The Good Atheist Interviewed Me About Strife in the Atheist Community, How I Deconverted, and Atheism+

After Jacob Fortin of The Good Atheist enthusiastically discovered my “No Hate” post from the end of the summer, I offered to talk to him about it on his podcast. So that’s what we did. During the interview I also explained more about my deconversion and Nietzsche’s role in it, covering the most important factors in my deconversion process that I have not yet written about in my deconversion series. Finally we also debated the merits of the creation of Atheism Plus and talked generally about the pros and cons of dividing the atheist movement.

I had a blast meeting Jake. I found him really thoughtful and insightful, our podcast interview was really probing, and we hit it off so much that we talked shop and atheist politics for another hour after the show. You can hear our podcast discussion by clicking here or by going to The Good Atheist website for other download options if that one does not work or is not your preferred means of listening to podcasts. Check it out!

This weekend, I also had a great conversation with James Croft, and if you missed that (as it seems a depressing many of you did), then you really missed out. Remedy that!

Your Thoughts?

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.

  • Gordon

    Jacob seems to really like thinking about things, learning, and doing research to get his facts straight. Also he is fun to listen to.

  • The Good Atheist

    awww. What a thoughtful thing to say, Gordon!

    • Gordon

      hey, you weren’t meant to see that! I was talking about you not to you.

  • oolon

    Listened to the podcast on the way to work, interesting read especially as it mostly fits with my view of the conflicts between various players in the atheist sphere atm. Arguing on Pharyngula that maybe all the slimepitters/anti-FtBs lot are not irredeemable misogynists and we shouldn’t even label them as slimepitters in a derogatory tar-them-with-the same-brush way was certainly a highlight! I did wonder after that if I was the only one who took that view that demonising groups of people who disagree will not lead to anywhere other than a polarised situation. It is also plain that the ‘other side’/slimepit/etc is winning the war on who can be the most ridiculously polarised such that rational thought and discussion are not a possibility. Seeing a group that pride themselves on their atheistic-sceptic purity lording it over photoshopped pictures of their hate figures with free use of gender based slurs which they see as a part of a winning strategy for their side of the argument was a little depressing.

    However on that theme I will speak up a little for the divisors as it is plain to me that I am privileged to not have to put up with misogyny, racism or homophobia directed at my person… So is it for me to say how those that are oppressed by these bigotries *should* act? Or when Dan says A+ will draw people into safe areas and not debate with the ‘other side’ and that is somehow not the best thing for the movement. Well it is clearly best for them, and given I can brush off misogyny, racism and homophobia with impunity I only need a little empathy to see that this might not be the case for others and they have a right to protect themselves from that harm. One of the things I regret in my argument on Pharyngula about the slymepit was that *everyone* should go over there and engage… Its fine for me to do that as there is literally nothing they could say to hurt me but this is not the case for people who have experienced real oppression by bigots using the hateful language that the slimepit/others are happy to use in their ‘debates’ as an expression of ‘free speech!’.

  • Drew

    I’ve never heard of the A+ movement and have only been recently following “The Good Atheist” podcast. So as an outsider, the whole thing seems bizarre to me. Later I think you two came up with the solution to your community’s concerns.
    But here’s my take: ‘Atheist’ is simply ‘without the belief in god(s)’. It is a descriptor and not a faith or set moralistic guidelines. It’s like saying ‘zero is a sum’ despite the quantitative value of ‘zero’ is ‘the absence of a sum’.
    As soon as philosophies or moralities are talked about, they are talked about in that term – to which ‘atheist’ or ‘atheism’ is a supplementary descriptor, not the umbrella under which those dogmatic principles follow.
    I took a religious quiz online, years ago, and it labeled me as ‘Secular Humanist’ – before I knew what those two words meant. Now I am an atheist, but my works, deeds, philosophies, would fall under humanism. Does what I do and my beliefs require a god? No, of course not. Therefore I would be a Humanist with the atheist quality, not an Atheist that practices Humanism.
    It’s a subtle difference, and some may see it as splitting hairs, but the English language and how things are presented matters to me if just to avoid muddied waters.
    So in short: ‘atheist’ is the descriptor to a philosophy, not the philosophy its self.