Atheism and social justice

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A child in Thailand where the nontheistic form of Buddhism called the Theravada school of Buddhism is prevalent. In 2010, the Pew Research Forum indicated that 93.2% of the people of Thailand were Buddhists.[1] Per capita atheists and agnostics in America give significantly less to charity than theists even when church giving is not counted for theists (See: Atheism and uncharitableness).

Historically, the secular left has been dominant within the atheist population, (see: Atheism and politics).

However, the atheist Adam Lee noted:

Here are ...the biggest mistakes the atheist movement has made, and what we can do better to fix them...

Take diversity and inclusion seriously. The atheist movement's roots in mostly white, mostly male, mostly upper-class people show all too clearly in its tendency to parade the same faces over and over, on the boards of influential secular organizations, on the speaker lineups of major atheist conferences and in the news stories that get written about the movement. Too often, an all-white or all-male slate is seen as the unremarkable norm.

Pay more attention to issues of justice. Atheist organizations have traditionally focused on a narrowly defined set of causes: countering religious apologetics, debunking supernatural claims, defending separation of church and state...[2]

See also: Western atheism and race and Atheism and women

According to atheist Sikivu Hutchinson, there is a "vacuum in secular social justice leadership" and that is why she and other skeptics founded the People of Color Beyond Faith network.[3] Hutchinson says about the network, "We’re not only interested in working with nonbelievers and secularists of color, but also with progressive faith organizations that share a similar vision."[3] See also: Atheism and liberal Christianity alliances

In June 2014, Sikivu Hutchinson wrote in the Washington Post that atheist organizations generally focus on church/state separation and creationism issues and not the concerns the less affluent African-American population faces.[4] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do offer significant help to poor African-Americans.[4] See also: Atheism and uncharitableness

China, atheism, desecularization and social justice

See also: China and atheism and East Asia and global desecularization and Growth of Christianity in China

China has the largest atheist population in the world.[5]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[6][7]

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world’s population. China’s population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[8]

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[9] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

Desecularization in China is partly occurring due to Christianity's association with equality, individual freedom and democracy and the growth of Christianity in China (see: Asian atheism).[10] See also: Growth of Christianity in China

China's atheistic, communist regime is well-known for being authoritarian and tyrannical.[11] See also: Atheism and communism

China and racism

See: China and racism

Social justice and progressive values according to leading progressive/leftist websites

See also: Atheist hypocrisy, liberal values, liberal hypocrisy and social justice warrior.

Since 2010, the last time the survey was carried out, one million more French people are leading solitary lives, with an estimated five million or 12 percent of the nation’s population aged over 18 now living without any social relations through family, friends, work or their community.[12] See also: Atheism and loneliness

According to leading progressive/leftists websites, progressive values include: freedom; opportunity; responsibility; cooperation/community; caring and responsibility, carried out with strength; protection/fairness; honesty and open communication.[13][14] These practices are often seen as being conducive to social justice.

The atheist population and the secular left has not lived up to the above cited standards (see: Atheist hypocrisy). See also: Liberal values and liberal hypocrisy

Social justice atheists

See: Social justice atheists

Atheism and human rights violations

See: Atheism and human rights violations

Atheism and slavery/forced labor

Atheism and lack of cooperation/community

See also: SJW atheists

The atheist population lacks cooperation/community, is known for engaging in bitter quarrels and is deeply divided (see: Atheist factions and Atheist movement).

The atheist population also has significant racial/gender issues (see: Western atheism and race and Atheism and women).

Furthermore, atheistic countries often have significant problems with loneliness (See: Atheism and loneliness).

Irreligious Britain and low social mobility

See also: Irreligious Britain and low social mobility

A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".[15]

In recent years, various members of Britain's atheists/agnostics, most notably Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, have engaged in aggressive atheism evangelism efforts. See: New Atheism and British atheism

The Daily Mail reported about Britain's influential broadcaster the BBC:

The BBC employs more atheists and non-believers than Christians, an internal ‘diversity’ survey has found.

The new research has been seized on by critics who accuse the Corporation of bias against Christianity and marginalising the faith in its output.

The survey found that just 22.5 per cent of all staff professed to be Christians.[16]

The Guardian reported in 2012, "Britain has some of the lowest social mobility in the developed world - the OECD figures show our earnings in the UK are more likely to reflect our fathers' than any other country."[17]

See also: Britain and the history of social Darwinism

Atheism and lack of empathy

See also: Atheism and charity and Atheism and apathy

As far as the progressive values of caring/protection, the American atheist population gives less to charity per capita than Christians even when church giving is not counted.

In June 2014, the African-American atheist woman Sikivu Hutchinson wrote in the Washington Post that atheist organizations generally focus on church/state separation and creationism issues and not the concerns the less affluent African American population faces.[4] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do focus on helping poor African-Americans.[4]

In addition, the historical record shows that atheists have often been uncaring and atheists have engaged in barbarous/uncivilized behavior (see: Atheism and mass murder and Mass rape of German women by the Soviet army and Atheism and cannibalism and Atheism and bestiality).

Also, atheists rarely focuses on the issue of social Darwinism in their communities past and often takes offense when biblical creationists bring this matter up.[18][19]

Irreligion and domestic violence

See also: Irreligion and domestic violence and Atheism and women

Research suggests that irreligiousity is a causal factor for domestic violence.[20]

The abstract for the 2007 article in the journal Violence Against Women entitled Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence indicated:

The authors explored the relationship between religious involvement and intimate partner violence by analyzing data from the first wave of the National Survey of Families and Households. They found that: (a) religious involvement is correlated with reduced levels of domestic violence; (b) levels of domestic violence vary by race/ethnicity; (c) the effects of religious involvement on domestic violence vary by race/ethnicity; and (d) religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence, and this protective effect is stronger for African American men and women and for Hispanic men, groups that, for a variety of reasons, experience elevated risk for this type of violence.[21]

Also, a quote from the journal article Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence:

Another line of thought suggests that religious people may be less likely to perpe- trate domestic violence (Fergusson, Horwood, Kershaw, & Shannon, 1986). A 1999 study of U.S. couples found that both men and women who attend religious services regularly are less likely to commit acts of domestic violence than those who attend rarely or not at all (Ellison et al., 1999). A follow-up study identified three pathways through which religious involvement may operate; namely, increasing levels of social integration and social support, reducing the likelihood of alcohol or substance abuse, and decreasing the risk of psychological problems (Ellison & Anderson, 2001). However, even after considering such indirect effects of religion through the use of sta- tistical controls, that study found that regular religious involvement still had a protec- tive effect against the perpetration of domestic violence by both men and women (Ellison & Anderson, 2001). In addition, that study showed that evidence of such pro- tective religious effects persisted regardless of whether domestic violence was measured using data from self reports or partner reports, which makes it difficult to attribute these observed religious effects to simple social desirability or other response bias.[21]

See also:

Reason Rally related incident involving David Silverman and Richard Dawkins

See also: Feminist quotes about Richard Dawkins

After the Elevatorgate scandal, which initially involved Richard Dawkins and Rebecca Watson, there was a lot of additional acrimony among atheists. Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[22] See also: Atheist factions

Post-Elevatorgate more attention was given to atheist conferences and peoples behavior at atheist conferences among atheists. For example, Post Elevatorgate, atheist conferences frequently have anti-sexual harassment policies.[23] See also: Research on atheist conferences

However, the incident mentioned below reflects that prominent white men, still exert considerable influence within the atheist movement despite the fact that atheists tend to lean politically left and that the left purports to strongly support gender and racial diversity.

An article by Sarah posted at Skepchick about a conversation between Richard Dawkins and David Silverman (ex-president of the American Atheists organization), which took place during the planning phrase of the Reason Rally:

Richard was standing behind the podium, and he asked Dave something along the lines of, “What exactly is the Reason Rally?” Dave started explaining it, and as he did, someone who was waiting in the line outside opened the door to peek inside and we could all hear a lot of noise. I rushed up the aisle and made frantic “shut the door” gestures at the people peeking inside, and they did. As I walked the ten feet back, I couldn’t hear everything Dave was saying, but I heard the name “Rebecca Watson.” Richard suddenly had a very angry look on his face and I heard him almost shout, “No, absolutely not! If she’s going to be there, I won’t be there. I don’t want her speaking.” and then Dave immediately replied, “You’re absolutely right, we’ll take her off the roster. It’s done.” Richard huffed for a moment, Dave continued to placate him, and then he made the video.

I was crushed.[24]

Atheist organizations and scandals

See also: Atheist organizations and scandals and Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science - Embezzlement allegation

Two recent atheist nonprofit scandals which received some publicity were the organizations Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and the We Are Atheism organization.[25][25][26][27]

In addition, David Gorski at Scienceblogs indicated that many atheist/skeptic organizations are poorly run from a financial standpoint.[26]

For more information, please see: Atheist organizations and scandals

Atheists falling short of the progressive value of freedom

As far as the values of freedom, militant atheists continue to deny basic freedoms to people (See: Militant atheism and Atheism and intolerance and Atheism and forced labor).

Atheists and deception

As far as honesty, atheists have a poor record in this area as well (see: Atheist indoctrination).

Rebuke of PZ Myers by the atheist Michael Nugent relative to the area of social justice

See also: PZ Myers and social justice

The Irish atheist Michael Nugent wrote to PZ Myers in September 2014:

Some of the content of your blog is hurtful and unjust in itself, it also undermines the effectiveness of attempts to promote compassion and empathy and social justice, and it is additionally harmful because of your prominence as a perceived spokesperson for organised atheism...

PZ, is this really how you want to be remembered? Having defended you against unjust attacks from others, I am now asking you to take a long hard look at what you are doing, consider apologising to people who you have unjustly hurt and defamed, and start focusing on actually promoting compassion and empathy and social justice if those ideas are important to you.[28]

On April 2015, Atheist Ireland announced, "Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers."[29] The atheist biologist Massimo Pigliucci said of Myers, "one cannot conclude this parade without mentioning P.Z. Myers, who has risen to fame because of a blog where the level of nastiness (both by the host and by his readers) is rarely matched anywhere else on the Internet...".[30]

Due to its notability requirements, the website Wikipedia (which was founded by an atheist and agnostic), does not make mention of any specific accomplishments PZ Myers may have achieved in the area of social justice. Wikipedia does mention the social justice accomplishments of Christians such as William Wilberforce, Harriet Beecher Stowe and others.

Hypocrisy of secular humanists

See also: Atheist hypocrisy and Secular humanism

In response to the question, "Why is incest wrong?", the atheist Lawrence Krauss said, "It's not clear to me that it is wrong."[31] See: Atheism and incest

Secular humanism is humanism that is atheistic in nature. It is a philosophy which holds that human beings are the most important figures, and that social problems are best solved without the involvement of religious doctrine. People who are secular humanists purport to focus on ways to better themselves and human beings as a whole. The American Humanist Association's motto on the main page of their website is "good without a God".[32]

Lawrence Krauss: Humanist of the Year in 2015 and his statement on incest

In 2015, Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss was named the 2015 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanists Association.[33]

In response to the question, "Why is incest wrong?", Krauss said, "It's not clear to me that it is wrong."[31] See also: Atheism and incest

PZ Myers: Humanist of the Year in 2011 and his inappropriate previous behavior

The American Humanist Association defines humanism thusly: "Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity."[34] The American Humanist Association's slogan is "Good without God".[34]

In 2011, the atheist PZ Myers won the International Humanist Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.[35] Prior to that in 2009, Myers won the Humanist of the Year award from the American Humanist Association.[36]

In 2008, Myers rejoiced at the death of a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest who died a premature accidental death and then Myers fantasized about personally killing other priests.[37][38] (See also: PZ Myers and social justice)

Bitter infighting within the secular humanism faction of atheism

See also: Atheist factions and Atheism and bitterness

Paul Kurtz is an atheist philosopher who formerly taught at the State University of NY at Buffalo. Dr. Paul Kurtz founded the modern secular humanism movement which is a form of philosophical skepticism. In addition, he also founded the organization the Center for Inquiry which focuses on promoting secular humanism. In 2009, Dr. Kurtz lost his leadership position at the Center for Inquiry.[39]

Currently, there is an ideological struggle within the modern secular humanism faction of atheism concerning how militant the movement should be which primarily arose post New Atheism movement which is a more militant form of atheism. (see also: Militant atheism). Paul Kurtz was against the secular humanism movement becoming more militant but some newer followers of secular humanism disagreed with Kurtz at the height of the New Atheism movement.[39]

Kurtz's ouster from the Center of Inquiry leadership position

On October 10, 2010, a contentious exchange between members of the Secular Humanism faction of atheism founded by Paul Kurtz and the atheist Ron Lindsay was caught on tape.Video - Part one and Video - Part 2

During the exchange Ron Lindsay said that infighting has been occurring within the Secular Humanism faction of atheism for years.[40] A Paul Kurtz supporter said that Kurtz was censored by Ron Lindsay and his supporters and Kurtz was driven out of the organization that he founded (Center for Inquiry).[41] Lindsay claimed, however, that Kurtz voluntarily resigned from the organization he founded and Kurtz was never censored. Furthermore, Lindsay said that Kurtz's idea of a "planetary federation" was impractical.[41] Kurtz countered that he was never allowed to publish why he resigned from the organization and that he was censored by the organization that he founded.[41]

Dr. Kurtz described the events surrounding the loss of his leadership position as a "shattering blow".[39]

Atheism and women's rights

See: Atheism and women's rights

Atheism plus, Jen McCreight and Richard Carrier

See also: Atheism plus

Atheism plus is a faction of atheism which holds to a liberal/progressive political agenda. It developed out of the atheist and political ideology of Freethought blogs and was partly a response to the New Atheism and to the Elevatorgate scandal.

In October 2014, the popular YouTube atheist Thunderf00t commented on how Jen McCreight, the founder of the atheist feminist movement Atheism plus abandoned her movement within two weeks. Thunderf00t also commented on how Richard Carrier "the intellectual artillery" of the movement, quit promoting the movement within a month.[42]

Richard Carrier, adultery, divorce and polyamory

See also: Richard Carrier, adultery, divorce and polyamory and Atheism, polyamory and other immoral relationships

The atheist Richard Carrier divorced his wife and now practices polyamory.[43] Before divorcing his wife, he was involved in adulterous affairs.[43]

The Christtian apologist Jason Engwar at the Christian blog Triablogue wrote:

Richard Carrier has a post up announcing that he's "polyamorous", which he calls his "sexual orientation". He's been adulterous in his relationship with his wife, and they decided to get a divorce after having tried polyamory for a while. In the thread, he refers to how he has "sympathy for people who cheat on their spouses", how he's come across "many" polyamorists, and how he's become more convinced that "monogamy is the actual problem". So far, most of the responses at his blog are positive.[44]

See also:

  • Along Came Poly, Christian apologist Nick Peters on Richard Carrier's adulterous affairs, adultery and polyamory

See also

External links


  1. Pew Research Center - Global Religious Landscape 2010 - religious composition by country.
  2. 4 Things the Atheist Movement Has Done Badly (and How to Do Them Better)
  3. 3.0 3.1 [Atheism and social justice: Sikivu Hutchinson on the first People of Color Beyond Faith conference - See more at: Atheism and social justice: Sikivu Hutchinson on the first People of Color Beyond Faith conference], Chris Stedman, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
  5. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  6. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  7. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  8. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  9. The rise of Christianity in Asia by Masako Fukui, Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website RN
  10. Why Hong Kong’s new generation won’t give in to China’s tyranny, Washington Post
  11. More and more French living lonely lives, The Local FR, Published: 26 Jun 2013 15:44 GMT+02:00
  12. What It Means To Be A Progressive: A Manifesto,
  13. What are Progressive Values,
  14. Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  15. Christians a minority at 'biased' BBC where staff are more likely to be atheists or non-believers
  16. Social mobility: the charts that shame Britain
  17. Herbert Spencer and social Darwinism
  18. Darwinism and World War I
  19. doi: 10.1177/1077801207308259 Violence Against Women, Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence, November 2007 vol. 13 no. 11 1094-1112
  20. 21.0 21.1 doi: 10.1177/1077801207308259 Violence Against Women, Race/Ethnicity, Religious Involvement, and Domestic Violence, November 2007 vol. 13 no. 11 1094-1112
  21. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul
  22. Thunderf00t’s inflammatory video of misleading personal attacks on atheist feminists is not helpful by Michael Nugent on January 3, 2013
  23. My Time With Richard Dawkins (Or, Why You Should Never Meet Your Idols) by Sarah at Skepchick, September 5, 2013
  24. 25.0 25.1 Richard Dawkins Drops His Lawsuit Against Former Employee
  25. 26.0 26.1 Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen, Posted by David Gorski on October 24, 2010
  26. An Update on We Are Atheism by Hemant Mehta, September 15, 2015
  27. The LBJ legend and my email to PZ Myers by Michael Nugent on September 19, 2014
  28. Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers by Michael Nugent, April 7, 2015
  29. Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements By Massimo Pigliucci Scientia Salon, Posted: May 13, 2015
  30. 31.0 31.1 Lawrence Krauss on incest
  31. American Humanist Association website
  32. Humanist of the year
  33. 34.0 34.1 Definition of humanism, American Humanist Assocation
  34. IHEU Awards for 2011. Internation Humanist and Ethical Union. Retrieved on 16 August 2013.
  35. American Humanist Association: Humanist of the year. American Humanist Association.
  36. P.Z. Myers is (Surprise!) Unmoved By Suicide of “Wealthy White” Robin Williams, Friendly Atheist blog
  37. It must have been an act of god, Posted by PZ Myers on April 21, 2008
  38. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Redirecting a Long Life of Godlessness
  39. Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
  40. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
  41. Atheism+ Stream: How SJWs pushed their way into Atheism
  42. 43.0 43.1 Coming Out Poly + A Change of Life Venue
  43. Atheism, Adultery, Polyamory, And Shifting Morals