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.


Sarah Silverman : Atheism Icon?

   I heard about Sarah Silverman’s speech in acceptance of her Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, and I immediately had to go watch it for myself on YouTube. After being rather agnostic on her previous comedy shows and her show on Comedy Central, I really enjoyed her latest HBO special, We Are Miracles. Of course, who could forget her innocent little girl take on the most disgusting and hilarious joke for The Aristocrats? When I saw her latest special, however, I knew she really was hitting on all cylinders. Her rise has been ongoing for a while, of course, as I’ve known about her since the ’90’s, but I think she really came through to the mainstream with her appearance in a mainstream movie, “A Million Ways To Die In The West”, directed by Mr. Family Guy himself, Seth MacFarlane, whose visibility has increased considerably with his directorial debut in the movie “Ted”, as well as being the driving force behind getting a new Cosmos series aired on Fox.

 I’m not going to lie, I find Ms. Silverman not only to be hilarious, but also sexy as hell to boot; and seeing her in that low-cut dress at the Emmy’s definitely increased my pulse considerably. But it was she said at the very end of the speech that really impressed me. After thanking all the people who made her win possible, which is standard fare (apart for making a reference to “Mr. Fancy Pants Sheen”, which had me scratching my head a bit), instead of thanking God, or Jesus, or fill in the blank with a divinity, she instead said “… And we’re all just made of molecules, and we’re hurling through space right now.  Thank you.”

  Simple, eloquent, but completely expressive of who and what Atheists really are. The great majority of Atheists who live the same lives as other people. We eat. We sleep. We scream at drivers who cut us off. The only difference is, we just happen to not believe in a Supreme Being. And like Ms. Silverman, most of us aren’t in-your-face about it, unlike so many Christian Evangelists who love to try to shove their religion down our throats with huge billboards and nationally broadcast, well-produced television shows in massive mega-churches, funded by tax-free cash that rolls in by the bucket-load.

 Sarah is the perfect icon for Atheism in today’s world. She’s funny, telegenic, and brutally honest about who she is and what she’s about. She is not the type of person to instigate a confrontation, but she sure as hell won’t back down if someone gets in her face. Yeah, she’s hot, but that is only the icing on the cake. So, thanks Sarah for showing America the true face of Atheism. I sincerely hope you keep up the good work of being yourself.