Richard Dawkins, big time atheist, and a bunch of other atheists held a rally in Washington DC over the weekend not only espousing atheism, but advocating for the trashing of other religions.
I think atheists should be treated with respect and atheism should be treated with respect. By that same logic, this implies that religious folks and religion should be treated with respect. Most atheists would want atheism and atheists treated with respect, so there it is hypocrisy for them to say things like: "I don't despise religious people. I despise what they stand for" and atheists must "ridicule and show contempt" for the doctrines and sacraments of religious people. Those are lines uttered by Dawkins.
Let's put the shoe on the other foot.
I don't despise atheists. I despise what they stand for.
We must ridicule and show contempt for the beliefs of atheists.
Makes atheists and agnostics shudder, right? So then how's it OK when those same statements are said about religious people. Logically, it's not and therefore logically Dawkins is an idiot.
Now I'm going to go on to address something I heard on NPR: the subject of being an in-the-closet atheist. I think it would be tough to be an atheist in a lot of parts of the country (i.e. the South, the Prairie States, heartland states, and rural areas). It would be hard to start an atheist club. People who tried would probably be ostracized by the most of their class and publicly ridiculed and disrespected (which should be OK by the Richard Dawkins standard).
There should be mutual tolerance by both atheists and believers, and I think that believers are actually the ones who would have the hardest time abiding by that. I think believers are far more motivated to get converts (and thus less tolerant of open atheism) than atheists are to get converts (and thus more tolerant of open religiosity).
Also, I do not support an in-your-face atheism. I think a somewhat in-the-closet approach is more appropriate. Atheists should not go out of their way to announce their atheism, especially to family. Atheists should be discreet and just don't go to church, temple or the mosque. They should not get on a bullhorn and say: "I'm an atheist!" I guess it's the kind of stand of restraint and civility I favor. The above makes as much sense to me as getting on a bullhorn and saying "I'm a Democrat!" "I'm a Republican!" "I'm a Christian!" "I am a Harry Potter fan!" That's nice; now shut the fuck up, you're annoying me.