Saturday, August 24, 2013

Negative dogmatism and atheism


An atheist argues that God does not exist. This is a negative dogmatic belief: to disbelieve p is to believe not p (-p). The -p belief may then constitute a premise in other closely related arguments, leading to a series of conclusions. For example atheists typically prefer a secular society based upon pluralism over a theocratic society based upon religious ritual and public worship. This, or a close variant, is the common justification for the existence of atheist political movements.

I mention this because my post asking "Are atheist political movements maturing or regressing?" received a lot of hostility when I cross posted to a political forum.  The actual topic was not discussed because we could not move beyond "atheism is not a political movement; you cannot create a political movement on the lack of belief in god."

To be clear: I do not claim all atheists are part of a political movement; I do not claim atheism itself is a political movement. I do however claim that political movements who primarily self-identify as being atheist do exist. Atheist Ireland is one such example.  Whether such movements should or not exist is a different matter. Some atheist movements are based around one or two prominent leaders who choose not to identify as humanist or secularist because these labels already have their own leaders and organizations. The atheist tag is possibly a way to create another group in an increasingly crowded market.

But perhaps I am being unfair?

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