Doesn't that answer depend on the other theists? Think about who you're asking; if I wonder, "Which theists?" it's because the difference matters in the context of the answer. (And, yes, I recognize the proposition that such differences might be too subtle and too demanding in an environment where you don't actually need to know a lot about anything in order to criticize something.) It's astonishing to me how many identifying atheists will give particular theists, or theists in general, such power; it seems a prerequisite of justifying artifice. There is an argument that atheism is some sort of natural condition, but this point also overlooks that infantile, newborn ignorance is also a natural condition. The atheism of our growth and adulthood is a different phenomenon, and what is disappointing about the natural-state argument is how thoughtless it always was. This atheism of our adulthood is a sloppy↗ reaction↗; it is neurotic and human and subject, and ultimately irrational. As I put it last month: It's just this idea, you know? It exists as a potential whether we identify it or not; the answer is only relevant if the question arises. In the end, this counterassertion against religion is reactionary, which, incidentally, is why it is even possible for me to tell the story about the time the atheist apparently hopping his track decided the rational thing to do was start redefining the words. The result of this is that the atheism we witness in the public discourse is a weird mix of revolt and surrender .... .... Most of what atheists argue against is backfill. Consider this rational argument: If [Theist] says [God] does [_____], and [Atheist] can demonstrate [_____] false, then God does not exist. This slothful fallacy is the primary "atheistic argument". What makes it unreliable is allowing what it considers unreliable to assert and set conditions. That is to say, the reaction is against an irrational proposition. Extending that logical resolution—e.g., that the Earth exists as such, as compared to this silly, untestable seven-day thesis—to a larger framework can be, and in this range generally is, inappropriate. If you let someone else set the terms, and you demonstrate that two plus two does not equal five, what is anyone else supposed to say if your argument tacitly requires that it equal three? The problem might be your math or not; it also might be that you agreed to argue irrational terms. Why would anybody do that, by the way? Quite simply, because they're human, and start focusing too narrowly on what annoys them. I'm certain your inquiry projecting the behavior of theists has some significant meaning to you, but as with other religious folks, whatever you're trying to say might well be self-evident to you, but it doesn't make any real sense outside that sphere. Thus: Roles reversed, [&c.], how do we project other theists' feelings? (1) And? (2) I'm certain your question means something substantive to you; perhaps you might do us the courtesty of explaining what that is. (3) You're going to have to ask the theists. ↳ Of course, the problem with that last option is the necessity of actually paying attention to and comprehending whatever they happen to say, even if it's bullshit. One functional problem about this movement atheism, this cult of anti-religion, is that it doesn't actually care what rational reality actually says. It perpetually reads and acts like a sham, a bunch of uneducated people pretending to be smart because they have precisely one rational assertion to make, and that is the end of their obligation to or respect for the rational; their atheism has nothing to do with anything else, so its only real purpose is getting in fights with the least competent among their neighbors; it's an ossified counterrevolutionary bully high. Here's a trivia question: What do Satanists and Muslims have in common? The answer actually depends on particular presuppositions being in place, else the question reads in a fundamentally offensive manner, though certain presuppositions must be in place in making that statement, else it, too, becomes offensive. Still, though, as a critic of religion, this one ought to be for you what we Americans refer to as a "can of corn", an easy catch. And it really does read like trivia, but here's a question we might consider: What if the answer is a key explanation in behavior that has killed somewhere between hundreds of thousands and millions of people? At some point, I would submit, other questions become more important than whether or not God and Satan exist. And, yeah, it's true that would be one of the circumstances when it's probably helpful to know a little bit about what we criticize. And if I say I get it, that only goes so far, because there comes a point at which I don't. I mean, good for you: Congratulations on knowing how to engage the least competent, the people who don't even know how to express themselves properly, because, hey, they've got a point to make and you've got yourself a theist to ridicule. May've only left ya a theist, but at least you thwacked you a theist. And that last is the point. Whack-a-Mole is an interestingly silly game, and has precisely nothing to do with anything. The trivia question points to a real thing that happened, and continues to happen, in the world. An example from life and death: The United States is already suffering a resurgent HIV/AIDS crisis; in movies we're at the part when our hero, or perhaps witness or victim of coming horror, stands and stares up as the evil rises, rises, rises, and we keep watching, watching, watching, and the tacit point is to wonder how big this thing is, and when will it finish standing up. And there will be a lot of belief and fact to sort through in figuring out the history of how this happened—it really is an astonishing history—but one of the most important questions will have to do with whether or not we are expected to rehash obsolete and pretentious social mores that come down to sniffing about our dignity while doing nothing about a raging plague. The most part of that objection and disruption will come from religious quarters. And while it is true that one need not know a lot about something in order to ridicule it to the faces of trolls, language learners, and the occasional delirious or delusional, there will be more important discussions going on, and while I can calculate any number of potentially useful addresses, all depending on which religiously-derived objection we face, the one that isn't going to be on the table is whether or not God exists, or any of the petty one-upmanship that is the purpose of such critique requiring so little knowledge of its subject. Meanwhile, one of the recurring themes I encounter has to do with people's disdain for others "forcing religion onto" them; and while I get people's point about badmouthing science, I am, technically, picking it out according to the philosophical principle or rule of charity because skipping that leaves it sounding much more selfish, i.e., counterrevolutionary bully high. It is the righteous thrill of striking back, and that is what it is, and, yes, when people go about theopolitical discourse with genuine stakes in play, yes, there is a battle rush because there are genuine stakes in play. And while people will remind that all sorts of things atheism have nothing to do with despite evangelical atheists asserting about such things, the point isn't some specific call to laborious duty, but, rather, to remind that it is well past time to dispense with notions about disdain for religious behavior toward other people and ideas; that's not really what this gutter discourse is for. Some disputes are just about seeking and taking satisfaction. Those disputes are what they are, but they have nothing to do with reality, and the only real potential they have for affecting actual political disputes in which people are forcing religion onto one another is to further denigrate communication, thus insulating and reinforcing the dangerous and intrusive religious beliefs and behaviors people ostensibly complain about. It's kind of like philosophical job security, doing what one can to ensure there is always an easy complaint at hand. But when we consider the real implications of forcing religion onto one another, no, people wallowing in critiques that just don't seem to require much for knowledge are not helping; they are only making things worse, but, hey, at least they get some satisfaction, now and then. Remember, please, what attrition actually comes to.