This is less an attack on religion, and more a defence of atheism from unfair or misleading charges. In clear, straightforward prose, Blackford and Schuklenk have written a very helpful resource for weary atheists and curious theists. A sample:
As Blackford and Schuklenk note, prejudice against atheists still exists, including in the US, where some states prohibit non-believers from taking office, and more than a third of the population refuse to vote for atheists. There is also an emancipatory justification: helping religious readers who may be doubting their faith, but fearful of atheism's supposed gaffes and grief.
The so-called "myths" are well-documented, the sources ranging from Fox News to broadsheet opinion and Christian apologetics. Some are relatively silly and fall apart quickly ("Atheists Have No Sense of Humour"), while others ask for more careful dismantling ("Atheism Robs Life of Meaning and Purpose").
And despite tetchiness here and there, the authors are patient, generous and sincere. For example, in "We Should Fear a 'Fundamentalist' or 'Militant' Atheism", Blackford and Schuklenk note that "fundamentalism" is often not defined, or else defined quite differently from its occurrences in 19th and 20th-century American Protestantism. "Fundamentalist", like "militant", is more vague slur than precise label. "There may be some people who could, by analogy, be described as 'fundamentalist' in the way they cling to a political ideology and its founding texts," the authors write, "but we cannot think of any significant figure who could meaningfully be described as a 'fundamentalist atheist'."(Image: Zazzle)