An article published on Salon this weekend made the claim that I’ve been making for some years. It is impossible for an atheist to identify with the Republican party. CJ Werleman offers some evidence why atheists need to “grow up”. I agree with most of the article.
Atheists like to talk about building a better world, one that is absent of religiosity in the public square, but where are the atheist groups on helping tackle the single biggest tear in the fabric of our society — wealth disparity? They are nowhere. Its absence on the most pressing moral issue of our time makes it difficult for the movement to establish meaningful partnerships with other moral communities.
To remain white, middle class, intellectually smug and mostly apolitical will not only serve to alienate atheism from minorities and the poor, but will also ensure it remains a politically impotent movement that is incapable of building a better America. Growing up means less time and money spent on self-righteous billboard campaigns, and, instead, more resources allocated to fighting the political conditions that have caused this nation’s middle class and infrastructure to resemble that of a hyper-religious Third World nation.
Christopher Hitchens wrote that the intellectual advantage of atheism is its ability to reject unprovable assertions on face value. It’s why we don’t believe in the supernatural. Equally, it’s why we shouldn’t believe in a myth that is causing greater harm than creationism — the myth of trickle-down economics, which remains the economic blueprint for today’s Republican Party, despite the world’s leading economists lampooning it as an abject failure.
While I don’t agree with Werleman’s assessment that complaints about Islamic terrorism is merely Islamophobia, I do agree with the idea that atheist libertarians need “faith” to believe in libertarianism. And being a libertarian includes the social and economic parts – you can’t have one without the other.
Income inequality is a danger to our society that needs to be addressed and atheists should help solve it.
This is why I am a Humanist in addition to being an atheist. Humanism can try to better the human condition and isn’t tied to a limited philosophy such as only answering the god question.