Damon Linker is frustrated by Bill Maher's dismissal of moderate believers:
Instead of hurling insults and indiscriminate denunciations at religion-in-general, Maher and his fellow atheists could do far more good by encouraging the growth and flourishing of open-minded belief--the kind of belief that lives in productive tension with modern science and cultural pluralism. In doing so, they would be following the example of Thomas Jefferson and several of the American constitutional framers, who advocated a liberal, skeptical form of piety as the kind of religion best suited to a free society.
How likely is it that the "new atheists" will moderate their anti-religious ire, abandon their futile hopes for a godless world, and begin contributing in a more positive way to the project of improving the religion we have? If Religulous is any indication, not very likely at all, since it would require a fundamental change in moral and intellectual outlook. Maher and his allies would have to abandon their haughty condescension in favor of generosity of spirit. They would have to commit themselves to persuasion and restrain the urge to entertain. But most of all, they would have to concede that what America needs now is not faithlessness. It is intelligent faith.
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