By Max D. Esmay
As a former atheist I’m often asked what changed my mind and made me decide there was a God after all. And while I have had multiple answers over the years, the main answer is that it was atheists—specifically what I generally capitalize as the Atheist Movement—who ultimately made me realize there had to be a God.
A significant confusion arises with many people who call themselves “atheists” because they have never really thought about the question, or thought about it a while and dismissed the idea. Let’s call that the “Natural Atheist” or the “normal everyday atheist.” Maybe that’s you and you’re reading this. And if so, I apologize if I cause you any pain, but I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about the religious movement that works in your name.
There have been atheists and even organized, militant atheists going back centuries and even thousands of years, however, over the last few decades, especially since the explosion of the Internet in the early to mid 2000s, however, capital A Atheist, Movement Atheism, Ideological Atheism, Militant Atheism, Identitarian Atheism—whatever you want to call it—became a thing.
And that thing, the Atheist Movement, is a cult movement with recruiting techniques, dogma, doctrines, and beliefs—beliefs that the Atheist Collective will excommunicate you if you question them.
Throughout this series, it will be important for you to remember: When we refer to Atheists with a Capital A, we are referring to members of a militant organized religious cult network that has logos, meetings, books, podcasts, and memberships. If you see one of these Atheist Groups, you’ll be able to recognize them by one of their favorite religious symbols:
(Flying Spaghetti Monster Atheist Symbol, public domain)
Similar to cult movements such as Scientology, Jehovah’s Witness, and other groups that disingenuously portray what they are all about; if you join Scientology you’ll get a long spiel from their recruiters of standardized beliefs and talking points: “I’m just a person like you. I’m not in a cult. I’m just trying to reach my full potential.”The recruiting pitch for Atheism often goes the same way: “Hi, I’m an atheist, is that OK with you? I’m not part of a group or a movement or anything, I just lack belief.”And just like most cults, they’re lying: they’re trying to hook you in, get them to accept their beliefs, and join them.
And, just like other religious cults, the Atheist Movement has no shortage of Celebrity Members and Boosters: Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, James Randi, PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Daniel Dennett, Ricky Gervais, Seth MacFarlane, Jerry Coyne, Lawrence Krauss, and so many other celebrities of world fame—all pushing their preferred religion, while pretending their views aren’t religious.
Members of the Atheist Cult movement in fact belief many things, and they want you to believe them too. Here are a few things they want you to believe about themselves:
1: They are not a movement or an ideology despite their books, magazines, podcasts, meetings, recruters, membership drives, and standard literature.
2: They have no beliefs, they merely “lack belief.”
3: They have no agenda
4: They just want to make the world a better place.
5: Being an atheist or not doesn’t say anything about your personality. You can be a “good person” or a “bad person” but religion or lack thereof doesn’t say anything about you at all.
Here are a few things they actually believe, and indoctrinate into the recruits into their cult network:
1: There is no evidence of God
2: Religion is primitive dangerous superstition
3: Religion is brainwashing.
4: Most wars and genocides and other persecutions were caused by religion.
5: Most of what’s wrong with society today is caused by religion (or was originally caused by it).
6: All religions are equally stupid and primitive.
7: Science can provide us with all the answers we need, we have no need anymore of “primitive religious superstition.”
8: You have a right to “freedom from religion,” which means, you get to tell people to keep their religious thoughts or opinions to themselves.
9: Teaching a child religion is brainwashing and child abuse.
10: Science. They believe in Science. They never stop talking about how much they believe in science. Indeed, they will frequently portray themselves as the Defenders Of Science.
11: Nothing Supernatural exists.
12: Questioning atheism is not possible.
13: Questioning or rejecting atheism is a sign of mental illness
As with other cut religious groups, the Atheists have alliances and factions and often fight each other. They also are often allied, or closely tied to, another religious group that is very similar: The “Skeptics.”Virtually every member of the Atheist Religious Movement calls himself a “skeptic.” And most will drone on endlessly about the wonders of skepticism, how everybody should learn skepticism, why skepticism is important, and how you can use skepticism to “make the world a better place” (a phrase they use a lot).
You will notice, too, that famous “Skeptics” (such as, but hardly limited to, James Randi, Penn Jillette, and Michael Shermer) are all atheists, and often rather proud of it. They have multiple web sites and groups, but The Skeptical Inquirer is probably the most well-known and respected of their publications; read an average issue of The Skeptical Inquirer and you’ll see lots of famous “Skeptics” telling you all the things they are skeptical of—and it is often political ideas, or medical or consumer products, they are being paid to be “skeptical” of.
The problem with anyone granting themselves the title of “Skeptic” however, is this: you can be skeptical of anything, or anybody, for any reason, at any time. There is nothing inherently honest about skepticism. There is nothing inherently coherent about skepticism, even. And it has been an open question among philosophers, for thousands of years, whether it’s really possible to learn anything at all from being skeptical.
To be skeptical is to cast doubt on a proposition, or to refuse to consider it at all. That’s it. You can be skeptical of the Bible, you can be skeptical of your internet service provider, you can be skeptical of whoever is President, you can be skeptical about Selfish Gene Theory… or anything else. You can literally be skeptical of anything.
What the Professional Atheist-Skeptic is, then, is simply someone who gets paid to be skeptical of things. These people often work for governments or big corporations, in order to cast doubt on political ideas, marketplace products, and/or to harm or destroy a competitor. Skepticism, it turns out, is a paying racket. And “Skeptics” and “Atheists” often collude.
Examining the entire modern Atheist phenomenon is going to take more than one article, so look forward to future installiments. But in the meantime, let me close as I opened:
I was an atheist for decades. But it was the behavior of Ideological Atheists and their “Skeptic” brethren that made me realize there was something wrong with atheism, especially the organized pop culture fad. Realizing that you could actually make a dogmatic cult movement out of atheism made me realize that maybe atheism itself wasn’t all that rational a position to take.
In future installments of this series, we’ll examine some of the more popular cult recruiting materials for the Atheist Movement, some of their mind-tricks and talking points, and where you can go to learn more about them. We’ll also look at the history of this militant political movement (including its history of rape, torture and genocide). And we’ll give you some tips for how to respond to Atheist bullies and harassers and ideologues.
I don’t mind tell you that, as a former atheist myself, this will be a somewhat painful process for me. When I was an atheist, these cultists embarrassed me and some of my atheist friends, and I hate to be mean to innocent atheists who aren’t part of the Atheist Movement. But to save time, I won’t be working to spare feelings: we will be talking about everyday “atheists” as “non-believers or agnostics.” And when we say “Atheist” in this series, which we’ll always do with a Capital A, we always mean the religious movement and its members. If you’re an atheist and that’s not you, then move along and find out instead about the cult religious movement that works in your name, and maybe help us counter these creepy cultists.
Because as I’ve said: Atheism is a cult religious movement. It’s also a hate movement, one that is known to get violent. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.
–Max D. Esmay
Max D. Esmay is former managing editor of A Voice For Men, and Dean’s World, a very popular website he founded. He has written for Huffington Post U.K., The Moderate Voice, and others. He is presently Editor At Large For Red Pill Religion, a website dedicated to the intersection of religion, culture and politics.