Can’t really decide what the writer is trying to achieve with this piece. Interested in what other readers think…
Following the Boston bombings, many Muslims felt obliged (though it’s a shame that they felt this way) to explain that they do not support terrorism and the actions of some others who claim to share their faith. The pressure for Muslims to apologize for, or distance themselves from, other Muslims, came from the Western media and public, racist law enforcement agencies, as well as New Atheists. In response, I’d like to say that as an atheist, I do not support the actions of New Atheists, and do not consider them worthy to represent the banner of atheism.
In the simplest and correct definition of the term, atheism is simply a lack of belief in any deity, or the possibility of a deity. I am an atheist, and this just means that I do not believe in god. It means almost literally nothing else at this point in my life. New Atheists, who make up an ideological movement owing its existence to such figures as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, begin at the same point as me, but take their lack of belief in a far different direction.
I do not consider myself to be superior to theists because we differ on the issue of god. New Atheists often implicitly or explicitly do. In fact, New Atheists frequently uphold a hierarchy of faith, which enforces how they regard others. To a New Atheist, the best stranger is the stranger who is also an atheist while a stranger who keeps their belief in deities to themselves is the ideal sort of theist. Yet a stranger who allows their belief in a deity to dictate components of their life, in accordance with previously existing communities and institutions (i.e., a stranger involved with religion) is something the New Atheist mocks and condemns.