Saturday, September 16, 2006
Don't Look Back
While I think PZ Myers has occasionally gone too far in his criticism of some people of faith, such as Ken Miller, it is only fair to acknowledge the other side of the problem.
I’ve seen people gritting their teeth and balling their hands up while they listen to me. I’ve gotten some loaded statements like, ‘What are you going to do when you find yourself in a lake of fire?’
What frustrates atheists is not that they are outnumbered, but that they are reviled. "We are the last group in the United States who it’s politically correct to hate and discriminate against," said Dave Silverman, a spokesman for American Atheists, a 43-year-old national advocacy group. "In the Bible Belt, it’s even worse."Penny Edgell, a sociologist who led a national survey conducted at the University of Minnesota, said irreligious people often are seen as amoral because Americans’ core values historically have overlapped with religious values. "Religiosity is seen as a proxy for being a good person," she said. The survey found that Americans rank atheists below gay and lesbian people, recent immigrants, Muslims and other minorities in "sharing their vision of American society." Incredibly, "Americans are less willing to accept intermarriage with atheists than with any other group."
A certain testiness is hardly surprising when the scent of burning torches is in the air.