New Atheism – A pejorative for the 21st century

We upstart atheists are making the religious fundamentalists very very nervous. Most rational religious people acknowledge our existence and right to exist with equal privileges. However the loudest and most obnoxious religious people find it quite uncomfortable that atheists are no longer content to sit quietly in their oppression by a religion-normative society. To address this spunky band of rebels, they’ve come up with a catchy name: the New Atheists.

What they fail to realize is that this isn’t new. Atheists have always been passionate about religious oppression and freedom. It’s just more recently that we’ve been 1) able to organize ourselves and 2) less fearful of negative social consequences (or even death) because of our beliefs — or lack thereof. Some are more vitriolic than others, but their anger can be justified by the long history of mistreatment and general lack of respect that atheists have suffered.

It’s unfortunate that our unwillingness to be oppressed any longer (or to let other religious minorities be oppressed) is inconvenient for them, but I suppose when women decided not to be society’s doormats anymore it was quite inconvenient for the men too. Should they have shut up? Were they New Women? I suppose it was annoying when those pesky slaves didn’t want to take their beatings anymore. New Slaves? Or when those pesky gays didn’t want to be thought of as harbingers of AIDS and sin. New Gays?

It’s very easy for people in a socially dominant position to tell me to not be so “upset” or “rude” or “loud”, but if atheists weren’t those things would we be getting any attention? History says no. Because we weren’t. Newsflash: We exist. We’re more organized which helps get over our crippling isolation and bolsters us into defending ourselves against injustice. We’re putting the (polite) word out there that people are not alone with bus ads that are apparently so “offensive” people refuse to drive the bus they’re on.

Terribly sorry if that’s inconvenient for you, religious fundamentalists, but we will no longer tolerate your values being shoved down our throats — or our children’s throats. We will no longer tolerate the lies that are spread about us as if we’re a plague or a poison. And we will no longer tolerate the loneliness you try to inflict upon us by silencing our freedom of speech and assembly. You can make up whatever buzzy pejorative you want and manufacture any controversy you desire, but it doesn’t change this: the world is changing on you. Adapt or perish with your ancient no-longer-socially-relevant dogma. It’s cultural evolution.

We exist. We will not shut up about it. Deal with it.

4 responses to “New Atheism – A pejorative for the 21st century

  1. I’ve been known to use the word “new atheist movement” from time to time. I should stop, you’re right, as the only thing *new* about it is that more people are embracing the word and are unafraid to stand up and strive for a secular society. It’s a REVITALIZED movement, but it’s not new…

    I’m actually kind of surprised I haven’t seen this term changed to the Neo-Atheism, so the fundies could then linguistically connect us to Neo-Nazis. Maybe I shouldn’t be giving anyone ideas here.

  2. I use ‘unapologetic atheist’ to describe my position. I’ve done nothing wrong, so I have nothing to apologize for, and no reason to remain silent.

  3. Pingback: “New Atheism”, Blasphemy Day, and Christmas « skeptigirl

  4. If only more than 32 people would hear about this..