The Atheist Label and Dissent


The label, “atheist”, was, first and foremost and still today, applied by partisans to those dissenters who spoke against the conservative condition.

These same, self-privileged and group-validated conservatives, usually religious, usually a single, dominant sect or party, use the label, “atheist”, to enflame the sentiments of simple-minded people against critical thinking generally and against the very act of questioning. This particular “atheism”, the very first atheism, was and is an accusation: It is an unsubstantiated and hysterical charge of treason when no evidence, no other pretext, can be found to silence someone.

The accusation behind such a label cannot merely be denied by the one so labelled. You can no more fight this allegation of atheism than you can fight the self-referential charges of witch, heretic, traitor, kafir, since it takes as it’s proof precisely the premise it states.

Be suspicious of such labels, even when at last embraced (albeit ironically) by a majority “community”, by force of numbers or by convention: Perhaps one day soon, those same people — it is not inconceivable — who think it has become culturally acceptable to be called “atheist”, pride of ownership used as little more than a talisman, may well become the new orthodoxy and the final status quo, ready all over again to label, castigate, or imprison you for dissent.

Critical thinking and dissent is a state of mind that destroys labels and lays bare all motives, not just cult, dogma, superstition, and scripture.