Thursday, October 9, 2008

Friendly Atheists

This has been bugging me for a while, and it's something my own crowd is doing.

With greater frequency you see blogs springing up titled, in essence, "The Friendly Atheist". Often a synonym for friendly is used.

Look, your heart is in the right place, but you're not doing anyone any favors with a name like that. What do you think that says about the other atheists?

Let's compare. What are your reactions to the following fictional sites?

The Honest Republican
The Masculine Democrat
The Harmless African American
The Tolerant White Man
The Open-Minded Christian

All you're doing is taking a stereotype and reinforcing it by saying, "I'm the exception." Stop it. Most atheists are friendly. We're normal people.

We are perceived as unfriendly, or arrogant, because we ask uncomfortable questions. The questions themselves aren't that uncomfortable, but the answers that people know they have to give to be logically consistent are embarrassing. So, rather than recognize the belief for the silly thing it is, they assume criticism on our part and feel insulted.

The tone of the debate doesn't matter. You can do nothing but ask questions and still receive this reaction. That's a problem.

It's not because we're being mean.

Not always, anyway.

1 comment:

Q said...

I'm mean!

Okay, well, not to everyone, just to people who deserve it!

I do find it interesting how many people find an honest, skeptical, critique of a large portion of the populaces' world view to equate to being mean, or overly critical.

It also usually only applies when you apply skeptical inquiry towards religion, most people will not find you mean or berserk if you have sharp opinions as to the veracity of UFOs or Global Warming, they just might consider that you have a different opinion.

In other news, the word verification that I need to enter to post this message almost spells Nazgul!