This is coming from inside the camp.
But listen, I totally get it. If I were 15 when r/atheism was around, I’d probably live in this dark corner of the internet. When you hit that phase where you’re just starting to read grown-up stuff and you become convinced everyone else is a moron, it’s really easy to hate organized religion with a passion and assume that people with faith have just failed to think things through. Then you grow up a little bit by becoming more self-aware and maybe getting away from some of the more odious religious people you knew as a kid—eventually, you get to a place where you can hear someone say, “I’ll pray for you” and simply say, “Thank you,” instead of being a total shit about it. That is, unless you end up making a career out of “debating” religious people, a la Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. (By the way, what is more arrogant than assuming someone can be reasoned into abandoning their faith?)
Defining your life by volatile antitheism—in other words, clinging to something you don’t believe in—isn’t just annoying, it’s actually pretty backward, and, in some cases, culturally malignant. For a demographic that spits a lot of game about equality and mobility, they sure love lording their “intellect” over anyone who dares to think differently. The atheism subreddit gets off on feeling superior to other people; it’s not about ideas or truth, they’d rather thrive on that faux-scholar buzz. That’s why Dawkins is their fire-and-brimstone pin-up boy. That’s why they screencap Facebook updates from their religious “friends” so they can laugh at all the plebeians from their pretty little perch. There’s no respect or pragmatism, just bottomless, never-ending hate.
For those atheists who thought it clever linking to his Salon essay (and clearly they didn’t read or really get the point of his essay), he is speaking to you.