Marginalized Groups, Civility, Privilege, and What Replaces Religion: An Interview with James Croft

I just finished having a great conversation with James Croft of the blog Temple of the Future for this week’s episode of The Camels With Hammers Show. There is a special announcement related to James’s blog at the end of the interview. We had some technical difficulties so the interview took the form of two parts.

In the first video we talked primarily about my stance in favor of civility. I have in recent months controversially argued that members of marginalized groups shouldn’t embrace using abusive language as a routine method of fighting oppression. I decided to run these views by James, who is himself gay and a vigorous activist for both atheist and gay causes.

In the second video, James answers my questions about whether people with social privilege can ever learn enough about out-group experiences in order to offer critical suggestions to members of marginalized groups or whether an epistemic privilege stemming from marginalization can be absolute. Then the rest of the video is spent discussing questions about controversies in the atheist community related to how to relate to religious people and how atheists can go about meeting people’s needs that most people presently turn to religion for–without turning atheism into a religion itself.

For more of James and me, consider reading the written interview I did with James in June.

Below are some of my key posts on the civility issues. They are listed in chronological order. Read according to interest:

Why “Loving The Sinner But Hating The Sin” Is Not An Option When Dealing With Gay People

Can we love religious people while hating their religions?

What Can An Atheist Love In People’s Religiosity?

“How Is It Fair To Question Other People’s Identity-Forming Beliefs While Demanding Respect For One’s Own Belief-Formed Identities?”

Don’t Call Religious Believers Stupid.

Love Religious People.

Audiences and Approaches

I Am A Rationalist, Not A Tribalist.

I Don’t Really Give A Fuck About Tone, Per Se

Making My Comments Rules Explicit: “Don’t Bully People With Insulting Names” and “Make Personal Charges Against Others Only In Egregious Cases”

Summarizing Objections To My Stance Against Epithets, Incivility, And Quickly Personalized Arguments

On Dealing With Trolling, Banning, and Uncomfortable Disagreements

I Am Not Against Emotions. I Am Against Insulting Epithets.

We Need Both Safe Spaces AND Philosophically Open Ones

Debate Is Not Pointless.

No Hate.

Stop Calling People Stupid.

“But Aren’t Some People Actually Stupid?”

I’m not against “dirty words”. I’m against degrading words that have malicious intent and functions built into them

Do Marginalized People Need To Be Insulting In Order To Be Empowered?

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    Welcome, James! I look forward to reading your blog at Patheos.

    Bob Seidensticker (Cross Examined blog)

  • Baal

    Hi Dan,
    I’ve just finished listening to part I. I have to say I’m in complete agreement with you and it’s heartening to hear that you have indeed thought through many of these issues and still don’t always agree with the social justice (for lack of a better term) position. I also start with the proposition that we are all humans and need to work toward ideas and memes that allow everyone to flourish.

    Too often, the natural consequence of some social justice ideals is a tribalistic notion that the only way for a specific group to flourish is to grab power and wield it offensively (aggressive not objectionable meaning) – a sort of mutually assured incomprehensibility that says my you can’t understand this group so you are other and over there while I’ll be over here in my carefully defined space.


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