Type “atheists are” into Google and the suggested searches show only two positive associations out of ten. This is very telling of the public perception of nonbelievers, and I think it’s our own damn fault.
If you search the word “advocate” on Google the first result is for a gay and lesbian pride portal. They literally own Advocate.com. Search “public relations” and the first result outside of the Wikipedia definition and a couple PR job outlets is the Black Public Relations Society. As atheists, we need to start caring about our public face. We need an Advocate.com. We need a Atheist Public Relations Society. So I searched “atheist public relations.” First result? A blog post titled The Fallacy of Atheism’s Public Relations Problem. Awesome.
Atheists are usually right, we have that going for us, but reason and logic isn’t enough in this world. I’ve spent the last two days trying to engage in a civil debate with a series of atheists over disagreements in popular antitheist rhetoric. After presenting my argument, their case against my argument quickly turned into a case against beliefs that were based on assumptions and turned out, weren’t even my beliefs. They thought I was a Christian apologist just because I took issue with a Hitch quote or a Dawkins line of reasoning. I was called a troll and blocked for an attempt at honest debate. This is what I’ve come to expect from fundamentalists.
So, yeah, some atheists are annoying. Some are even be jerks. WE CAN”T BE. We don’t have that luxury. Half the world already thinks we’re immoral, loose cannons who are going to hell. Every Humanist needs to be an example for humanity. Every atheist needs to be a role model. When a believer asks what good have atheists done, I don’t want to have to point to Bill Gates because he gives a butt-load to charity, I want to point to any random infidel. Blindly circulating “we’re all born atheist” is no better that theists reciting the mantra “atheism is a religion.” We need to turn our much ballyhooed critical thinking inward and cut the crap.
Okay, my high and mighty rant is over. I’ll leave you with one tip that has already awarded good will to the atheist name. When you wrap up a debate with a theist, while you’re each jockeying for the last word, finish with a thanks. Let them know that you appreciate the time they spent sharing their thoughts and that you expect they come from a place of good intentions. If they say “God Bless,” just accept it. If you don’t get offended when your nerdy friend says “may the Force be with you,” don’t freak over their chosen imaginary sign-off.