And now, for an uncharacteristically blunt post:
When I was on a visit home from college, I was having a meal with my father, and as I was very full of this oh-so-reasoned-and-brave atheism thing at the time, the subject came up- I had a vague and fuzzy idea that he wasn’t a believer, but it never really was discussed, so we’d never talked about it before. In the course of the discussion, it emerged that he’d once attended a meeting with Madlyn Murray O’Hare. Rather star-struck, I asked him what it was like.
“I walked out halfway through.”
“I decided that not wanting to associate with god-botherers didn’t mean I had to associate with obnoxious assholes instead.”
Having a rare moment of young adult sense, I did not press him on the point. I’m sure the evolution would have happened over time anyway, but 9/11 put the final shovelfuls of dirt on my days of being a fan of the American atheist activist scene; the contrast between the jihadis and the nice Methodists down the street was just too starkly gross. Instead of making belief in the “supernatural” versus nonbelief my litmus test, I instituted two rules: I will not put up with deliberate ignorance, and I won’t put up with deliberate assholery either.
Amen to that!
Back to our regular, pleasant, and polite posting.