A good number of you read Matthew Ferguson’s post A Proposal to Watch our Language. You don’t have to agree with his conclusion(s), but if you haven’t already noticed, you were brought to the realization that Christianity is quite divided; and it is that same level of division that they seek to achieve amongst us atheists. How do they do this? Simple; they do it by creating labels. They do it by pitting us against one another via the labels. One of the more prominent labels is the odious “new atheist.” I always ask: what is new about a new atheist? Lo and behold I never get a cogent answer.
Some have posited that a new atheist differs from an old atheist because he/she isn’t well-versed in philosophy. Others posit that new atheists are loud and offensive. Well, philosophy isn’t required to be an atheist. All that’s required is that you disbelieve in gods; that’s it! I’ve heard monotheists call people “Christian atheists” because said atheists only target the Christian god—as if they have no good reason to do so. I’ve heard people say, “you’re not an atheist; you’re an anti-theist”—as if one can’t be both. Aside from all of this, my biggest problem is that some of us have bought into these labels.
You are not a new atheist. I don’t care if you read Dawkins, look like Harris, debate like Hitchens and philosophize like Dennet. I don’t care if you say “woo-woo” like Michael Shermer and I don’t care if you argue mythicism via Zeitgeist. You’re not a new atheist! An ignorant atheist? Perhaps. A misinformed atheist? Maybe. An obnoxious atheist who’s still mad at the church for snatching away so many years of your life? Sure. But a new atheist? No! There’s nothing new about you. We are atheists and we’re not divided nor do we want to be. If you’re one of those people that likes the label, please tell me what makes you new, but be warned: I’m sure you’ll roll out the same dirty mat Christians do when describing a “new atheist.” If that’s the case, then you’re not a freethinker because you’re still allowing them to dictate how you think. Disbelieve, but shed the labels; you don’t want them to think that we’ve suddenly devised a new religion.
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- pseudoatheist said: We’re not divided as atheists, sure. But a look at how, say, Hitchens spoke of believers vs. how C. Stedman does shows that we’re divided in terms of human decency. And that line’s clear enough to label, no matter how loudly you claim it’s not.
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