Writing for Religion and Politics, Alfredo Garcia chronicles the lonely movement called American atheism. For one, while they do agree on the triumph of reason and the banality of religious beliefs, they do not agree about how to go about demonstrating it to the other 90% of Americans that believe in a higher power. It has been difficult for atheists to find positive common ground on which to build community and cause. Life isn’t easy for non-believers in America:
Atheists are viewed more negatively than any other U.S. religious group, with less than half of Americans (45 percent) holding a favorable opinion of them. It can be a lonely existence…What has not changed much, though, is the image of the non-theist that O’Hair left in her wake. It’s the image of the atheist out to pick a fight, the unbeliever who is constantly seeking the next debate. As Fidalgo from CFI put it, O’Hair was an “extremely polarizing” figure who “gained visibility for American Atheists but may have been integral in forming the image of atheism in the U.S. as arrogant.” More recent non-theist leaders (like the late Hitchens) are often perceived as relishing these same antagonisms.
It’s at least hard to see how one could be very enthusiastic about a movement whose highest aspiration is the demise of many others.
Read more here.