Atheist factions

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
David Silverman, ex-president of the American Atheists organization.

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is frequent among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also linked to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and fertility rates).[1] Most atheists do not join atheist organizations or attend atheist conferences/meetings due to the fact atheism is common among people who have weak interpersonal social obligations (see: Atheism and social skills). Most atheist organizations are relatively small in terms of active participants as most atheists are apathetic about organized atheism (see: Atheism and apathy).

On July 24, 2020, the atheist PZ Myers wrote about atheist factions: "Deep rifts, ongoing fragmentation, and crumbling reputations seems to be the order of the day in atheism."[2] See also: Atheist organizations and scandals and Atheist scandals

At the 2018 American Atheists convention, the ex-president of the American Atheist organization David Silverman declared:

It is a hard time to be an atheist activist. This has affected us. And it has affected our community... has really affected us. We are suffering a level of defeatism that I have never seen before...

And people are reacting to each other now. And so that is causing a division. Lots and lots of division in our movement. Hard, bad division... And that has resulted in a splintering and factioning of the movement that I have never seen before and none of us have.

In other words, we're in a bad situation and it's getting worse.[3]

Numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead/dying" (see: Decline of the atheist movement)[4]

The atheist James Croft wrote about American atheism:

...something has happened to organized secularism, such that its priorities and population have rapidly changed. Today, there is a deepening rift between two wings of the movement, and the changes in Skepticon demonstrate this perfectly. The new rift in the secular community, it seems to me, parallels one deepening in the culture at large: it is between those who are on board with contemporary social justice culture, and those who are not.

In the community of skeptics, this rift is filled with lava: there is an incredibly intense animosity between those on different sides, and the divide seems impossible to cross.[5]

Richard Dawkins
The new atheist Richard Dawkins was at the center of the Elevatorgate controversy. [6]

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."[7]

An ex-atheist wrote: "As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions."[8] See also: Schools of atheist thought

In terms of politics and atheist infighting, there is friction between right-wing atheists (and right of center atheists) and secular leftist. See: Atheism and politics and Western atheism, schisms and political polarization

In 2017, atheist David Smalley has indicated that leftist/progressive atheists were "killing the atheist movement" through being contentious and divisive.[9] Smalley indicated that the atheist movement was disintegrating.[10]

The website Atheism and the City wrote about the 2018 cancellation of the first major atheist conference to be held in New York City:

But none of this is going to happen now because the event has just been canceled. The reasons why are complicated, but it started out difficult enough. The atheist community has splintered into a million shards in recent years. There are the atheist feminists and the atheist anti-feminists, the social justice warrior atheists and the anti-social justice warrior atheists. The pro-PC atheists and the anti-PC atheists. There are pro-Trump atheists and anti pro-Trump atheists. Atheists are split over gamergate, elevatorgate, whether we should organize, or whether we should even call ourselves atheists at all. The divisions go on and on.[11]


Blair Scott about atheist infighting with the atheist movement

See also: Atheist movement and Atheism and anger and Atheism and bitterness and Atheism and emotional problems

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors. Mr. Scott formerly served as a State Director for the American Atheists organization in the state of Alabama. On December 1, 2012 he quit his post as a director of outreach for the American Atheist due to infighting within the American atheist movement.[12]

Mr. Blair wrote: "I have spent the last week mulling over what I want to do at this point in the movement. I’m tired of the in-fighting: at every level. I am especially tired of allowing myself to get sucked into it and engaging in the very behavior that is"[12]

Atheist Neil Carter on the biting and critical nature of atheists

The atheist Neil Carter wrote: "Friends of mine have noted lately how biting and critical the atheist community can be, not only toward outsiders, but even toward its own members. Has there ever been a subculture more prone to eating its own than this one? I really don’t know."[13]

Atheist Eddie Tabash on atheist cantankerousness

See also: Atheism and social skills and Atheism and emotional intelligence and Views on atheists

The American atheist activist Eddie Tabash said in a speech to the Michigan Atheists State Convention, "Since we are a bit of a cantankerous, opinionated lot...".[14]

Atheist PZ Myers on current rifts within the atheist movement

The atheist PZ Myers said about the current rifts in the atheist movement: "So deep and wide we’ve separated into two continents."[15]

Atheist infighting and differences in ideology

See also: Definition of atheism and Atheism and love and Atheism and intolerance

One of the reasons for the disharmony within the atheist community is the inability of most atheists to keep together for a uniform belief. While there are differences within other religions, such as Christianity, other religions' adherents all share a common belief. In the case of Christianity, some of the basic beliefs Christians share is the deity of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Contrastly, atheists are unable to even create a coherent definition of their beliefs.[16] For example, the atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder declared "atheist" movement keeps shooting itself in the foot by failing to reach a consensus regarding the meaning of "atheism."[17][18][19] See: Definition of atheism.

The atheist PZ Myers declared on September 27, 2014, "I will make a prediction, right here and now.... The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink..."[20] See: Desecularization and Decline of global atheism

The atheist and secular leftist PZ Myers, who frequently champions feminism (see also: atheist feminism), wrote in 2016: "We are fractured because there are deep disagreements about how to address serious social issues. Worse, because some people won’t even accept the dehumanization of fellow human beings as something more substantial than ridiculousness."[21]

The American atheist Adam Lee declared:

The atheist community, which once seemed gloriously unified, has become riven in the last few years with ugly fractures and one-step-forward-two-steps-back infighting about what kind of movement we want to be. I’ve lost friends over it, and many of the people I used to idolize have publicly tumbled from their pedestals. Some incomparable friends and activists have burned out or quit the movement in disgust, and each one was a loss I felt keenly.[22]

The atheist David Smalley said about the atheist movement: "We're eating our own... We’re disintegrating."[23]

Journal of Contemporary Religion on schisms within U.S. atheism

See also: American atheism

The Journal of Contemporary Religion says about schisms within atheism:

The persistence of internal schisms and regular outbreaks of in-fighting within the atheist movement also ensure that much energy is effectively wasted on parochial concerns and further undermine attempts to establish a genuine sense of group cohesion.[24]

The Journal of Contemporary Religion say that internal divisions within the American atheist movement have to do with:

internal divisions within the movement around issues relating to goals, strategies, and direction. These can be seen most notably in debates about the formation of a collective ‘atheist’ identity, in disputes about the effectiveness of confrontationalism and accommodationism, and in concerns about the movement’s ethnic, racial, and gender profile.[24]

See also: Atheism and women and Western atheism and race and Atheism and racism

Atheist Tremblay on lack of atheist unity and the apathy of many atheists

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheism and apathy

In his essay Herding Cats: Why atheism will lose, the atheist Francois Tremblay compared unifying atheists to herding cats.[25]

The atheist Francois Tremblay wrote in his essay Herding Cats: Why atheism will lose:

Atheism, as commonly defined by atheists, expresses a lack of belief, or disbelief, in deities. It is not a positive belief in anything, but a negative concept. That is why atheists, inasmuch as they are atheists, are nothing like a coherent or concerted group. Organizations like American Atheists serve a role of broadcasting information more than anything else, because there cannot be concerted action when nobody agrees on what to do (except of course on direct concerns like the rights of atheists or separation of church and state). Most atheists disagree strongly on whenever atheism should be propagated, or promoted, and on the matter of doing so.

Another problem of atheism qua atheism is that it does not contain its own basis. What I mean by this is that atheism is a punctual, ontological belief, which is itself the implicit or explicit result of metaphysical and epistemological deductions. Any reply to an attack on this basis cannot come directly from atheism. Concentrating oneself only on being an atheist is like trying to build a house from the second floor up. It may look less costly on paper, and for people who only build houses in their imagination this may be a good way of seeing it, but it's not good enough for a serious endeavour. And most importantly, it's too fragile. I see too many religionists attacking atheism from the bottom and atheists being unable to adequately reply to the arguments. If the atheist cannot answer to his most fundamental beliefs on the nature of reality and cognition, then his atheism is worthless in terms of validation. It is nothing more than a big paper tiger, made from the finest cardboard.

One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let's be honest here, "there is no god!" is not a very motivating call for most people.[25]

Donations to atheist organizations are down due to infighting within the atheist movement

See also: Atheism and charity

In 2017, the atheist activist Lee Moore declared:

If you look at the major atheist groups right now, like the national groups, the ones that are doing the real activist work... They are not bringing in the kind of donations they used to. Most of them are starved for cash. They're downsizing left and right. Because people aren't just giving like they used to. And I talked to a lot of the major donors out there and they said, "Well, we're kind of tired of seeing the atheist community just fight amongst itself and not really get anything done. We'd rather not give money if we don't think it's going to go somewhere."[26]

Rift and scandal involving Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

See also: Atheist organizations and scandals and Atheist scandals and Atheism and social skills

In 2023, Mandisa Thomas resigned as a board member of the American Atheists organization amidst being accused of violating Black Nonbelievers’ code of conduct during the group’s annual SeaCon cruise and conference held on a Thanksgiving weekend. [27]

On December 20, 2022, the Religion News Service reported:

The annual SeaCon cruise and conference is meant to be a high point of the year for members of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., a nonprofit that offers community to Black Americans who live “free of religion.”

However, this year’s conference, held from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, has left a rift in the organization, with leaders at most of the group’s local chapters quitting and raising questions about one of the most prominent Black atheists in the country.

In a statement dated Dec. 5, leaders from five chapters — in New York; Detroit; Portland, Ore.; Louisville, Ky.; and Washington, D.C. — said they were cutting ties with Black Nonbelievers and its president, Mandisa Thomas.

The letter mentioned “events that culminated horribly” during the cruise but did not give specifics.

“As leaders, we should take pride in modeling and rewarding the right way to treat people who follow our example,” they wrote. “While certain behaviors may be acceptable even as key goals are met, we conclude that to permit unethical behavior(s) behind the scenes will lead — and is leading — to a loss of good people and reputation for the organization that we love and spent ten years to build.”

Before the letter from chapter leaders was made public, Black Nonbelievers had 8 local chapters, though some were dormant.[28]

On February 1, 2023 the Religious News Service reported in an article entitled American Atheists board members exit, dogged by misconduct allegations:

Two board members of American Atheists, one of the nation’s best-known atheist advocacy organizations, resigned in the past month after ethical concerns were raised about their actions at conferences for nonbelievers.

Mandisa Thomas, president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., gave up her seat on the board of American Atheists on on Jan. 11, weeks after she was accused of violating Black Nonbelievers’ code of conduct during the group’s annual SeaCon cruise and conference held Thanksgiving weekend.

After the allegations became public, Thomas told Religion News Service that she had mishandled a “personal situation” during the conference and had apologized.[29]

Atheism and racism

See also: Atheism and racism and East Asia, China, atheism and racism and Western atheism and race

There is a significant amount of racism within the atheist population (see: Atheism and racism). This also holds true for atheists in the Western World as well (see: Western atheism and race).

Atheists and conflict resolution

See: Atheists and conflict resolution

Poor international cooperation among atheists

See also: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists

In recent years, international cooperation among atheists has been low (see: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists).

Atheism and unforgiveness

See also: Atheism and forgiveness

As adults, children who attended religious services regularly are 87 percent more likely to possess high levels of forgiveness and are also 47 percent more likely to have a high sense of mission and purpose.[30]

On the other hand, the atheistic worldview provides no basis for forgiveness (see: Atheism and forgiveness).

Prominent atheists and arrogance

See also: Atheism and arrogance and Atheism and leadership and Atheism and intolerance

Atheist PZ Myers wrote:

But see, this is why the atheist movement can’t have leaders. The ones we’ve got, informally, all seem to think they’re like gods and popes, infallible and unquestionable, and that normal, healthy, productive criticism within the movement is all a conspiracy to dethrone them."[31]

John W. Loftus, one of the more prominent atheists in the atheist community, cites John Draper (a Canadian atheist blogger), saying about prominent atheist PZ Myers: "According to PZ you either agree with him or you are the scum of the earth. If anyone is giving atheists a bad reputation it's PZ - he shows no tolerance or respect for anyone other than himself."[32]

Prominent atheists, misogyny and narcissism

See also: Atheism and women and Atheism and sexism and Atheism and rape

James Randi is a leader within the atheist community. Brian Thompson, former James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Outreach Coordinator, wrote:

But I no longer identify with this community of benevolent know-it-alls, because not all of them are the best folks in the world. In fact, a good percentage of the top ten worst humans I’ve ever met are prominent members of the skeptics’ club. They’re dishonest, mean-spirited, narcissistic, misogynistic. Pick a personality flaw, and I can probably point you to someone who epitomizes it. And that person has probably had a speaking slot at a major skeptical conference.

I grew particularly disgusted with the boys’ club attitude I saw among skeptical leaders and luminaries. The kind of attitude that’s dismissive of women, sexually predatory, and downright gross. When I first started going to skeptical conferences as a fresh-faced know-it-all, I started hearing things about people I once admired. Then I started seeing things myself. Then I got a job with the JREF, and the pattern continued.[33]

Atheist activist Lee Moore on atheists and self-centeredness and being egocentrical

The atheist activist Lee Moore said about the future of the atheist movement and its significant issues with in-fighting, "We're all kind of like self-centered and egocentrical atheists."[34] See also: Atheism and social skills

In 2017, the atheist activist Lee Moore declared about American atheist organizations:

If you look at the major atheist groups right now, like the national groups, the ones that are doing the real activist work... They are not bringing in the kind of donations they used to. Most of them are starved for cash. They're downsizing left and right. Because people aren't just giving like they used to. And I talked to a lot of the major donors out there and they said, "Well, we're kind of tired of seeing the atheist community just fight amongst itself and not really get anything done. We'd rather not give money if we don't think it's going to go somewhere."[35]

Elevatorgate, feminism and conflict between atheist men and women

See also: Atheism and women and Atheism and the Me Too Movement and Atheism and love

Elevatorgate is a term commonly used to describe a scandal involving new atheist Richard Dawkins' inappropriate comments made to fellow atheist Rebecca Watson. In July 2011, Richard Dawkins was widely criticized within the atheist community and in various press outlets for his insensitive comments made to atheist Rebecca Watson about an incident which occurred in an elevator (see: Richard Dawkins' Elevatorgate comments).[36]

According to Watson atheist women are often punished for being outspoken - particularly when they speak about feminism.[37] In August 2013, Watson said the harassment she received from male atheists skyrocketed after Elevatorgate.[37] Furthermore, she said she still receives harassment from male fans of Richard Dawkins.[37]

Rebecca Watson declares she gets regular rape threats post Elevatorgate

See also: Atheism and rape

Rebecca Watson claimed:

Hundreds of atheists have informed me that either they wanted to rape me, someone should rape me so that I will loosen up or that no one would ever rape me because I am so ugly".[38]

In addition, Watson declared: "It get regular rape threats. I get regular rape and murder threats".[39]

For more information please see: Atheism and rape

Greg Laden and Thunderf00t's removal from

Thunderf00t (Phil Mason)

The atheist Thunderf00t is the most popular evolutionist at YouTube.

On July 1, 2012, atheist Ed Brayton wrote about Thunderf00t's banning from Freethought Blogs:

As many of you are no doubt aware, there’s been a lot of strife in this community lately. Some of it has been in public, some of it was in private and some of it may well go from being private to public as a result of all of this. So let me give you the news and clear the air:

We are parting company with two of our bloggers: Thunderf00t and Greg Laden. We wish them both the best but, unfortunately, their behavior towards other members of the community has made it impossible to keep them as part of our network. This is not a matter of a disagreement or difference of opinion, but of behavior that we cannot condone or support.

None of this is a reflection on the worth of the many contributions that both of these people have made to the atheist cause. I hope and am confident that they will both continue to offer a lot of good things to this community.[40]

The matter which appeared to spark the contention was how to properly deal with the significant amount of misogny within the atheist community (see: Atheism and women and Women's views of Richard Dawkins and Atheist leaders and immoral relationships).[41][42][43][44]

Thunderf00t's removal from Freethought Blogs exemplified PZ Myers's unwillingness to intellectually engage his opponents and his lack of integrity.[45]

Rebecca Watson response to Thunderf00t and his fans

See also: Atheism and women and Rebecca Watson and Thunderf00t factions of atheism

On July 1, 2012 Rebecca Watson wrote post Elevatorgate controversy:

Skepchick has been exposed for what it is: a totalitarian Nazi clique who created an anti-harassment policy specifically so that men could harass women in bars and Muslim could force us to wear burqas. I know it’s true because noted atheist intellectuals Paula Kirby and Thunderf00t said so!

I debated whether or not to write about this because the recent insults about Skepchick have been so self-evidently ignorant and wrong that I felt it would look like we were picking on tiny, angry babies. And no one likes to see that. I’m relenting only because the sheer amount and absurdity of the insults have reached a level that cannot be ignored, like a large mob of angry babies brandishing pacifiers and blankies as weapons.[46]

Matt Dillahunty on the events surrounding Thunderf00t's removal from FreeThought Blogs

According to the atheist Matt Dillahunty Thunderf00t acted dishonestly and inappropriately subsequent to his removal from Freethought Blogs and he had "gone off the deep end".[47]

Thunderf00t's October 2014 commentary on Freethought Blogs

In October 2014, the popular YouTube atheist Thunderf00t indicated that the bloggers at Freethought Blogs (Freethought Blogs is the most popular atheist blogging community) accidentally put him on their email list and that they spend a considerable amount of time emailing each other engaging in petty matters. In fact, he indicated that they spent more time emailing each other than engaged in actual blogging. He also questioned the impact of the bloggers of Freethought Blogs on social justice.[48] Furthermore, he indicated that their attempt to make him a pariah within the atheist community had virtually no impact.[48]

He also indicated that the accomplishments of Rebecca Watson are very thin and that she promotes feminism in an offensive manner.[48]

In addition, Thunderf00t commented on how Jen McCreight, the founder of the atheist feminist movement Atheism plus abandoned her movement within two weeks. And how Richard Carrier "the intellectual artillery" of the movement, quit promoting the movement within a month.[48]

Progressive atheists vs. non-progressive atheists

See also: Western atheism, schisms and political polarization and SJW atheists

Post Elevatorgate, there has been increased conflict between atheists who espouse political progressivism (feminism, identity politics, multiculturalism) and atheists who disagree with all or part of political progressivism.

In 2016, the atheist Martin Hughes wrote:

I’ve been hearing, time and again, that discussions on social justice are breaking up the atheist “community.” Most recently, fellow Patheos blogger David Smalley of Dogma Debate wrote a blog post saying that the disagreements we keep having are killing the atheist movement, but he’s hardly the first one to say this. Different people have been protesting this for years...

There’s a rift being created across the Western atheist community...

This rift hasn’t diminished. It’s deepening into a wider and wider chasm...

This story has created a large category of purists who try to “protect” atheism from feminists, people intent on fighting racism... - basically anyone who threatens to, in their view, use marginalized people to control individuals in the atheism movement.

We’re really starting to hate each other, which leads to us attacking each other more, which leads to the atheist movement becoming less and less about attacking religion, and more and more about whether you’re a social justice advocate or an anti-SJW in the atheist arena.

We’re not showing any signs of agreeing with each other. Keeping us in the same atheist movement is going to continue this tug of war.[49]

The sociologist Stephen LeDrew declared about the new atheists:

As I got to know these thinkers better, I began to see some of their ideas as quite dangerous—such as the intolerance they have for cultural diversity and some seeds of social Darwinism. So part of the motivation for it was that I think atheism can do much better than people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.[50]

The new atheist Richard Dawkins and other new atheists are criticized by feminists or those who accuse them of Islamophobia (see: Richard Dawkins and Islamophobia accusations and Atheism vs. Islam).

Christopher Hitchens was one of the founders of the New Atheism movement.

Thunderf00t maintains that atheist feminists killed the New Atheism movement.[51] In addition, he maintains that social progressives control the agenda at atheist conferences/events and as a result the events are sparsely attended.[51][52] YouTube atheist TheAmazingAtheist is also very critical of feminists/progressives.

In 2015, the atheist author Joshua Kelly wrote:

...since the death of Hitchens: angry atheism lost its most charismatic champion. Call it what you like: New Atheism, fire-brand atheism, etc., had a surge with the Four Horsemen in the middle of the last decade and in the last four years has generally peetered out to a kind that is more docile, politically correct, and even apologetic.[53]

At Splice Today, Dylan Green wrote about the Mythcon 2017 Conference and the atheist movement: "If there’s a point in time where atheism’s cold war of progressive versus reactionary flavors came into being, it would be the day when Mythcon was held."[54] At Mythcon 2017, Carl Benjamin and other anti-progressive YouTube atheists spoke which upset many progressive atheists.[55][56]

Shortly after the conference, the progressive atheist PZ Myers wrote a blog post entitled Time to nuke the fault line and split the rift deeper[57]

Atheist video entitled Questions White Men Have For SJWs

See also: YouTube atheism

On July 11, 2016, the white, male, atheist YouTube channels TheAmazingAtheist, Sargon of Akkad, Undoomed, Armoured Skeptic, Atheism is Unstoppable, Kraut and Tea, Chris Ray Run, Anthony Fantano, Mr. Repzion, Cult of Dusty came out with a video entitled Questions White Men Have For SJWs.[58]

In response to the video, PZ Myers wrote a dissenting response blog post at Freethought Blogs.[59]

Infighting within the Secular Humanism faction of atheism

See also: Atheism, social justice and hypocrisy

Paul Kurtz was an atheist philosopher who formerly taught at the State University of NY at Buffalo. Kurtz is considered by some to be the founder the secular humanism movement.[60] In addition, he also founded the organization the Center for Inquiry which focuses on promoting secular humanism. In 2009, Dr. Kurtz experienced the humiliation of being stripped of his leadership position at the Center for Inquiry.[61]

In 2009 and a few years afterward, there was an ideological struggle within the 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 disagree with Kurtz.[61]

Richard Dawkins is a prominent new atheist. In 2015, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and Center for Inquiry merged (The black atheist Sikivu Hutchinson indicated that the boards of both organization were all white and the new organization is not committed to racial diversity).[62]

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 oneVideo - Part 2 During the exchange Ron Lindsay said that infighting has been occurring within the Secular Humanism faction of atheism for years.[63] 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).[64] 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.[64] 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.[64]

Dr. Kurtz described the events surrounding the loss of his leadership position as a "shattering blow".[61]

Schism within the Sunday Assembly atheist church movement

British atheist Sanderson Jones

See also: Sunday Assembly and Atheists and church attendance

The Sunday Assembly atheist church movement was founded in 2013 by the secular humanists and comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones.[65] In 2014, it was reported that there was a schism in the movement as far as whether or not they should use the word "atheist" in their movement and/or whether they should just cater to atheists.[65]

Dr. Sam Harris is one of the founders of the New Atheism movement. Sam Harris is quite aware of the stigma surrounding atheism and has even advocated that atheists no longer call themselves atheists.[66] In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[66][67]

Decline of the Sunday Assembly movement

See also: Decline of the atheist movement

The Atlantic reported about the Sunday Assembly movement:

Sunday Assembly has reported a significant loss in total attendees over the past few years—from about 5,000 monthly attendees in 2016 to about 3,500 in 2018. The number of chapters is down from 70 three years ago to about 40 this year.[68]

Racial minority atheists vs. prominent, white atheist lead organizations

See also: Western atheism and race and Atheism and leadership

Atheist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote:

The recent merger of the secular organization Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Richard Dawkins Foundation (RDF) has been dubbed atheism's supergroup moment. Acknowledging the two organizations' outsized presence in the atheist world, Religion News Service acidly declared it a "royal wedding". The partnership, which gives Richard Dawkins a seat on the CFI board, smacks of a vindication of Dawkins' toxic, reactionary brand of damn-all-them-culturally-backward-Western-values-hating- Muslims New Atheism. As one of the most prominent global secular organizations, CFI's all-white board looks right at home with RDF's lily white board and staff.

Meanwhile, atheists and humanists of color have been going against the white grain to address issues that much of organized atheism and humanism are resistant if not outright hostile to.[62]

The secular humanist document Human Manifesto II, which was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, decried racism and it declared:

The beginnings of police states, even in democratic societies, widespread government espionage, and other abuses of power by military, political, and industrial elites, and the continuance of unyielding racism, all present a different and difficult social outlook. In various societies, the demands of women and minority groups for equal rights effectively challenge our generation.[69]

Atheist modernists vs. atheist postmodernists

See also: Atheism and postmodernism

Postmodernism is an antichristian,[70] far-left, 20th century worldview and academic movement characterized by denial of objective truth, and which asserts that assertions of objective knowledge are essentially impossible.

The Christian apologist Norman Geisler wrote about postmodernism: "In short, the root of Post-modernism is atheism and the fruit of it is relativism — relativism in every area of life and thought."[71] Furthermore, Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel note in their book Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews that "The British Broadcasting Corporation actually lists postmodernism as a subset of atheism."[72]

As far as schools of atheist thought, there are atheists who subscribe to modernism and atheists who subscribe to postmodernism.[73] Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Novella, are critical of postmodernism.[74][75]

Atheists infighting is making the atheist community unappealing to many

The new atheist Sam Harris said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."(see also: Distrust of atheists)[66][76]

Various attempts have been made to rebrand the public's view on atheists and atheism, but they have been unsuccessful. See: Attempts to positively rebrand atheism

The significant amount of unpleasant personalities within the atheist population and the resulting amount of atheist infighting has made atheist community unattractive to many people who are looking for a sense of community and/or a common cause (see: Views on atheists and Atheism and morality).[77][78]

For more information please see: Unattractiveness of atheism and Hopelessness of atheism

Atheists as a population filled with many socially challenged individuals


Atheist blogger David Smalley on the fractured atheist movement

The atheist blogger David Smalley wrote in post entitled What's killing the atheist movement:

When our “friends” on Facebook or Twitter make a comment that we find offensive or absurd, we are so quick to disown them and “take a public stand” immediately, that we’re fracturing our movement into a thousand tiny micro groups that will be useless against the larger powers we’re collectively fighting...

...where’s our Humanism? Where are the private and personal phone calls to work things out? Where’s our love for humanity,,

when you don’t like someone’s opinion of a certain issue,,,you decide to attack his or her appearance, disability, weight, or anything else that may be a struggle for them, you’re being a bully, even if you think they were a bully first.

You may justify it that way. But the rest of us still see that as bullying, when you had the power to do something productive.

And that doesn’t lead to progress. It only leads to more fighting, smaller groups, and a more ineffective atheist movement for the greater good.,,,

Why are we so quick to look for signs, to see what side of an issue a person is on so that we know whether or not to publicly disavow him or her? What happened to looking at the humans behind the comments to see what’s fueling the rage, or misinformation?[79]

Lack of sound atheist leadership

See also: Atheism and leadership

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins (photo by Shane Pope, Title: Richard Dawkins, obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

The leadership status of prominent atheists/agnostics in the secular community at this present juncture is increasingly transient due to atheist infighting, the significant amount of unpleasant personalities within the atheist population, the New Atheism failing, the decline of liberal media market share, a loss of confidence within the atheist community, the decline of global atheism and the secularization rate being zero in former areas of influence such as Protestant Europe and France. (see: Decline of atheism).[77]

A recent example of the atheist movement lacking sound leadership is Richard Dawkins' loss of influence in the atheist community post subsequent to the Elevatorgate controversy (see: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence). Another example of this is Paul Kurtz, the father of secular humanism, who left no legacy.[80]

A significant portion of atheists believe an atheist movement and atheist leadership is pointless. In short, they see no point to organized atheism or organized religion.

The British academic and agnostic Eric Kaufmann recently wrote, "Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence."[81]

Using academic studies, survey data and other information, supporters of the Question evolution! campaign maintain that there is a lack of sound leadership within the agnostic/atheist and evolutionist communities in dealing with the global decline of atheism and agnosticism.


Cultish characteristics of the New Atheism movement and other atheist movements

Please see:

UK study finds atheists widely distrusted - even among themselves

See also: Distrust of atheists and Atheism and culture

In 2015, the Christian Post reported in a story entitled "Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds":

Distrust of atheists is "deeply and culturally ingrained" among people, and even many atheists are not able to trust each other, according to a new study carried out by the psychology department at Nottingham Trent University in England.

Published in the International Journal for The Psychology of Religion, the study, "The Robustness of Anti-Atheist Prejudice as Measured by Way of Cognitive Errors," was conducted with 100 participants from the U.K. ....

The study shows that "anti-atheist prejudice is not confined either to dominantly religious countries or to religious individuals, but rather appears to be a robust judgment about atheists."[82]

The Independent reports about the participants of the study:

Professor Leah Giddings and Thomas Dunn led the study with 100 online participants from the United Kingdom, 70 of whom were women and whose average age was 21.

A total of 43 per cent of the contributors were atheist, 33 per cent were Christian and the remainder belonged to other faiths.[83]

Global decline of atheism and the resurgence of religion

See also: Global atheism and Decline of atheism and Global Christianity

Populations which have a lot contentious individuals and disharmony often see a decline or little growth and an unpromising future. In addition, they often have low morale (see: Atheism movement's dampened expectations).

Watoto Children's Choir, Uganda. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[84] See: Global Christianity

On March 15, 2024, Frontier Partners International reported concerning global atheism: "Simultaneously, atheism, which once saw a peak around 1970 with 165 million adherents, is on the decline. The current growth trend for atheism is -0.12 percent, with their number falling from 147 million in 2020 to 146 million in 2024."[85] See also: Desecularization and Global atheism statistics

On December 23, 2012, Professor Eric Kaufmann who teaches at Birbeck College, University of London wrote:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. [86]

Atheist infighting, pessimism and the atheist movement

Frequently, when organizations face challenges that they fail to prevail over, bickering/disharmony occurs within them.

The atheist movement saw a number of setbacks during the latter portion of the 20th century and beyond in terms of historical events/trends. As a result, it has lost a considerable amount of confidence (see: Atheists and the endurance of religion and Decline of the atheist movement).

See also


External links


  1. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  2. I don’t even know what’s going on in atheism anymore by PZ Myers
  3. David Silverman - How the Mighty Get Back Up
  4. Skepticon: the rifts are full of lava! by PZ Myers
  5. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul
  6. An atheist new world order? Is the Rational Response Squad making an attempt?
  7. Reasonably Controversial: How the Regressive Left Is Killing the Atheist Movement by David Smalley
  8. Reasonably Controversial: How the Regressive Left Is Killing the Atheist Movement by David Smalley
  9. The Atheist Conference is Dead
  10. 12.0 12.1 Former 2012 web page at website entitled "An Open Letter from Blair Scott"
  11. It’s Past Time for Atheism to Grow Up by Neil Carter
  12. Atheists Speak Up - Eddie Tabash - Part 2 of 4
  13. Get Out! A message for the atheist movement by PZ Myers
  15. Defining Atheism can be a liability Part I by Robert Meyer
  16. Atheism Symbols - Atheist Symbols by Ken Ammon at True Freethinker
  17. Disagreement Among Self-Described Atheists about the Meaning of "Atheism" by Jeffery Jay Lowder
  18. The Atheist Disillusionment by PZ Myers, September 27, 2014
  19. What if the atheist movement needs to die by PZ Myers
  20. Daylight Atheism Is 10 Years Old by Adam Lee
  21. Reasonably Controversial: How the Regressive Left Is Killing the Atheist Movement by David Smalley
  22. 24.0 24.1 Divided We Stand: The Politics of the Atheist Movement in the United States by Steven KettellJournal of Contemporary Religion, Volume 29, Issue 3, 2014
  23. 25.0 25.1 Herding Cats: Why atheism will lose by Francois Tremblay
  24. [ Lee Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement - video quote comes 21 minutes and 13 seconds into the video
  25. American Atheists board members exit, dogged by misconduct allegations, Religious News Service 2023
  26. Black atheist leaders quit Black Nonbelievers over alleged misconduct by president
  27. American Atheists board members exit, dogged by misconduct allegations, Religious News Service 2023
  28. How to Help Prevent Your Child from Becoming an Atheist by Joe Carter
  29. The delicate ego of Mr Michael Shermer by PZ Myers, 16 January 2013
  30. Can PZ Myers Change His Ways? Should He? By John W. Loftus at 7/30/2012
  31. Myers, P. Z. (March 31, 2014). "When will this situation improve?".
  32. Lee Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement, quote comes 29 minute and 24 seconds into the video
  33. Lee Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement, - video quote comes 21 minutes and 13 seconds into the video
  34. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Calling All Female Atheists - Huffington Post - video
  35. PZ Myers and the Art of Shameless Dishonesty
  36. FreeThoughtBlogs and PZ Myers
  37. Major changes at freethoughtblogs - Ed Brayton
  38. Thunderf00t, check your email - PZ Myers
  39. Thunderf00t on how to handle misogny in the atheist community
  40. SkepchickCON and the Harassment LOL-icy
  41. Is it ‘Freethoughtblogs’ or ‘Group-think-blogs’?
  42. FreeFascistThoughtBlogs
  43. Hot Gossip: We’re All Burqa-wearing Nazis
  44. Regarding Thunderf00t, FTB, harassment and privacy
  45. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 Atheism+ Stream: How SJWs pushed their way into Atheism
  46. The Atheist “Movement” Needs A Divorce by Martin Hughes
  47. Sociologist Stephen LeDrew on the Rift in the Atheism Movement
  48. 51.0 51.1 How Feminism destroyed New Atheism! by Thunderf00t
  49. #ReasonRally Crash n burn. Thanks SJWs!
  50. Uproar Against Dawkins Is Sign of New Atheism Retrogression by Joshua Kelly
  51. The Post-Mythcon Crossroads of Atheism by Dylan Greene
  52. The Post-Mythcon Crossroads of Atheism by Dylan Greene
  53. Chaos during Social Justice and Feminism Debate at Milwaukee Atheism Conference
  54. [ Time to nuke the fault line and split the rift deeper, PZ Myers
  55. Questions White Men Have For SJWs which obtained over 700,000 views at YouTube by September of 2016.
  56. What if the atheist a**weasels of YouTube got together and made a video? by PZ Myers
  57. The New Atheism and Secular Humanism. Center for Inquiry. 19 October 2009. "Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo."
  58. 61.0 61.1 61.2 Redirecting a Long Life of Godlessness
  59. 62.0 62.1 #AtheismSoWhite: Atheists of Color Rock Social Justice by Sikivu Hutchinson
  60. Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
  61. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
  62. 65.0 65.1 Atheist Church Split: Sunday Assembly And Godless Revival's 'Denominational Chasm', Huffington Post, 2014
  63. 66.0 66.1 66.2 Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
  64. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  65. They Tried to Start a Church Without God. For a While, It Worked., The Atlantic, 2019
  66. Humanist Manifesto II
  67. John F. MacArthur, "Think Biblically!"
  68. A Response to Philosophical Postmodernism by Norman L. Geisler
  69. Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews By Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel, page 192 (endnote section)
  70. History of Modernism, Miami Dade College
  71. Postmodernism disrobed by Richard Dawkins
  72. Postmodernism – Sophisticated Nonsense by Steven Novella
  73. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  74. 77.0 77.1 Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph, How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet, August 14th, 2013
  75. Atheism cannot replace religion
  76. Atheist blogger: We’re fracturing our movement into a thousand tiny micro groups that will be useless by David Smalley
  77. Paul Kurtz: Another atheist failure who left no legacy
  78. Shall the religious inherit the earth
  79. Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds, Christian Post, 2015
  80. Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds, The Independent, 2015
  81. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  82. Global Christianity surges beyond projections in 2024, • Mar 15, 2024, Frontiers Patners Intertnational, 2024
  83. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013