A blog was written today on the implosion of CFI Canada. As long as we keep having these accomodationist vs confrontationalist arguments we will continue to have implosions. Frankly, it disgusts me that we have done this. I felt the wrath of the accomodationists when I was known for being a confrontationalist. I probably will still have the perception of being one. Even though I am creating a feel good project that supports all atheists. I think I am a blend of both. I hope you are too.
Being able to adjust your method depending on who you interact with is a strong suit. And if someone sees you are confrontational, why must they label you as always confrontational? It is also highly hypocritical to be an accomodationalist but be confrontational on the issue of confrontationalists. It’s time for us to elevate our game. This division has gone on long enough. We must think critically and with reason.
I have always supported the efforts of those who are excessively passive, and think they should support mine. We must embrace each other even when we don’t completely agree. Part of the reason I started Atheism United was to show people how there can be a united front. I look forward to universally supporting both camps. It’s sad how I know the only way to make it work is to not rely on these groups to actually unite. I will support them whether they support me or not. And would you believe that there will actually be people who will kick this gift horse in the mouth? For what? Because I told someone Jesus was fake on twitter?
Please people, ponder it… we must work together, share a planet together. We can’t make such a big deal over tact and approach. Vocalize your disagreement so that your position is known, but you can’t let it get to the point where you are shooting yourself in the foot.
And if we’re really going to make these labels “accomodationist” and “confrontationalist” can we at least admit there are more groups than that? If we do, we must include a class of people who are still so downtrodden by religion and brainwashed by it’s followers that they refuse to speak up and would argue vehemently against someone who does.
Accomodationists aren’t a problem… people who are scared to speak up are. Those people need to sit back and allow everyone else to help humanity move forward, they need to go work on something else. Maybe environmental clean up, helping the homeless, or relaxing at the pool would be a better activity for people who are so beat by religion that they argue everyone should be quiet. I used to call that group “Chicken Shit Atheists” but you can come up with a politically correct 15 letter name if you’d like.
Reposted from: Accomodationist vs Confrontationalist
Wow Darrel Ray is brilliant. He nails it on “First generation leadership.” Because of my type-a personality and my inability to trust easily I was unable to spot future dedicated activists when they aligned with me early in their activist “careers.” Ashley Paramore and Shelley Mountjoy were by my side at the beginning. If I could have known to expand their leadership role early enough, they might have never needed to go become superstars elsewhere.
Check this article out if you would like to learn more about how atheist groups function, and how we can improve them.
Two Types of Leadership in the Secular Movement
Leadership among secular groups tends to come in two general flavors, those that are led by one or a few charismatic leaders (often the founders) and those that are led by a less centralized executive group. There is plenty of room for both types of groups in the movement, but it is important to be conscious and intentional in understanding and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of both. For purposes of discussion, we will call these groups “first generation” and “second generation,” respectively, although they may not always fit that classification.
First-generation groups are often led by charismatic leaders. These are lean and activist groups. The founders have a sharp vision for what they want to accomplish and move fast to get the job done. They are often the leading edge of the movement and have influence out of proportion to their numbers both within the movement and in the larger society. Their strengths are invaluable because they are pacesetters, influencing the overall direction of the movement.
Despite their major strengths, it is also important to understand the weaknesses of first generation leaders. They are often an insular group and less democratic. Since first-generation leaders are generally autocratic, they tend to attract members who respond to strong, direct leadership. This limits membership, since only a fraction of the target population responds to this type of leadership.
Challenges to their leadership or vision are not welcome. It may be easy to join one of these groups but hard, if not impossible, to gain a position of influence. For this reason, the leaders have difficulty grooming the next generation. Upcoming, promising new leaders often see no opportunity to take part in the core functions of the organization and, therefore, don’t stick around long. Further, the boards of first-generation groups are generally a reflection of the leader and, therefore, typically very insular as well. The age range within this type of board is often similar to the age of the founder. This makes for a leadership structure that has a limited view and tends to be resistant to change.
Further, he talks about how groups led by charismatic leaders suffer when the external environment changes. The decision to start atheismunited.com was born from that change in environment. The atheist world is much different today than 6 years ago. RRS is still needed, but atheism united will be more current and relevant. The project was born from the idea that we didn’t care what banner we impacted the world under, we just wanted to have the biggest impact possible. We decided it was necessary to create something different. How justified Darrel Ray makes us feel.
“As long as the external environment remains consistent with the conditions in which the organization was founded, it will continue to function. But when the external environment changes, it can present difficult challenges. To the degree that an organization influences the surrounding culture, the target of its efforts must change. Culture is a moving target, and organizations that don’t adjust their influence strategy run the risk of using yesterday’s successful methods on today’s culture.
A good example is the civil rights movement, where many of the first-generation leaders continued following a vision that was rendered obsolete with changes in legislation and social norms.”
Reposted from: two types of atheist groups
I must’ve heard the words “an atheist can do no good” hundreds of times in the last few years. It must be so hard to imagine how atheists can do good without the upstanding moral code imparted to us in the Bible or the Quran. Sure I wouldn’t sell my daughter into slavery, or kill a man simply for being gay, but I can do other good things instead.
I’m proud to donate clothes to Goodwill and give money to charity. But I take a bigger sense of pride in atheist volunteers which was created to unite and showcase acts of goodness by the men in black who apparently can do no good. Well the door to that argument is being shut more and more everyday as atheists aren’t as scared as they once were to show their face (we have religion to thank for our original fear). We used to do acts of kindness simply because we liked doing acts of kindness. But after being accused so often of being no-do-gooders some of us decided to show off what we’ve been doing all our lives while letting others know we don’t believe in a god. We believe good deeds are the work of men. If good deeds are the works of god, well certainly bad deeds are as well.
I’m particularly excited about the recent developments in Austin with Texas American Atheist President Joe Zamecki at the helm. He and his crew have been hitting the streets to hand out supply packages to the homeless. Some interesting video has been shot along the way. It’s interesting to hear how often the homeless use the name Jesus or God in a positive manner while receiving free goods from a non-believer. You’ll have to check it out for yourself. Details of the Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless are here.
Thanks Joe, you’re a blessing from your mom and dad!
Margaret Downey and The Rational Response Squad are featured in an article about the growth of atheism and The Tree of Knowledge. Philadelphia atheists are featured from Philly atheist meetup. Kelly O’Connor (Kellym78/my girlfriend) is mentioned as a stripper and I (Brian Sapient) described myself as OCD/ADHD.
The OCD would explain 90% of my compulsion to end religion and the 40 hour days I work. The other 10% of my drive would be a combination of Kent Hovind, Ray Comfort, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, my mother, George Bush, and every man who was ever a Pope.
According to figures compiled by the American Religious Identification
Survey (ARIS), almost 30m people claimed “no religion” in 2001, a
doubling from 1991. This dwarfs America’s 2.8m who describe themselves
as Jews according to the same survey (although other estimates suggest
that the Jewish population is much larger, at about 6m). Catholicism,
the country’s largest Christian denomination, boasts 51m followers.
If atheists, agnostics and secularists could polish their image they
might prove powerful, and increasingly so. If the number of people
declaring “no religion” can double over the ten years to 2001 who know
how many more there are now or might be in years to come. Polls have
shown that eight years of Mr Bush’s mix of piety, divisiveness and
incompetence have pushed young people towards the secular in higher
numbers than before.
There are many who believe the battle against dogma is not winnable. Not only is it winnable, but it will be won, and it’s being won.
Rational Response Squad
I recently interviewed atheist lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown. Join her organization at http://www.secular.org
Join the Squad in our struggle to help free humanity from theism.