In Peter Boghossian’s A Manual For Creating Atheists, the atheist writer of the atheist manual creation book takes pains to state that he does not identify as an atheist. He says his identity also is not a a-leprachaunist, for example, and he’s against any deeper identification of atheism, such as the atheism+ blip of a few years ago.
As an atheist, I identify as an atheist. Now if leprechauns were a big deal in my country of birth, consuming the $71 billion dollars in religious tax exemptions, and $93 billion in donations from often poor people to religions and owned hundreds of billions of dollars in real estate, then damn sure I’d identify as a a-leprachaunist. We are all surrounded by our institutional social reality, and in the US and A, it’s Gods and guns a’plenty. Why pretend otherwise?
Religious theism is the dominant mode of philosophic expression in this country. Religious theism is not innocuous, but has enormous moral, political, and financial ramifications, ramparts, and ramjets in this country. Since I am opposed to this form of irrational bigotry, and must every day encounter this form of enforced intellectual oppression, then I am daily hardened in my incorporation of atheism into my trains of cognitive objections to religion-saturated US matters great and small.
Of course, atheism is but a start, and it can go off in many bizarre ways that are also bigoted, oppressive, irrational – Sam Harris’s invective against Muslims, Hitchens’ late in life embrace of Laura Ingraham, bad atheist show tunes, atheist Templeton accommodationists, atheist libertarian Republicans. That’s not atheism’s fault, though – as a premise, it is completely valid, and should provide steel in the humanist understanding of social struggle, but there are too many competing elements of socio-political errancy to give atheism a clear ride to the top in the US.