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The Friendlier Atheist

I am pretty well established vocal atheist. On the scale of atheism, I am often lumped in with Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris as a “New Atheist” or “militant atheist.” I prefer to see myself more as a “bad cop” of atheism. So imagine my surprise when I found out that on at least one issue I am a friendlier atheist than popular atheist blogger Hemant Mehta, better known as “The Friendly Atheist.”

I will admit that I am not generally a fan of his blog, although I do check it out from time to time. I tend to be more of a PZ Myers fan. Still, in my book we are all on the same side and we should all do our best to help each other out.

Late last night, I found out that former Catholic, turned atheist, turned Catholic Anne Rice has once again left Christianity. I quickly wrote up an Examiner article about this. I loved most of Rice’s Vampire series and to this date still consider her vampire mythology to be the standard for all vampire stories (Twilight stacks up poorly compared to Interview).

While Rice hasn’t broken completely from the Christian mythology, she has made a giant leap in a very public way. De-conversion is a journey and rarely happens overnight. Still, Hemant Mehta was not so friendly about Rice’s announcement.

On his blog, he criticized Rice for falling into the “follower of Christ” camp. While there is a place for this criticism, I think the more important message is that Christianity is being called out for being immoral. Even many atheists who commented on Hemant’s blog think he was a little mean and off base with this one.

For me, it is a chance to say that on this issue I am friendlier than the Friendly Atheist. ;-)

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  • Nikki ‘Bluue’

    Hi ya from “The Friendly Atheist” and Facebook.

    I did think Mehta was a bit hard on Rice. I wrote this at Facebook’s “TFA”…..
    Some people have to “learn the hard way” that something may not be right for them. Rice may be that in this case of christianity. I like some of the comments above—as long as she is ethical and does not spread hatred/intolerance/fear, I don’t really care what entity she feels moved to believe in. Rice came a long way, support her in her path, be what it may. She has my kudos, even if I never read her novels (sorry, sweetie).
    I took my sweet time approaching atheism and accepting the label. I never was christian, but was theist for a few years. I am also spiritual-but-not-religious (sbnr), so I can relate to Rice in a way. I don’t know for sure if she is playing up the public or is honest, but for now, I am going to support /encourage her in her journey. I saw some other commenters saying it is a very hard to break from religion, and time is neccessary. I often see that some atheists don’t understand this. Psychology has to play out in people’s minds. Peace out. :-)

  • http://www.myspace.com/diana_graves Diana

    I’m suprised that Friendly Atheist didn’t recognise this as a step in the right direction.

    It’s seems so obvious

  • DeafAtheist

    Like you I’m a more militant atheist, and I have to admit I was quite surprised at Hemant’s post on the Anne Rice thing. I do enjoy his blog whenever I read it even tho I don’t always agree with his views. I see liberal Christians as enablers to the extremists while atheists from Hemant’s camp generally see liberal Christians as allies against extremists. So yeah that post really caught me off guard. It seemed out of character for him. Doesn’t make me think any less of him. I think we are all guilty at some point of making snap judgments without thinking them thru and even posting them publicly in blogs. Sometimes the voice of reason comes from outside sources as it did in Hemant’s comments on that post by a multitude of atheists.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    Just because he calls himself “friendly” and periodically attacks those of us who are more…um…assertive doesn’t mean he isn’t still going to have strong opinions and express them assertively from time to time. I’ve read several of his posts that struck me as considerably more hostile than I would have been. I think that’s great and that it shows he’s just as human as the rest of us.