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If you convert someone from the first kind of person to the second kind of person, you’ve gone most of the way to making them an atheist.More important, if you convert a culture from thinking in the first type of way to thinking in the second type of way, then religious people will be unpopular and anyone trying to make a religious argument will have to spend the first five minutes of their speech explaining how they’re not Fred Phelps, honest, and no, they don’t picket any funerals.That’s why I’m proud to be an atheist.” It’s not a straw man.There really is a Westboro Baptist Church, for some reason.And I think: well, maybe if people see atheists defeating a terrible argument for religion enough, atheists don’t have to defeat any of the others.People have already been inoculated against religion.This is future czarist Russia, after Putin finally gets the guts to crown himself).

The guy whose central examples of religion are Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama is probably going to have a different perception of religion than the guy whose central examples are Torquemada and Fred Phelps.Most of the religious people one encounters are not young-earth creationists.But these people have a dramatic hold on the atheist imagination.I suggested imagining yourself in the shoes of a Jew in czarist Russia.The big news story is about a Jewish man who killed a Christian child. It’s just disappointing that everyone who tells it is describing it as “A Jew killed a Christian kid today”.

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