Eric is arguing that we should accept the label “new atheism” and run with it. He sets out three items that define a new atheist:

(i) a belief in the harmfulness of religion, both in a political and an intellectual sense; (ii) a conviction that there is no evidence for belief in a god; (iii) a general agreement that (i) and (ii) mean that we must actively oppose religion.

I would insert a new (iii): a conviction or a sense that the widespread (at least in the US) expectation that one should believe in god as if (ii) were of no relevance whatsoever, is an offensive imposition.

That’s what is New in my New Atheism, at any rate. I’ve been an atheist since adolescence at least, and as far as I can remember I was a very unconvinced nominal “theist” as a child, but I haven’t always been a gnu (to revert to the joke I am reluctant to abandon). I used to groan inwardly rather than argue. But the imposition offends my sense of justice – and I have a way of arguing without actually getting in people’s (literal) faces – so impassive atheism has made way for the vocal kind. There is no reason to believe there is anything properly called “god,” so stop telling me to think there is.

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