My post from a few days ago on “toxic atheism” provoked quite a few comments. Most commenters went out of their way to be civil and disprove what they saw as an unfair generalization that all atheists were “toxic” and intolerant. While this effort is appreciated, it would be even more appreciated if they had read the part of the post that said specifically that most atheists (and agnostics) were not toxic, but that my criticism was directed towards the fringe of vocal militants who unfortunately have grown to dominate the rest.
Unfortunately, today brings news of a development which may prove my criticism true. The cross in the Mojave Desert that was targeted for removal by a few militant atheists who felt harmed by the mere sight of it has been stolen. Of course, officials are taking care to disclaim any particular motive, but given the timing of the theft right after atheists lost their case in the Supreme Court and given the tone of bitterness and hatred I’ve seen from a few militant atheists, it seems highly unlikely that this is just coincidental timing in the operations of some metals scavenger.
It is somewhat unfair, but it is reality — as long as vandalism, rage, and intolerance continues to be the dominant public face of atheism in America, it will remain politically and socially toxic.
Serious comments and discussion welcome at District TMV.