The thing about atheists that I note repeatedly is their arrogance.
I noted it again recently on the BBC programme, The Big Question, a discussion format show that addresses three or four topics for an hour with invited panelists from varied organizations, a small studio audience, and three recognized writers or experts who hold different viewpoints on the topics.
The invited atheist panel sat in a front row next to the invited religious panel.
During the introductory remarks, the atheists sat with their legs crossed, their arms folded across their chests, their chins thrust slightly forward. Their body language was stiff, strident, disrespectful, dismissive– arrogant. As the talk proceeded, they interrupted other speakers frequently, probably because they didn’t pay attention to speakers with different experiences or opinions.
The religious panel members sat relaxed, shoulders back, arms at their sides, hands relaxed in their laps. They watched other speakers, listened, allowed others to finish their sentences. They were serious but didn’t take themselves too seriously. They were respectful while holding their ground.
This is a vast generalization, I realize. But I’ve listened to and seen a lot of discussions between atheists and spiritual people, and the behaviour I’ve just described is characteristic. The only rivals that come close to the atheists in their arrogance, from what I’ve seen, are the radical right wing fundamentalists of the American South and Midwest. I’d like to see Pat Robertson, or the late Jerry Falwell, who was witty and articulate as well as repressive, in a room with some of these self-aggrandizing atheists. Now, that would be a slanging match worth seeing.