Rabbi Marc Gellman tries—or so Newsweek says—to understand atheists in this article. Unfortunately, Gellman has made little or no attempt at understanding; he instead falls back on lazy rhetoric that accuses atheists of unprovoked anger.
Understanding atheists isn’t something that one can glean from spouting nonsense about us being angry or “clinging to Camus's existential despair” as a result of some purported “uncomfortable personal histories.” Understanding atheists isn’t something that one can accomplish by studying the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Hadith. Understanding atheists isn’t aided by spouting a rosy-glassed view of religion, as Gellman does:
Religion must remain an audacious, daring and, yes, uncomfortable assault on our desires to do what we want when we want to do it. All religions must teach a way to discipline our animal urges, to overcome racism and materialism, selfishness and arrogance and the sinful oppression of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us.
What is truly audacious, daring, and uncomfortable is to realize—as atheists do—that the easy answers of the past are often inadequate for the present. The continual repetition of ancient platitudes about life’s most difficult questions doesn’t mean that those questions have actually been answered.
Gellman appears to have done some thinking about atheists, but he needs to do much more.
(Thanks to No God Blog for the tip.)