I am taking issue here with both polarized views of some of the atheists and the theists. Now, before I continue I would like to point out a couple of things. First of all, when I talk of atheism I am using the term in the universally accepted definition of it at least by linguistics which is that it is a lack of belief. Now, whether you like or accept this definition is irrelevant; the fact is that is the definition I will be using here. Secondly, I myself am an atheist in the sense that I don't adhere to any religious deity. However, I am agnostic regarding intelligent design although lean atheist. Anyway, that is enough about me and time to get on with this debate.
So as of late, I have noticed both very extreme views from both atheists and theists toward one another. On the one hand, you have atheists claiming that all theistic and nontheistic religious people are evil, unreasonable, illogical, stupid, etc. On the other, you have theists coming up with claims such as atheists are ignorant, immoral, naive, hate God, etc. Between these two extremes, I think we can open up a line of civilized rational discourse.
Furthermore, I think one of the misconceptions that some atheists have is that either theistic or nontheist religious people are not capable reason, logic and/or rationality. Hence this could explain why some of them think religious people are intellectually inferior. Just because a person believes in something based on faith does not mean they're any less logical than anyone else. Also, a Theist argument can be just as logically valid as that of an atheist argument that is also logically valid.
For a Theistic argument to be logically valid all that is required is that the conclusion follows on in a somewhat uniform fashion from the given premises. It does not matter if the premises are factually correct which would be impossible to tell anyway since it is a faith-based argument. To epitomize this more let's examine the following question:
Assuming all people with brown haired are bad tempered would it be true or false to say that all brown haired people are bad tempered?
The answer, of course, would be true as this follows on logically from the premise which is based on an assumption which was also asserted in the beginning. I think one of the problems with some atheists that there is this pre-conceived notion that theists are intellectually more inferior simply because they're theists, which by the way is in itself faulty thinking. There are many theists out there that are able to make logically valid arguments that either faith-based or otherwise.
Hereinafter, up to this point, I have mainly been defending theists. So, now it's time to dig into a bit of the issue of some of those theists. Now, as I said with atheists also think there are these strong preconceived notions from religious people about all atheists and/or secularists.
The trouble with a lot of religious people is that their faith-based beliefs are very personal which are also entwined with strong emotions attached to those beliefs, and these beliefs have been ingrained for many years. And so the problem with this is that when anyone challenges a religious based idea that these people have there is a strong defense mechanism that comes rising to the surface. In some cases, even if the theist knows what you're saying is true they will not openly admit to this or refuse to accept the truth because it is in conflict with one of their beliefs which are so strong that it is painful to let go of. Furthermore, it is this defense mechanism that leads to wild accusations and antipathy towards all secularists/atheists. Having said, it does not help when you've got some atheists that are not part of the solution; they're part of the problem driving home ever more antipathy of the religious people.
Finally, these polarized mindsets are not a reflection of either religion or atheism; they're a reflection of faulty reasoning by individuals. And I think one of the ways we can help progress along a line of rational and civil discourse is for us individuals to examine whether or not there strong beliefs we possess that might be getting in the way of our reasoning processes regardless of whether or not we are Theists or Atheists.
"never show someone your entire hand too soon" - Famous Proverb/Idiom.