I was interested to hear on the BBC Radio 4 program - Start of the Week - of 9 February 2009 - that the cartoonist, Martin Rowson, said that atheists are among the groups that send him hate e-mails for his cartoons, along with Muslims, Zionists, Catholics, American Neo-Cons etc, etc.

You can listen to the program at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/starttheweek.shtml - start listening at about 20 minutes into the program if you don't want to listen to the entire thing.

He mentioned a particular incident where atheists were outraged by his cartoon of Richard Dawkins which apparently was published on the front of New Humanist magazine.

I hope atheists are not going to become yet another intolerant and humourless pressure group.

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There's a percentage of nutjobs in any population that identifies itself as a group. There are nutjobs here. Its an unfortunate aspect of humans in general. I think we have a generally very low nutjob representation - unfortunately, that number will never be zero. There are people who label themselves atheists with little idea of what it really means and are too lazy to give it any serious thinking time. That's why many of us cringe at even using the term atheist - its losing meaning and becoming a brand.

The best we can do is be vigilant and discourage stupid behaviour. Hate mail (or hate of any kind) is generally anathema to virtually everyone here. All we can do is point out how utterly counterproductive it is and hope for the best. Hate is a tool of theism - if we are to be genuinely god free, we must also be hate free.
I take it this is the cartoon ?

BFD. Whoever sent hatemail about that isn't an atheist. They're an imbecile that thinks they're an atheist.
Yes, I suppose this must be the cartoon. I haven't seen it before but this is what he describes.
The only thing that makes a person an atheist is a lack of belief in any gods. Sending hatemail, while not something that should be condoned, does not disqualify a person from being an atheist. There is no "true" atheist.
OK - but it does qualify them to be an imbecile that thinks they're an atheist.

One hatemail posting pseudo-atheist does more damage to us than a 1000 fundies. I believe that to be sincere, you should be above the idiocy that theists display by the gigabyte on a daily basis.
But some people don't even know what atheism truly means; there are people who think atheists simply just means not believing in the CHRISTIAN god, for example. That's pigeonholing of the term atheist.

And then there are people who think it means to be an atheist if you believe in god but not in CHRISTIANITY.

These two examples are taken from real life, some people really believe atheism means these things. With that being said, not all atheists have got their label wrong, but some people don't really think of what the label means (like Felch said) and therefore get it wrong, thinking they are atheists when they really are not. I got the impression this was primarily Felche's problem, not that you aren't automatically an atheist if you are an asshole.
Ha! Thats a great cartoon! I really don't think that even Dawkins would object to it, and would probably get as good a laugh at it as I do! Thanks for giving me a good giggle to start my day Fletch!
I actually thought that cartoon was mildy funny :)
I think the cartoon is funny too. I don't want to listen to the program, what was it that these atheists took issue of? If you can't laugh at yourself now and then...
If you can't laugh at yourself now and then...

(I'll say it for you) ... you're a muslim.

Thanks for the early morning chuckle.
Shh Felch, don't wake up the wolf that sleeps! (read now we will have a huge stream of fundie Muslims telling us why you are wrong :D)


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