I had an incidental disagreement on Tumblr the other day. I said that atheists have the value that "Nothing is sacred". Another person* replied that some atheists do in fact hold certain things sacred, and that's what makes atheist culture so racist and misogynist.
*I'd provide links and names, but the details aren't really important, and they're welcome to identify themselves if they wish.
totally agree that there is widespread racism and misogyny in atheist
culture, and that criticizing it is a worthwhile endeavor. However, I
disagree with this particular critique.
sacred" is just a slogan. It has some meaning in the context of
religion, where people feel that certain ideas are off-limits. But when
you get down to it, I'm really not sure what it means for something to
be sacred. Does it mean that people hold to the idea despite
counterarguments? Does it mean they don't like when people make
counterarguments? Does it mean that social pressure plays a role? You
could say that about every ideology ever.
And I'm sorry to say that this is exactly what atheists do
sometimes. They'll criticize anything, and if someone tries to defend
themselves, it must be because they're holding the idea sacred, and
off-limits from criticism. So if I say
that sexist jokes contribute to sexism, and cite studies saying the
same, clearly the only reason I came to that conclusion is because I
to hold political correctness up to the bright light of science.
There's a major hearsay problem. It's very easy to say that you know such and such person who just refused to see reason, and acted like you were wrong to even criticize them. Yeah, I believe that's how you
perceived the argument. But that's practically every argument ever,
from everyone's perspective. I wasn't there, so I can't tell.
there are some cases where people hold a belief too close, and use
"unfair" means to discourage criticism. For instance, I've criticized
Christianity for discouraging doubt.
But the critique must be precise to be valid! I needed to provide
examples of specific Christian narratives which were contributing to the
problem. If I merely waved my hands around, saying Christians are so
dogmatic, and this one time I met a Christian and they were just so
offended when I gave them hard evidence against God, you could rightly
dismiss it as cheap talk.
If you criticize atheists
for holding certain beliefs sacred, you're just taking one of the
lowest quality atheist aphorisms, and turning it around. You're not