
  4. What is wrong with the term humanism.

So ... basically when it comes to the stolen branding and my own opinion.  

if you want to start a movement based on modern secular humanism with extra bonus feminism bundled up into a snappy packagable term, sweet. In my humble opinion that is an excellent idea (I confess I am a liberal so I may be a bit biased). However branding this after existing terms with unrelated meanings is not so reasonable. I realise most A+ adherents are American and things are a little different over there with American groups happy to redefine groupings to suit their own agenda. Look only to Fox news and their wonderful eccentric use of "socialist", "liberal" or "communist". Thou of course Fox are bad guys and no A+ person could possibly be like them. When they behave exactly like them I am sure they are only doing it a post modern* way. Still if you do persist in this reuse of a term you can hardly be surprised at the people who previously proudly identified with the term not liking your unilateral redefinition. If you think the plus symbol makes it clear that it is an entirely different term I think you need to sit down and think+ about whether Fox changing all their derogatory captions to refer to feminism+ is acceptable? 

Atheism is not a complex expansive philosophy it is a term defining your view on one very specific idea. For a lot of folks in reasonable countries its not even that big a deal. I did not become an Atheist with some Road to Damascus style moment I just simply never believed. I realize some of you had an awful time during your theological bereavement or are currently going through hell to get your ideology accepted by your community but that is merely the baggage of your culture. If you want to rant about this then please by all means just use the right nomenclature, eh. Otherwise what you are actually doing is damaging the uptake of plain old vanilla atheism. Your implying that the only people the "atheist movement" (I even shudder at this term) will welcome are folks with your belief. So speaking as a European atheist, screw that. I shall not be declaring myself an atheist plusist solely to have own lack of belief in god and humanist ideals sanctioned by some group of wannabe-elitists.

If you really want to persist with this A+ malarkey as it currently stands in it's rigid not-listening-to-critism form, then maybe you should write all your inherent beliefs into a book of some sort and distribute this among the super atheists (sorry for the typo) I mean A+ members. You already have vocal leaders so maybe you could all meet up in some common building every weekend and they could expand on how you should think on other issues possibly from some sort of raised platform. You could even organize trips to foreign countries to promote your ideals and lobby your congress to ensure your interests are protected. Just be damn sure to block out all criticism of your own logic and shout critics down as intolerate haters.

In summary the tacked on A+ specific views and original atheism are most certainly not exclusive but merely completely unrelated. That someone sees no evidence for any deity in their world is uncoupled to to how they should view, for example, feminism. That I have to even write such a ridiculous sentence is a mark of how truly silly this whole issue has become. Oh and one final thing knock the whole cyber bullying thing on the head. Belittling others, strawman attacks and responding to criticism with mocking twitter memes is the behaviour of school yard bullies and fundamentalists. You made a bad error of judgement with branding it is hardly a capital offence but one that you should address as currently you are damaging the wider community reputation and utterly devastating your own. 



* As no one ever tells you what post modernism is I will. It means made up bollocks arrogantly proclaimed by idiots as beautifully demonstrated in the books by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont (Intellectual Impostures) and Francis Wheen (How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions) . If anyone uses "post modern" out of this context it normally works out best to totally ignore them.