The Imperious Atheist

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.
Presented by

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.

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in National

From This Author

Just In