While there is such a thing as atheists who prefer to antagonize the religious of every stripe-and that’s certainly their right-it’s not the position of the bulk of people who don’t believe in a god. This shouldn’t be surprising because people who by their very definition avoid wishful thinking are pragmatic enough to realize that minorities like themselves need friendly allies in order to get things accomplished. And of course, people who highly value freedom of and from religion are also likely to respect people of differing opinions and don’t want to constantly offend those who otherwise share many values.
Most atheists and agnostics want to be clear about convictions regarding the existence of gods and other supernatural concepts. And being in the minority in the U.S., it also makes sense for those who don’t share the majority belief to advocate for strict separation of religion and government. And at times it’s appropriate to criticize religion since some religious ideas hold our society back, such as not yet embracing full LGBT rights and unnecessarily dividing humanity into the chosen and the damned. But in pursuit of respect, in seeking freedom from religion, and in challenging religious injustice, do atheists ever cross the line into activity that may be counterproductive and alienate religious allies?
To read the rest of this Washington Post On Faith article, click here.
Roy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association.