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Atheist vs. Atheist

Since the only thing that all atheists must have in common due to their atheism is a lack of belief in deities, it is only natural that atheists will argue with other atheists over other issues. That makes sense and I don’t have any problems with that. However, there are too few atheists and far too many religious to be fighting among ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I think when two atheists want to debate philosophy or politics it is fun and insightful. But when it comes to arguing with atheists over atheism, I think we are just wasting our time.

Greg Epstein comes to mind. I have written about this before. I fully support Epstein’s efforts to form a religious atheism even though I don’t really think it is for me. I also support his efforts to form a strong atheist community. But my issue with him has been that he spends more time arguing against other atheists like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett than he does promoting his brand of atheism.

I have been a strong advocate of multiple approaches. While my approach has traditionally been more in line with Harris and Dawkins, I think atheists like Epstein should try to play nice with those on the Religious Left.

The fact is that Epstein and Dawkins have the same goal and that is to promote reason over faith. We are all on the same side and while we may disagree with each other on various points we should be united in our goal. More importantly, we should spend out time, energy, and efforts on that goal rather than going after those within the atheist community we disagree with.

If you see an atheist that you think is giving atheism a bad name (whatever that means), I think it would be far better to simply let people know that atheism isn’t a religion. We aren’t all on the same page and that you don’t support that person’s approach. Your approach is different. Then you can talk about your approach.

This applies to the anti-Bill Maher crowd too. It is one thing to disagree with other atheists on particular issues and to have that discussion on those issues. But keep it on that issue and not on the person or their efforts to promote reason over faith.

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