Atheism Plus What? Social Justice and Lifestyle Politics Among Edmonton Atheists

  • Jonathan Scott Simmons University of Alberta
Keywords: new atheism, lifestyle, identity, religion, schisms


This article addresses Edmonton secularists’ responses to the emergence of a social justice faction known as Atheism Plus (A+) within the broader secularist movement. I show that some atheist activists express a libertarian rationalism consistent with Enlightenment values to maintain a lifestyle free from collectivist ideologies that promote social justice. The data for this article comes from interviews and participant observation, focusing on three atheist organizations in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I draw from literature focused on everyday lifestyle choices as a form of protest to argue that for some atheist activists, their individual intellectual development takes priority over building a strong collective identity. Given that some scholars claim that atheism perpetuates gender inequality (Amarasingam and Brewster 2016; Miller 2013; Schnabel 2015), this work additionally contributes to our understanding of how atheists conceptualize their activism as sub- and micro-political activities free from community constraints.