Although my post was intended to launch discussion, not to state a personal viewpoint, it’s been mis-read to imply that I personally hate babies. My favorite out-of-nowhere slap (among many prompted by the ever-scathing, always fun PZ Myers) is from the blogger at Digital Cuttlefish who imagines that if my house were on fire, I’d leave the baby and grab the Bible. No, seriously…
Out of nowhere? Oh, dear me, no. Out of nowhere is this: “Do you think a baby conceived in test tube is still a child in the eyes of God?” Particularly in an article entitled “’Test tube babies': God’s work or human error?”. Such questions can only be asked out of religious belief. Out of nowhere.
No, Ms. Grossman, my comment was not ‘out of nowhere’. It was out of the recognition that the words I had read were the words that you had written. If you’d like to distance yourself from them, I can understand that, but perhaps it would have been better not to have written them. “I’m only asking questions” is the refuge of 9/11 conspiracy buffs and holocaust deniers, not the stance of a newspaper columnist. It ranks with one I saw earlier this year: “are blacks equal to whites?”
You are aware, I am sure, that the way a question is phrased is important. It frames the debate, and shapes the discussion even as it launches it. Your question was an out-of-nowhere slap. My response did not come from out of nowhere; it came from disgust that religious belief, so often seen as a fountain of all that is good in the world, could so twist someone into thinking that such a question was reasonable to ask. In a world without religion, your question would not have been asked… and atheists are seen as the angry and bitter people. Go figure.
As for your current question–am I sick of being slammed? It’s hard to answer, really. I’ve rarely not encountered it, so I’m not really sure how it would feel to be rid of it. I can assure you it is a false stereotype–but then, what stereotypes are accurate? Anyone who knows me would assure you that I have a sense of wonder, of awe, of joy for having the extraordinary good fortune to be alive in such a world as this. I am patient, giving, kind, gentle… and every so often I will hear, from someone who means well in saying it, that I “really don’t seem like an atheist at all”. Awfully white of them to say, don’t you think?
Here–if you are going to look for how atheists are perceived, how we perceive our perception, and how we really are, you may as well click a couple more links. Yes, bitter angry atheists write silly verses. We are human, after all.