On the issue of anti-atheist bigotry among atheists, one of the issues we should look at is anti-atheist bigotry among those who are atheists in fact, but who do not identify themselves as atheists.
Often, when I hear people assert that they are not atheists but agnostics, they give reasons for this such as, “Atheists are just as dogmatic as theists. Both groups claim to have certain knowledge of something that neither has (or can possibly have) any evidence for.”
This reason hints at anti-atheist bigotry. This claim about atheists is not true of most atheists. It is not even close to being true. If we actually listen to what atheists say, most of them speak in terms of a “God Hypothesis”, and view the proposition that “God exists” to be comparable to the proposition that “A teakettle orbiting Mars exists.”
In fact, their attitude towards the existence of God is, in many cases, exactly the same as the agnostic’s attitude. The agnostic simply uses a different term.
The reason that the agnostic mis-identifies what atheists believe is because they have bought into society’s anti-atheist bigotry. They have bought into a lie that anti-atheists use to cast atheists in an unflattering light, and they spread and promote that lie. They are atheists in all but name, who have learned to view atheists unjustly.
In this, they are like the homosexual who refuses to admit that they are gay. They assert the claim that homosexuals are selfish people who seek only their own sexual gratification while caring nothing about morality. They are as likely to have sex with children and animals as with adults because sex is the only thing they care about. “I am not gay, because I do not have these qualities. Sure, I enjoy sex with people of the same gender from time to time, but I certainly do not qualify as one of them.”
These people are homosexual. However, because they have adopted society’s “values” they are, at the same time, anti-gay bigots. Accordingly, many agnostics are atheists. However, because they have adopted society’s “values” towards atheists they are, at the same time, anti-atheist bigots.
The same applies to many humanists, free-thinkers, and the like. Their hatred of atheists and fear of viewing themselves as “one of them” drives them to look elsewhere . . . anywhere . . . where they can avoid association with the dreaded term “atheist”.
The same analysis applies to many people who would call themselves Christian, Jew, Muslim, and the like. Here, I refer to members (probably in good standing) of a community that detests atheists. These members know, “My community will reject me, if they ever knew that I was not so strongly devoted to their beliefs. So, I must make sure that they do not suspect me.”
These people take on a particularly vigorous anti-atheist stance the way that some religious people become so adamantly anti-gay. “They cannot suspect me of being that which I condemn so harshly.”
When we look at the question of whether atheists are anti-religious, these are some of the types of cases that we need to consider. These are examples of some of the types of people that our current culture gives rise to, and they are examples of cases in which atheists not only lack anti-theist bigotry. They share in and promote anti-atheist bigotry.
How many people are there?