NonProphet Status’ first guest post of 2011 is by Andrew Lovley, founder and former chair of the Southern Maine Association of Secular Humanists (SMASH). Below, Lovley, who previously defended the invocation he performed at the inauguration ceremony for new city officials in South Portland, Maine, weighs in on the “accomodation vs. confrontation” debate and offers a thorough and impassioned case for positive and engaged atheism and humanism. This is among the best explications I’ve read on this topic and, though it is lengthy, it is well worth your time and I encourage all of you to read it in its entirety. Many thanks to Andrew for composing this, and for inspiring me (and, I’m sure, many others) with your words.

xroadsAtheist activism is at a crossroads. Atheism has arguably gained more attention in recent years than ever before, thanks to a concerted campaign by secular individuals and organizations to raise awareness as well as their frequent contribution of ideas and perspectives to the national discourse.

Yet as secular individuals, we must ask ourselves: How has this attention served us thus far? How could this attention be best utilized? The answers to these questions and an honest appraisal of our efforts rely on a consensus of what our goals are as a movement. Our increased salience in society affords us an unprecedented opportunity to realize our public activist goals, if we can manage to agree on what those goals are.

Virtually all atheist activists agree that we should promote science and critical thinking, encourage society to be more accepting of atheists, and try to provide support for atheists who have already elected to step out and brave the torrent of social stigma and castigation. Where a consensus manages to evade us however is in regards to our relationship with the religious communities by which we find ourselves surrounded.

Some suggest that we should focus our efforts toward making society less religious by actively trying to persuade people away from religion, while others believe we should work toward toleration and coexistence with our religious neighbors. Until atheist activists achieve some sort of consensus on this issue, we will continue to contradict each other in words and in actions and threaten our relevance as a movement.

It is time we make a prudent choice about how we should relate to religion and its adherents. Our movement’s vitality, and our success at achieving our goals, is being undermined by our too-often acerbic and pretentious attitudes. It is time we recognize that the secular movement and its members are best served by acting on an agenda that balances affirmation of our identity and values with conciliation toward the religious.

Generally speaking, the attitudes that shape the interactions between atheists and theists are characterized by mistrust, mockery, and vilification. Yet these attitudes do nothing to further our cause and become obstructions in themselves. Even if/when theists direct these attitudes toward us, we are better off not reflecting them. Let us lead by example by acting on humanist principles, and give those who deride our motives and actions no factual grounds upon which to base their biting criticisms. Angry and bitter atheist activists serve only to enflame the negative stereotypes we are plagued by. Atheist activists, who rhetorically exacerbate our differences and vilify theists in general, only encourage those theists to do the same and ultimately foster greater alienation of atheists. We are sometimes accused of intellectual hubris, and other times accused of possessing a sense of moral righteousness. These are not appealing qualities, and if we want more respect in the societies we find ourselves in we should abstain from having such attitudes.

Let us gain respect by respecting. Let us be tolerated by being tolerant. The Humanist Manifesto offers a great piece of democratic wisdom when it suggests that we should tolerate different but humane views. Too many atheist activists assert that giving any positive recognition to religion somehow makes one less of an atheist, or an accommodationist – a charge that only has respect in divisive and antagonistic circles. It may be accommodationist to acknowledge praiseworthy actions and services carried about by people inspired by their religion, but it is certainly no less atheist to do so, it is honest. The accommodation of different yet peaceful life-stances is a justified practice; in fact it is the glue and grease that is necessary for a civilized democratic society to be sustained. It is not a disparaging term, but rather a civic compliment.

Perhaps the most pervasive and frustrating mistake many atheist activists make is presenting an overly reductionist conception of religion in their critiques. What religion is reduced to is not always the same, but more often than not religion is spoke of as if it is merely a collection of falsehoods about the world, a reverence for mythical figures, and/or an act of willful ignorance called faith. Yet any real exposure to religion and religious people should lead one to recognize that religion means a whole lot more to people than the simple belief in the theology; in fact the theology may not even be the most important aspect of the religious experience. It may be convenient to level charges against religion by reducing it to theology, because it is most vulnerable to scientific and philosophical advances. Other important aspects of religion, however — such as the community it creates, the social work it encourages and fosters, the spirituality it engenders through collective singing and shared worship, the psychological preparedness and remedies for common struggles — aren’t the least bit disagreeable and that is probably why they are conveniently ignored in strident atheist criticisms.

Not only is religion in general a victim of straw-man arguments, but so is the diversity of religions and religious people. We must not make the naïve assumption that all religions are the same. Defining religion has been a difficult, if not impossible task for generations, precisely because of the diversity of structures, beliefs, and practices of the world’s religions. Atheist activists often speak of religious people as if they are all dogmatic, anti-science, anti-reason, evangelical social conservatives, an overgeneralization that is wont to needlessly offend the multitudes of moderate, liberal, and / or modern religious peoples out there. We must refrain from engaging in extreme moralization whereby all religious people and their behavior is considered disingenuous at best and repugnant at worst, and believing that atheism is the only justified and morally superior lifestyle.

Historically, the atheist agenda has primarily served to question the established orthodoxies of the time and to promote critical and scientific thought. Presently, however, many are going a step further to try and ‘deconvert’ religious people, a venture that is not only unnecessary but routinely counterproductive. Activist atheist attitudes that are especially condescending have the effect of nullifying the persuasiveness of their claims, regardless of the facts upon which they are based. Confrontational atheists are virtually ineffective at persuading theists that they are wrong, and the atheist’s efforts seem to further entrench theists in their beliefs and attitudes – not to mention increasing their distrust and/or contempt for atheists.

However if atheist activists insist on the critical urgency to draw theists away from their religious beliefs and practices, they would prove far more successful were they to revise their tactics. Theists with strong convictions are for all intents and purposes immune to rational criticism. Wavering theists, on the other hand, perhaps already burdened with doubts regarding the veracity of religious teachings, may be more responsive to atheist critiques if those critiques were supplemented with alternative (i.e. naturalistic) ways of addressing life’s existential and ethical questions. If we are preoccupied with ridiculing religion and its adherents, we are missing genuine opportunities to demonstrate the strength and comprehensiveness of secular humanism. On a similar note, wavering theists will be far more likely to join our ranks if they sense they can be associated with a positive and constructive crowd, not having to choose between the camaraderie of religion and the tenuous animosity of atheism.

A question atheist activists must address is: Would the world necessarily be a better place if all people were atheists? Atheist activists will sometimes espouse the idea that a merciless pursuit of objective knowledge and an abandonment of all unfounded truth assumptions will necessarily lead to a better society. This notion itself is quintessential modernist dogma and ignores the practical experience of belief. The personal benefits of belief come not from the beliefs being based in objective truth per se, but instead from the perception that those beliefs are based in truth – they come from certainty not objective veracity. An honest reflection upon this question of an atheistic society should conclude that no, it would not necessarily be a better one to live in. Atheism by itself does not produce the sustenance that a healthy society thrives on. Democracy, compassion, justice, and progress are not derivatives of atheism. As atheist activists we should recognize that these are in fact humanistic values.

If atheist activists care about progress and the betterment of the human condition, perhaps the ‘deconversion’ of theists should not be prioritized, but instead the promotion of humanistic values. Our socio-political agenda should not include or be premised on the universalization of our atheistic world-view. If the movement is more than apologetics and includes prejudice and proselytization, it is more destructive than worthwhile. Theists can be and often are humanists too, and society is better off for it. Atheist (or secular) humanists and theist humanists each find extremist ideology repulsive and dangerous, and should be willing to work together in stifling its spread.

Contrary to what many believe, atheists and theists alike, a civil and progressive society is possible where atheists and theists live together harmoniously. When atheists and theists get to know each other better, unencumbered by and disabused of stereotypical notions of each other, they often discover that they share many important values. Atheists should be willing to recognize this, and encourage alliances with theists on socio-political issues where they share similar sentiments and goals, including but not limited to the separation of church and state, stewardship of our planet, civil liberties, social services, and curbing extremism. Atheist activists need not be hyperbolic when discussing the fate of science and rationality either, because honest observers will notice that many worthwhile scientific and philosophical contributions have been made by theists or deists. We need not pretend as if we are bound up in some Manicheistic battle between good and evil, a battle between the non-religious and the religious, and adopt the false dichotomies that are typically conjured up in theology. We can live and prosper with those who do or do not believe in god; more importantly, we cannot afford to ignore those who have no respect for human dignity.

Atheist activists should reconsider their priorities and reevaluate their efforts. A sign of maturity for any group is a focus on what they are for rather than what they are not. It often seems as though atheist activists direct more of their attention to religious people rather than to fellow atheists. We are doing ourselves a disservice when we are preoccupied with critiquing religion instead of engaging in dialogue about how atheists can lead positive, fulfilling lives and contribute to a better world.

Let us direct more of our efforts toward helping secular people address the concerns of being secular and human such as death, anxiety, purpose, hope, relationships, parenting, etc. Let us devote more energy toward building up our own monuments rather than tearing down others. Let us affirm our identities and our values in an honest, yet tactful manner. If we want atheists to enjoy a better place in society and to have access to the resources they need to have fruitful lives, then we need to think carefully about our agenda and how we conduct ourselves as public activists.

lovleyAndrew Lovley is the founder and former Chair of the Southern Maine Association of Secular Humanists, a student organization at the University of Southern Maine. He holds a B.A. in Psychology, and is currently acting on his humanist values by serving in AmeriCorps as a tutor and mentor in Spokane, Washington.

33 Responses to “A Newer Atheism: The Case for Affirmation and Accommodation”

  1. humanitarikim Says:

    You are right, but it is a hard line to toe. I, too, find myself pointing fingers at theists, when I should be promoting my own beliefs instead. I really do become so bothered sometimes by the things I see or hear, and it’s hard to make the right choices 100% of the time. Thank you for reminding everyone that we can still be civil and respectful while promoting ourselves.

    http://humanitarikim.wordpress.com/

  2. Herb Van Fleet Says:

    Chris, great post by Mr. Lovley. He and I are on the same page. In fact, check out my blog at http://thehumanistchallenge.wordpress.com/. My first post “The Humanist Challenge” underscores and amplifies Mr. Lovley’s thinking. And your’s too. (There’s also a quote from you in there.) Maybe if enough of us make enough noise, the Humanists will get the message and lighten up.

  3. Herb Van Fleet Says:

    Oops. The title of my blog is “The Humanist Challenge.” The title of my initial post is “Becoming Kinder Gentler Humanists.”

  4. thekeyofatheist Says:

    “Until atheist activists achieve some sort of consensus on this issue, we will continue to contradict each other in words and in actions and threaten our relevance as a movement.”

    I’ve seen no evidence that this is the case. Your general thesis seems to be that atheists will make more headway and be more effective if we’re also nicer. If we are in fact an evidence-based movement, then we should expect evidence of claims like this.

    Greta Christina has a differing, and I think much more convincing perspective.

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/02/what-can-the-atheist-movement-learn-from-the-gay-movement.html

    The more vocal and “angry” LGBT also took flack early on for being too contrarian and “hurting the movement”. In retrospect, confrontation and accommodation both accomplished a great deal in their respective applications.

    If you think it’s more effective to talk about what we’re for rather than what we’re against, why not lead by example? Blog about the topics you’re in favour of rather than blogging about the tactics you’re against. Either that or really make a case that so-called “confrontationalists” are actually in danger of being destructive to the movement. The recent examples of Dawkins Hitchend Dennett and Harris all still take strong criticism for being too negative, and yet their influence on the movement has been overwhelmingly positive. Where is this damage I keep hearing about?

  5. Volizden Says:

    I agree with you on some points but for and overall I heavily disagree with you.

    I wrote a blog not to long ago comparing our secular movement to the Civil rights movement. Explaining how we NEED confrontation Follow the link below.
    http://volizden.xanga.com/736908963/accommodation-vs-confrontation/

    I did say I agree some and will post a reply once I have gone through it completely.

  6. Andrew Lovley Says:

    Comparing the atheist situation today with the civil rights movement seems to me an inappropriate comparison. The civil rights movement involved minorities that did not enjoy the same legal rights as the majority. This is not true for atheists today. What atheists are burdened by is the social stigma, which is extra-legal. I cannot see how confrontation would contribute to removing the stigma and transforming people’s perception of atheists in general. Accommodation, respect, and living according to humanist principles on the other hand, seems to be a far better method of dissolving that social stigma.

  7. A “Newer” Atheism: Just What We Need « The Key of Atheist Says:

    [...] 6th, 2011 § Leave a Comment The pleasantly-named Andrew Lovley has a guest post on Non-Prophet Status where he argues in favour of “affirmation and accommodation”. Well really he just says [...]

  8. thekeyofatheist Says:

    Read the Greta Christina column.

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/02/what-can-the-atheist-movement-learn-from-the-gay-movement.html

    The comparison to the LGBT rights movement is much more apt and confrontation has absolutely been a vital element of undermining social stigma in that case.

    Respect and living by humanist principles are not incompatible with confrontation under certain circumstances. Treating the issue as zero-sum has no basis in reality.

  9. Volizden Says:

    “Comparing the atheist situation today with the civil rights movement seems to me an inappropriate comparison. ”

    Sure it would coming from a position of white privilege. You can’t really see that stand from the other side Not fully. I however as an American Indian raised with my heritage inside a dominant culture have a unique insight into the minority issue from cultural and by comparison religious (being an Atheist).

    If you take into account that historically the strong voice against dissolving slavery, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and today BGLT Right’s and Secular freedom of religion has and IS the religious. Then you realize it’s the same dance just a different tune that’s been carried on for generations, and the only thing that has worked in the past IS confrontation. Which I covered in my Confrontation piece Linked Previously. So I have to ask did you rally read it or skim it?

    “(…)the same legal rights as the majority. This is not true for atheists today.”

    Sort of true, We as atheists are burden also with the religious in the positions of judgment over those cases we take to court. Granted there is supposed to be separation but is it truly there? Also When you consider that One case does NOT necessarily solve the issue for the rest.

    Take for instance the Dover Penn. Case against ID. The ruling stopped it from being implemented true, but there have been other instances of School boards working or attempting to work around the issue by rewriting or redefining science in their curriculum Kansas State School Board (2005) Oklahoma State School Board (2010), Louisiana State School board (2010), which just leads to more court runs and is CLEAR the Religious WANT to confront from these cases.

    “What atheists are burdened by is the social stigma, which is extra-legal. I cannot see how confrontation would contribute to removing the stigma and transforming people’s perception of atheists in general.”

    It won’t and neither would accommodation, only time will remove the stigma and even then not totally. The religious are basing their belief on faith and faith requires NO proof, therefore there will ALWAYS be the faithful and always be those who will confront. However we need to make a stand and utilize the system to our advantage and make the facts speak louder by pushing them.

    Look at Global warming, as far back as the late 60′s/early 70′s the science was showing but No one would act on or go with the science it was slow building and then by the early 90′s there was enough consensus and even then the non believers (mostly religious right) refused to believe the data. even still to this day the religious feel it is a ploy on the part of science to gain control and buck against the data and the attempts to do something about the issues.

    “Accommodation, respect, and living according to humanist principles on the other hand, seems to be a far better method of dissolving that social stigma.”

    Sure it would be and it would be great, PROBLEM is you have an opposing side that (AS A WHOLE) base their lives and principals on non-rational emotional beliefs and thus would not sit across from you and accept rational values. the Global warming issue is perfect evidence for that…

    I just got into this way more than I wanted to at this time I am still going over your Blog to respond to and some of which I have here.

  10. Herb Van Fleet Says:

    thekeyofathiest writes: “The comparison to the LGBT rights movement is much more apt and confrontation has absolutely been a vital element of undermining social stigma in that case.”

    I agree with Mr. Lovley on this one. The LGBT rights movement (and any civil rights movement) is a false analogy. The question, as I see it, is an internal one about the direction of the Humanist movement and whether it is better off with or without the shrill invectives of a Dawkins or a Hitchens. The issue is therefore a matter or policy. Do the Humanists want to acknowledge that they live in a pluralistic society where a certain degree of tolerance and compassion would be more conducive for their message, or would they be better served confronting the religious fundamentalists with ridicule and mockery?

    Clearly, the Humanists are on the latter path. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of us in the movement who are willing to speak out against that philosophy. If that creates a split in the organization, so be it. Either way, the concern is not about public support, it’s about the direction the movement should take to attract public support in the first place.

  11. I know what I know… Confessions of a hand-wringer « Only The Sangfroid Says:

    [...]  Somebody beat me to the punch.  Here (via The Key of Atheist) is the wet and pretentious Andrew Lovley: Atheist activists need not be [...]

  12. In Which Someone Disagrees With Me, I Think? « The Key of Atheist Says:

    [...] at onlythesangfroid has said some very kind things about me and referenced my response to the Andrew Lovley article. I’m a little confused as to Mark’s thesis so I’m going to address it in some [...]

  13. timberwraith Says:

    The comparison to the LGBT rights movement would be more easily applied if the atheist movement’s only goals were limited to striving for greater acceptance, equal social status, and equal legal status. However, there is a significant portion of the atheist movement that is striving to eradicate religious/spiritual thought. This would be akin to LGBT people advocating that heterosexual, cissexual, cisgender people should become LGBT people. This creates a fundamental incompatibility in drawing a comparison between the two movements.

    Striving for social equality is an admirable goal. Advocating the eradication of those who currently hold a socially dominant position is a far more dubious proposition.

  14. timberwraith Says:

    Just to be clear, I have no problem with people confronting those quarters of the religious community that actively foster harm against others via prejudice and attempts at promulgating their cultural hegemony in various public institutions. Fight them we should and I’m not averse to using direct, assertive actions and language in opposing such actions.

    Nevertheless, striving to rid society of religion and spirituality extends beyond that locus of activity and there are more than a few atheists who advocate that religion and spirituality are by their very nature, flaws upon the face of humankind. My problem isn’t with confrontational action so much as what said action is focused upon.

    To continue with my previous analogy, I’m bisexual and I have every right to confront anyone who thinks my rights and social status should be abridged because of that descriptor. I have every right to oppose actions that lead to the marginalization of my particular mode of intimacy. I have every right to oppose those who attempt to use the government as a tool in promoting heterosexuality as a superior mode of being over bisexuality and homosexuality. Nevertheless, it would be problematic for me to assert that the world would be better off if heterosexuality didn’t exist and that we should strive to eradicate such modes of intimacy.

  15. Volizden Says:

    Sorry it took so long had life interrupt…

    http://volizden.xanga.com/738632647/confrontation-vsaccommodation-revisited/

  16. I run around town, around round the round… Wow, that last post was terrible « Only The Sangfroid Says:

    [...] Andrew Lovley promotes a view of ‘accommodationism’ where atheists concentrate on shared values [...]

  17. Taylor N. Says:

    This is a great discussion piece. I’m actually listening to a sermon that I would love for the author, or you Chris, to listen and respond to. It’s a Redeemer Presbyterian podcast titled “The Community of Jesus” which addresses Christian tolerance/treatment of those outside the church. You can find it on iTunes, search either Timothy Keller or Redeemer Presbyterian. He starts talking about the topic in question in the second-half of the sermon. Again, I’d really enjoy reading a response post about this!

  18. Damn you atheists, why won’t you tolerate believers? - Butterflies and Wheels Says:

    [...] a guest post there from a few days ago, by another pious Humanist type, which is another extended exercise in saying Why Atheists Suck and Why Believers Are Better Than Everyone Els…. Like all such exercises, it is cloying and dishonest at the same [...]

  19. Ken Pidcock Says:

    It is time we recognize that the secular movement and its members are best served by acting on an agenda that balances affirmation of our identity and values with conciliation toward the religious.

    You should know full well that there will be no such balance, and that conciliation will always require compromise of affirmation. The author offers good reasons for favoring conciliation, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves about the cost.

  20. Hammill Says:

    I appreciate this piece very much, Andrew. I’m a nonbeliever that is frequently ashamed to be associated with some of the vitriol that comes from our side of the aisle. We need more people, like yourself, to speak out for a positive, forward-looking kind of nonbelief….

    ….even if doing so only directs the vitriol in your direction. I’ve noticed the link above leads to site where you are being accused of not being a nonbeliever simply for your opinions on tone. Furthermore, some of the vitriol and invective (ignorant, arrogant, immoral, unethical, bitter, bullsh@t, etc.) directed at you is disturbing. Include the discussion about what to call “pseudoatheists” like yourself and the message seems clear: the goal is to marginalize you and bully you into not seeking to take nonbelief in a positive direction.

    I say don’t give up, don’t lose composure, and stick to your convictions. There are those of us out there who stand behind you, no matter how hateful the rhetoric becomes.

  21. Volizden Says:

    “I’m a nonbeliever that is frequently ashamed to be associated with some of the vitriol that comes from our side of the aisle.”

    You are best I cant tell in a minority sir, Sorry you feel as such though. Many people don’t at least appear to feel as you do. At the last convention I went to this was a panel topic and when the question time arrived NO ONE, out of 1200 people aired concern over accommodation. Which I find rather interesting considering the loud few of the accommodationist that post blogs.

    “We need more people, like yourself, to speak out for a positive, forward-looking kind of nonbelief.”

    I do agree that dissension should be aired it keeps a prospective open for the other side. However in this case I HIGHLY do NOT believe Accommodation should be an issue, at all. I encourage you to read my argument for confrontation:
    http://volizden.xanga.com/736908963/accommodation-vs-confrontation/

    “even if doing so only directs the vitriol in your direction. I’ve noticed the link above leads to site where you are being accused of not being a nonbeliever simply for your opinions on tone. Furthermore, some of the vitriol and invective directed at you is disturbing. Include the discussion about what to call “pseudoatheists” like yourself and the message seems clear: the goal is to marginalize you and bully you into not seeking to take nonbelief in a positive direction.”

    I hope your are not referring to my Blog spot where I dissected his statements and countered them, I did question where or not he really did understand his fellow atheists at one point. Here is that one:
    http://volizden.xanga.com/738632647/confrontation-vsaccommodation-revisited/

    “I say don’t give up, don’t lose composure, and stick to your convictions. There are those of us out there who stand behind you, no matter how hateful the rhetoric becomes.”

    Again I totally agree with you the opposing argument keeps us confrontationist honest as it where, it help us discern if a line has been crossed, though none appear to have been yet. Even with the cries for accommodation that have come out recently. Plain and Simple the Right is never going to respond to accommodationist, history is the guide for that.

  22. Andrew Lovley Says:

    Thank you, you have just made my night. I was beginning to wonder if posting the article was a good idea or not; their harshest criticisms began to really sunder my armor after a while. So thank you again for reminding me there are others like yourself who share similar observations and ideals!

  23. Volizden Says:

    Really you thought me Harsh?

  24. Hammill Says:

    I was beginning to wonder if posting the article was a good idea or not

    Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to read up on the online history of this accommodationism vs. confrontation debate, and IMO there are at least a handful of blogs that try remarkably hard to evoke that sentiment in anyone that dares criticize views or opinions that lean towards the confrontationalist side (OTOH, Voilzden, your response doesn’t seem to do this, and your criticism seems measured, in my personal opinion). Instead of responding with measured debate, they mock your opinions outright without fully engaging them, then try the shaming route, then the invective or the use of labels that question one’s “loyalty” to nonbelief. I was shocked reading through some of the call-and-response on one blog that responded to your piece that someone in the comments section was even digging through your profile for your location, followed by your academic credentials, and posting them as if those were somehow relevant to an opinion piece. Perhaps there are more noble motives for all of this behavior that I’m missing (and if there is, I’ll stand corrected), but it’s hard for me to see it as anything but responding to criticism not via good, honest debate but via bullying tactics.

    Anyway, don’t let it get you down. If you thumb through that handful of blogs long enough, you’ll find that virtually anyone and everyone with an argument bearing even the slightest resemblance to yours gets the same treatment, and sometimes much, much worse. Thankfully, from my reading it seems to be a small and remarkably homogeneous subset of the community that restricts itself to the internet, and I’d wager there are many more of us out there who don’t side nearly as much towards the extremes.

  25. anonymous Says:

    Hammel is a well known shit-stirrer who uses same pseudonym on its own blog to wind up and hoodwink its own regulars, whose views it does not agree with.

  26. anonymous Says:

    Ham(mil?) ascertains that it has been for over the past few weeks trying to read up on the online history of this accommodationism vs. confrontation debate, confrontationalist side. This is a whole load of baloney – it has been haranguing the latter for a very long time now.

  27. anonymous Says:

    I say don’t give up, don’t lose composure, and stick to your convictions. There are those of us out there who stand behind you, no matter how hateful the rhetoric becomes. I say, Ham(mill) is on a mission to save all the would- be young Mooneyites who are wanting to climb the corporate ladder on the back of religion etc. Is it not strange that Ham(mill) should suddenly want to protect and give you confidence when it obviously does not know you from Adam? Do not be fooled by this cunning person. it has a big bone to bite with others and it is playing you off against them. It says ‘those of us out there’ Ham(mill) has a small gathering behind it. Hammill and others have been around for a long time now spreading their own vitriolic hatred. Be wary of wolves in sheep clothing.

  28. Hammill Says:

    @anonymous:

    Hammel is a well known shit-stirrer who uses same pseudonym on its own blog to wind up and hoodwink its own regulars, whose views it does not agree with.

    I’m afraid I don’t maintain a blog, and thus I am unsure how it is possible for me to have “regulars” to “wind up and hoodwink.”

    Is it not strange that Ham(mill) should suddenly want to protect and give you confidence when it obviously does not know you from Adam?

    I’m also afraid I’m not trying to “protect” anyone. I read this post, agreed with its sentiments, followed the response links listed above, and disagreed with what, in my eyes, is an unjustified response where legitimate concerns and criticism got lost in invective. IMO, the disproportionate response to Andrew’s post is not an isolated case across several places in the blogosphere, and is not restricted to any single site. However, as I state in my second comment above, if perhaps there are nobler motives at play (as there could be) and I’ve simply misinterpreted honest criticism as unnecessary vitriol (as I certainly could have), then I stand corrected. My interpretation of the criticism may certainly not be the intended one. There are links above to the responses to this post where I am confident others can read and make personal judgments for themselves. My opinion is just an opinion. It is not final or something that others are forced to accept at face value.

    “anonymous” is correct that I do not know Andrew from Adam. I am certain, however, that Andrew can handle himself. My comment was not trying to “harangue” or stir up trouble. I simply feel that Andrew has been dealt with disproportionately, and I am expressing that personal opinion along with agreement for what, in my eyes, was a fine post here. Others, of course, may disagree with that opinion; that’s the nature of debate. I see nothing wrong with such a statement.

    Regardless, if my presence here is going to result in posts such as the three anonymous ones posted in quick succession above, I have no problem refraining from commenting on this thread further.

  29. DavidMWW Says:

    Andrew Lovely, it is very funny that you write a long post essentially telling people to “shut up”, and then get all hurt by their harsh reactions.

    So you want to play nice with the deluded. Fair enough. Knock yourself out with your tactically positive affirmations of your identity. Just don’t whine when you try to insist everyone does the same – with your “It is time…” this and “We must not…” that – and they don’t agree with you.

    There is room for both good cops and bad cops in this cultural battle.

  30. The prodigal returns - Butterflies and Wheels Says:

    [...] he poisoned the well, that’s what. I appreciate this piece very much, Andrew. I’m a nonbeliever that is [...]

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  32. Ambidexter Says:

    If accommodationists want to play nicey-nice with the goddists then by all means they should do so. I just wish certain accommodationists would stop telling the confrontationists to become accommodationists.

    Ken Ham and Ray Comfort will continue to push having mythology taught in schools in place of science however amiable you are to them. Pope Benny Ratzi will continue to support child rapists regardless of how nice you are to him. Fred Phelps and Boyd Packer will continue to use religion to justify their homophobia no matter how hard you suck up to them

    In short, just continue your ineffectual dealings with goddists all you want. Just please stop whining about us who don’t agree with being charming to people who don’t deserve it.

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