"rendered…second-class citizens"; and third, the authors try to persuade us
that both experience and social science reveal atheists to be not
"detrimental to society" but actually better citizens than the religious.
On behalf of many who believe religion to be indispensable to the American
experiment in self-government, I apologize for any unkindness used when
championing this cause.
Though it probably is true that atheists are still looked upon with some
level of concern, it also seems that atheists are enjoying a time of
approbation: President Obama mentioned them in his inaugural speech along
with Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. And atheists certainly have
sway in our public schools.
Finally, we should not use social science so heavily to accurately gauge
the effects of religion on society because the science is too
subjective—endless dueling surveys will ensue. It is perhaps more
instructive to observe that in the founding, saving, and continuous work of
perfecting America, the major players on those stages testified that God's
hand was in it. Thus the authors’ list of virtues possessed by nontheists
in greater measure than believers lacks at least one: humility. That is, atheists
cannot participate in such patriotic acknowledgments of Providence.