'This thread has become a forum for self-pitying atheists...'
I disagree. Please provide specifics of instances where the people posting here have expressed self-pity. Is it self pity for somebody to express how they feel about a situation? Is it self-pity for someone like myself (who has never personally suffered because of my views) to bring up the issue of institutional bigotry directed towards skepticism and unbelief? Please be more specific about the nature of your charge.
'... but I'm afraid I just don't feel sorry for you guys.'
That's alright, we'll just have to struggle on somehow without your sympathy, Mr. Knowles.
'Atheists may not be in the majority, but they have some pretty powerful allies in science, the arts and academia.'
Oh yeah, and we all know how powerful scientists, artists, and college professors are!
'There are plenty of atheist organizations and pressure groups...'
This is utter bullshit. I know of no atheist 'pressure groups' active in America. There is a very slender network of secular humanist and other freethinking groups in this country.
'...and plenty of prominent magazines (like Reason, Skeptic, etc) catering to your cause.'
Prominent magazines? Reason and Skeptic?
'Yeah, I apologize for the tone of my post. I wrote without malice aforethought and then realized it seemed kind of harsh, then edited it but not before Layla responded to it. And it still came off a little stronger than I intended. But then it became a catalyst for more of the same kind of whining.'
It isn't clear here whether Chris is complaining about the brief comments of Aaron, U Po Kyin, or Brent, or the longer response from Columnist. Here's part of the latter:
'Institutionalized tolerance (as in the First Ammendment) is necessary because the effects of *in*tolerance are not necessarily obvious to the majority. I don't think it is always done maliciously. As I say, to the majority it may just seem like conventional wisdom. That's why an identifiable benchmark like "If you have the right to YOUR beliefs, then other people have the right to THEIR beliefs" is so necessary in a pluralistic society.'
I'm completely at a loss to understand how anyone, no matter how narrow-minded, could see this paragraph as 'whining.'
'I don't disagree with the some of the criticisms that atheists level against fundamentalist excess, but there is an overweening tone of self-righteousness and elitism in some of the posts here that is equally hard to swallow.'
I said that I'm proud to be an atheist. That may be too conceited and arrogant for Mr. Knowles, but I make no apology for it. As for the charge of self-righteousness, I have not detected any of our unbelieving respondents assuming a holier-than-thou attitude, so I once again request that Mr. Knowles provide specifics. I also don't get this charge of 'elitism', having not seen any post that suggests that we are a select, special group; in fact, I specifically complained about an elitist attitude that prevents some atheists from speaking plainly about unbelief. Of course maybe he just meant the 'tone' was elitist. Perhaps a reasonable discussion where evidence is provided comes across as 'elitist' in tone to someone like Chris-- I wouldn't know.
It's hard to square Chris's later accusations with his earlier swipe at us for being 'self-pitying.' How can you be arrogant and conceited and self-pitying at the same time?
' I'm truly sorry if anyone takes offense to that, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em.'
We have no doubt of that, but Chris, baby, maybe you better get you some glasses!