If I had to describe my religious beliefs, I wouldn't think twice to say I'm an atheist. I think religions are the adult equivalent of fairy tales and Santa Claus, and I enjoy occasionally mocking irrational thinking because it's important, but also, let's be frank, fun :)
That's not to say, however, that I don't also get upset with other atheists, whether these be bleeding-heart accomodationists (a la Chris Mooney, Michael Ruse or Paul Davies (technically not an atheist, though he should know better and get over St. Augustine's conception of God as existing out if time already because although it's possible, there's no reason to suppose it's actually true)), or just arrogant jerks who love to make fun of others without making any positive contribution of their own (like Bill Maher). Is it too much to ask for the latter to at least be interesting and/or funny and not just obnoxious, especially if he has a team of comedy writers at his disposal?
And while I understand (and may even agree with) the reasons behind their campaigns, here's another group of atheists I'm increasingly starting to find irritating: atheists who seem to revel in political self-victimization, and who profess to fight in the name of other religious minorities who are socially or politically discriminated against, while actually not giving a shit about those other minorities other than for self-serving reasons. Aren't these atheists supposed to hold the real moral high ground?
Just like having a right to free speech doesn't mean it's always a good idea to exercise that right, having the right not to be discriminated against doesn't mean it's always a good idea to complain and moan about how some other group has it 'better' than you do. What bothers me at bottom is not the logical merit of their arguments but the spirit that impels them: a spirit of weakness and righteous indignation that smells of jealousy and weakness and envy, and which I just find wimpy and contemptible.
Complaining implies indirectly that someone else has to do something for your conditions to improve, and that just makes it conveniently easier to forget to do something for yourself. It's a nice distraction, but what does it really accomplish other than an ego inflated with empty air? The more time one complains about being oppressed (even when correct), the less time he has to create some positive greatness of his own. This is in general my problem with all minorities who are obsessed with fighting for 'equal rights' and who hide behind the herd identity of their group instead of creating an individual identity full of awesome.
You admire Dawkins and Hitchens and Dennett? Well, become excellent scientists and writers and philosophers, and stop complaining about how Christians get to have two pieces of rusty metal displayed in a museum.
Is it sensible that people interpret two perpendicular beams from Ground Zero (in a place built with thousands of such structures) as a sign of Christian hope? No, it's plain fucking silly. Does it make a difference to me that they derive hope and comfort from these two piece of metal? No, it's still plain fucking silly. Make fun of it for all I care, but don't turn the silliness into an excuse for bouts of self-victimization disguised under the mantle of caring about the suffering of the victims of other faiths. If you're sick and tired of Christians, just say so, but be honest about it. Stop hiding under these politically-correct and ultimately disingenuous bullshit euphemisms.
And from the looks of it, I may have at least one person sort of agree with my point of view: Jon Stewart: