June 5, 2011

When the Message Starts With "You People," You Know It Will Be Good

I received the following email recently from someone calling himself Alfred:
You people have no purpose. Just because you don't believe in anything doesn't mean you should try to drag everyone down with you. Normally I have no problem with Atheists, but you people are the kind who feel like they have to prove everyone else wrong. You disgust me and I hope that eventually you'll see why the way you present your point makes you bad people.
What I enjoyed about it was that it perfectly captures some of the most common complaints we hear:
  • We atheists don't believe in anything. Really? I believe in plenty.
  • We are trying to "drag everyone down" with us. Is encouraging people to accept reality dragging them down in some way?
  • We feel like we must prove everyone else wrong. I don't know about other atheists, but I have little need to prove anyone wrong. I'm generally content to let reality do that. What I may offer, from time to time, is a reminder about reality.
  • We "disgust" him and are "bad people" because of how we present our arguments. I'm guessing that this means we should be nicer, more respectful of religious belief, maybe even know our place. I've known more than a few atheists who would probably agree with this, but I'm not one of them.
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