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I hang out a lot in theYahoo Answers forums, especially philosophy, and have noticed a
of believers have views about atheists and atheism that make it rather obvious that they do not (knowingly) know any atheists. To a lot of believers, atheists are elitist, nihilistic, intellectual (this has somehow become a bad thing to be), materialist, immoral, amoral, hedonistic, liberal or socialist, angry, militant, cynical, unspiritual, and/or merely "in denial" about the existence of a god (their particular god, of course). Many also seem to think that atheism is just a convenient excuse to be unaccountable and to be able to do whatever we want. I can only wonder if such demonizations are coming from their pastor or church group, or some religious internet site(s).
Although I do not make it a point to declare my atheism to everyone within earshot, neither do I have much fear of "coming out" to friends, acquaintances, or co-workers. Some have been genuinely surprised to learn that I was an atheist, and I'm sure that some who don't yet know, would be. I'm a typical Nice Guy™ who doesn't really fit any of the stereotypes of atheists above. And quite frankly, very few atheists I've met or been acquainted with would. (Well OK, maybe intellectual. :-)
P.S. Football in the UK is what we in the states call soccer. :-) The Brits' closest thing to our football would be rugby.
Edited 12/14/08 by ABCNewsModerator1