Canadian Atheist is a blog run by several Canadian atheists (hence the name ). One of them is Brent Kelley, an undergraduate at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Here's what Brent said in today's posting: The Atheist Disposition,
Almost everybody I talk to seems to disagree with the “militant” positions that firebrand atheists such as Dawkins and PZ take. They feel they are too extreme and that their outlook too rigid.Why not visit their blog and post a comment? I did.
I might disagree to some extent, but that’s not the point. The point is that the great atheist leaders that many atheists regard so highly are often viewed by outsiders as extreme, unreasonable, and ridiculous. Even those who agree with our cause often feel this way. Which means that if we’re trying to get the public on-board with our ideas and opinions, we’re failing.
We need to work on our image. I’m not sure where to start, but perhaps approaching the problem from the ground up is a nice way to start tackling the issue. What I would suggest is for atheists everywhere to be a little more friendly to not only one another, but also to others outside their atheist circle of friends. Before you attack a theist’s beliefs, ask yourself if the argument is worth it. You probably wont change their mind anyway. Instead, perhaps you could start up a discussion about science and try to explain the scientific viewpoint on this or that. Slowly and gently introducing them to the worldview of scientific naturalism might make them more receptive to atheism and critical thinking. And be open to their ideas too, you might even learn something. Do whatever, just don’t get into a shouting match and reinforce the stereotype that atheists are argumentative, unfriendly, and annoying. [emphasis in original]