Harris, Christina, and the Need for Atheist Unity

Initially, this post was going to be about the recent Twitter feud between Greta Christina and Sam Harris (You can find a recap of that battle at Greta’s blog here.) However, after listening to the Noah Lugeons’ diatribe on the latest episode of The Scathing Atheist, I had a change of heart, and have decided to instead expound on the need for some strain of unity in the “Atheist Movement”.
Noah’s main point was that despite any differences Atheists have among themselves, these are nothing compared to the to the actual, demonstrable damage caused by the words and actions of religious nutjobs on a regular basis, and that Atheists are shooting themselves in the foot by airing our dirty laundry on Twitter for all the world to see.
Obviously, I’m not implying that these disagreements are not substantive or important. Misogyny is a real problem not only in the movement, but in society as a whole. I absolutely agree with Greta on this issue, and I thought Harris’ defensiveness on the issue to be another example of his aversion to criticism, even when he is mentioned only indirectly (Take a look at his feud with Glenn Greenwald if you want to see another example of this). Atheists need to take a hard look at themselves and figure out how to confront this issue honestly, and we need to come up with concrete solutions.
We must, however, put our internecine conflicts aside when faced with the larger goal of confronting the destructive influence of religion in our world, and the best way to achieve this is for all of us to concentrate our efforts on exposing religion and its dangerous dogma for all to see. I see this as one of the most important battles we can engage in, and I honestly fear for our species if we fail.
So, in the spirit of reconciliation, Sam Harris should write a blog post apologizing to Greta for his overreaction and thoroughly lambaste those misogynists in our ranks (He actually did tweet and apology, which to me was tepid and forced. Greta, however, thanked him for even that acknowledgement.) We then need to get back to the important work of educating people, each in his or her own way, on the pitfalls of religion and the importance of maintaining a impenetrable wall between Church and State. This is our duty to our fellow man, regardless of whatever disagreements we may have among ourselves.

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2 comments

  1. When many people leave religion, they tend to also leave behind a gaping hole in their social lives and fellowship with other like minded people. Critics like to say when Atheists gather they are mimicking religion. But aren’t they really just doing what humans do?

    This is an excellent post. Alone, we tend to sound like an angry gong. United, we are a people with a voice.

    We seem to be congregating together more though. Where I live, there’s an Atheist and Freethinkers MeetUp. We get together formxoffee, win and art strolls, lectures and symposiums… It’s quite nice.

    Again, great post!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I really do believe that we can really achieve great things if we put forth a concentrated effort to reveal the beauty that can be seen in the universe without God.

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