Faitheists are Nothing New

June 18, 2011

Never missing a chance to snipe at fellow atheists for failing his Atheist Heresy tests, PZ Myers adds a fresh charge against Chris Stedman, that of stealing a label without giving due credit. 

Stedman's new book is titled Faitheist -- specifically, (F)a(i)theist: How One Atheist Learned to Overcome the Religious-Secular Divide, and Why Atheists and the Religious Must Work Together (working title, Beacon Press 2012).

Myers cites a 2009 contest in which the winning entry was "Faitheist" to label atheists too cozy or hospitable towards religious faith.  But a superficial Google search reveals how that label has an older internet existence than 2009.  In fact, that label was published in a New York City newspaper back in 2006.  Gersh Kuntzman wrote a piece called The New ‘Faitheists’ in The Brooklyn Papers (April 8, 2006), with the subtitle of "A growing number of non-believers still need a dose of that old-time religion."

Kuntzman doesn't claim to have invented the term.  Good thing, since the term is even older.  The earliest reference that I can locate for "faitheism" is in Who's Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith (2000, page 57).  Perhaps Smith was just repeating something that he'd heard before, or maybe he made it up -- perhaps he should be asked.  Anyways, Smith's Who's Who in Hell was fairly well known in many atheist circles (it's a great read) and it must have helped to put the term into wider use.

Regardless of what we eventually read in Stedman's book (the contents will surely be original), we can all agree that the label "Faitheist" is clever and useful.  Let's stick to arguing about ideas and not labels. 

 

Comments:

#1 beautifulblackatheist (Guest) on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 1:50pm

One would think PZ had better things to do…but thank YOU, Mr. Shook for your research

#2 Warren Allen Smith (Guest) on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 8:27pm

For the documentation of fatheism, see

#3 Warren Allen Smith (Guest) on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 8:29pm

For documentation as to when fatheism was first noted, see

#4 Warren Allen Smith (Guest) on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 8:36pm

For documentation, see

#5 Tezcatlipoca (Guest) on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 11:11pm

I see you couldn’t resist sniping at fellow atheist either in this display of pedantic glee.

#6 wasm on Sunday June 19, 2011 at 5:01am

To document the above,

http://www.philosopedia.org/index.php/Faitheism

#7 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Sunday June 19, 2011 at 11:29pm

Ahh, Tez must be a Pharyngulac/oid;

For your pleasure: socraticgadfly.blogspotDOTcom/2011/06/pzmyers-and-pharyngulacs-religious.html

#8 Melody Hensley (Guest) on Monday June 20, 2011 at 6:30am

Not a fan of the Atheist Heresy Test, but is anyone else sick of the holier than though attitude of the New Faitheists?

#9 Stan Brooks (Guest) on Monday June 20, 2011 at 12:22pm

I have to say the I fully agree with both Tezcatlipoca and Melody H, John never seems to find enough good to say about the faithful.

#10 Ophelia Benson on Tuesday June 21, 2011 at 8:43am

I too am very sick of the sanctimony of the New Faitheists. (Good label, Melody!)

#11 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 at 11:25pm

What holier than thou? Is anybody sick of the Stalinesque language of PZ, seeking “cadres,” expressing his wish to purge conservatives from atheism as a movement (last I checked, political stances had ZIP to do with metaphysical ones), then claiming Sam Harris isn’t a neocon (laughable! neocons are extensively referenced in the Islamophobia parts of The IMmoral Landscape) — I guess PZ doesn’t want to “Expell” (heh, heh) Sam, lumping all the spectrum of a religion under the rubric of its most fundamentalist members (intellectual dishonesty — as I note, the fundamentalist Church of Christ and the semi-unitarian United Church of Christ are poles apart), and more.

To summarize, and go “meta” ... I’m a bit sick of the sanctimony of people who think it’s always the other side who’s sanctimonious.

If, per Daniel Loxton’s great blog post at Skepticblog, this means there’s two camps, so be it. Gnus are why ppl like me (don’t dare use the pejorative “accommodationist” Ophelia) don’g use the word “atheist,” just as the Brian Dunnings, Michael Shermers and Penn/Tellers of the libertarian world are why we don’t use the word “skeptic” much any more either.

I stand with David Hume, and simply call myself an “empiricist.”

#12 Bruce Gorton (Guest) on Thursday June 23, 2011 at 3:12am

#11 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 at 11:25pm

And here we see a precise demonstration of that holier than thou attitude we are all talking about.

#13 wasm on Thursday June 23, 2011 at 3:40am

“Perhaps Smith was just repeating something that he’d heard before, or maybe he made it up—perhaps he should be asked.  Anyways, Smith’s Who’s Who in Hell was fairly well known in many atheist circles (it’s a great read) and it must have helped to put the term into wider use.”

Smith has not “made it up,” and he documents where he found the subject at

http://www.philosopedia.org/index.php/Faitheism

So Smith has been asked, and Smith has told. On Omaha Beach in 1944, he wouldn’t dare have told his sexual orientation. His dogtags, however, listed his religion:  None.

Smith

#14 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Thursday June 23, 2011 at 11:14pm

Et tu, Bruce?

#15 Melody Hensley (Guest) on Saturday June 25, 2011 at 8:35pm

“Thou”, rather. :s

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