“Why is the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?” A Fun New Atheist Game

dice and figures
Let’s play a game!

Backstory for the game: A few days ago, I posted a piece here, Eight Atheist Leaders Who Aren’t Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, in which I interviewed eight leaders of atheist organizations, and expressed my frustration with lazy media outlets who decide to examine the burgeoning atheist movement by profiling Dawkins or Harris and calling it a day. (This is frustrating for many reasons: Dawkins and Harris regularly say horribly racist and sexist things, to these media outlets and elsewhere — and even if that weren’t so, it’s an extremely narrow and blinkered view of organized atheism.)

The other day, I got this comment in response:

Why is the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda? Shame on you.

[insert sounds of uncontrollable laughter]

For those who didn’t read the piece and thus don’t understand why this is funny: The leaders I profiled head up the following organizations: Grief Beyond Belief, Center for Inquiry, Secular Student Alliance, Foundation Beyond Belief, Camp Quest, Ex-Muslims of North America, Black Nonbelievers, and Recovering From Religion. With one or two possible exceptions, these are some of the most mainstream, most uncontroversial groups in organized atheism. Most of them are community and support organizations — actually, all of them are community and support organizations, although CFI does a lot of other stuff too. I am baffled by the notion that these organizations somehow constitute a leftist hijacking of atheism. (Or I would be baffled, if I thought this person had read the piece past the first paragraph.)

So I want to turn this into a game! To play, answer any or all of these questions:

1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations? Remember that atheism itself cannot be the evil leftist agenda — your answer must be applicable not only for an atheist, but for an atheist who supports the idea of organized atheism enough to not want “atheism” to be “hijacked.”

3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

Answers can be funny, absurdist, imaginative, logical-conclusion-y, or even serious attempts to understand why someone would see these organizations in this way. Extra points (in the point system I make up in my head and probably won’t bother to share with anyone else) for answers that manage to be all of these. If you like, you can find some dice and a game board, and move pieces around in a manner you find pleasing.

Your time starts — now!

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Greta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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“Why is the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?” A Fun New Atheist Game
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28 thoughts on ““Why is the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?” A Fun New Atheist Game

  1. 1

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Because the Right had already called Christianity, and we just couldn’t stomach the thought of being Scientologists. We figured we’d do the Centerists a solid and leave that one for them.

  2. 4

    Putting on the spirit of a former work acquaintance, who was the archetype Talibangelical:

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Atheism and leftism are both doctrines of Satan, so it is no surprise that they would be working together to destroy God’s kingdom.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?

    Atheism itself. Aren’t you listening to what I’m saying?

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    Their true agenda is to undermine God’s Holy Plan. Change your ways, repent and be slathered in the Blood of the Lamb or the ever-loving God will throw you into Hell, where you be tortured for all eternity. Praise Jesus!

  3. 5

    On a more serious note, if you want to actively advance atheism, or reduce the influence of religion, the things that seem to work are things like:
    1) Improving education
    2) Reducing poverty
    3) Making sure people don’t have to depend on a church for their social safety net
    4) Diversity
    All of these are generally thought of as part of the “liberal agenda”. And pretty much all of the leaders in your article express support for one or more of these. So I guess if you’re sufficiently anti-left, any form of organized atheism would look like a left-wing takeover.

  4. 6

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Because religious extremists have hijacked the Right. Or at least that’s my knee-jerk reactionist response. Well, right after, ‘because you’re stupid.’ Which doesn’t help anything. 😉

  5. 7

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Because everyone knows the way to make something really popular and accepted by everyone is to associate it with atheism (in the USA at least).

  6. 8

    1) The Left is hijacking atheism becasue as the atheist qua identity movement has taken off, those of us who are not awful people on the balance noticed exactly how many atheists are actively – sometimes gleefully – contributing to the marginalization or oppression of undeserving* groups of people, and we quickly concluded that a lack of belief in gods alone was not enough to help ourselves or others, so we started advocating for a pro-social godless worldview and policy to go along with it.

    2) Ever focusing on the needs of people who aren’t the questioner is the evil Leftist agenda being advanced by those organizations.

    3) The original, true atheist agenda was helping privileged narcissists feel intellectually and morally superior to everyone else. The Secular Policy Institute and James Randi Educational Foundation are two examples of organizations hawking it.

    *Some ideas and behaviors are unacceptable, and the people advocating them, as well as the ideas underlying them, should indeed be relegated to marginal positions in our society, and the agency of those who would use it to aggress against others should be restricted

  7. 9

    1)Because of the multi-intersectional nature of the exploitative practices of organized religion that seep into economic policy, politics, blogs, and Reddit, leftist femnazi pinkos social justice wannabies (informally known as liberals) see athiesm as the ideal mainstream and popular platform to take over out of pure spite.

    2) The agenda is to force all athiests into a singular hivemind organism with tendrils that reach into every orifice of daily and professional live so that every waking and uncsious though it regulated by the Secret Masters in order to bring in great and unfathomable wealth from opinion blogs. This organism is most often identified as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FTB for short.

    Each of these organization is a Noodly Appendage, as made clear by their benign and wholesome appearance. Also, they probably send people to cons.

    3)The end goal is to gather support and funds to create a great restructuring of various oppressive social and political systems that exist today, under than banner of freethought and thought control. Success can be measured by the freedom of anyone to live healthy and satisfying lives, government and religion to be seperated, all men castrated at birth, and all to desire only what is best for the FTB.

    (For those with difficulty with reading comprehension, this was an attempt to get all extra points).

  8. 10

    Oh darn, I bollixed up the third question (and had many terrible typos, but oh well). Let me try that again.

    3) The best exemplars of True Atheism are those that demonstrably have support among the majority of atheists and best exemplify True Atheism Ideals. Thus they should be organizations that are large but have a platform limited to only the most important issues- making sure no one believes a god and having the most absolutely frozen peaches. These organizations are rightly guided by the principle of any discussion of other topics are horrible, crippling distractions that allow Muslims to sharia us and thaw peaches. Example of such sterling torchbearers of True Atheism are the Richard Dawkins Foundation and Pat Condell’s YouTube channel comments.

  9. 11

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    I think that’s the ‘One Twue Aphiest Agenda!’ Something to do with unlimited concealed hand-gun carry, tax cuts for the rich, free pass for polluters (err…’job creators’) and letting the ‘looters’—or anyone else with the bad grace to be poor—die over the winter each year.

    It keeps coming back to the Libertarian, Randroid, teenage boy asshole edge of supposed ‘atheism.’ We don’t have too much trouble anymore with Stalinists ‘marx-splaining’ why Lysenko was right, or the Ukraine Famine didn’t happen. But the bubble-dwelling dickheads are thick on the ground.

    Should I have a trigger warning for speech defects?

  10. 12

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    I’m going to go with atheism’s lack of pre-flight security screenings or armed air marshals. Let’s face it, atheism was a sitting duck.

    Joking aside, it’s kind of true. Atheism is open to thinkers and thinkers tend to be, well, thoughtful. The thoughtfulness, depending on other influences in your life, can lead you to different answers or ideals but it will lead you somewhere. I’m not any more surprised that there are left-wing activists in atheism than I am surprised that their are right-wing nutjobs.*

    Also, in the west for the last 40 yrs or so, the right (even libertarians) has been associated with religion so atheism (or humanism) is the purview of the left.

    *I’ll leave it to you to decide which I identify with.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?

    Um. Making the world a better place? Equity? Justice? Fairness? Getting people to understand that a level playing field doesn’t mean anything when one team got to set the rules and hire the officials?

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    Dictionary atheism, I guess. There is no evidence for the existence of God so we should strive to have him struck from the public discourse at the very least and preferably from private discourse as well.

  11. 13

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?
    Because the left hates freedom.
    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?
    Unexceptionalism.
    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?
    Libertarianism … seriously 2:1 odds I’m totally right on that.

  12. 14

    1) Because hijacking isms with our agenda is what we do!

    2) Social support groups, secular public policy, atheist media outreach, organising atheist charity events, supporting science-based medicine, climate change awareness, reproductive health education, support for marriage equality, calling out bigotry of all stripes, tolerance of diversity!

    3) The rugged individualism of the Atheist Going His Own Way – no gods, no leaders, no taxes, no government, with good old traditional family values, like I said one man, one penis, one vote, close the churches! Freedom of speech to say my mind: religion is a mental illness! Feminism is worse than religion, it’s nazism, women should know their place and those damn mooslems better show some respect or we’ll bomb them to the ground. And none of this namby pamby rainbow stuff: my dictionary doesn’t say atheists have to be gay! So I can say two guys kissing is gross, because it is! And science? It shows how less intelligent and capable the blacks and women are! Science for the Win! USA! USA! For God and country! Oh wait.

  13. 15

    Oh, it just occurred to me that a simpler, one-word answer to all three questions, that is guaranteed to piss off the right-wing atheist is:
    Atheism+

  14. 16

    1) It’s one of the fastest-growing demographics — if you include all those so-called ‘nones’ who don’t have the courage to embrace true atheism.
    2) Inclusivity and community — they’re ruining us! Just look at all the women, blacks, ex-Muslims, ex-Mormons, ex-Jews etc. ad naus. who keep reaching out to the delusional believers, and wanting to go to Sunday Assembly ffs!
    3) Destroying religion, of course — what other agenda could there be?!!

  15. 17

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?
    I could tell you, but then I’d have to keep your head in my safe.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?
    See the answer to #1. You do want to keep your head out of my safe, right?

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?
    To strangle the last king in the entrails of the last priest. This has always been the One True Agenda of every true atheist organization.

  16. 18

    More seriously, my best guess would be that that comment’s author is someone from the nasty side of the Deep Rifts.
     
    Why is the Left hijacking atheism? Because Atheism is Good, and destroying all that is Good is what the Left does.
     
    What is the evil Leftist agenda being promoted? Destroying all that is Good in America, of course. There is no sexism or racism in America, and there certainly isn’t anything like a “class war” in this great nation of ours, after all. Since the “remedies” proposed by the people and organizations who purport to fight against sexism/etc are all about penalizing innocent White people, innocent men, and innocent rich people, it follows that the true agenda of these people and organizations must be to destroy all that is Good in America.
     
    What is the One True Atheist Agenda?
    Removing any and all signifiers of religion from public discourse. This is not any kind of political goal; rather, it is simply common sense and dispassionate logic.

  17. 19

    Why the Left is hijacking atheism.
    An essay by Athywren, age 29 1/2, class 4B

    The Left is hijacking atheism in order to destroy America, the greatest nation on the earth. “No affiliation” is the fastest growing religious group in the western world, and that means atheism (because what else could it possibly mean but atheism?) has almost Won (seriously, go look up statistics). The Left, being a parasitic cancer which was never involved with atheism until a silly woman got in an elevator in foreignistan and had opinions about what happened there, is trying to infect atheism with irrational things like respect and consideration for “other people” (who we all know don’t really exist anyway) and well-considered ethical frameworks (which are definitely religious in nature and therefore evil) so it can Win vicariously through our Victory and thus destroy America.

    The True Atheist Position is that I worked out that God Does Not Exist, therefore I am smart and right about Things, which means that if you disagree with me about a Thing, then you are wrong and irrational and Hitler. This is also true if you attempt to criticise my facts about a Thing, because I am right and cannot be irrational and so I am right and you are wrong and irrational and Hitler to criticise my Logic. It is a true Thing that feminism is a nazi, because I once read a few words by Andrea (Hitler) Dworkin that was in the middle of a very long and confusing book with long and confusing sentences that I didn’t need to read which said that sex is bad, but sex is always good because I think so and I am right about Things. And anyway, if it wasn’t good then she was lying and clearly a feminist plant to destroy Men and America. It is also a true thing that those scary dark people are inferior, because I have a chart that says they have small brains, and charts are always true Things. Another true Thing is that I am right about Things – this is true because I am right about other Things, and if you’re right about other Things, then you’re right about Things. I mean, that’s just Logic, isn’t it?*

    And that’s why the Left is an Evil Heresy against atheism and America.

  18. 20

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Because the Christians are liable to say “Jesus take the wheel” and try to shoot at us as the car careens off the edge of a cliff. In other words, you can think you’ve hijacked a religious movement, but generally all that does is stick you in the same vehicle as they inevitably crash. See the Republican Party.

    Also it could be that atheists tend to be disproportionately successful – dominating in academia, media, and business.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?

    I don’t know about you, but I heard there was going to be cake. This is clearly evil, because the sugar will cause tooth decay.

    That and creating a non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic society where social mobility is maintained such that there is never someone so rich that there are no consequences for them if they screw up horribly, and nobody so poor that the slightest error leaves them homeless in winter.

    A society where the poor can have second chances – and taking a chance actually means something for the rich. This is also obviously evil, because taxes or something.

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    To develop genetic engineering to the point where everyone can have their own real live Rainbow Dash.

    Also, to basically sit around patting ourselves on the back all day for how smart we were not to believe there is a magic man in the sky who created everyone so he could lovingly burn most of us in a lake of fire, because a rib woman who didn’t know the difference between right or wrong listened when a talking snake suggested she get more fruit in her diet.

  19. 21

    [email protected]

    Also it could be that atheists tend to be disproportionately successful – dominating in academia, media, and business.

    That’s rather classist, as well as the wrong way round: being an atheist doesn’t make someone disproportionately likely to dominate, rather successful people who aren’t dependent on the social safety net religions provide have less need for them, and also tend to be better educated and more cosmopolitan and therefore more likely to reject fundamentalist beliefs.

    To develop genetic engineering to the point where everyone can have their own real live Rainbow Dash.

    I never really get this… is that an attack on bronies or something? You’re mocking One True Atheists because they like a feminist and female-empowering cartoon show about the importance of friendship? I’ll never get this twisted logic. And furthermore a real live Rianbow Dash would be amazingly cool, so cool that she might avert global warming by making the Earth 20% cooler.

  20. 23

    1) the rise of “modern” organized atheism (“M”OA) can be directly viewed as a reactionbacklash to the hijacking of the conservative movement /republican party by extremist christian ideologues starting in the late 70’s/early 80’s.
    as such….
    2) much of (“M”OA) and it’s strategies and short term goals have been directly thwarting, or at least trying to thwart, the goals of the conservative movement /republican party.

    There. All answered.

  21. 24

    That’s rather classist, as well as the wrong way round: being an atheist doesn’t make someone disproportionately likely to dominate, rather successful people who aren’t dependent on the social safety net religions provide have less need for them, and also tend to be better educated and more cosmopolitan and therefore more likely to reject fundamentalist beliefs.

    I didn’t say being an atheist makes one disproportionately likely to dominate, I said atheists tend to be disproportionately successful. IE: It is a population with a fair degree of disposable income, as well as specialized skills, who are often well placed to present ideas to society as a whole.

    Whether they dominate in those areas because they’re atheists, or are atheists because of the security provided by their dominance is pretty much irrelevant, the question was:

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    In other words it isn’t why would the left become atheist, but rather why the left would want to hijack atheism.

    I never really get this… is that an attack on bronies or something? You’re mocking One True Atheists because they like a feminist and female-empowering cartoon show about the importance of friendship?

    Who says I wouldn’t want one myself?

  22. 25

    sez Nick Gotts @ July 30, 2015 at 5:49 am:

    To strangle the last king in the entrails of the last priest. – [email protected]

    This is a tricky matter of timing: how could we achieve our goal if the last monarchy is abolished before the last seminary, or vice versa?

    Surely this has been a solved problem since the advent of modern refrigeration technology! Alternately, Lenin’s embalmers might have some useful ideas.

  23. 26

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Well, obviously, because this is a test by the Great Not-God Athe to see if His* followers are sufficiently athy. The libertarian True Atheists are tasked with proving that they are athier than thou, and this way they can prove themselves the athiest.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?

    Forcing, FORCING I tell you, True Atheists to dilute the purity of their movement with the not-sufficiently-athy, those who care more about helping people and improving the world than proving how athy they are to everyone else. And everyone knows that straight white cisgendered men who are affluent and libertarian are the most athy, and atheist women exist primarily to be their cheerleaders and sexual partners on demand. Objecting to this order of things proves one insufficiently athy.

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    The True Agenda is to pursue the teachings of Athe, through His One True Prophet Ayn Rand, and promote a libertarian objectivist worldview. Also, to crow about how much smarter than everyone else the True Atheists are, because being athy means being smart, and rational, and logical, and because they are the athiest, they MUST be those things. Therefor their conclusions are always true and factual and logical and rational and good, and anyone who disagrees is bad and wrong and insufficiently athy. And, of course, liberalism and left-wing ideals are VERY unathy, because those philosophies stress ideals that are opposed by Athe and the Prophet Rand, such as community and altruism and helping the less fortunate. All praise Athe, for He makes sure they are the athiest!

    * Yes, of COURSE Athe is male.

  24. 27

    Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    The only “hijacking” of atheism that I’m aware of is being done by bigots, libertarians, MRAs and other reactionaries. Before they showed up, atheist and liberal agendas seemed pretty congruent to begin with, all the way back to the 19th Century if not earlier. So if you want to talk about “hijacking,” you’re asking the wrong group.

  25. 28

    Ooh, can I be the devil’s half-assed advocate?

    1) Why IS the left hijacking atheism to pass an agenda?

    Because religion left a lot of baggage lying around— racism and sexism are technically separate from religion, but have been justified by religion and vice versa; while it’s technically possible to evict God and still leave his baggage lying around, some atheists think that’s a bad thing.

    2) What exactly, is the evil leftist agenda being promoted by these particular organizations?

    To abolish the privilege I have by being white and male at the same time they abolish the privilege I lack by not being religious. Worse yet, they make the one contingent on the other, making it very difficult for me to be considered equal to the religious while remaining superior to non-white non-male people. This is evil because right and wrong are defined entirely around my own perspective, so anything that inconveniences me by forcing me to not oppress other people is wrong.

    3) If these organizations constitute a leftist hijacking of the One True Atheist Agenda — what is that true agenda, and which organizations do represent it?

    The True™ Atheist Agenda is to end the irrational idea of religion while retaining and supporting irrational ideas that benefit me, Jake Harban, of Whitemaletopia. Remember, atheism JUST means a lack of religion; observing that certain ideas follow logically from the falsehood of religion is not permitted. Do not hijack atheism for your liberal social justice movement— just because God doesn’t exist doesn’t mean Marco Rubio, King Salman, and Pope Francis aren’t speaking with the legitimacy and authority of God when they say women are male property.

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