Thursday, July 05, 2007



There has been some little heat but perhaps not an equal amount of light of late over whether atheists suffer bias or just an image problem and whose fault that may be. I have to say that I find not an insignificant portion of the neo-atheist rhetoric to be of the decidedly cheap variety but can't for the life of me determine how they could be singled out on that basis, given the welter of true dishonesty that goes to make up our polity today.

Consider instead this hard example. Deepak Doraiswamy relates "An unpleasant incident involving atheistic bumper stickers on my car" in this Philadelphia Inquirer story.

An agitated individual approached me in a mall parking lot declaring his intention to "straighten out my views."

Only his love of God, he said, prevented him from "bashing my face in."

He threatened to smash my windshield and force the issue when I prudently refused to lower my window and involved the local police instead.
Note the threat here really is: "If you succeed in convincing me that there is no God, there will be no reason I shouldn't hurt you for taking that comfort away." The man's agitation suggests that it is fear, more than disfavor for mere ideas, that is at work.

Like it or not, many people invest a great deal of their identity and self-worth in their religion. They're not going to like you for telling them that it ... and they ... are worthless.

Whether repetition will take the sting out is another matter.

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