No one really likes an angry person in life or in person. People especially don’t like angry people when they “attack” your established traditions and long held beliefs. When there is a shift in society’s power structure the media and others like to focus on the angry people as if doing so discredits the supporters of the change. It seems to be working that way for atheism too.
USA Today columnist Stephen Prothero starts out complaining about the angry men of New Atheism in his article “Atheists need a different voice”.
The New Atheism stands at a crossroads. Until now it has been spearheaded by the sort of white, male firebrands that led the charge for evangelicalism during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century. Dawkins rails against faith as “one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.” Hitchens calls the Protestant reformer John Calvin “a sadist and torturer and killer.” In perhaps the unkindest cut of all (at least for a Frenchman), Michel Onfray reports in his Atheist Manifesto that the Apostle Paul was impotent and “unable to lead a sex life worthy of the name.” But there is a different voice emerging — call it the new New Atheism — and with it a very different agenda from that of Hitchens and his angry acolytes. This friendlier atheism sounds more like a civil rights movement than a crusade. And it is far more likely to issue from the lips of friendly women than from the spittle of angry men.
People like Prothero rather have good little atheists who know their place in the world and don’t cause trouble for the usual believer power elite. What people like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sam Harris etc do is call bullshit bullshit. It isn’t nice and can be angry but sometimes it is needed to be heard. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Prothero then goes on to explain that atheism needs softer voices including more women if it is to grow.
The problem is atheism doesn’t need to “grow”. We don’t recruit people. All it requires is to dump your supernatural irrational beliefs about the world. Most people are half way to atheism to begin with. Religions need to recruit.
As for needing more women, I know of many atheist women. There is no difference in attitude between atheists and believers. Men love to debate and women love to hug. Yes that is nasty stereotype. Just like the idea that people like Dawkins et al are “angry”. It seems the passionate atheist is always angry but the passionate believer is well seen as “passionate”.
While I reject the term “New Atheist” since it is not new, I do think people like Dawkins and Hitchens forced their way into the public sphere and were noticed in our more adversarial centric media. Soft spoken and “nice” atheists have and tend to be ignored.
When it comes to ideas and thoughts about supernaturalism and god beliefs the atheist has been correct 100% and if believers have a problem with that then it is their problem not the “new” atheist.