the Latest Humanist Network News, there is a link to an article by Roy Speckhardt entitled “An End to Arrogant Atheism” which was originally published in the Huffington Post, Religion section dated January 23, 2014. Roy is the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association. It is an excellent article about how we Humanists, atheists, or whatever do not do ourselves any favors by denigrating people who believe in their faith. He quotes Richard Dawkins as saying “religion is an organized license to be acceptably stupid” and Dawkins also said that the combined number of Nobel winners won by Muslims was smaller than all the winners in one English university.
Speckhardt went on to say that when we make statements like these, we come across as elitists and tend to turn off the people we should be trying to influence. He says, “The problem with arrogant atheism is that it scares away those who would otherwise self-identify as atheists, and it prevents us from building the alliances we need in order to achieve our aims.” Speckhardt pushes the point that we can respectfully disagree, but we cannot respectfully ridicule. And when we disagree, we should do it in a way that opens minds rather than closes them.
I wrote a Comment underneath his article which I will copy here.
“I agree mostly. However, when the author says, "While Dawkins certainly has a valid point regarding mainstream religion's frequent opposition to critical thinking and empiricism...", he is in error. Mainstream religion, like most Methodists, Lutherans, Congregationalists, etc. are not the culprits of this behavior as much as the Fundamentalists are. Although the non-critical thinking Fundamentalists make the most noise, we err when we label that as "religion" or "mainstream religion".
And yes, we should collaborate with all the religions rather than view them as competition. We should be joining with Muslims and Jews not to have Nativity Scenes and passages from the New Testament. We should be working collaboratively with all the religions to insure a secular government - a government which does not try to accommodate to any specific religion. Pluralism has shown that it cannot work. And the only way we will "evolve" to secularism is through the coordinated efforts of all (or at least many/most) religions. So any attempt to create an "us versus them" scenario, as Dawkins and other arrogant atheists do, is in error and counter-productive.