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Atheists who hate atheists?

I'm pretty sure most of the people on this website who aren't afraid to talk to people about their lack of belief have met other people who fit the definition of an atheist/agnostic so well, but they for some reason take the side of religion, or even actively oppose nonreligious groups.

I have met many. One old friend at my school saw me reading the book The Atheist's Guide to Christmas and, without having any knowledge whatsoever of my religious belief or lack thereof, he started yelling, actually yelling, accusations that I am an arrogant bible-basher, and that I believe in Social Darwinism. What?! The worst part is that he himself is not even religious! My own sister is an atheist (whether she likes to use the word or not) and when she sees me reading anything from Darwin to Sagan to Hawking she starts arguing that I am some radical intolerant anti-religious elitist, when the most radical thing I've ever done is have online discussions with my Creationist friends.

I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on how to get into a less hostile discussion with these kinds of people, who are otherwise rational but cannot get past the idea that there is nothing dogmatic or inherently hostile or elitist about simply putting religious claims under the lens of science and rational thought. How do you engage a reluctant atheist in a discussion that will give them a better understanding your views, without making them think of atheism/secularism/skepticism as some equally obnoxious counterweight to religious fundamentalism?

TAGGED: ATHEISM, FAMILY/FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES


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