I’ve read a couple of bloggers who were directly or indirectly favorably disposed towards Stephen Prothero’s opinion piece in USA Today. I wasn’t one of them and neither was Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon. Yes John, there are girls in the club too. Amanda begins, (well, she almost begins,)
I knew I was going to dislike it the second Prothero started to engage in gender essentialism, suggesting that the atheist movement needs more women, because women are too sweet and gentle to point out that there is no god, which seems to be the major crime of the meanie “New Atheists”.
And she ends,
Look, I think believers and atheists should practice tolerance and get along. Of course I do. But practicing tolerance doesn’t mean that you have to pretend that a truth claim isn’t a truth claim. As believers feel free to make claims about the way the universe works, then they should be challenged on it. That’s what happens when you make truth claims. That your claims are hard to back up is unfortunate, but that isn’t the fault of atheists, and calling atheists mean because this is true doesn’t change that. Having your arguments disproven isn’t assault, and using terms like “pummel” implies coercion that is not going on. You’re free to believe that the moon is made out of green cheese, but being free to believe that doesn’t require that other people coddle that delusion.
I’ll leave everything in-between for you to read at Amanda’s place.