Not that kind of atheist
- Posted by Maryam Namazie
- On July 9, 2012
- 76 Comments
It seems the wonderful PZ Myers considers me a ‘Humanist’ Atheist. In his blog entitled ‘what kind of atheist are you?’ he says my type of atheist has the following strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths: This is the heart of an atheist movement that will endure and grow. Ignore it and we can expect atheism to fade away.
Weaknesses: Pragmatically fickle. If the atheist movement does not address human concerns, they’ll leave and follow institutions that do. Why be an atheist if an inclusive, progressive church were to do a better job? Why be an atheist if we neglect the concerns of women or minorities, or belittle civil rights?
As an aside, the very thought of being labelled a humanist and pragmatist gives me the shivers. I despise pragmatism, and though I have no problems per se with being called a humanist, I feel increasingly uncomfortable with the label given the fact that pragmatism – and not principle – is such a large part of mainstream Humanism. As I’ve said in my recent speech at the fifth anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, pragmatism doesn’t change the world – it maintains the status quo. And we so desperately need to change it.
There is an assumption in the Humanist Atheist label that people like me are in the atheist movement for support and if we don’t get it we will go elsewhere. Even a church (gasp, shudder)!?
The reality is that we don’t have the support we deserve but we’re still here.
This is because we ex-Muslims have a stake in the atheist movement just as much as anyone else. We’re not outsiders.
I am an atheist not because the atheist movement cares about rights (it doesn’t) or has been overly supportive (which it hasn’t) but because I despise religion and Islam.
I have become an atheist – not because it’s pragmatic – but as a result of my battles against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamism. The Islamic regime of Iran recently wrote a piece on me called ‘Get to know this anti-religion woman’.
If I had to say what type of atheist I am, I’d say a militant atheist.
Strengths: We need militancy in the face of religious barbarity. Can we please stop tiptoeing around, appeasing, and tolerating religion?
Weaknesses: None. There are enough people compromising on all our behalves, thank you very much.
UPDATE: PZ has made an important correction!
(Link via Chris Roche)