Reasons for reasons for reasons

I was looking for something else, and stumbled on a blog post commenting on my post on atheism and reasons.

It’s one thing to have reasons to be an atheist (I do) and a Jew (I do), another thing altogether to adopt some level of “observance.” You can have good reasons to be an atheist, and other good reasons not to be observant–i.e. not to focus on it, talk about it a lot, promote it.

Yes but I wasn’t talking about being observant, I was talking about not pretending not to have reasons. I was talking about treating one’s atheism as if it were accidental, for the purpose of othering atheists. I wasn’t saying or suggesting that one should focus on it, talk about it a lot, promote it; I was saying that when one is an atheist one ought not to play accidental-atheist in order to suck up to the majority and throw non-accidental-atheists under the bus.

Maybe you have other goals that would be thwarted, if you got on the “religion, baaaad” bandwagon.  For example, maybe what really matters to you is the environment, or poverty, or animals, and you think you can advance progress in those areas if you reach out non-divisively to both religious and non-religious people.

Which of course implies, as Mooney always does, that atheism – including atheism-for-reasons – somehow prevents “reach[ing out] non-divisively to both religious and non-religious people.” It doesn’t.

Finally, it’s a very bad idea to use the term “anti-atheist” for unobservant atheists who criticize “the new atheists.”  It echoes “anti-semite” and thus misleads badly.

No it doesn’t. It’s just a shortcut, not an echo.

There are people who really do despise atheists in the way that anti-semites despise Jews. Unfortunately, I come into contact with such people, and they upset me.  Critics of the new atheists (like Chris Mooney, like me once in a while) are nothing like them. The critics have reasoned complaints about a subset of atheists; they don’t despise or fear or denigrate atheists just for being atheists.  They’re not “anti-atheists.” So much for that.

I disagree; I think Chris Mooney is very much like that. His complaints are not all that reasoned (he never explains why atheism prevents “reaching out non-divisively to both religious and non-religious people,” for instance), and they are very insistent and repetitive, as well as often inaccurate. Not all that reasoned. And as for “so much for that” – and as for the “Duh” in comments – well, that’s not all that reasoned either.

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