• Accommodationalists Aren’t So Accommodating

    While I have no problem letting religious believers know that their beliefs are silly, dangerous, and flat-out wrong, I know that there are other atheists who might not want to be so blunt about it. That’s totally cool and I have no problem with atheists who want to bite their tongues so that they can work with religious believers while accommodating religious believers’ sensitivity to any criticism of their beliefs.

    If an atheist want to work with inter-faith groups or just with a particular faith group to help those in need, that’s awesome. If that atheist feels that they ought to refrain from criticism of religious ideas in order to do that joint work, that’s on them. It isn’t how I roll, but hey, they are putting on a friendly face and doing good work that needs to be done.

    I don’t have a problem working with religious groups for humanitarian causes. But I’m also not going to stop criticizing ridiculous beliefs and ideas just to placate those I am working with. They should know that as an atheist I don’t think their beliefs have any validity and that they are not based on reason. I’m also going to be critical of their efforts to use humanitarian causes to proselytize to those who are in vulnerable situations. I would ask those religious believers who I work with to keep their Bibles at home and not try to capitalize on helping others as a PR stunt for their church.

    But hey, that’s just me. If another atheist wants to partner up with religious groups to do service projects, they are free to keep their mouths shut about any criticism of the religious. Those atheists who have been labeled “accommodationalist” can play as nicely and politely as they like. If they don’t want to criticize religious beliefs and negative actions, that fine with me.

    However, what I have noticed is that many of those atheists and humanists may refrain from criticism of the religious, but they have no problem criticizing other atheists for not being so accommodating to the every whim and sensibility of the religious. Atheists like me are told that we are being “mean” when we refuse to accommodate every religious sensibility. But worse than that, we are told that we are part of the problem because we don’t hide our criticism or bite our tongues. We are told that we are just like the fundamentalist religious believers.

    These accommodationalists have no problem being less than accommodating to other atheists. On that, I have to take issue. If some atheists want to work with the religious, that’s great. I would love to work with the religious too, but don’t demand that I bow down to their every whim or that I accommodate their fragile sensibilities. Definitely don’t make a false equivalency between my not allowing the religious to walk all over me or others and fundamentalist religious believers who actively campaign to take rights away from people, dumb down our society and pretty much wage war on human progress. That is not cool!

    Why do accommodationalists feel the need to attack other atheists because we don’t think we should hide our criticism of religious beliefs?

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    Category: AtheismAtheist Infighting


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.