I agree that not all atheists are neoliberals. I was simplifying, using neoliberalism as a dominant tendency in secular society. I’ve written a few articles on how new atheism split along political lines, leading to the progressive, “woke” movements (Me Too, Black Lives Matter) and to the more conservative ones that faded into the intellectual dark web.
But progressivism isn’t as dominant as neoliberalism. Biden and Hillary beat Bernie. Anyway, progressive atheism likewise has numerous positive philosophical assumptions.
Yes, when I talk about the intellectuals who look into philosophical issues, I’m talking about a minority crowd. Most people aren’t interested in philosophy. Nevertheless, that nonphilosophical majority which includes atheists have positive thoughts and desires that have philosophical implications. Just because the majority doesn’t follow their logic to the bitter end, doesn’t mean there are no such intellectual debts to discharge.
I agree with your assessment of theism. It’s fine to ignore theism. I’m not interested in changing the minds of religious people. I debated at length with theists in the early days of the internet, and mainly what I got out of those debates was just plenty of practice in writing and thinking things through; hardly anyone’s mind is changed in those kinds of debates.
No, I write about religion and philosophy to understand what’s going on broadly in the world. Ignoring religion doesn’t make it go away. And even if we trained ourselves to think more critically so we wouldn’t fall for primitive dogmas, irrational tribalism could reappear in a secular guise, as it did infamously with Nazism, soviet collectivism, and now with the cult of Trumpism. If even the loathsome Trump can seem charismatic (albeit only to a pack of trolls and troglodytes), imagine how susceptible we must be to revering something.
I appreciate that profound hardships can direct our efforts away from relatively idle pursuits. That’s a pragmatic decision, though, that sometimes goes the other way. Some folks who have near-death experiences and come to a newfound appreciation of life’s preciousness discount not philosophy and religion, but our secular charades and distractions. They may go as far as to join a monastery or otherwise withdraw from secular society. Much that goes on in that society is far from enlightened, although secularism (democracy, capitalism, science) is clearly more respectable than theism and theocracy.
You raise an interesting question: How could one way of life be more deserving than another if there’s no overarching deity to judge? The natural universe doesn’t care who lives or dies. But you’ve left out a possible source of evaluation: our deepest, most authentic self. We’re the only ones that can judge ourselves, so we’re the ones that suffer ennui and malaise, anxiety and depression when we suspect certain mainstream habits and secular conventions are somehow inadequate.
Progressives feel the same with respect to neoliberalism, so progressives are distressed that secular society isn’t living up to a certain ideal. And the task of analyzing and questioning our ideals is quite philosophical.
I’ve written lots of poems that rhyme, too, by the way. Here’s one against the Hallmark-card style of anti-creativity you find in certain hackneyed poems.
And here’s one of my favourites that I’ve written: