Several days ago there was a post called How Not to Explain Atheism at Hemant's blog that irked me, and I've decided I have to get it off my chest.
It takes as its basis a post by another blogger, which recounts hearing one co-worker tell another, "you know Kelly***, there is no afterlife... There is no heaven, no hell, no god... When you die, your body will rot and be eaten by maggots. Life really has no point."
Hemant uses this as the occasion for a brief lecture on presentation and tactics, implicitly directed at the first co-worker and anyone who would say things like him. To which I say: please. Lecturing someone on tactics assumes that they're to some extent on your side, but what basis did Hemant have for that assumption, in this case? The original post gave very little biographical information: the co-worked was an atheist and had a voice like somebody named Ira Glass. The idea that being an atheist makes you part of some movement--Hemant's movement, whoever's movement--is silly. Does anybody imagine for an instant that being a theist automatically makes you part of some coherent movement?
Maybe the co-worker honestly thinks the way he expressed himself, believes in being honest with other people, and sees no reason to hold PR to be so lofty a goal as to justify sugar-coating. Hemant may think he's wrong to take such a position (I do!), but to jump right to tactical advice without stopping to realize not all atheists will share his goals is incredibly obnoxious.