New on Salon: Atheism’s Growing Pains

My latest article for Salon has just been published, “Atheism’s growing pains“. It’s a brief survey and distillation of the Atheism Plus movement: what it is, why it was needed, and what we hope to accomplish with it. I’m very glad to be able to bring these arguments to a new audience! Read the teaser below, then click through to see the rest:

As the atheist movement gains numbers and prominence, it’s inevitably been forced to confront questions about what it ultimately seeks to accomplish. Some in the movement favor a narrowly defined set of goals: defending the separation of church and state, keeping creationism out of science classes, protecting atheists from job discrimination and prejudice. But other atheists, while not opposing these goals, see things more broadly. They note that the religious-right lawmakers who promote creationism and state-church entanglements are also rabidly opposed to equality or legal protection for LGBT people; try to ban abortion and contraception, or throw obstacles in the path of women seeking them; sermonize that global warming must be a hoax because God wouldn’t let the planet change that much; advocate a social-Darwinian worldview where the rich have unlimited power and the poor get nothing but societal neglect and harsh repression.

And then, there’s a growing recognition that we have problems within our own community — a realization that atheists, like every other group of people, include sexual predators, bigots and defenders of privilege, and that giving up religion doesn’t necessarily erase these harmful attitudes…

Continue reading on…

Image credit: One Thousand Needles

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