Organising atheism: Is it needed?

Do we need to organise atheism? Well, for me, that depends on what kind of organising you have in mind. While I agree we need an atheist community, which as far as I can tell already exists, I think the idea of forming some kind of formal organisation based simply on atheism is a foolish goal.

Atheism dictates very little in most people’s lives. The idea that we should organise as atheists seems to suggest that we’re going to agree on most things and this simply isn’t true. In fact considering all we definitely have in common as atheists is that we don’t believe in a god, I’m not sure why people seem to think we’ll agree on so much.

For arguments sake let’s say we do form into an “atheist organisation”, what are its goals going to be?
Removal of religious influence in government? That’s secularism, and only requires a secular organisation.
Fight for human rights for every group of people? That’s humanism, only requiring a human rights organisation.
The eradication of religion from our society? That’s anti-theism, and that needs an anti-theism organisation.
None of these requires atheism, and no matter how many members of these organisations may be atheists, suggesting they are or should be atheist organisations is foolish.

Like it or not the only person who represents you, is you. Just because a person is an atheist doesn’t mean they represent me as an atheist anymore than Bono represents me because we’re both Irish. To form an “atheist organisation” to achieve a goal is to go the route of Atheism+, it’ll only serve to deter people who don’t identify as atheist from working with you and will lead to alienating your fellow atheists. Form organisations as secularist, as humanists, indeed as anything that fights for a cause or makes a claim. Atheism, however, does neither of these.

What is needed is a community, but a community is not an organisation.

Why I’ve been away.

For the past several months I’ve been slipping deeper and deeper in a state of sever depression. This is not a new occurrence for me, it has happened before and sadly it will happen again. No one thing alone has caused this situation, though many factors have contributed to it.

My life has not been, and in fact is not, very fulfilling. I’ve accomplished very little in terms of a professional life, my personal life is thoroughly underwhelming and my social life is virtually non-existent. I have tried to make plans that would allow me to attempt to change this, however it now seems that these plans are untenable. This realisation has added that extra bit of weight that finally pulled my head under the water. I went from being indifferent about life, not really caring whether I lived or died, to actively wishing I was dead. Any prospects I had of making a better life for myself evaporated simply because I don’t have access to the kind of money required for me to make the move to Canada. With this, and everything else weighing on me, I withdrew into myself, rarely getting out of bed in the past 2 weeks or so, let alone leaving the house.

Around Saturday of last week I began to have suicidal thoughts. These thoughts got progressively worse until I couldn’t handle it anymore and was going to kill myself. The only thing that actually stopped me was, when I planned to do it, my younger brother heard me moving around and came to check why as it was very late.

These thoughts still persist, though I am handling them reasonably well again. I was convinced by a friend, a much better friend than I deserve might I add, to get professional help. I saw my doctor on Friday, he’s organising counseling for me and has put me back on antidepressants.

This is why I’ve not been on twitter or posting here and may not be as active as I have been in the past for a while.