This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists

Another day, another white male atheist stuffed full of himself to bursting, all eager to tell us icky feminists, people of color, LGBTQ folk, and other sundry social justice warrior types that we’re getting smudge marks all over his atheism. It’s pristine! It’s pure! It’s just a dictionary definition! Ewww, stop getting your SJW cooties all over it, yucky! *runs away screaming like the boys we used to chase at recess in the first grade*

Today, it’s Michael Luciano. Tomorrow, it’ll be some other dumbshit waving a dictionary around and pompously declaring atheism a pristine nothing. Well, if you’re the sort who likes to sit around feeling all smug and superior over nothing, fantastic. It’s a big ol’ world full of chairs, and you’re welcome to drag one into the corner and sit there enjoying the fact you played the Wednesday Adaams Game and came up with no for an answer.

Image is two stills from The Adaams Family. The top image has Wednesday standing next to an electric chair, saying, "We can play a game." Bottom image shows her strapping Pugsley into the chair, and saying, "It's called 'IS THERE A GOD?'"

Should you decide to sit in your chair and enjoy your triumph, perhaps gently sneering at churchgoers as they pass by your window, no one will worry a bit about the fact you’re a pathetic specimen of a human being. Seriously. What the hell use are you if all you can do is wave your arms and shout, “The dictionary definition of an atheist is all atheism is!”?

Like Buffy and the Scoobies said, “Where do we go from here?”

Cuz that ain’t it, muffin. That’s like answering a single question on Jeopardy! and then running around the set screaming, “I win! I win! I am better than Ken Jennings and everyone for all time!!!” You look like an absolute jackass, doing that shit in public. Especially when you go beyond the dictionary definition of atheism and start doing things like challenging creationism or public prayer. Where is your dictionary atheism now, buttwart?

Anyway. I could take the Smack-o-Matic down from the wall and administer some loving* correction, but it’s ever so much more fun to watch other people accomplish the job far better than I could. I shall allow them to take it from here.

Image is an orange and white kitty with its head in its paw. Caption says, "Oh, geez... ai splained it elebinty times."

PZ’s gotcher dictionary definition right here:

Here’s a definition for you: “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods”. There is an important word in there: “person”. Atheists are people. These dictionary atheists are always quick to forget that. People have responsibilities to each other, and further, the rejection of religion and the understanding that the universe, and we human beings, lack any kind of grand purpose, shapes the pattern of those responsibilities. You simply cannot pretend that atheism is meaningless outside one philosophical abstraction.

Well, I suppose you can…but then how can you find any reason to even be an atheist?

Heina’s got yer top 5 arguments you’re not allowed to use anymore. Here’s one:

Criticizing Islam based on Muhammad’s marriage to a child, anti-woman sentiments, and proscription of apostasy on pain of death is to use social issues to promote atheism. Pure, true atheists would do well to refrain from such criticisms and instead focus solely on the fact that there is no god. Social arguments are not relevant to believing in no gods.

Avicenna explains why beef is an atheist event:

Let’s say you aren’t all that enthralled by Beef Recipes (That sound you heard was Ed Brayton fainting at the mere thought). But we have a bunch of ex-Hindus for whom beef was a major taboo looking forward to eating beef. Now you may think a Big Mac is hardly an earth shattering meal to be consumed to thumb it’s nose at religion but you know what? A fair few Ex-Hindus look forward to eating it when we can. Hell? Penn wrote about a Jewish fan who was breaking Kosher law when he became an atheist who he took out for pork and shellfish.

So to you a Big Mac may not be an atheist event, but to me it is. And that’s the point of having a more inclusive atheism. You begin to realise that many atheists have different ideas.

But you don’t have to take part. No one’s forcing a gun to your head to eat a damn Big Mac.

Olivia patiently explains it’s a people thing, not a liberal or conservative thing:

Oddly enough, there are still some of us out there who are hoping that atheism and people with a shred of human decency are one and the same, and that’s what we’re appealing to. The people who are saying these things don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re liberal or conservative, but they do care if you are actively pushing them out of your movement, discriminating against them, and essentially treating them like worthless piles of shit. Oddly enough, the desire to be given basic human respect and equality is not associated with any political party. The inherent connection between equality and atheism is that there are people who are atheists who want to be treated equally. In case you haven’t figured out where the atheism comes from yet, it comes from the thousands of atheists who are female, people of color, disabled, queer, or any other minority who want an atheist community that lets them in.

Hank_Says talks about what atheism contains, and varieties of justice:

Atheism might not contain but it certainly strongly implies certain positions on social issues: mostly, that without a religious or supernatural source for morals, ethics, law and societal cohesion, humans have to work those things out themselves and base them on reason.

In the realm of social justice, discrimination against women, LGBT people, people of colour and non-religious people, have many religious justifications. Examined in the absence of those religious justifications, there more or less are no reasonable justifications for such discrimination. This implies that the discrimination, being unreasonable, is therefore unjust. Injustice demands opposition; it demands justice.

Atheists often point to the discrimination they experience at the hands of the religious due to their lack of belief; is opposing that discrimination not a social justice issue? What of keeping classrooms, local councils and other public areas and ceremonies secular, so as not to discriminate against non-believers or non-Christians? Is that not seeking justice?

Ed spells it out for the hard-of-thinking:

It should be entirely obvious that one of the damaging effects of religious belief is the denial of equal rights to women, to gay people and even to racial minorities. In all three cases, discriminatory policies are justified by the religious beliefs that atheist activists fight against. We cannot be effective in countering the negative effect of religion-based public policy (or more broadly, cultural norms and non-political societal structures) if we don’t take up those fights for equality.

And Ophelia sums up the frustration of many of us right here:

I’m so fed up with being any part of a movement that has this ridiculous childish hero-worship thing going on. Guys, get over it.

Listen. You can thump your dictionary all you like, Dictionary Atheist. I’m sure you and the Bible thumpers can have a marvelous time together, seeing who can thump their holy book the hardest. Sit in your chair and enjoy all the nothing you believe in. Heck, you can even rouse yourself enough to go out and try to kick religion out of the public sphere, if you wish (although you’ll need to turn in your dictionary for that – it ain’t in the definition of atheist. Sorry, bro). If you don’t want to go beyond that and be a decent, helpful human being who cares about other people and does your best to make the world better, that’s your business. As Avi said, no one’s forcing you at gunpoint. Most of us can’t even stand guns anyway.

But do, please, get the fuck out of the way of those who give a shit. And don’t wave that dictionary at me. I see it’s the Oxford Unabridged, and I assure you that one more wave will earn you a painful thump over the noggin with it.

Image is a gray cat lying atop a hardcover English dictionary, with a slightly annoyed expression. Caption says, "Do not tempt me, sir."

 

*Actually not loving. I kinda don’t like you.

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This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists
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16 thoughts on “This Pwnage Applies to All Sniveling Dictionary Atheists

  1. 1

    The dictionary atheists leave no room– zero, zip, zilch– for those of us whose atheism was originally and continues to be informed by and intrinsically tied to our feminism, by our anti-racism, our sense of social justice.

    I came to my atheism because of a need to find, and hold on to, that which was true and just and good. Not just about deities, but about humanity. I came to my atheism because I could not stomach the way religious institutions treated me, not some abstract of “women” but my own self, my own sister, my own mom. I came to my atheism for the same goddamned reasons I came to my feminism, yet, when I engage in movement atheism I am supposed to leave my feminism behind? I’m supposed to overlook when movement atheism does the exact same things to me that I left religion to get away from? Yeah, don’t think so. Sorry.

  2. 2

    “And Ophelia sums up the frustration of many of us right here:
    I’m so fed up with being any part of a movement that has this ridiculous childish hero-worship thing going on. Guys, get over it.”

    This would be a fair complaint were it not for the gratuitous “childish”. Hero-worship appears to me to be widespread and not age specific in our culture. If there is evidence that the trait is found primarily in children I would like to see it. If not could we spare our children the iniquitous comparison?

  3. 4

    @2 ludicrous

    ??? Childish means it’s childlike, not that it’s actually done by children. If children do something, that’s not childish because that would be redundant. Of course children act like children.

    You use the word “childish” to refer to adults acting like children.

  4. 5

    Oh boy! Let’s have an argument over the dictionary definition of “childish”!!!

    So much more productive than having an argument over the dictionary definition of “atheism”.

  5. 6

    I wonder how many dictionary atheists know how tightly the American freethought movement in the 19th century was intertwined with women’s issues, suffrage, and antislavery efforts.

    Read Robert Ingersoll. He spelled out the implications of not having a god to fall back on.

  6. 7

    The thing I find particularly annoying about the dictionary atheists is their insistence that everyone be a dictionary atheist. If you want to clutch your disbelief in gods to your bosom and ignore the rest of the world then do so. Just don’t demand the rest of us follow your dogma.

  7. 8

    doublereed @ 4

    “You use the word “childish” to refer to adults acting like children.” You may do that, I do not. I don’t use children in that way.

    In this case, specifically, it is absurd to consider hero-worshiping childish. Name any number of heroes, military, sports, politics, religion, whatever. Who is doing the worshiping? Adults. And yet people who devote a large part of their lives inveighing against sloppy thinking and prejudices will hang the pejorative ‘childish’ on any and all behavior they don’t like. “Childish” is their go to insult when nothing actually pertinent comes to mind. We used to use women, racial minorities and other less powerful groups this way, remember? Why did we quit doing that?

  8. 9

    (I’m copying this because for some reason when I posted it, it appeared out of the time order.)

    doublereed @ 4

    “You use the word “childish” to refer to adults acting like children.”

    You may do that, I do not. I don’t use children in that way.

    In this case, specifically, it is absurd to consider hero-worshiping childish. Name any number of heroes, military, sports, politics, religion, whatever. Who is doing the worshiping? Adults. And yet people who devote a large part of their lives inveighing against sloppy thinking and prejudices will hang the pejorative ‘childish’ on any and all behavior they don’t like. “Childish” is their go to insult when nothing actually pertinent comes to mind. We used to use women, racial minorities and other less powerful groups this way, remember? Why did we quit doing that?

  9. 10

    Thanks for the shout-out Dana!

    There just seems to be such pretense and hypocrisy going on among the kind of dictionary and Establishment atheists who use “social justice warrior” as a pejorative. They’ll rant about mohels biting foreskins, they’ll line up to whack the latest creationist pinata or public manger display and they’ll even chip in some cash when an atheist kid gets kicked out by his god-bothering parents, but mention the mistreatment of women (either societally or specifically by atheists), the male-heavy make-up of the conference circuit or organisational non-responses to harassment and suddenly they don’t want their movement diluted by feminism or taken over by gender issues. In other words, only some social justice issues carry Establishment approval, while others are at best time-wasting peripheral issues, at worst grave threats to the movement. And not only should loyal dictionary atheists not pursue those social justice goals themselves, they should also discourage, ridicule and even abuse those who do.

    They need to realise that if anything’s hurting the “movement”, it’s their rigid orthodoxy. SJWs want to broaden the scope of atheist activism so as to attract more atheists who’ve thus far not been inspired to act. More atheists doing more different kinds of activism means more visibility, more successes and greater social acceptance of the non-believer. Is removing the many and varied stigmas from atheists not a social justice concern? Why then do dictionary/Establishment atheists resist the SJW goal of swelling our ranks and increasing our reach? Do they want atheism to be seen as just some geeky white boys’ club where you snicker at Mohammed’s flying horse, or a real and significant movement of people of all possible ethnicities and genders applying themselves to myriad societal problems?

    If atheism can’t include feminist concerns, why should it ally itself with the LGBT community as it has done repeatedly over the last decade (even to the point of borrowing some of its terminology)? If atheism can’t, as one of its many facets, advocate for gender equality across the board and within atheism itself, why should it criticise the Quiverfulls for turning women’s uteri into assembly lines? And what business do atheists have lambasting the Catholic church’s criminal non-response to decades of institutionalised sexual abuse when the Establishment refuses to display even a basic level of introspection and self-awareness when faced with its own allegations, instead emulating the Vatican’s denials, deflections and defensiveness?

    Finally, I guess what I want to know is this: what self-respecting atheist would want to be in a movement where they can expect to be shouted down and ridiculed because their social justice issue isn’t considered important enough to be approved by the Establishment?

  10. rq
    11

    I suppose I’m a lot like Onamission5, above – I’m not a social justice warrior (yes!) because I’m an atheist, I’m an atheist because I became a social justice warrior (a very quiet one at first, I’ll grant you). Learning about feminism and racism and then realizing that the church was doing a lot to sweep these things away, then realizing that, indeed, god had some very poor opinions on women and people who are not of your own tribe… it was a rather long route, but in the end I realized I’d stopped believing in god for a long while.
    Also, I feel a lot more in common with those people who fight for feminism or against racism, even if they may partake of some rather interesting beliefs on a personal level. My atheism might be a common point with all those dictionary atheists, but it’s about the only one – and sorry-not-sorry, that’s not enough.

  11. 12

    So you’re an dictionary atheist, BFD. It’s what you are doing with the rest of your life that will impress me. The reason that I’m an atheist to repudiate the baggage that comes w/ religion. Why yes I am a SJW, thank you for asking.

    /open letter to A-holes.

  12. 13

    FWIW, I’m with ludicrous re: the near-universal marginalization of children. Once we get racism and sexism (I include marginalizations on the basis of gender identity and sexuality under this banner in the broad sense, as most of them are related to a violation of cultural norms related in some way to ‘biilogical sex’) more-or-less handled in mainstream society/the dominant cultural discourse, I see combating marginalization on the basis of age as the next big project. The opinions, perspectives, desires, etc. of the young are no more automatically invalid than those of any other marginalized group, and it irks me to see otherwise-progressive people continue to slur all children in a way they would never do regarding, say, gay people (if “gay” is unacceptable as a general slur, which it is, why are “childish” and the like okay?). I suggest substituting an actual description of the problematic behavior or attitude – self-absorbed, naive, uncaring, myopic, short-sighted, ignorant, whatever is appropriate – for any slur that involves analogy to a child. Using something like “childish” as a substitute inaccurately and thus unfairly constructs all children as bad in some way, and that’s pretty fucked up.

  13. 14

    Because I have nothing useful to add:

    I see it’s the Oxford Unabridged, and I assure you that one more wave will earn you a painful thump over the noggin with it them.

    Fixed that for you. The condensed version of the OED is three volumes and comes with a magnifier to read the damn near microscopic print. Speaking as a person who’s dropped a boxed set of the condensed OED on his foot, this is no idle threat. It’d be like getting hit with an anvil.

  14. 15

    I dunno, it seems like a stretch somehow to say that “atheist” necessarily entails “logically self-consistent atheistic worldview”. If someone still hangs on to authoritarian supernaturalism, or whatever other religious cruft, yet still doesn’t consciously acknowledge that they’re behaving as if there IS a god…well, maybe they’re bad at being atheists, but some people are bad at being Scotsmen too, yeah?

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