Sam Harris has come out with an interesting essay on religion. This time, rather than simply going after religion in his characteristic way he has a message for non-believers.
He says we should stop calling ourselves atheists altogether.
My concern with the use of the term “atheism” is both philosophical and strategic. I’m speaking from a somewhat unusual and perhaps paradoxical position because, while I am now one of the public voices of atheism, I never thought of myself as an atheist before being inducted to speak as one. I didn’t even use the term in The End of Faith, which remains my most substantial criticism of religion. And, as I argued briefly in Letter to a Christian Nation, I think that “atheist” is a term that we do not need, in the same way that we don’t need a word for someone who rejects astrology. We simply do not call people “non-astrologers.” All we need are words like “reason” and “evidence” and “common sense” and “bullshit” to put astrologers in their place, and so it could be with religion.
The basic gist is that we as reasonable people should combat illogical beliefs individually as they come up rather than by grouping all of “them” as “religious” and all of “us” as “atheists”. I think there is merit to this lack of generalization; as Sam points out it reduces the amount of pre-canned arguments on both sides that tend to hinder productive debate.
Anyway, I need to read it again and ponder it some more, but I thought I would pass it along in the meantime.