I have been following the goings-on and happenings of a thriving community of atheists
(one of the less disreputable social news websites). It is really comical to see this aggregate of supposedly free thinkers evolve along the lines of a gathering cult. They strike me as extremely arrogant, unpleasant with anyone who does not follow strictly their (at the moment confusingly) evolving dogmas
, and full of so many contradictions it would take me too much time to list.
I have my own little theory of why such atheist
communities seem to evolve so much along the lines of an organized religion
; trying to convince others of their own righteousness; intolerant of any opposition; based around cliques of like minded people; developing their own myths and lines of argument; encouraging and supporting each other in their (non)-faith, etc.
It seems indeed that quite many of those atheists are ex-believers who have grown very disenchanted with their experience of religion, religions they often have encountered only in their most fundamentalist forms. However, this disenchantment does not come with proper understanding of its sources, and without proper understanding of how religion has ingrained into them habits of minds and attitudes that are intolerant, inflexible and disrespectful of others' integrity.
So basically, my thesis is that atheists are the rejects of the most extreme forms of religion in the US. Not surprisingly, they find it difficult to digest their experience of rejection, which translates in bitterness and barely controlled anger towards religious people.
For example, there seems to be a gathering trend towards a more militant type of atheism, apparently prompted by the belief that atheism is under attack or that religious people have dominated for too long. I saw them recently praising the actions of an atheist who aggressively preached to and harassed two clueless Jehovah's Witnesses
). Other atheists in the UK for example have been circulating adverts claiming the inexistence of god(s) (http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/faq/
I am afraid I do not quite understand the sources of this militant atheism, and have little affinity with their special types of arguments and with the intricacies of the conflicts between their different churches.
It seems like Dawkins et alii have unwittingly attracted a number of rather second rate intellects to their cause. The demographics of current adherents of the atheistic faith seems to consist mainly of disgruntled middle-class
white men intent on using their new set of belief to humiliate and dominate other semi-educated individuals.
Goes to show how beliefs, any kind of belief and knowledge can always be misused when it falls into the hands of the essentially inferior, testosterone-fuelled half of humanity (half, that is, when using the term "humanity" in its broadest sense).Related articles Profound Insight Into God Atheists, Christians, Temples & Mosques in 2nd Life Daffy Richard Dawkins Does Darwin...again Edinburgh 2009: Marcus Brigstocke's God Collar