There is the great disappointment. The movement, whose whole premise demands a sweeping change of the culture, has discovered that it is far easier to defend the status quo than to change it. We’re willing to ask other people to think long and hard about their beliefs, to question and change, but all that other stuff that our culture planted in our heads, like beliefs about the sexes and races, like the rigid gender binary, like the suitability of women to thinking critically, like the automatic conferral of status by wealth, like the dehumanization of people who look like they might have had different great-grandparents than us, like the utility of simply killing people who disagree with us…oh, no, don’t ask us to change. We’re just here to promote atheism! One thing at a time! Once we’ve cleared away the deadwood of religion, then maybe we can think about encouraging a rational world that will have those nice things you’re talking about. […]
Well, I’ve got news for the atheist movement: it all matters. […] You won’t get your philosophical atheist utopia at all if that utopia considers the dignity of all human beings to be a secondary matter.
–PZ Myers on movement Atheism.
I am, technically, an atheist in the “godless heathen” sense of the word, but nowadays it’s just too embarrassing to call oneself a “capital-A Atheist”. Not to mention it seems to get more and more painfully obvious every year that “movement Atheism” doesn’t give two shits about me beyond use as a kind of abstract weapon to bludgeon religion with.
Well… fuck that shit.
I think Myers is correct when he muses that the number of people identifying as religiously “none” will increase but that this won’t translate to a corresponding increase in the number of people identifying as atheists. Not when movement atheism has staked out its turf with the exact same traps and tropes many people are fleeing organised religions to avoid.
Atheism, in other words, had its chance to not degenerate into a toxic cesspit of chauvinism and blew it.
Same as it ever was, and all that.