Why are believers ignorant about atheists?

Greta Christina writing at AlterNet.org (via Salon.com):

It’s important to remember that most atheists were once believers. We’re familiar with religion because we’ve believed it ourselves. And it’s important to remember that, in most of the world, religious belief is the dominant culture. Atheists have to be familiar with it. It’s shoved in our face on a regular basis. Our friends believe it, our families believe it, our co-workers believe it, it’s all over the media. We can’t be ignorant of religion. We’re soaking in it.

[…]

And one of the largest pillars in this fortress is the bigoted mythology about atheists. The idea that atheists are amoral? That our lives lack meaning and joy? That we’re only atheists so we can reject religious rules? That we hate God? That our atheism is shallow, and we reject it and embrace religion when faced with suffering and death? That we have no basis for human emotions like love and friendship and grief? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that all this mythology exists to keep believers from listening to anything we have to say.

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