The Imperious Atheist

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Last week, while introducing a moving video by Carl Sagan, I made a rather off-handed generalization about atheists


Perhaps it's just me, but many of my encounters with atheist remind me of my encounters with the born-again. Indeed I often suspect that the latter was once the former, and is really angry about it.

One often doesn't realize he's invoked a stereotype until after the fact. I received quite a bit of pushback in comments, and on twitter, accusing me of doing just that. I actually hadn't realized that there was a stereotype of the overbearing atheist. But I did know that when you generalize about broad groups of people, you often end up in trouble. 

So it was with me.  All I can really say is the following--My bad, ye band of godless heathens. Or more seriously, I was wrong to speak in such a sweeping manner. Weasel phrases like "Perhaps it's just me" don't make it right.

MORE: Shut down the thread. It's rather amazing to start with an apology and see commenters reduced to calling each other stupid. Cleary there's a subject cap here. The quantity of comments never impresses me. The quality--or lack thereof--always does.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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