August 24, 2013

Clarifications on "Why I Left the Atheist Community"

I thought it time to clarify some things about one of my recent entries, "Why I Left the Atheist Community". This is due to some of the things that I received on my Twitter account after sharing the entry.

I do not have a problem with atheism. For anybody to assert otherwise seems really stupid, considering that I am an atheist, and am not ashamed to be one. The problem I have is with other atheists, people who I think act as bullies akin to religion, the sort of people who after telling them you don't agree with them, decide to ban you and claim that your opinion doesn't count because you're just a troll... These sort of people who act like religious bullies while claiming to be freethinkers, skeptics, and atheists.

I also do not believe it to be flouncing when you decide that you have better things to do than attempt to debate people who act like children. I say debate, but you can't debate people, or even call out the actions of people, who block you for even attempting to.

I do not expect all atheists to share my views or my opinions. It should be plainly obvious that the fact that we don't all agree on anything other than that there are probably no gods is one of the clearest examples that atheism is not a religion. The fact that we aren't a hivemind is one of our greatest traits, but in my opinion, is also one of our worst.

Because we don't all agree on something, some of us have a tendency to act like Puritans and attempt to cleanse the movement. We've seen it when liberal atheists attempted to "convert" the conservative atheists, and we're seeing it with social justice activists attempting to "convert" other activists and people uninterested in activism.

I encourage people having debates and discussions and trying to change somebody's view on a subject, so long as they're wiling to have the discussion. What I don't care for is people acting like brats when they're unsuccessful or when somebody is unwilling to have the discussion. I also do not care for those who refuse to have discussions or debates, but instead block and censor all of those who have opinions differing theirs, and then complain about how bad the world or society is. Why? Because you're not going to solve any problems or make the world a better place by hiding differing views; especially when you claim their views to be the problem.

When I said that I had left the atheism community, I wasn't saying that I was leaving atheism. That'd be hard to do because, again, I am an atheist. When I said that, I was trying to say that I am no longer interested in "atheist networking", having discussions with the "atheism community" (except for with friends), going to conferences or talks, or with having this blog focus on atheism topics. This is not me flouncing, this is me moving on with my life.

Lastly, yes, I still admire people. In the section where I talked about how I feel I can't admire people, it is because of people who attach drama and scandals not only to the figures who may or may not have been in them, but also to the people who admire them. Despite Elevatorgate, yes, I still admire Richard Dawkins for his work, as I admire Rebecca Watson for hers. I just don't see how some people fail to understand that you can admire somebody for their work but at the same time not approve of their actions or comments.

Hope that clears some things up.

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author Tiger Craven About Tiger
Tiger is a 22 year old college student, activist, and professional living in the Saint Louis metro area. When he's not being apathetic to the idea of God or writing about atheism, he is serving a presidential term for a mental health organisation and a board membership of another, does public speaking about mental illness and disability, and is a photographer and a bassist.