Kimberly Winston looks at why atheists got so het up about Oprah’s casual aspersions on atheists. (Well one reason is just that it’s something to do. If someone mentions us, we talk about it. If someone mentions it – atheism – we talk about it. But besides that.)
Why has this struck such a deep chord? Ryan Cragun, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa who studies atheists, said it may be because atheists are beginning to be more public about their lack of belief, seeing this as an opportunity to express their difference, their presence and their rights — much like the gay community has done before.”
Well yeah. That’s what I said – we talk about it. Mention us or it, and we’ll talk about it.
Marcia Z. Nelson, author of “The Gospel According to Oprah,” agreed, saying Winfrey may be exhibiting more unawareness than intolerance.
“As I see it, Oprah was being her spiritually and professionally curious self,” Nelson said. “The problem atheists have is partly one of language; the God and religion people have been working on refining their descriptive languages for millennia. Oprah was actually doing atheists a favor by quizzing Nyad. Atheists need to concentrate more on expressing awe and less on taking hyperbolic offense where none is intended.”
ARE YOU CALLING ME EASILY OFFENDED?!?