arrogant atheists?

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Valerie (The Dark Side) Tarico wrote a great post on "Atheist Arrogance" at

Atheists are arrogant. Who hasn't heard it?

Arrogance is just one of their repellent qualities, of course. They are also ungenerous, cold, lonely, untrustworthy, amoral, and aggressive. You shouldn't leave them around children. [...] But the most common accusation hurled against atheists is that they are insufferably arrogant.

Tarico went on to wonder "why frank talk from atheists so consistently triggers accusations of arrogance," given that

The unflinching tones adopted by the Four Horsemen [Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens] are not more harsh or critical than what we accept routinely in academic debate or civic life. It is the subject matter that is the issue. I would argue that atheist talk about religion seems particularly harsh because it violates unspoken norms about how we should approach religion in our relationships and conversations.

I was instantly reminded of Richard Dawkins:

I am not in favor of offending or hurting anyone just for the sake of it. But I am intrigued any mystified by the disproportionate privileging of religion in out otherwise secular societies. [...] What is so special about religion that we grant it such uniquely privileged respect? [...] It is in the light of the unparalleled presumption of respect for religion that I make my own disclaimer for this book. I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else.

(The God Delusion, pp. 49-50)

To segue from theists' emotional reactions back to the subject of actual arrogance, Austin Cline noted earlier this month--with no small amount of humor--that, for theists, "believing in a higher power that created in you in its image and whose Will you know very well is a great way to avoid being arrogant:"'s supremely ironic to witness such unfounded arrogance being used to accuse atheists of arrogance. It does not seem that either of these people knows the least little thing about atheism or atheists, but that doesn't prevent them form pontificating about atheism and atheists -- judging atheists in a manner which, coincidentally, allows them to feel smug and superior. That, by the way, is a nice definition of arrogance.

Tarico concluded by discussing the "velvet arrogance" of her outgrown Christianity, noting with amazement:

...that we, among all humans knew for sure what was real; that we knew what the Bible writers actually meant; that our instincts, hunches and emotions were the voice of God; that we were designated messengers for the power that created the galaxies and DNA code -- and that He just happened to have an oh-so-human psyche, like ours. What other hubris could compare, really?


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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on January 28, 2009 5:00 PM.

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