When I came up with the name for this site — in a time crunch, right before I had a chance to plug it in an interview — I wanted to have something positive. “Friendly Atheist” came to mind and it stuck. I’ve tried explaining in interviews and talks I give that the name isn’t about me. Yes, I’m a friendly atheist, but I’m not The Friendly Atheist.
I felt that most atheists I have met in my life have been kind, caring, generous — completely against the nasty stereotype religious people have created for us.
We’re all “friendly” atheists, and I hoped the site’s name would link those words together.
In retrospect, I probably would’ve chosen something different, but I’m not unhappy with the name I chose.
All that said, I don’t know if this commentary was directed at me personally, but I figured I ought to respond about the motive behind the name.
With greater frequency you see blogs springing up titled, in essence, “The Friendly Atheist”. Often a synonym for friendly is used.
Look, your heart is in the right place, but you’re not doing anyone any favors with a name like that. What do you think that says about the other atheists?
Let’s compare. What are your reactions to the following fictional sites?
The Honest Republican
The Masculine Democrat
The Harmless African American
The Tolerant White Man
The Open-Minded Christian
All you’re doing is taking a stereotype and reinforcing it by saying, “I’m the exception.” Stop it. Most atheists are friendly. We’re normal people.
That’s exactly my point.
But just for the record, I’m not The Friendly Atheist. I’m just a friendly atheist.
Hopefully, so are you.