I've been reading all the new "new atheism" books out there lately...The God Delusion, God is not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, etc. Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett et al are brilliant. Their ability to get their points across leaves me breathless with envy.
But they're so darn mean!
Don't get me wrong. I agree with them. I believe religion, especially the fundamentalist versions of it, is bad. It makes no sense and I don't understand how intelligent people can possibly believe any of it.
But I'm just having a hard time dealing with the meanness I'm reading. It doesn't seem necessary. Maybe it's a reaction to the agression atheists have received from theists all over the world for centuries. I confess I find it highly entertaining in a way. It's sure more interesting to read than most of the philosophical, professorial stuff I read on a lot of the atheism blogs I follow. But after I finish reading, I feel a little bad.
It's not in my nature to be mean like that. Not as a rule, anyway. I can be grumpy with the best of them at times. For most of my life, I've been a committed atheist, but I've always felt that religion, when practiced with the best intentions, is not really a bad thing, and can inspire people to do good things (even if it is for a heavenly reward and not true altruism). There...now I'm doing it! I'm being mean. Well, I'll reserve the right...no one can be sweetness and light 24/7.
But I had a thought a few minutes ago while reading yet another blog entry about how vitriolic some of these atheist writers can be. I thought... "wouldn't it be the best demonstration of how great atheists are if we all just acted really nice all the time?" It's like they say...living well is the best revenge. Well...being nice would prove all the theists wrong about us being amoral and evil and all that nonsense.
So, now I can continue to be my natural, nice self, being open about my atheism, and knowing that my nature will show dubious theists that atheists are nice people too.