Daniel Dennett gives the believers just the tiniest of prods.
Today one of the most insistent forces arrayed in opposition to us vocal atheists is the “I’m an atheist but” crowd, who publicly deplore our “hostility”, our “rudeness” (which is actually just candour), while privately admitting that we’re right. They don’t themselves believe in God, but they certainly do believe in belief in God.
Yes, but that is because belief in God is a very peculiar and special kind of belief that goes all spiky and painful if outsiders explain why they don’t share it. It doesn’t work the other way, of course – non-believers don’t double up in pain if believers explain why they don’t share the non-belief. They get bored, they roll their eyes, they wish they were somewhere else with a bowl of ice cream, but they don’t break or fall apart or need hospitalization. That’s why vocal atheists are called hard names even by other atheists, while believers are wrapped in three layers of cotton wool and kept at an even temperature.