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.


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