Sunday, May 20, 2007

I want to start a new meme: Active Atheism

Im going to try to cut back on ripping on theists, and instead move towards positive atheism. Being negative is a wonderful vent for me, but it ends up leaving me more depressed. Thus Id like to introduce a new meme.***

A few descriptions of me Ive heard:

None of those accurately describe me. 'Militant' describes my conviction, but it gives an inaccurate impression of why I do what I do. So why do I do what I do? Why do I speak out against the behavior of Fundies of all Flavors?

Because the one thing I cannot do is sit on my hands while bad things are happening. Thats what originally drew me to the medical profession, and what ultimately drew me to HIV and cancer research. When everything goes wrong, I dont cry, I dont pray to Jesus, I dont play blame games, I dont run to Mommy to make things better (Okay, Im lying with that one. When Im really sick, I want Mom.)-- I do something. Maybe a nice side effect of growing up nontheistic ;) Want to get something done, you do it yourself!

So my new descriptor, whether you all want to use it or not, is Active Atheism. It means when Fundies intimidate homosexuals, Im going to be there to defend the rights of homosexuals. It means when Fundies attack, Im going to offer to help their victim any way I can. It means when Fundies start stalking science like the reanimated undead, Im strapping on a chainsaw.

hehehe Edited to add because I got excited about The Simpsons:
It also means that Im going to take preemptive action against potential Fundy behaviors, such as science outreach, women empowerment and encouragement, and just putting it out there that Im an atheist so other, closeted nontheists know they have someone to talk to. And supporting my fellow nontheists and their pro-reason projects any way I can.

I dont expect all atheists to be Active Atheists, not everyone has the interest or are in a position where it is 'safe' to be active. But I expect to be able to go to all other Active Atheists for help when I need to get things done.

*that someone else has probably thought of before
**that probably wont catch on, ie Brights


Tyler DiPietro said...

AN EVIL DEAD DAN TOO OMG!!!! I love you more and more everyday!

Anyway, "Active Atheism" is a good word, since it seems that the political dimension hasn't been defined very well for the "movement" flavor of atheism. But I guess I could also say that I'm a "Theoretical Atheist" in that I think atheism has to be advocated in an intellectually cogent way as well. Some dismiss that as an ivory tower notion, but theoretical auxiliaries are important to every intellectual and social movement IMO. I think that's my better strength in the grand scheme of thing...maybe.

Chris Noble said...

I'd drop the "atheist" part. That describes what you are not, not what you are. It is a negative term.

At least humanism is a positive term. I personally think that some form of humanism is the default position. Most of the morals that we share predate any of the major world religions.

I am offended by the idea that if you are Godless you are also immoral. Who gave religious fundamentalists the monoply on morals? (Silly question I guess).

I think it is much better to have a system of values based on philosophy and enriched by modern science than to follow some arbitrary rules in a book supposedly authored by a big guy in the sky.

The bible says that it's OK to kill your son if you hear voices telling you to do it and that its OK to get your father drunk and sleep with him to preserve the family lineage.

And who is more praiseworthy? Somebody that does the right thing after relecting upon the issue or somebody who does the right thing because they're afraid of going to hell?

Perhaps I'm spoilt by living in a relatively Godless country but I say just leave God out of the discussion.

Calling yourself an "Atheist" gives "God" too much attention.

ERV said...

Tyler-- Too many great quotes from those movies. Its unnatural not to like them. There should be an ammendment against non-evil-dead fans getting married.

Chris-- Well, before about a month ago, 'Humanist' is how I would have described myself. But after IHS support of Haaaaaavaaaard Humanist Chaplains speech a while back, I dont know if Im 'allowed' to call myself a 'humanist' anymore.

Ben said...

How about "Positive Realist"?

Hume's Ghost said...

I am a positive atheist, but in regards to combatting fundamentalism and unreason I would term myself a political humanist and global democrat. Those reflect the values that I believe in and strive to protect.

Hume's Ghost said...

Oh, and here's a good discusion about atheist political activism from Alonzo fyfe at the Atheist Ethicist.

And for fun you can note the kook in the comments who thinks Paul Kurtz is a fundamentalist similar to Pat Robertson and that Carl Sagan "was prone to speaking out of prejudice and ignorance in 'defense of science and rationality'".

gerald spezio said...

If you check out the latest crypto scientific uncertainty post at Chris Mooney's Intersection, you will need your chainsaw. Mooney's guest blogger doesn't even know how to *frame* scientific uncertainty. How bad can this crap get?

ERV said...

Ben-- Not bad. hehehe 'Realist' currently even has a bit of a political statement to it because of the whole 'reality based community' thing with Bush :P
Real-world friends have tried to get me to go to 'Naturalist' meetings. 'Naturalist' makes me think of nudist colonies for some reason, so I havent tried that one :P

Hume-- ARRG! THANK YOU for reminding me of Alonzos blog! He is such a wonderful writer! Everybody go read Alonzos posts! Goooooo!!!!

Gerald-- I dont read Intersection anymore. No reason to-- Too many things to do in the real world, too many other good blogs to read on the internet. Ill turn on the weather channel if I want to hear about a hurricane ;)