It is always better to stand for something than to stand for what you are not

Apluslogo-300x300A serious issue with the concept of atheism as a social movement is that the word “atheism” doesn’t actually say anything other than one thing a person doesn’t believe. Not believing in gods (not just the Judeo-Christian God, mind you) doesn’t say much of anything else about a given person. It is certainly true that some atheists have embraced their viewpoint as a means of scoring points in arguments, but that is only one group out of many. Many people seek a broader approach, using reason, critical thinking, and compassion to improve conditions in the world.

Jen McCreight, with the help of some of her readers, has proposed some new branding that explicitly embraces a broader set of concerns. They are calling it Atheism+.

We are…

Atheists plus we care about social justice,

Atheists plus we support women’s rights,

Atheists plus we protest racism,

Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,

Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

It speaks to those of us who see atheism as more than just a lack of belief in god.

For my part, my identity as an atheist hasn’t been defined in negative terms—by what I do not believe—for a long time. I tend to prefer the word “humanist” to describe myself, because at least that offers a positive set of principles. The idea of something like “Atheism+,” despite its slightly kitschy “2.0” feel and an uncomfortable parallel to “Catholicism Wow!,” seems like a big step in the right direction.

Photo credit: Atheism+ logo, via FreeThoughtBlogs.

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