Fifty percent of Americans think atheists are a pain in the ass. Only half as many dislike Muslims, despite the national hobby of raining electric death on Muslims the world over. The reason for this disparity should be obvious: Modern public atheists are more annoying. While I know many pleasant Muslims, I can’t think of a single public representative of atheism who isn’t an obnoxious dung heap.
In my years upon this old rock, I’ve been bothered by Baha’is, surveyed by Scientologists, molested by Mormons, questioned by commies, besieged by Baptists, proselytized by Protestants, swayed by Sunnis, troubled by Taoists, and pestered by pagans. Everyone who has sweated me with their particular sacred belief has politely ceased to bother me when I informed them that I was not interested—everyone except atheists who insist I’m disbelieving improperly.
Modern atheists have their own saints, detailed taboos, purification rituals, demons, superstitions, and a deep sense of sin. This pattern of human group behavior is probably innate, but it is particularly annoying when allegedly ultra-rational people display it.
Consider the “A+ movement.” They call themselves “A+” because they’re self-regarding atheists “plus” some other stuff. The A+ “movement” was founded as a result of the debate around the Elevatordammerung, a cataclysm that ensued when a socially inept nerdling asked a cabbage-headed pinup girl for a cup of coffee while in an elevator. The resulting tumult eventually spawned the A+ schism with the part of the “atheist movement” who found this as silly as the rest of the world did.
The A+ sect is effectively a religion. They do not consider themselves to be such, but their superstitions saturate their lives in ways that put ultra-Orthodox Jews to shame. The A+ communion is fanatically Manichaean. They fervently believe that the world is evil and can only be purified by their efforts to bring the world to A+ holiness.
What are the tenets of the A+ creed? For all intents and purposes, A+holes worship their own suffering. A+hole saints are people who suffer. Most especially, A+hole saints are people who suffer dismay, such as that experienced when being asked for coffee by an unattractive person in an elevator. A+hole devils, by contrast, are well-adjusted and therefore are hated fiercely.
The A+holes have peculiar superstitions where moralistic mana is accorded to those with the least “privilege.” What they mean by “privilege” is a sort of phlogiston carried by white people, heterosexuals, males, religious people, people who disagree with them, and people who identify with the sex chromosomes and genital organs with which they were born. Such “privilege” embodies the A+ concept of original sin. Their purification ritual consists of confessing one’s sins in the public forum and groveling before the grouchy saints and the holy icons as penance.
The taboos of A+holes are multitudinous. The ultimate taboo is questioning the tenets of the faith. Despite their alleged mission “to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty and crime,” application of skepticism and critical thinking to those subjects is strictly forbidden. Many religions require one to believe in deeply contradictory ideas at the same time; A+holery is no different.
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